January 17, 2014

The large household appliance most likely to die is...

... the dishwasher.

That's my experience anyway. I moved into this house in 1986, the dishwasher died shortly after that. The replacement died and was replaced, and the replacement for the replacement died recently. The next one, getting installed right now, is this one.

Meanwhile, I have a washer and dryer that were installed in the late 80s that work (and look) like new and have never even needed repair. What brand? Same as that new dishwasher. If they ever die, I don't think I'll be able to replace them with something that works as well, not in these "energy efficient" times.

103 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

AA:

Did you read the Amazon reviews?

Less than sterling.

harrogate said...

I wish you were as skeptical of appeals to "economic efficiency" as you are to those trumpeting "energy efficiency."

Or just the cultish devotion to the concept of "efficiency" in these here "efficient" times.

:-)

Unknown said...

A dryer is some very expensive metalwork, a heating element, and a timer. The metal work never fails, although the belt and bearings might -- both are cheap parts and can be quickly replaced by a technician.
The two main failures are of timer or heating element. In both cases replacement is "plug and play" (although there is a bit of disassembly involving lots of screws...) and the parts are no more than a day away. In my last town I had 4 appliance parts specialists competing for my business, and they always that the part I needed in stock.
Websites such as applianceguru.com are there to help with tutorials on most makes.

Curious George said...

Maybe you should stop buying things that are reviewed as follows "Four service calls and it's dead again today."

Dishwashers are used daily. Water, pumps, corrosion, leaks. Fail. Washer and dryers less so.

Henry said...

Water is always trouble.

In my experience, the part of the large household appliance most likely to die is the refrigerator ice-maker.

Scott M said...

Agreed. The fridge will sit there for years without complaining. The dryer as well. If

If there's anything close to the dishwasher in maintenance needs, its the clothes washer. Even then, though, it's a distant second.

Unknown said...

I'm curious about Althouse's views on Amazon reviews. Apparently she discounts them pretty heavily. Why? Belief that reviews may be planted? Belief that reviews are more likely to be left by a relatively small % of disgruntled customers? Or was the decision here influenced by some other source (consumer reports) that gave this dishwasher better ratings? Or all dishwashers on Amazon reviewed pretty poorly? Or was cost/appearance the major deciding factor without regard to reviews? I find myself relying a lot on Amazon reviews but have often wondered whether this is rational behavior on my part.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

We built our home 13 years ago. Replaced the dishwasher last year with the same unit as the one you're installing. The washer/dryer were replaced last year after several service calls each. The built-in fridge is on its last legs and will be replaced this year. Only our range seems to be relatively solid. These days it seems like most appliances are built to last about 10 years. Or maybe we've just had bad luck. YMMV

AustinRoth said...

The other difference in quality is that Kenmore makes nothing.

For the dishwashers, it is either make by Whirlpool or Maytag (both make various Kenmore models).

The same is true for their other appliances - Kenmore is a marketing brand, nothing else.

Tank said...

Paper plates.

Even if you don't use paper plates, how often does a household of two really need a dishwasher? Clean up for two takes, what, 2 or 3 minutes?

We use ours less than five times a year. Holidays and parties.

Brennan said...

I don't ever clean my washer and dryer. But I do clean the dishwasher. Is this what makes it last?

Hagar said...

This humble abode came with the cheapest GE dishwasher available. When I finally replaced it, it was because the basket was falling apart, and replacing the basket cost almost as much as a new washer.

My clothes dryer is a Kenmore gas dryer in "Harvest Gold," and I think I once replaced the igniter in it, and the drivebelt also while I was at it.

I did get tired of wrestling with the clothes washer and replacing parts, but had to settle for a white GE "Heavy Duty" in white. The nice saleslady said she believed she could remember her mother once had one in "Harvest Gold," but now I could have any color I wanted as long as it was white.

The Thomas said...

Our (whatever model it is) is still running although some of the plastic bits on the door are less than intact. We have had this one since the early 90s.

While it was under warranty, they had to replace the processor board in the door three times. If they have fixed that design flaw, then you shouldn't have a problem.

mrs. e said...

We bought our house in '86. It had a Kitchen Aid dishwasher that died about 2000. Replaced it with a Bosch - that's still running.

And since '86 we're on our third washer and second dryer (Sears).

Both washers get run about twice a week.

Ann Althouse said...

"Did you read the Amazon reviews? Less than sterling."

I read Consumer Reports.

Seeing the Amazon reviews now, I suspect that people who need repairs go in there to express themselves. If it does well, you don't think of going into Amazon, where you probably didn't buy the thing, to tell the world it's good.

Anyway, the one that just broke is a Bosch, and I would have chosen another Bosch, but some superficial and visible differences made me choose the Kitchenaid.

