GE Dishwasher Not Starting? (here’s what to do)

Dishwashers are great labour saving devices which save endless arguments over whose turn it is to do the washing up. All you do is load the items into the dishwasher, add detergent, press the start button and go off and do something else.

When you return, the dishes are clean and dry and ready to be stacked away in the cupboard. But like all electrical appliances, dishwashers can develop problems.

If you own a GE dishwasher that won’t start, keep reading. In this article we investigate why your GE dishwasher won’t start and offer solutions to these problems. Many of which can be solved without any technical skills at all.

Why Is My GE Dishwasher Not Starting?

There are a number of reasons why your GE dishwasher might not be starting, which include;

Probable CauseSolution
No PowerCheck the power cord, socket, fuse and circuit breaker
Child Lock ActivatedDeactivate the child lock
Delay Start ActivatedCancel the delay start
Wrong Cycle SelectedEnsure you choose the correct cycle
Door Not Fully ClosedCheck for obstacles and close the door fully
Door Latch Or Sensor FaultyCheck and replace the door latch/sensor
Buttons UnresponsiveGet the touchpad checked and replaced if necessary
Water Supply IssuesCheck the inlet tap, inlet hose, inlet valve and water pressure and replace or repair as necessary
Stuck Float SwitchCheck the float switch, clean or replace as necessary

Let’s take a look at each of these issues in more detail;

No Power


This might seem silly, but you’d be surprised at just how often a dishwasher fails to start and on investigation it turns out it wasn’t turned on or connected to the power supply.

Look at the interface of the dishwasher, there should be some visible sign of power. Either LED lights lit up or flashing as well as a beep when buttons are pressed. If neither of these is evident, there’s a good chance that the dishwasher isn’t receiving any power.

If this is the case, the cause could be any one of the following;

Power Cord Dislodged

It is possible that the power cord has accidentally been dislodged from the wall socket. Check that the power cord is connected correctly to the plug and that the plug is fully inserted into the wall socket with the switch turned on.

It is also possible that the power cord has been dislodged from the back of the dishwasher. If this is the case, we recommend contacting a technician to repair this for you.

Damaged Power Cord

You should also inspect the power cord for any visible evidence of damage like fraying. This could prevent the power from reaching the appliance and cause the fuse to blow or the circuit breaker to trip.

If the power cord is frayed, we recommend contacting a technician to replace it for you.

Power Surge

If there has been a power cut in your area, or a power surge, it could have blown the fuse or tripped the circuit breaker.

Blown Fuse/Circuit Breaker Tripped

You will need to check the fuse in the plug attached to the power cord on your dishwasher. Then check the circuit breaker and reset it if it has tripped.

Faulty Power Socket 

There is also the possibility that the power socket that the dishwasher is plugged into is faulty. You can check this by unplugging the dishwasher and plugging something else into that socket.

If the item works, then you can rule out a faulty socket.

Child Lock Activated


GE dishwashers are fitted with child locks which are designed to prevent inquisitive little hands from pressing buttons to make the lights flash. It is possible that you have accidentally caught the child lock button and this is disabling the power supply.

All you need to do is disable the child lock function to get your dishwasher working properly again. This can be done by pressing and holding the heat dry and sanitised buttons simultaneously for 3 to 5 seconds.

Delay Start Activated

GE dishwashers have a delay start feature which is called delay hours which allows you to load the dishwasher and set it up to start at a time more convenient to you.

For instance if you get electricity at a cheaper tariff after a certain time or you want to have a hot shower and don’t want to lose water pressure due to the dishwasher going at the same time.

You have 2 options here; you can either wait until the timer has completed, at which point the dishwasher will start. Or you can disable the timer by aborting the program and restarting the cycle.

Wrong Cycle Selected

Your dishwasher will have multiple settings and cycles allowing you to customise your wash cycle. In some cases, you may have selected an incorrect cycle and the dishwasher won’t start.

The best solution for this is to reset the dishwasher to one of the preset cycles and start again.

Door Not Fully Closed

loading a dishwasher

Your GE dishwasher relies on sensors that detect when the door is fully closed to prevent flooding your kitchen. Once the door is fully closed, the door seal forms a watertight seal that keeps all of the water inside the appliance.

You may have inadvertently left a plate, pot handle or utensil protruding into the door area preventing the door from fully closing. Or there could be something obstructing the door seal like a piece of food, broken crockery, detergent build up or even limescale.

