August 12, 2017

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Dishwasher woes

We had an old dishwasher that was, well... a pain. It was a problem and it was small. Little did I know what I was getting myself into when I proclaimed one day that enough was enough. About 2 months later the dishwasher started leaking water everywhere in my kitchen and shorted itself out! That was it, it was time for a new dishwasher. I actually had to wait a couple months to have the money to buy said dishwasher and hand washing entailed 2 dish drains a day. So I went to my big box hardware store, I got myself a new dishwasher.


That was the end of the "easy" part of this process. If you have an old house that has been majorly neglected for repair for 20 years then you may know what may have come next. My old dishwasher was put into place in the 1990s. It wasn't a bad dishwasher and lasted until 2017 so one can't really complain, but you leak nasty water on my floors, well your days are done. So I took off the kick plate, and my first "surprise" awaited me.

What I saw would be a home inspectors worst nightmare. I really need that Holmes guy at my house... well he might condemn it but anyways back to the dishwasher. The wires underneath the dishwasher were not even in a housing or casing. they were twisted together and capped (with the wrong size caps might I add). there was no ground (we don't have grounded outlets in 80% of our house so no surprise there. As I cursed slightly, I undid all the wires and the fittings. Pulled the dishwasher out to find my next "surprise."

The paneling on the side of my dishwasher was just jigsawed cut so there is actually no real pieces for my new dishwasher to screw into so that it is sturdy. No problem they can be screwed into the bottom of the counter... I put my new dishwasher to be set into place. That's where my next "surprise" happened. The copper tubing was too long so I had to not-so-gently bend it so I could push the washer back. The wires as I said weren't long enough to go into the main housing for them, and the ground... non-existent. After I sorted all of that out, the install was the monotonous checks, and the side flanges causing me issues because the side panels were real so they kept popping out.

Then came time to screw it in to the bottom of my countertop. It is an MDF countertop and the other one wasn't screwed in, well it had been but the screws apparently fell out because the holes were a complete mess and with YEARS of neglect (remember I have been in this house at least 4 years myself), I could not secure my dishwasher. More cursing later I just decided to get it in and figure that out later.
Dishwasher installed and washing it's first load.

Two loads later, there was a plastic burning smell. I found out that that the wires arced in the caps and melted one of the caps. But I smelled it early enough on that it just put a small hole in the caps. I had my father come over, he lengthened the wires, grounded my dishwasher to my copper sink pipes, and made sure the wires were more then secure but completely waterproof. Problem solved. Now to work on not being able to attach my dishwasher to my countertops.

I decided on the most invasive route after trying duct tape, wood glue and trying different spots to drill. My kid tipped the dishwasher towards her one day and that was the final straw. I took a drill bit and drilled through the top of the counter top. Then I got a bolt (so it was flat on the bottom and wouldn't scratch my dishwasher top. I added a washer and bolt to the bottom and there you have it, it was completely secured to my countertop. However because I used bolts a bit was sticking up that was sharp and in the way. I tried wood glue molded in shake straws on top of them, that didn't work. So my mom found these resin beads that were brown. I took a drill bit and hollowed out the back (which was flat) until they fit. I used a dry erase maker on the top of the bolt to see where I needed to take some more off so it would sit level. I added wood glue and here is the result.

So if you are thinking of replacing an OLD dishwasher, look at attachment sites and look at wiring. My house was built in the 50s and pretty much my wiring is original. We live in a rural area so the person who put in my old dishwasher wasn't so "professional." If you find wiring problems call an electrician friend in to help. I could have done everything my father did to the wiring but it was nice not have to do it (if you catch my drift). So good luck and Happy Homesteading!