The big-name brands seem pretty similar in quality, according to Consumer Reports. They're all quiet now and they do a fine job of washing everything.

Ann Althouse said...

"I wish you were as skeptical of appeals to "economic efficiency" as you are to those trumpeting "energy efficiency."

Link to examples of me seeming insufficiently skeptical of economic efficiency arguments… otherwise you just seem to be stereotyping me as a political ideologue, which I am not.

Ann Althouse said...

The light went out inside our 23-year-old refrigerator, a SubZero, which would cost a truly weird amount of money to replace, but I googled how to fix it, found the needed switch at Amazon for less than $5, and when it arrived 2 days later, Meade took less than 10 minutes to install it (with most of the time spent unscrewing a panel and then rescrewing it).

In pre-internet days, I would have spent time calling and waiting for a repairman and would have been thrilled if he could fix it and to pay him $200 for the service.

Jenny said...

"The big-name brands seem pretty similar in quality, according to Consumer Reports. They're all quiet now and they do a fine job of washing everything."

I agree that most dishwashers are the same. I disagree that any of them wash well. Bottom rack, maybe. Top rack, covered in debris.

Ann Althouse said...

"In my experience, the part of the large household appliance most likely to die is the refrigerator ice-maker."

Mine is still working after 23 years.

madAsHell said...

I'll bet Meade could have repaired the dishwasher. There are several DIY repair sites that sell parts, and provide help. Most parts are under $40.

I kept a dishwasher going for several years after it failed with new parts.....and then my wife tore the whole kitchen out.

Unknown said...

"a political ideologue,..I am not." The scale is not objective. Like beauty, one is not qualified to judge oneself in this area.

harrogate said...

Ann,

It might seem that way, but I did not intend to stereotype you as an ideologue.

I do think the challenge to link to insufficient evidence of something is a bit steep however. But that notwithstanding, all I will say is that I do not notice much skeptcisim in your posts, towards economic efficiency arguments; indeed, it is my general impression from this blog that you are on balance sympathetic to those arguments and to the politicians and pundits who frequently make them.

Ann Althouse said...

"Even if you don't use paper plates, how often does a household of two really need a dishwasher? Clean up for two takes, what, 2 or 3 minutes?"

Having gone without the dishwasher for a couple weeks, we want it back. We do a lot of cooking, even just for 2, and piling it all into the dishwasher, which is full and run once a day, is a basic convenience.

Also, if you sell your house, it has to have a functioning dishwasher, so whether you use it or not, you need it.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm curious about Althouse's views on Amazon reviews. Apparently she discounts them pretty heavily. Why? Belief that reviews may be planted? Belief that reviews are more likely to be left by a relatively small % of disgruntled customers? Or was the decision here influenced by some other source (consumer reports) that gave this dishwasher better ratings? Or all dishwashers on Amazon reviewed pretty poorly? Or was cost/appearance the major deciding factor without regard to reviews? I find myself relying a lot on Amazon reviews but have often wondered whether this is rational behavior on my part."

I rely on them a lot, but I try to figure out what kind of reviewers I'm dealing with and it varies from product to product. For something as big as a dishwasher (and certainly for a car) I'm going to want to find professional reviews that compare products.

Any given reviewer has only their one dishwasher, and I don't know if the person who bitched about the flimsy racks is someone who leans their full body weight on them or whatever. They might have broken anything.

harrogate said...

" 'a political ideologue,..I am not.' The scale is not objective. Like beauty, one is not qualified to judge oneself in this area."

Indeed. Even more askew than the area of Beauty perhaps. I would be more people secretly think of themselves as Beautiful (though they may undrstandably be unwilling to admit this) as Beautiful. Rare, very very rare is the person who even thinks of themselves as a political ideologue, I bet.

Ann Althouse said...

"I do think the challenge to link to insufficient evidence of something is a bit steep however. But that notwithstanding, all I will say is that I do not notice much skeptcisim in your posts, towards economic efficiency arguments; indeed, it is my general impression from this blog that you are on balance sympathetic to those arguments and to the politicians and pundits who frequently make them."

That is to say you are stereotyping me and thinking of other people who you think say something. I'm not impressed by your assertion that you "do not notice" me doing something. You're basically just making assumptions about me and I don't appreciate it.

If you're such a fan of skepticism, turn some of it on yourself.

Skeptic, be skeptical of yourself.

Old RPM Daddy said...

Agree about the dishwashers. We've been through maybe three in the 14-plus years we've lived here, and none of them have much impressed me.

The house I grew up in was built in 1968. It came with a dishwasher that lasted until 1979. While they've become more complex over the years, I don't see them actually doing anything better than they did when household automatic dishwashers first came out. I'll leave it to others to correct me.

Kelly said...

