GE Appliances is one of the most popular dishwashing manufacturers, easily competing against huge companies such as Whirlpool and Bosch. They are the perfect choice for anyone needing a robust dishwasher that offers fantastic price to performance.
However, despite their excellent reputation, many users have reported that their dishwashers suddenly won’t start. This is very troublesome to deal with as it leaves you washing dishes by hand.
While this issue is considered common and is generally easy to solve because it has so many potential causes, it can be a bit of a headache researching and diagnosing the root cause of the problem.
So today, we’ve gathered up all the most common problems that will prevent your GE dishwasher from starting. We’ll explain why this happens and how you can solve it quickly and easily.
Why is your GE dishwasher not starting?
When your dishwasher doesn’t start, it’s easy to think it’s due to some catastrophic mechanical failure which will be very expensive to fix.
But in many cases, it’s just a simple user error that you can fix yourself. So before you rush out and pay a service technician, read this list of reasons why it might not start, and there’s a high likelihood you’ll find out what the problem is and be able to fix it by yourself.
1. The dishwasher is not getting power
This is an easy issue to overlook. But if you check the dishwasher’s interface, you should see some LED lights either lit up or flashing. You should also hear an audible beep when you press a button, letting you know it’s been powered on.
If you can’t find either of these things, there’s a good chance the dishwasher is not receiving power. There are a few things that may have caused the power to fail:
- There may have been an electrical surge that tripped the circuit breaker.
- The power cable was accidentally knocked and is not seated correctly.
- The power cable itself may have failed.
- A fuse may have blown.
Once these issues are addressed, the power should start working again.
2. The child lock feature is on
As with most modern dishwashers, GE products have a child lock feature that locks down the machine when not in use, just in case a curious toddler decides to see what all those flashing buttons do.
If you use the child lock feature regularly, you may have forgotten to turn it off, and simply disabling the feature will restore functionality.
3. The door isn’t fully closed
To protect your home from not being flooded with hot, soapy water, the dishwasher uses an internal door switch to check that the door is completely closed and that the machine is watertight before starting a cycle.
If the door isn’t fully closed, or if the dishwasher door switch (which tells the machine the door is shut) has gone bad, it won’t be able to start as it still believes the door is open.
You may also find that the dishwasher has been overloaded, causing an obstruction preventing the door from closing.
4. The door latch isn’t working
The door latch on a dishwasher is quite a complicated component. Aside from latching the door, many dishwashers have a mechanism to unlatch the door when the wash cycle is finished.
This allows air to circulate the dishes and helps them dry faster. But the added complexity of the door latch means sometimes it can become defective and fail.
5. The buttons aren’t working
As dishwashers are leaning heavier into computer software and microchips, they have left the good old mechanical switches behind in favor of either digital membrane switches or a touchpad control panel.
While certainly more technologically advanced, these switches have a higher failure rate and often break and require replacing.
6. The wrong cycle has been set
Dishwashers have many cycle settings and preferences to allow you to customize how you want your dishes washed. But sometimes, if these settings are bad, the wash cycle won’t start.
Rather than dissect where the incorrect setting lies, it’s often easier to reset the cycle and use one of the pre-made presets instead.
7. No water supply to the machine
GE Dishwashers are very modern machines that can quickly sense something wrong. This can prevent the machine from starting as it tries to protect itself from potential damage.
Of course, a good water supply is vital to the correct operation of the machine, so if it detects there isn’t a flow of water, the dishwasher will not start.
You will need to check the water supply is working and that your valves are opened.
8. Delay start is switched on
There is a feature in GE Dishwashers called ‘delay hours’ which allows you to load your dishes, but the wash cycle won’t start for X number of hours.
This is to allow you to time a wash, so it’s at a more convenient time for your household. For example, maybe you’ve loaded the dishes up, but people want to shower, and you don’t want to deprive them of hot water.
So you can delay the wash until they are finished, at which point it will start the cycle by itself.
However, if you don’t realize delay hours is switched on, it will appear like the machine won’t start. So checking this function and disabling it should allow the cycle to begin immediately.
9. The flood float has become stuck
There is a small device in GE dishwashers called a flood float which is a small floating switch that rises with the water level. Once it reaches a certain height, it instructs the machine to stop as there’s already enough water.
If this float becomes stuck, the machine will always think there is too much water inside the dishwasher, and it won’t be able to start.
How to fix a GE dishwasher not starting
As you can see, the overwhelming majority of reasons why a GE Dishwasher will not start are caused by user error or small component failures. Fortunately, these are all relatively simple issues to solve, so let’s look at how to fix these problems.
1. Restore power to the dishwasher
Start by checking the breaker to make sure nothing has been tripped. And then, check the power cable to ensure it’s not loose and is correctly seated.
If both of these things are okay, then the power cable may have broken, or the fuse may have blown, so you should replace the power cable with a new one.
2. Disable the child lock feature
On yourThere be a ‘CONTROL LOCK’ button. Press on your GE Dishwasher’s touchpad control panel and hold this down for three seconds, after which you should hear a confirmation beep. Release the button, and the feature is now disabled.
3. Ensure the door is closed
If the door is not entirely closed, you may need to re-arrange the dishes to allow it to shut all the way. Once the door has securely latched, you should hear a definitive ‘click’ sound.
Don’t be afraid to remove some dishes to allow the door to close. Although you will need to wash two batches of dishes, the machine will not start if the door isn’t closed.
4. Fix the broken door latch
If the door cannot close, it may indicate the door latch is broken. The nature of this component and the automatic unlatching feature means it’s pretty tricky to diagnose and fix yourself.
In this scenario, you should contact GE support, who will help you source a replacement latching mechanism and arrange for a service technician to come and install it for you.
5. Replace the touchpad
Unfortunately, dishwasher touchpads are a common point of failure due to their inherently low lifespan.
But because this is such a common issue, GE should be able to help you replace it with a new working one that will restore the buttons’ functionality.
6. Reset the wash cycle settings
When the wrong wash cycle settings have been input, it will appear that the dishwasher cannot start. While you can manually go through these settings to adjust them, often, it is easier to reset the cycle options to the default settings so you know it works and then go from there.
To do this, you can hold down the ‘reset’ button for a few seconds, which will fully reset everything to factory standards.
If this doesn’t work, or you don’t wish to reset everything, you can follow these steps to do it manually:
- Start by changing the cycle mode from ‘quick wash’ or ‘turbo’ to a regular cycle.
- Change the water temperature to another setting. For example, if it’s currently set to warm, then change it to hot, or if it’s set to hot, change it to warm.
- Set the dry level to medium and the dry timer to about 10 minutes which is a nice middle ground between an adequate wash and drying cycle.
- Ensure the rinse aid and dishwasher detergent are topped up.
7. Check the water is working
Firstly you can visually inspect the water cables to ensure there are no leaks or kinks that will impede the water flow to the whirlpool dishwasher.
Then you should check the water valve and ensure it’s switched to ON. Particularly if you’ve recently had plumbing work done on your home, this valve will usually have been turned off, and it’s easy to forget to turn it back on.
If the water will still not flow after doing this, it may indicate that the water inlet valve has gone bad, in which case, you will need to contact GE for a replacement.
8. Disable the timer
If the timer function is enabled, it will delay the wash cycle, making it appear like the machine is not working.
You can disable the timer function on the front panel, allowing the whirlpool dishwasher to start immediately.
9. Unstick or replace the flood float
When the flood float is stuck in the ‘on’ position, it will tell the machine to disable the water flow even though there’s no actual water.
You can try to unstick the flood float to see if it will return to its default position. Otherwise, replacing the flood float with a new, working switch would be best.