You will need to check the door seal for any foreign objects and remove them. Then check that the rubber seal is intact because sometimes a small tear can be enough to cause the sensor to believe the door isn’t fully shut.

Door Latch Or Sensor Faulty

Sometimes, the fault lies with the door latch or door sensor. If the latch isn’t connecting with the strike plate properly, it could cause the sensor to send a message to the control board that the door isn’t fully closed.

It could be the door latch or strike plate have become dislodged slightly, the door hinges have become bent slightly or the door sensor has developed a fault.

Unless you are sure of your technical abilities, we recommend getting a technician to investigate and repair or replace any of the relevant parts for you.

Buttons Unresponsive

There are several reasons why the buttons on your GE dishwasher might be unresponsive. We already mentioned the child lock function which disables almost all of the buttons.

Other issues can be caused by the fact that there are no physical buttons on your dishwasher. Dishwashers now rely on a digital membrane or a touchpad.

These types of control have a high rate of failure and could be the cause of your GE dishwasher not starting. Touchpads are relatively inexpensive to buy and can be fitted quite easily by those who know what they’re doing.

However, we recommend contacting a technician to check and replace the touchpad for you.

Water Supply Issues

tap running

GE dishwashers are very sensitive to any type of fault or failure and won’t start if anything untoward is detected. For instance, if the dishwasher detects any kind of issue with the water supply, it will not start. This could be problems like;

Twisted Or Blocked Water Inlet Hose

All of the water that enters your GE dishwasher does so via the inlet hose. If this hose becomes twisted, kinked or blocked in some way, it won’t allow enough water into the tub to start a wash cycle.

You will need to check the hose for any twists or kinks and remove it from the appliance and check that the small screen in the end of the hose or in the lug connected to the inlet valve isn’t clogged.

Remember to turn off the water supply by turning the inlet tap to the off position before disconnecting the inlet hose. Take care with the screen because they are delicate and should be handled with care.

Check for any grit or limescale blocking the screen and if you find any carefully clean the screen or better yet, replace it with a new screen.

Defective Inlet Valve

The inlet valve is controlled by the control board and allows enough water into the tub to wash and rinse the dishes. If it becomes defective, it will not allow enough (if any) water into the tub and the appliance won’t start.

We recommend getting a technician to investigate and replace the inlet valve if necessary.

Issues With The Water Supply To Your Home

There’s always the possibility that the problem is nothing to do with the dishwasher and is caused by your home water supply. It could be there’s an emergency and the water has been turned off at the mains, the stopcock in your home has been turned off accidentally or your home suffers from low water pressure.

You will need to check that your water is running properly, the stopcock is turned on and that the water pressure is adequate to run a dishwasher. 

You can check the water is running by turning on a cold tap, not a hot tap as hot water is often supplied from a storage tank. The stopcock is typically located under the sink and should be fully open.

To check the water pressure, simply fill a 1 gallon (4.5 litre) bucket with water from the cold tap in your kitchen. If it takes 30 seconds or less to fill, the water pressure is adequate for running your dishwasher.

If it takes more than 30 seconds to fill the bucket, you will need to contact your local water authority.

Stuck Float Switch

Your GE dishwasher has a float switch or flood float as it is also known. This is a device that detects the water level in the tub by rising as the water level rises.

Once the float switch reaches a certain level, it sends a message to the control board to shut off the water supply via the inlet valve. If the float becomes stuck or develops a fault, the control board will believe there is enough water in the dishwasher and the appliance won’t start.

We recommend getting a technician to investigate the float switch which could be stuck due to food particles, grease, detergent residue or limescale. In some cases it can be cleaned to resolve this issue or it may need to be replaced.

SEE ALSO: How To Clean A GE Dishwasher Filter

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a GE dishwasher to not start?

If your GE dishwasher fails to start it could be caused by; a lack of power (the power cord could be damaged or unattached, the wall socket might be defective or switched off or the fuse or circuit breaker could be blown), the child lock has been activated, the delay start has been activated, you have selected an incorrect cycle, the door isn’t fully closed or the sensor is faulty, the touchpad is faulty there is an issue with the water supply or the float switch is stuck.

Why is my GE dishwasher not lighting up?

If your GE dishwasher fails to light up it is most likely caused by a faulty touchpad.

How do I deactivate the child lock on my GE dishwasher?

To deactivate the child lock on a GE dishwasher you will need to press and hold the heat dry and sanitised buttons simultaneously for 3 to 5 seconds.

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