My dishwasher was less then three years old when a part malfunctioned and it sprung a slow, steady leak. It was a kenmore elite. It seeped under our new hardwood floors and into the basement. My entire kitchen which we had just redone the year before, had to be gutted down to the sub flooring. Part of the basement had to be redone as well.

My insurance company and sears went into mediation for a year and apparently couldn't reach an agreement so now my insurance is suing them.

I went an entire year without a dishwasher. My husband travels a lot so it was mostly just me and my teenage daughter and I can't tell you much I missed my dishwasher. Maybe I'm a messy cook, but it seemed like I was spending most of my time washing dishes. Plus having the dish rack full of drying dishes on the counter all the time was annoying to me.

Phaedrus said...

The dishwashers in my house have been working perfectly for 38 years although sometimes we argue about who uses water that isn't hot enough

LL said...

You should have bought a Bosch (American made). They don't have the exposed heating element and a stainless steel tub is the way to go.

harrogate said...

Fair enough.

David said...

1. The best new dishwashers are very quiet, which is nice. We like ours a lot. Got it because the old one broke.
2, We have newer (6 years) washer and dryer--the new energy efficient kind. Other than the seemingly endless cycling, they are fine.
3. On the other hand, there's the refrigerator, a mid range GE model. Numerous repairs, noise and rattles, cracked and broken plastic--a piece of junk. Junk from the get go, not accumulated wear.

The new stuff is much more energy efficient but you have to live to be 106 to realize the savings if your old stuff still works.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not going to say anything against Bosch, but there is a specific difference that made me switch brands. Since I'm not certain I'm correct, I won't say what it is.

Anyway, I think all the brands a pretty similar, and if you're going to buy one on line, it would be fabulous if you'd use the Althouse Amazon Portal (always visible in the blog banner).

campy said...

My wife is selling her mother's house today, complete with the 1960 electric range.

Tom Gallagher said...

In general, the older dishwashers contained heavy-duty electromechanical timers and switches which were fairly reliable compared to the newer ones which depend more on circuit boards and cheesy wiring. We had a service guy replacing parts every six months until I opened the thing up and discovered that the steam was corroding one of the connections. After cleaning and covering the connections with RTV, the dishwasher has worked for years without a problem.

Kelly said...

I didn't get a Bosch because it doesn't have a drying feature.

Ann Althouse said...

Re noisy refrigerators. The refrigerator is the appliance that is always on, so paying extra for quiet really matters. That made the SubZero worth the price, but I never want to have to replace it, because it seems to cost about 4 or 5 times as much now. It does look a lot better than the other brands. Walking through the appliance showroom the other day, looking for a dishwasher, I saw a lot of refrigerators and they all looked bulky and bulgy and annoying. Then one made me say, "I like this one." I didn't know the store sold SubZero, but it was a SubZero.

bwebster said...

We've had far worse luck with washers. We were fortunate/smart that we bought the extended warranty for the prior one we had (Maytag, no less); during the five years we had it, we had a major repair at least once a year, and it never really worked well in the last year or two. Our current washer/dryer set (LG) functions just fine.

The dishwasher that came with this house was still working after a decade, but we chose to replace it with a newer model (also LG).

Paul Zrimsek said...

A search of the blog for the phrases "economic efficiency", "economically efficient", and "economicall inefficient" turns up a grand total of two posts where the idea is introduced by Althouse:

Here, the idea is adapted as an argument for more sharing of housework by men; Althouse seems bemused, but allows that it might have propaganda value.

Here, it's used as part of a left-wing critique, quoted and linked without comment by Althouse.

In all the other instances, the idea was brought up by commenters (and not always by conservative ones either). I didn't spot any cases of Althouse endorsing it.

The Drill SGT said...

Glenn posted a dishwasher review link 60 days ago

Larry J said...

Dishwashers are used daily.

Not in my house. With just my wife and I living there, we run our dishwasher once every 3-4 days. We wash primarily plates, glasses/cups and silverware but not pots or pans. It's a very quiet GE model but it takes a long time to run a load.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Remember the lesson of Hiroo Onoda. If the new dishwasher doesn't bring satisfaction, there's always bushido.

n.n said...

Whirlpool dishwasher, effective and durable, zero maintenance, going on 30 years.

I would expect a washing machine to fail first. The spinning drum which is full of water creates a high-level torque which results in extraordinary wear of the spindle, motor, and suspension components.

Michael K said...

I had a Bosch that was expensive but was so quiet I couldn't tell when it was running. It lasted over ten years and I finally sold the house. It may be still going.

Hagar said...

The new dishwasher (Maytag) burned out the motor bearings after several years, and the replacement motor unit thing was expensive. Also the plumber managed to bump the water service line in the wall, which is polybutylene, so that sprung a leak that necessitated cutting into the wall from the outside to splice in a piece of new line.

