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Thursday, 3 March 2011

New Kenmore Dishwasher

For the last year we've been living with a Frigidaire Ultraquiet 111 dishwasher, that came with the house and was no doubt the standard fit ten years ago when the house was built. It's never been impressive, occasionally leaving gritty deposits on glasses and plates, and it's hard to recognise when rinseaid needs to be topped up as there's no visible indicator. A small orange LED is always on no matter what the machine is doing. It may be that the fitted appliances in the house are starting to wear out (our neighbour's microwave gave out recently), or it may be that this was never a very good model. I read some online reviews and have never seen so many damning comments on an appliance before.

Thus we went to Sears to check out their dishwasher options. Beth, as usual, had done some prior online research, so it didn't take long to select a Kenmore Elite that suited our needs and pocket. Sears have regular sales, and we time our purchases to match. We bumped into our neighbours there, choosing a replacement microwave, which I helped fit last week. With the current sale prices , and a points reward from last year's purchases (chest freezer, mini-fridge, washer and dryer) it came to around $685 including installation and removal of the old dishwasher.

Today is the great installation day, and having been woken soon after six am by a playful young cat, I decided to uninstall the Frigidaire myself and get things ready. Two screws held the the dishwasher to the underside of the counter, and once those were removed it was easy to slide the old unit most of the way out of its niche. There are three connections for a dishwasher; electric, hot water, and waste water. The first was hard-wired which surprised me as in the UK I'd expected a plug and socket, but maybe the power required is too much for the regular ring main. It was easy to locate the specific trip fuse for the dishwasher (our fuses are tucked in a garage wall), and at last the light on the front went out. Then I needed to remove a baseplate from the front of the washer to access the mains wire, but once I could see what to do it was quickly disconnected.

The hoses for hot water and waste water were simpler, being connected under the sink. Hot water comes in via a steel wrapped hose which has a shut off valve and required a 5/8" wrench (spanner) to undo. The waste water goes out through a translucent white hose connected with jubilee clips (not sure what the US term is) each end. I removed both hoses and stored them in the sink for possible re-use.

At this point Beth came down ready for work and helped me carry the unit into the garage. I wanted to check whether we'd need to remove any doors in the utility room, but at a standard 24" width and depth there was plenty of room. A dishwasher is mostly an empty box, much lighter than a  fridge or stove of the same dimensions would be, so we got it out without too much fuss, though there are no handholds at the back of the unit and Beth had a little trouble gripping it. A bit of water also spilled out on the kitchen floor as we moved it, but with some paper towels we were able to prevent it running into the dining room carpet.

An hour or so later the installer arrived with the new machine. He was very pleased to see the outstallation already done, and had the new machine in and connected up within an hour.

Our new dishwasher is a Kenmore Elite, with a better washing action, better water and energy efficiency, and no stupid light except when it's running. The old unit had a dial to activate but this one has buttons, one button to select standard cycle, and toggle buttons for the various options.

1 comment:

  1. When we put in our kitchen, 8ish years ago (it all runs together...) we picked some upscale appliances, camouflaging their cost in the overall expense. Hence, if my Kitchenaid stainless steel wide style fridge dies, I will have to face the fact that a replacement will cost roughly $6K.

    As for the dishwasher drawers (2, stacked,) the original were Fisher-Paykel, which failed within about 5 years and turned out to have been their buggy prototype. But having become used to the drawer concept, I felt compelled to stick with it, and bought Kitchenaid as the replacement. I am happy with them about a year in. I did not unhook them or do any other part of the de-installation/installation myself though! But I have changed the water heater element, for what it's worth. ; )