Dirty Dishes? How to Troubleshoot Dishwasher Issues

When you start noticing your dishes are coming out dirty after a cycle in the dishwasher, you may assume it a problem with the appliance. In most cases, this may be the problem, but there can also be kitchen plumbing issues to blame. To troubleshoot the problem, here are a few tips to get to the cause of the cleaning issues.

  • Clean your dishwasher. If your dishes are left with specs of debris or spots, you may just need a good cleaning of your dishwasher. Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of your empty dishwasher and put a small cup of white vinegar in the rack. Run a full cycle and wipe down the interior once it finishes.
  • Check the drain. Sometimes food debris can clog the drain inside the dishwasher. Make sure the drain is clear and allowing dirty water to clear before the rinse cycle. Remove any particles and try running the dishwasher with only a few dishes to see if they come out clean.
  • Test again. If the drain is clear and the dishwasher is clean, try running a test cycle with a few clean dishes inside. If the dishes have debris on them when it is finished, you may have a clog in the plumbing that is backing up during the dishwasher cycle. This will require the help of a plumber to remove the clog so your dishwasher can work properly.

If your dishwasher is clean and there is not a plumbing clog, it is most likely a mechanical issue within the appliance. It may need repair or replacement, depending on the issue.  Call your local appliance repair shop for help.

Posted on behalf of:
Kiddco Plumbing, Inc.
106-M Oakgrove Road
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 435-4441

Installing a New Dishwasher

Unless washing every utensil and plate by hand is your idea of a fun way to spend a busy evening, a dishwasher is one appliance that can dramatically improve your quality of life. Whether you’re upgrading an outdated kitchen or building a new home from the ground up, a dishwasher is something that most homeowners wouldn’t dream of excluding from their plan. Unless you’re well-versed in the installation and selection process, though, you may want to give a second thought to attempting a self-installed dishwasher project.

Replacing an older dishwasher with a new, upgraded model is a relatively simple process, though it’s still not one that you should attempt unless you have a strong working knowledge of both plumbing and electrical work. Because plumbing mistakes can be costly and electrical mistakes can be deadly, you shouldn’t dive headlong into a dishwasher installation with only a manual to guide your efforts. When you’re installing a new dishwasher that’s larger than the existing space or creating a space where one did not previously exist, the task can be come a bit more complicated and will also require a bit of cabinetry or construction know-how.

Since remodeling a kitchen or completely building a new one will require the services of an experienced plumbing professional, it’s wise to simply relegate the installation of your new dishwasher to a licensed kitchen plumbing repair expert. When you leave the installation to someone with the appropriate level of training and experience, you’re preserving the integrity of your new appliance and ensuring that it will operate flawlessly. Consult with a plumbing professional in your area to discuss your dishwasher options, and to formulate an installation plan that works for your budget and household.

Posted on behalf of Kiddco Plumbing

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Plumbing Tips When Replacing Your Dishwasher

Replacing your dishwasher is a relatively simple kitchen repair project that takes just a few hours of your time. Many handy homeowners can do the job themselves, but if you have any doubts about your plumbing abilities, it’s worth hiring an experienced plumber to do the job right.

First, measure both your existing and replacing dishwashers to make sure that the new appliance will fit in your cabinet space without alteration. You may have difficulty getting that old dishwasher out of the cabinet space if the floor in front of it has been built up over time. If you find this is the case, you will either have to remove some flooring or loosen the countertop.

Make sure to turn the electric power off, either at the main panel or unplug the old appliance, and turn off the water at the nearest shut off valve. Disconnect the electrical cable and water line underneath and behind the front panel of the dishwasher.

When removing the 90-degree fitting on the water supply line, remember to put it on the new machine in exactly the same manner so that the water feeds correctly. Remove the drain line under the sink and slide the old machine out of the cabinet. You may need to lower the feet, or hacksaw them off, to get the old machine out of the cabinet.

Reconnect the 90-degree fitting. Be sure to loop the new drain line all the way up to the countertop to avoid backup of sink clogs into the dishwasher. You will need to consult with your local plumbing professional as to possible code requirements of a special air gap fitting in the drain line. Slide the new dishwasher into the cabinet and adjust the feet for proper fit. Reconnect the water supply line and electrical cable; turn the water and power back on, checking for leaks.

 

Tips for Selecting a New Dishwasher

Whether it is just time for an upgrade on your appliances or if you’re planning a remodel of the entire kitchen, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting your new dishwasher. In addition to the price and the exterior finish of this appliance, you’ll want to take note of the following: warranty, energy efficiency, noise level, cycle options, versatility in accommodating large and small items and dependability.

When considering the warranty for the appliance, ask about the time period, what is covered by the warranty and who you would need to contact for repair or replacement. Can you simply contact the dealer or will you need to contact the manufacturer? Checking out the dependability of the particular model and make of the dishwasher can be a very important clue. A low price on a model that has a record of complaints or repair issues may not be as good of a deal as it first appears.

The energy efficiency of the dishwasher can provide great value, particularly those that include a heat booster. You’ll pay more for this option, but you can quickly start to realize the savings by turning down the temperature on your water heater a few degrees. Having a variety of cycle options can also be a means of energy savings. Having the choice between a heated or air dry is one energy-saving option. Another is shorter cycles for lightly soiled dishes such as a crystal cycle.

If you’re looking to cut down on the noise level during operation, you’ll find that you’ll pay more for each level of noise reduction. It is a matter of determining, how important that feature is to you. Regardless of your choice in a dishwasher model, scheduling a professional kitchen repair plumber to take out the old dishwasher and install the new one will save you time and hassle every time.

Save Money and Energy Washing Dishes

According to the Department of Energy, the largest cost involved in washing dishes comes from the energy used to heat the water.  You can save energy and money on dishwashing by reducing your hot water usage.

Many people prefer to wash dishes by hand to save hot water.  However, dishwashing by hand can waste hot water, especially if you let the hot water run while washing and rinsing the dishes and wash dishes several times a day.

The most energy efficient way to wash dishes is to use an energy efficient dishwasher and running it only when it is fully loaded.  When choosing a new energy efficient dishwasher, be sure to compare capacity as well as energy usage ratings.  A lower capacity dishwasher may have a better energy efficiency rating, but if you have to run it more often you will end up using more water and energy than you would with a  larger capacity dishwasher.

A booster heater can make your dishwasher more energy efficient.  Booster heaters heat up the water entering the dishwasher to the recommended temperature for cleaning.  Dishwashers equipped with booster heaters are a little more expensive than standard water heaters, but they allow you to turn down the temperature on your water heater without sacrificing the performance of your dishwasher.  The added cost of a dishwasher equipped with a booster heater is typically offset by your energy savings in about a year.

For additional energy savings, look for a dishwasher that allows you to choose shorter cycles for less heavily soiled dishes and look for the Energy Star label.  For best results, your new dishwasher should be installed by a reputable kitchen repair plumber.