I replaced my original Kenmore refrigerator at 15 years with a similar GE model that promised to be the ultimate quiet refigerator, but was - and is - just as noisy as the old Kenmore, and it is very annoying with an American-style "open floorplan." (Another disadvantage of living in the U.S.)
I have been told that the manufacturers know how to build a quiet refrigerator at reasonable cost, but the EPA won't let hem, because it is not "energy efficient." I do not understand how that can be as I would think quiet would be achieved by better insulation, which should result in less energy usage as well.

Michael K said...

"The fridge will sit there for years without complaining."

I suspect that is true of the old "dumb" fridges. We had a second home in Tucson where the fridge motherboard died twice in two years. Both times everything in the freezer spoiled and we had a time getting the smell out. Each motherboard was $1000. At least they replaced the second one on warrantee.

Seeing Red said...

The average lifecycle of a dishwasher is 10-14 years. When we bought ours, that's what we were told.

tim in vermont said...

"Althouse seems bemused,"


"Bemused" is one of those words that seems to mean something different to most of us than the dictionary definition. I think that most people use it to mean "mildly amused" but the dictionary says it means befuddled or confused.

I am one of those people who believes that the language is alive, and the dictionary needs to keep up.

bandmeeting said...

I use mine for a dish rack.

tim in vermont said...

Had two HDTVs die on me this year. If I had known how much better the new ones are than the old ones, I would have chucked them some time ago.

Michael K said...

"which is polybutylene, so that sprung a leak that necessitated cutting into the wall from the outside to splice in a piece of new line."

You would do well to replace all polybutylene as it was the subject of a class action suit in Arizona about ten years ago. The fittings fail and the leaks ruin the walls. If you fix one, the next leak is about three years away.

Seeing Red said...

The average lifecycle of a dishwasher is 10-14 years. When we bought ours, that's what we were told.

William said...

You would think that time travel would be a bigger technological challenge than designing a killer robot, but that's certainly not the case. On three separate occasions, the killer robot has failed in its mission to kill Sarah Connors or her kid.. Killer robots are extremely unreliable appliances.

EDH said...

The next [dishwasher], getting installed right now, is this one.

Whew, Meade. I thought Althouse was going to link to a picture of you!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

harrogate said...

I do think the challenge to link to insufficient evidence of something is a bit steep however.

But that is not what she requested. She requested links to examples of me seeming insufficiently skeptical of economic efficiency arguments

In other words, links to places where she discussed economic efficiency in a way that is insufficiently skeptical.

Larry J said...

It's a good idea to replace the water hoses on dishwashers and clothes washers every 5 years or so. They can rupture and do a lot of damage. A couple years ago, we had a refrigerator develop a slow leak in the icemaker water line. We didn't discover it until after it had done a lot of damage to our hardwood floor.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm all for linguistic descriptivism, but "bemused" is one of those words where the old meaning is worth hanging on to. "Althouse was like, WTF" isn't quite the same somehow.

B said...

Bought a Bosch about 14 years ago. I've never had a moments concern with it and it is even now the quietest dishwasher I know of.

alan markus said...

Same dishwasher since we built house almost 24 years ago. Last year, bought 3rd refrigerator. Bought new Maytag HE Washer/Dryer 2001 - control panel on dryer fried when it was 10 years old, bought used dryer on Craigslist. Last year the washer had death rattle (bearing). Bought new Maytag HE Washer and Dryer. When I went to look at new washer/dryer they made a big deal that the washer lasted 12 years - said that was rare. Said useful life of the replacements would be 7 years.

And that's what drives me nuts about appliances - besides them being made cheaper and use of sensitive electronics - the industry strives to lower your expectations.

Years ago I hired a maintenance man who had been an appliance repairman. He said basically a modern appliance is just a "shell" to upsell you on extended warranties. If you don't take the warranties (which he recommended), a few years down the road there is a high probability that you may pay for a major repair that is 50% of the cost of what you paid for the unit. And at that point, you may be induced to just go and buy another piece of crap appliance. It's a cycle.

Hagar said...

I have not gotten quite clear on what the stipulations are for the polybutylene class-action suit, but whatever they are, they apparently do not cover us on this block, which is a townhouse development and all PB, but not from the right years, or something.
I think the notorious failures occurred where they also used plastic fittings. Our lines have thinwall copper fittings, and it is not the fittings that fail, though some have been due to inadequate crimping of the bands, so that the lines have slipped off the fittings. (Residential construction labor generally are not the greatest, and certainly not in the '70s and '80's. It was not just pot they were on.)
The polybutylene tubing looks to be a little thinner than the other plastic tubing being used, and it looks to have been spun radially rather than with "bias-ply," so as it gets old it cracks radially, especially where the labor bent it too sharply during construction.
Mine have not failed in the house so far, and I hope it will last at least a day longer than I will, but I have by now replaced the entire service line from the meter to the house.

