Thursday, March 16, 2017


Excavation has not begun

The dishes have to be washed whether or not you have an “automatic” dishwasher, so with our dishwasher on the fritz, I had to take over and do the work. The up side was that the dishes were clean and in the cupboard ready to be used again as opposed to dirty in the dishwasher. That appealed to my old-fashioned heart. The down side was dishpan hands. You hardly hear about that any more, but housewives fought it back in the day. Mother resorted to wearing Playtex gloves.

Bob, the second repair guy, came Monday morning, performed diagnostics, and determined the wash motor had failed. He ordered a new motor and today he returned to install it. And then we discussed the best way to run the dishwasher.

Don’t use those “pacs,” he said. He went so far as to say – and so did the first guy – that soap pacs might have caused the motor to fail – too much suds or something. Soap manufacturers love the pacs, said Bob, but the machine is designed for soap (powder or liquid), and that’s what you should use. But don’t use Kirkland’s product. It comes out of China where the formula includes some kind of clay in place of phosphorous, and that’s also hard on your machine.

My crocus corner
Well – hmm. I still have pacs on hand, both for the dishwasher and the washing machine, so I searched the internet for some sort of confirmation that they cause machine failure. I came up with soap comparisons but not the effect on the machine itself. The first repair guy suggested I put the pac in the silverware holder. I'll do that and gradually use up the pacs while alternating with powder.

What about the soap pacs in the washing machine, I asked. No, Bob said. Don’t use them.

With regard to environmental issues, there’s no question in my mind but that powder packed in cardboard is the most environmentally friendly product. However, maybe it’s my imagination, but it doesn’t seem like powder is what soap manufacturers are promoting.

Which wash cycle should I use, I wanted to know. (The manual recommended the efficiency cycle, which runs for three hours.) If your dishes aren’t very dirty, the one-hour cycle is adequate, Bob said.

Bob implied that using JetDry is a matter of preference. There is not an agreement between the dishwasher manufacturer and JetDry, he said.

Daffodils yet to bloom
Bottom line: it cost $250+ to repair this dishwasher, including parts and labor. (The first guy said he couldn’t fix it and did not charge us for the visit.)

So, it's fixed -- sorta. The new motor leaks, and maybe the old motor leaked, too. It just slips into a sleeve, and there's no way to clamp it in place. Bob said to run it several times, keeping a fresh towel under it. If it doesn't stop leaking, he may apply silicone. 

“I feel kinda shot down,” I remarked to Mike as Bob pulled out of the driveway.

“I know what you mean,” Mike agreed. KW


Chris said...

Ack!! This is not a happy ending. So what's in the packs if not powder? For the first time, because I couldn't find the box of Cascade powder at Costco, I bought the Cascade packs. I just thought it had the same powder inside.

Hallie said...

I maintain that this is all ridiculous. They're making products that don't work for the machine? The precious little delicate machine can't handle the difference between packs, powder or gel? Seriously. Somebody find us an engineer.

Kathy said...

Chris -- Standing in the detergent aisle at the grocery store, you see mostly pack products. Powders are disappearing. At least, that's my impression. I read online that the consumer as the incorrect impression that powders don't work well. P&G says that they are working to provide effective and appealing products in environmentally-friendly packaging. They should hurry with that.

And Hallie, as Chris says, "You're making me laugh." I agree! I can't accept that manufacturers are producing product that's going to bring down my machine.

Repair Guy #1 said that the dishwasher cycles are designed for powder. You put the powder in the cubby hole and close the lid. The lid pops open to dispense the soap at the correct time in the cycle. However, the pod has to dissolve and that delays the entrance of detergent into the cycle. Repair Guy #2 (Bob) said that the packs are a combination of products in a "one-size-fits-all" format. It causes over-sudsing which the machine can't handle.

I ran the dw twice yesterday as instructed, and it does leak. Bob is coming back tomorrow (Sat. -- I'm not holding my breath) to install a sleeve (boot?) for a tighter fit. Then he'll also apply silicone. I am not to run it today.

Chris said...

I'm putting Brunhilda up for appliance sainthood!! I'm liking the pods and B seems to be doing just fine with them. I'm not buying either repairman's yada yada. What would a few seconds delay of soap have to do with the motor? And I'm not buying the oversudsing either--everything is low suds these day. And finally, why would installing a new motor cause it to leak unless it wasn't done correctly???

Kathy said...

This is just my opinion, but I believe that not only are today's appliances of poor quality, but when something goes wrong, "they" like to shift blame to the consumer. Back in the day, customer service did not want to offend us, but today, no one cares. Repair Guy #1 placed blame on me three times before he left. He may not have seen it that way, but I did. Bob's tone has not been accusatory.

Bob hasn't said so, but I think he overlooked a necessary sleeve. He'll be back to fix that. We credit Bob with determination. Both repair guys said that the technology changes every year and not for the better. The demand for a quiet, efficient machine means that motors are not powerful. So yes, you're lucky to have a good old machine, and I wouldn't be in a hurry to replace her. Besides cheap components, they all have digital aspects now which makes them expensive, subject to failure, and also expensive to repair. They'd rather sell you a new one than repair the old.

Of course, we don't shop often for new appliances, so we don't even know the questions to ask. If I were buying today, I'd have a much better idea of what to look for. And all of this fits into our discussion of decreasing our carbon (plastic) footprint and being mindful of the landfill.

I like the pods, too. I have never seen evidence of an undissolved pod in the dishwasher, but in the washing machine (front loader), I have to be careful to toss it to the back of the tub and then put the clothes in. Still, occasionally I find remnants of the pod caught in the folds of the gasket. The fact that Brunhilda is old means that she uses plenty of water which aids in dissolving the pod.