Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dishwasher Blues

When we moved to our new-to-us home, one of the first things that caught my eye was the dishwasher. It was one of those prehistoric looking beasts that came out about the time man first learned that washing dishes could be done by a machine. It had seen its better days and washed about one step better than my old dog and his tongue was able too. But wash it did and thus is survived in our house for almost a year until one day it finally died.

I stopped in at a local mom and pop owned appliance store which as it turned out was about to be moved lock, stock and barrel to a new location. Thus I was able to score a sweet deal on a show model so it was one less thing that had to be moved. Two days later it was 'installed'.

I am a somewhat handy guy but when it comes to plumbing, I try to avoid projects involving it at all costs. It involves trying to squeeze my way too tall frame under tight sinks and other assorted spaces and having to make repeated trips to the stores to find all the various fittings needed to hook things together. I replaced a faucet set on our sink soon after moving in because it was leaking and I think I ended up making four trips over three days to finish that project. So I paid for installation of the new dishwasher which also had the bonus of them disposing of the old one.

Two days later, the installation man showed up and spent a couple hours installing the dishwasher. We decided to spend a few extra bucks to get one with hidden controls on the top edge of the dishwasher to match everything else in the kitchen so when I walked into the kitchen near the end of the installation process, I was surprised to see that the 'hidden' controls were about two inches from being under the counter top. I asked the installation guy if there was some reason he couldn't push the dishwasher back another two inches to hide the controls as they were designed to be and he gave me some bullshit excuse about a gasket on the side that needed to seal the dishwasher to the cabinet and hide the small gap there. At the time, I thought it was a bullshit excuse but since I am not a dishwasher guy and am not familiar with the latest and greatest designs, I bit my tongue and let him finish up.

Soon after he left, I read through the instruction manual and found nothing stating what he had told me. In fact, it plainly stated that you were supposed to push the machine back until the front of it was flush with the front of the cabinets. So I undid two screws, pushed it back, reinstalled the screws and thought all was right with the world. It looked nice but I soon found that pushing it back caused it to tip forward due to a crappy tilting tile right under the front legs and that caused the racks to come hurtling out at you when the door was open. So I leveled it all out again and all was right with the world... again.

But within about two or three openings of the door, the door stopped opening level anymore. I inspected it and found that the insulation around the tub was interfering with the hinge and binding it up. I pushed it back a few times with a small screw driver but it would never stay out of the way. So I pulled out the dishwasher one more time and cut a corner off the insulation like it showed in the manual, shoved it back in place and all was right with the world... again... for a few more openings.

The insulation started binding again so I pulled it out yet again and enlarged the cutout generously this time and got everything pushed back, reinstalled and leveled out. All was right with the world... again. But after nearly taking out my shin, I realized that whenever I opened the thing, the heavy door just fell open. It wasn't like the restrained opening of all the other dishwashers I have been familiar with in my life. After reading the installation manual again, I discovered that there was a procedure for tensioning the door opening springs to ease opening and closing the door but it involved pulling the dishwasher out yet again.

Once I had the thing pulled back out from under the cabinets, something I was getting surprisingly good at, I discovered that I was missing one of the two springs that I was supposed to tension. I called the dealer and told him that I was missing the spring, (and biting my tongue on the poor installation job to begin with) and he promised to take care of it. He hired another appliance dealer here in town (not sure what kind of deal they have?) to come out and see what was the matter, not believing me when I told him that the spring was missing. The other dealer showed up and within about two seconds, told me that it was missing a spring and he would have to order one and come back again.

True to his word, the other appliance dealer showed up a couple days later and soon had the missing spring installed. He was incredulous when I told him about them not shoving the dishwasher back underneath the countertop as it was designed and also the fact that they didn't clip the corner of the insulation to prevent interference with the hinges. He also pointed out that the original installation guy didn't install the drain hose up above the sink drain height as per code. It is nothing serious but if my sink were to back up for some reason, something I have never had happen, it could drain back into the dishwasher. So finally I have a perfectly working dishwasher once again and I've learned a valuable lesson. Not all local appliance dealers are created equal.

P.S. A couple days after writing this, the insulation once again got caught on the springs. Definitely a design flaw of making the springs without some sort of shielding from the insulation. Fortunately by now I was a pro so I had the sucker slid out, the insulation pushed back out of the way and slid back in, all in about fifteen minutes.


sage said...

Wow, reading this was enough to make winded. I'd probably pulled a dishrag out of retirement...

Vince said...

The dishwasher here died around 07. I moved it, and in the moving the drain hoze fell to the ground and emptied the half the contents. I plugged it in to vent the rest and it's been going ever since with out a hiccup beyond removing the drain dumping a pint or so into a pot then restarting and off it goes again.

Ed said...

Sage - I did for a time but darn it, I enjoy doing other things more than washing dishes by hand.

Vince - This one always washed very poorly and then started leaking profusely through cracks in the basket. There was no fixing it.

Bone said...

Wow. I usually wash dishes by hand, and only run the dishwasher on occasion to exercise the gaskets. (Vague Seinfeld reference there.)

But, I do have an annoying squeak in my clothes dryer now. If you're in the area, could you stop by and take a gander?