Amexpat said...

when I bought my apartment 10 years ago the owner left a very old fridge, dishwasher and washing machine (my guess late 80"s). Money was tight and I have an aversion to throwing working things out, so I kept them.

I still have the dishwater, a very loud and slow Bosch S221, and a Zanussi washing machine that sounds like a jet plane during taking off. I broke down before the fridge did and replaced the noisy thing with a sleek, stainless steel Bosch that I'm considering converting to my coffin if it dies before me.

Robert Cook said...

I've never understood why anyone would buy a dishwasher anyway. You've got to half-wash (rinse) the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to insure the cleaning is thorough. Why not just wash the damn dishes? It's easy and quick and (for me)meditative and relaxing!

Christopher said...

I have "builder's grade" (i.e. cheap) appliances all dating from 1992 and they're all still working great after constant use--fridge, dishwasher, washer and dryer--can't recall the brands at the moment. I think the dishwasher is GE. My water heaters are another matter. Plural as in, I'm on my fourth one.

Good advice about the hoses; I better attend to that.

Hagar said...

Oh, and the serviceline breaks I have had, have all been due to tree roots growing next to the line. The polybutylene cannot take any change in stress or additional bending at all.

JoyD said...

All this talk! And I suppose The Portal is really the point of this post. Don't get me wrong, I did some Christmas shopping through your portal, because why not? I like your blog.
Hope you like your KitchenAid as much as we like ours. We have the double-decker drawer style, very handy, and quiet.

azaniamindset said...

"I rely on them a lot, but I try to figure out what kind of reviewers I'm dealing with and it varies from product to product. For something as big as a dishwasher (and certainly for a car) I'm going to want to find professional reviews that compare products"


I agree that it makes sense to think through the Amazon reviewers for taking the time to write a review. And a lot of time people give 1 star on extraneous issues like shipping charges or damage in shipping.

However I dont really trust Consumer Reports. When they have reviewed things in my area of expertise they have done a poor job of understanding the issues and technology involved so I assume that this extends across their reviewing. And they factor into their "Best Buy" things like Water Saving that may not be germane to me.

I think a good method is take the appliance brand and item you are looking at and google for repair videos on youtube. They are produced by handymen/repair men in the field so they actually have some expertise. In my experience when I have had an appliance go bad there is usually a video out there for the issue and it mentions that people frequently have the problem.

bandmeeting said...

Robert Cook and I are agreeing on way to many things these days. Not sure which of us should be more alarmed.

Amexpat said...

I've never understood why anyone would buy a dishwasher anyway. You've got to half-wash (rinse) the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to insure the cleaning is thorough.

I think most people overuse their dishwashers. If you just use a plate for a sandwich there's no need to super sanitize it - a quick rinse is sufficient. And there's no reason why you can't use the same coffee cup or drinking glass during the course of day.

Christopher said...

I have extensive residential/neighbor experience with poly piping, since my 1992 condo was built during its pre-lawsuit heyday. Every plumber I've ever spoken to about the subject says it's a matter of if, not when, the pipes will fail. My understanding--and it could be wrong--is that the fund for settling claims is long-expired. We had a period about 12-15 years ago when pipes were failing in my development on a regular basis--if you weren't home when that happened, tens of thousands of water damage resulted (especially if you were on a top-floor unit). The leaks/fractures tend to happen on fittings and especially valves, but you can't count on it. If you were trying to do a holding action, replacing valves is not useless--I replaced about six before I finally had all the pipes redone. In my area, Washington DC area, the plumbers required special fittings and/or equipment to replace the old valves. On the other hand, I do have neighbors who have skated by without replacing them. I just didn't like the ticking time bomb effect. My understanding is that the pipes react badly with typical water treatments like chlorine.

Peter said...

But what does it mean when you say your dishwasher "died"?

Dishwashers have screens and filters. When they become clogged the result is likely to be a flood, but that doesn't mean the dishwasher is broken.

I always wondered how many dishwashers were replaced because these things got clogged. In any case, cleaning and/or replacing these parts regularly will help a dishwasher live longer.

The owners manual should show how to maintain these parts. Most of what's in a dishwasher isn't all that complicated- water heater, pumps, food screens, spray arms.


Seppo said...

Mother has two refrigerators, both GE. The one in the kitchen has been there since the kitchen was remodeled in 1963. The one in the heated garage she and father got as soon as appliances were available after WWII, so it has been in continuous use since 1946. They don't make them like that anymore.

Christopher said...

Oh and course I messed that up. Should read Every plumber I've ever spoken to about the subject says it's a matter of when, not if, the pipes will fail.

Seppo said...

