Dishwasher won't drain
October 2, 2011 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Should I fix or replace my non-draining dishwasher?

My GE Nautilus dishwasher won't drain. I carefully cleaned both filters, the hose, and the connection to the drain pipe, with no results. I ran it a few times with the connection to the drain pipe going directly into a bucket, and only got a few spurts of water during the whole cycle.

I took off the trim piece under the dishwasher and looked at the motor assembly. It looks like the drain solenoid is only briefly triggering, then falling back to its normal position. I'm not sure this part really is the problem, and in any case I'm not sure I can replace it without breaking things further or electrocuting myself.

Also the dishwasher seems to sometimes pump new water into the tub even when the float sensor should be triggering, which means my experiments have soaked the kitchen floor a couple of times.

Should I get this repaired, or trash the whole dishwasher and get a new one? It looks like the whole dishwasher is only $200 new, so there's no point in spending $150 for someone to come out here and poke at it for a couple of hours.

I know very little about the theory and practice of dishwasher science so I'd appreciate it if anyone could point me to some reading.
posted by miyabo to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
One peripheral issue to consider in the repair/replace debate - Can you get another very close to the same size and fittings-orientation?

I have that problem with my current, rapidly-dying fridge... I can get a new one no problem, but I apparently have an odd sized space for it - Meaning I either get one considerably smaller, replace a few cabinets, or pay twice as much for an oddly sized unit.
posted by pla at 10:45 AM on October 2, 2011

I just replaced my dishwasher [annoyingly rusty racks, also not a repair that made economic sense] with a free one from CL in an afternoon.
posted by chazlarson at 11:24 AM on October 2, 2011

I had the same problem, bad trigger or motor for the drain. The assembly (just the part) was $150. It looked like an easy repair, but I think your instincts are right. We replaced it with a Bosch that was so superior it has really made our lives better. You can carry on a conversation in the living room while it runs, it holds at least 50% more, and is much more energy efficient. In fact, the only downside is that with so much capacity food can begin to stink in between runs! $450 at your local big box, but check Consumer Reports for the latest reviews.
posted by wnissen at 11:48 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

We went with a top of the line Whirlpool after the Maytag decided to do just what you are experiencing (after two previous unrelated repairs in six years). It took a couple of hours to remove and re-install. It is a lot quieter and cleans better. That's my anecdote for the day.
posted by Old Geezer at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2011

It's crap in the hose connecting from the disposal.
posted by femmme at 12:13 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

pla writes "One peripheral issue to consider in the repair/replace debate - Can you get another very close to the same size and fittings-orientation?"

Good advice but 99.99% of built in dishwashers are interchangeable with possibly a minor change in drain hose or extension of the fill line.
posted by Mitheral at 6:23 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Did you try a vinegar and baking soda cleanse in the drain tray?
posted by k8t at 5:21 AM on October 3, 2011

Before you get rid of it, check the recall list, you might be eligible for a coupon off a new dishwasher.
posted by wnissen at 11:57 AM on October 4, 2011

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