Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Friday, February 04, 2011 Dishwashed Up
When we got our new dishwasher a couple of years ago, I figured our dishwasher troubles were over for a while. Turns out they're just over for a year at a time.
First, there was last year's mishap with Trash slipping and falling on the open dishwasher door, and let me just say that when that happened, I was glad I hadn't yet seen Garden State.
The resulting damage (to the dishwasher, that is) was an easy problem to visualize, and resolved simply by my ordering a couple of hinge brackets and replacing them. But the last week, when I went to start the dishwasher and nothing happened but an unfriendly electrical buzz, I was at a loss.
Well, almost at a loss. Fortunately, after years of experience with the two sucky previous dishwashers, I know about a dozen troubleshooting techniques. But then when starting it and stopping it twelve times didn't work, I resigned myself to an indefinite period of washing dishes by hand.
After breaking a glass during the first load on Saturday morning, I gave it another try. I called the customer service number inside the door, but the first thing they told me to do was shut off the circuit breaker to the dishwasher. Unfortunately, the dishwasher is on the same circuit as the cordless phone I was talking to the help line on, so in order to find out the second thing they wanted me to do, I had to turn it back on and call back. And the second thing they wanted me to do was call a local repair shop. Did you know they still have those relics of the past? They do, complete with their antiquated M-F business hours to make it even more authentic.
Then I did some online research. I was able to determine that the problem was not with the float, which is supposed to slide freely up and down on its shaft and activate a mysterious little magic switch deep inside the receiving tube (you can't see it, but it's in there, and if you get it just right it does what you want). It certainly did that, even with a puddle of gooey white fluid that had spurted out and pooled around its base. I felt like I should clean up the unused dishwasher liquid before I proceeded any further and this paragraph got any dirtier.
But then the other five tips all involved taking the whole thing apart and probing around in its guts with a voltage tester. Do you own a voltage tester? I don't, and am not even sure I would know how to use one. My dad has one, but he was in Florida, and given how handy he is (some things skip a generation), he probably brought it with him.
I did, however, take off the kickplate and the front door panel and look at all the wires to see if anything looked broken. Nothing did. But I wiggled as many wires and connectors as I could get my hands on,. Surprisingly, after I put it back together (having only lost one screw, a new personal best), it still didn't work. And we were having friends over for dinner that night.
Luckily, they not only didn't object to washing their own dishes by hand, one of our friends also suggested a solution. Since no water was flowing into the machine, could it be that the supply line was frozen?
Sur enough, all I ended up needing was a hair dryer. Or, as it's called in our house, the thing you use to shrinkwrap the windows. Then it was just a matter of digging a bunch of crap out of from under the sink to get access to it. And then doing the same thing under the kitchen sink to get to the supply line after I'd gotten the TYUTSTW unearthed.
Before long, the low-tech approach accomplished what the high-tech couldn't; I started the dishwasher and heard the clunk of a dislodged ice-plug hitting the inside of the tub. High-tech only does so much good when, as in my case, it's paired with low-competence. I was just glad I hadn't tried to rewire it from scratch. posted by M. Giant 9:56 AM 0 comments