Apologies for the double posting, how did that happen? Actually, with two of us we use the dishwasher maybe eight or ten times a year, when entertaining. Between cookware and knives that need hand washing, and the simple convenience of washing dishes immediately after using them, the dishwasher is an extravagance. We cook a lot, too, but again most cookware is not suitable for dishwashers anyhow.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

The light went out inside our 23-year-old refrigerator, a SubZero, which would cost a truly weird amount of money to replace, but I googled how to fix it, found the needed switch at Amazon for less than $5, and when it arrived 2 days later, Meade took less than 10 minutes to install it (with most of the time spent unscrewing a panel and then rescrewing it).

Hmmm. We also have a SubZero, and its light also doesn't work. We've basically just gotten used to not having a light in the fridge. If it's as simple as that, though, I think I shall go and do likewise.

chuckR said...

I suspect that energy efficiency is the paramount concern in the regulations and the life cycle cost of manufacturing, acquisition cost and disposal/recycling is secondary at best. Given that manufacturers are pleased to sell white goods every 10 years or so rather than every 15 years, it isn't surprising they might not object.
I hate every appliance we have, except the low-end Bosch dishwasher and it may just be luck of the draw that one hasn't gone pins up yet.
Our lousy and expensive Kenmore fridge will be replaced with something equally expensive and probably equally unreliable if my wife has her way and by discrete commercial refrigerator and freezer units if I have my way. Each unit has its own cooling coils and that avoids the flaps/dampers/sensors in the 'efficient/cheaper to build' design (like your car auto climate control) that have frozen up or failed several times and spoiled the refrigerated food.

JackOfVA said...

Like AA, we bought our house in 1986, but it was new construction. We are now on the 3rd dishwasher, a Bosch.

I agree with the comment that the Bosch is incredibly quiet - it's inaudible more than a few feet away. It seems well made, including the stainless steel tub.

The main drawback is the lack of heated dry cycle--it boosts energy efficiency by not having a heater for drying. The theory is that after a hot rinse there is sufficient residual heat in the tub and dishes to dry whatever water remains on the dishes. This more or less works, with emphasis on the less. I've found it necessary to open the door and pull the racks out in the morning for an hour or so to completely dry the dishes. The second drawback is that the interior seems smaller than the machine it replaced. That may be a consequence of thicker sound insulation.

Ann Althouse said...

" You've got to half-wash (rinse) the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to insure the cleaning is thorough."

No, you are not supposed to do that. The detergent needs crap to interact with or it doesn't work right. So I was told. Some folks who remember the dishwashers from maybe 40 years ago think you have to do that, but it's detrimental now.

JackOfVA said...

Like AA, we bought our house in 1986, but it was new construction. We are now on the 3rd dishwasher, a Bosch.

I agree with the comment that the Bosch is incredibly quiet - it's inaudible more than a few feet away. It seems well made, including the stainless steel tub.

The main drawback is the lack of heated dry cycle--it boosts energy efficiency by not having a heater for drying. The theory is that after a hot rinse there is sufficient residual heat in the tub and dishes to dry whatever water remains on the dishes. This more or less works, with emphasis on the less. I've found it necessary to open the door and pull the racks out in the morning for an hour or so to completely dry the dishes. The second drawback is that the interior seems smaller than the machine it replaced. That may be a consequence of thicker sound insulation.

Ann Althouse said...

"Dishwashers have screens and filters. When they become clogged the result is likely to be a flood, but that doesn't mean the dishwasher is broken."

An electronic board was replaced a month or so ago. It had failed (and was replaced free by the manufacturer) and the repairperson who fixed it advised us to replace it when it broke again. It promptly broke again, so we chose not to call for a repair.

Ann Althouse said...

"That may be a consequence of thicker sound insulation."

A salesman told me it was because the machines were designed for European kitchens which have smaller holes built for the dishwasher. So we get more outer layer to make it fit our bigger cutout spaces, rather than a bigger interior!

I had the sound insulation theory too, but he told me I was wrong.

Ornithophobe said...

My dishwasher died about ten years ago, and while I was saving money to replace it (It was already more than a decade old) I realized that I didn't mind doing dishes in the sink. They got clean the first time, and nothing was ever spotty. Disconnected the water line and turned the dishwasher into another pots and pans cabinet, which I actually DID need.

But the appliance I have had the worst luck with is gas stoves. The Maytag had it's electronic ignition replaced twice in five years. When it went out again last year, the part was impossible to locate and would've cost half as much as the stove itself did. I decided to scrap it and go old school- I bought a vintage 1951 Chambers stove that lights on a match, and I adore it. The more bells and whistles you have, the more bell-and-whistle-repairmen you're going to need. I can fix the Chambers myself, with a screwdriver.

Ralph Hyatt said...

Replaced the dish washer that was in the house when we bought it because it was a cheap one and therefore god-awful loud. Sounded like a jet engine, had to turn the TV up when it was running or could not hear dialogue.

The one we replaced it with died a couple of weeks ago after around 8 years. Had a repairman come out who said it would cost over $400 to fix and advised against it. Said even good ones only lasted 8-10 years and once things started going bad you would be continuously have to repair it.

For that reason and the fact that we only spend around $500-$600 for it (don't remember exactly how much) we decided to replace it.

So, off to Lowes where we found a top end Bosch that had been sitting there for too long so was discounted to $600 or so dollars. I was able to bargain them down to $530 with free delivery.

Pro tip, if you go to the back of the Lowes you can find appliances that have not sold promptly and they are marked down every 7-10 days until they sell them and they will bargain.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"I'm not going to say anything against Bosch, but there is a specific difference that made me switch brands. Since I'm not certain I'm correct, I won't say what it is."

Well they don't grind up the food particles because food disposals like we have in the US is not done in Europe, so you have to wash a filter periodically. And they don't have a heated dry cycle cause energy is expensive in Europe.

But the lack of those two features actually adds to their reputation for reliability cause, as the salesman pointed out, thats two less things to break.

FullMoon said...

In another life,I replaced between 15 and 20 dishwashers a week.

Kitchen Aid were literally (and I mean that literally)the best on the market.I'm talkin'64k dial up vs. high speed cable.

Most Kitchen Aids I removed were still functioning and being replaced due to a kitchen remodel or appliance color change.

TIP: Run the water in your sink until it is hot.This insures hot water in the dishwasher.

Also,rinse the big stuff off, duh.

Fun Fact: If you are going to wash greasy parts from your auto restoration project, make sure they are 90% clean first or the excess grease may end up as a thin layer permanently baked into the vinyl coated racks.



Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
The light went out inside our 23-year-old refrigerator, a SubZero, which would cost a truly weird amount of money to replace, but I googled how to fix it, found the needed switch at Amazon for less than $5, and when it arrived 2 days later, Meade took less than 10 minutes to install it (with most of the time spent unscrewing a panel and then rescrewing it).

In pre-internet days, I would have spent time calling and waiting for a repairman and would have been thrilled if he could fix it and to pay him $200 for the service.

I'm amazed at the people who would rather pay the $200.00.

You'll find, on most stuff that needs repair,that getting to the broken part takes up the bulk of the time.


Ann Althouse said...
"That may be a consequence of thicker sound insulation."

A salesman told me it was because the machines were designed for European kitchens which have smaller holes built for the dishwasher. So we get more outer layer to make it fit our bigger cutout spaces, rather than a bigger interior!

I had the sound insulation theory too, but he told me I was wrong.

The European stuff tends to have better motors and bearings, hence a quieter operation.

Robert Cook said...

"No, you are not supposed to do that. The detergent needs crap to interact with or it doesn't work right. So I was told. Some folks who remember the dishwashers from maybe 40 years ago think you have to do that, but it's detrimental now."

This shows how unfamiliar I am with modern day dishwashers! I still don't understand spending all that money on a big, water-wasting appliance to do a task that is easily and quickly done by hand.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FullMoon said...

Robert Cook said...

This shows how unfamiliar I am with modern day dishwashers! I still don't understand spending all that money on a big, water-wasting appliance to do a task that is easily and quickly done by hand.


Ha ha. Average dishwasher uses 4-6 gallons per complete cycle.
(Flow restricted) faucet supplies 2 gallons per minute.

mikeski said...

Hagar said: "I have been told that the manufacturers know how to build a quiet refrigerator at reasonable cost, but the EPA won't let them, because it is not "energy efficient." I do not understand how that can be as I would think quiet would be achieved by better insulation, which should result in less energy usage as well."

The part of a fridge that makes all the noise (the compressor) is not kept inside the cold insulated part. It's out where it can vent its own waste heat for free, rather than having to cool itself.

Hagar said...

That makes sense.
However, it is within the cabinet, which could be sound insulated and provided with some cardboard ducting to efficiently cool the compressor while keeping the sound inside. Also neoprene or spring mountings would not cost that much.

And, alas, I made a mistake and googled SubZero!

Hagar said...

The compressor does not make all the noise; the fans do too.
And if Dell could quiet down their computers to the extent they have, GE could quiet down their refrigerators if they wanted to - or there was any need for them to try to compete in the market place.

mikeski said...

...except the compressor will be acoustically coupled to the radiator coils, which are, by definition, hanging out in relatively-free air space. The compressor is almost assuredly already attached to the frame with sound-deadening fasteners, even in a low-budget model.

If it was actually an easy problem, someone would have solved it. Engineering isn't rocket science... ballistics is much easier. :-)

Hagar said...

Not necessarily.
Fluorescent lights do not need to hum, nor do they need to run at 60 cycles/sec. Those problems have been solved, but the GE-Westinghouse-Sylvania club do not have to pay much attention, and they don't.

Hagar said...

It is like Detroit in the old days; just GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and each knew their place in the hierarchy - nice, warm, and comfortable, but not good for the customers.

Rusty said...


In my experience, the part of the large household appliance most likely to die is the refrigerator ice-maker."

I've gotten very good at installing hot water heaters.

Paddy O said...

Last year, we were house-sitting for six months. The dishwasher broke. Some electronic problem in the panel.

Would have cost a lot of money to pay someone to fix it. We likely would have been reimbursed but didn't have the funds to start with.

I googled. There are websites specifically for appliance parts and fixing, along with professionals on forums, so almost everything has been asked and answered. Google the problem there's answers to be had. All too often crazy easy to fix.

Took the whole front off, disassembled the front panel, replaced the switch panel that had gone bad, put it all back together.

I'm not a handy person at all. But youtube and specialized sites help to hide that fact. I've made a name for myself with computer repair for the same reason.

Paddy O said...

That dishwasher was a Bosch I believed. Looked pretty, very, very quiet.

Harold said...

We use ours at least daily, always with a full load. 5-7 years per dishwasher. If your water is the least bit hard- put in a softener. If you don't want to soften all your water, hook it up on the feed line to the hot water tank. Everything that uses hot water will last longer. Our water is 38 gpg- soft for this area from a well. Things I look for in a dishwasher- stainless steel interior, nylon racking, and customers (I sell them) don't come back and complain about them.

As for washers- any front load washer will wash better then ANY top load washer, new or old. Most today, not all, are direct drive, no belt, no transmission. I have an LG. 4 years old now, no service calls. My previous one was a Frigidaire, lasted 11 years. And was almost completely rebuilt under the service plan I bought. Manufacturers consider 3 loads a week to be average use. Down to 3 kids at home- 10-12 loads a week. Oh, repairmen will tell you NOT to buy a front loader. They are more reliable then top loaders. But when things do go wrong, they can be a nightmare to work on.

Consumer Reports tells you not to buy service plans at all. I buy them for dishwashers and washing machines. Moving parts, water, and electricity were never meant to be together...

Sub-zeros aren't all that common in our area. Very high end. In the last few years, I've had a half dozen or so customers complaining that while they like their sub-zeros, they're on a first name basis with their repairman. I wouldn't buy one, or design a kitchen that required one.

New refrigerators will not last as long as old ones. And it is not the fault of the manufacturers. The old refrigerants operated at 10-30 PSI. The new ones operate in excess of 120 PSI. Huge differences in stress on the compressors and motor bearings. Thank the EPA for that. Yep, all that freon trapped inside sealed units was just killing the stratospheric ozone, especially when it leaked and was so heavy it sank to the ground.

rhhardin said...

I don't know if my 1975 dishwasher works or not.

I went to paper plates, a bowl and a dish.

You can use the same paper plate for days if you don't microwave messy stuff.

Rinse the dish and bowl after use.

I am in the market for a sturdy tablespoon, one that doesn't bend from scooping out the last of the peanut butter.

I'm on my second one now.

shortpigeon said...

I have that one's older sister - it looks pretty much the same just is a few years old. My experience - designed my monkeys. Don't put any pressure on the top shelf as you pull it out and pull it out straight. Ours developed a distressing tendency to have the roller on the sliding rail jump out and I was left holding the shelf as I tried to unload it without bending or messing anything else up. We found the part online and my husband replaced it, and found a ton of dishwasher soap and calcium buildup inside some of those nice plastic parts. It has been ok since but I am super, super careful unloading it. Other than that, it is quiet. I have to get up to check that it's on sometimes. Love that part.

Rockport Conservative said...

My 15 year old Sears Kenmore died last night. I am replacing it with a Whirlpool tall tub that costs far less than yours does but I think I will like it just as much.
I am not getting a stainless steel door or innards. We live in the wilderness and used to say the mineral in our water was the only thing holding the dishwasher together. I also opted for white, I don't want a black or stainless hole in my counters. I got a beautiful white fridge last year because I didn't want a large metallic hulk in my kitchen. To each his own, I like white.

David Kern said...

We have the exact same KitchenAid model you purchased, Ann. We've had it 2 years, and it has broken three times. Each time it is the same part on the top rack, which has some unfortunate plastic parts on the rollers that are really cheap and poorly designed. We have been really disappointed in the quality. Don't put anything heavy--not even as heavy as a normally sized water glass--on the top rack.
The previous one was a GE that came with the house, it was at least 10 years old and was so loud that if you ran it at night, it would wake you up. I will say our new KitchenAid is phenomentally quiet.