Posts Tagged ‘dishwasher’

Tips for buying a dishwasher

September 25, 2013

Sizes & styles

Though dishwashers are relatively standard in size at 24” wide, you may have less than 34” in height if, say, new flooring was laid on top of old flooring. Or your countertops are slightly lower for handicap accessibility.

In these cases, you will need to seek out a “short tub” or ADA compliant dishwasher. An increasing number of dishwashers now offer hidden controls along the top of the door instead of front controls for a more seamless appearance. For a truly integrated appearance, several manufacturers offer models with an unfinished door, able to accept a custom wood panel.

Frigidaire's OrbitClean alternating arm action  focuses four times more water and detergent in a  concentrated area while rotating around the interior.

Frigidaire’s OrbitClean alternating arm action focuses four times more water and detergent in a
concentrated area while rotating around the interior.

Basic models offer just one or two spray arms, but most dishwashers have a spray arm on the bottom, in the middle, and at the top of the dishwasher tub. These spray arms typically have a direct feed of water as opposed to the indirect tower design of the past.

European-style models (i.e. Bosch, ASKO, Miele, Electrolux, etc.) use a slightly different approach to cleaning. These models feature high wash temperatures (30-40 degrees more than comparable models) and increased water pressure. The increased water temperature and water pressure creates a more effective wash cycle, able to cut through even the toughest baked-on grease.

miele-cutlery-tray

Traditionally, silverware baskets are located front and center in the lower rack, but some models feature a long basket on the side of the lower rack, which often can be split into sub baskets and relocated or removed. Some high-end dishwashers offer a flat, dedicated silverware tray at the top of the dishwasher that frees up more space in main racks.

dcs-tall-dishdrawerFor flexible use options, consider dish drawer dishwashers, which can be purchased as single drawer (using half the water and electricity of a standard dishwasher) or double units (each drawer runs independently for convenient flexibility). Drawers also reduce bending for those with back or knee problems.

Features to consider

  • Anti-Leak Safety – shields hardwood floors from damage in the case of an internal leak. Water will be contained within the pan, shielding hardwood floors from damage. A sensor within the safety pan may also shut down the dishwasher to prevent further damage.
  • Internal Water Softener – ensures soft water is used, which reduce fogging and etching to glassware and improves cleaning power of detergent
  • Stainless steel interiors are less likely to absorb odors or stains than plastic interiors and results in a quicker overall dry time through condensation
  • Third racks may be adjusted and nearly removable to use otherwise-wasted space. Sometimes used as a glassware rack for the frequent entertainer.
  • Hard food disposers typically grind up food particles and flush them out, but European-style models’ high wash temperatures and increased water pressure emulsify food waste that is washed away at the end of the cycle. Not using a disposer means less energy consumption and fewer moving parts, resulting in fewer breakdowns and quieter operation. A food trap prevents more durable items, such as chicken bones, from entering into the mechanics of the unit.

Star-Sapphire_time

  • LED electronic read-outs – show the time remaining in a cycle. Wash times are longer today than they were in the past to make up for today’s more eco-friendly but less-potent detergent. A normal wash used to be 45- 60 minutes, but is now between 90-135 minutes, depending on the model.

Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher’s crazy rotating spray arm adds 4x the water coverage

May 25, 2012

This Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher promises to clean better, get your dishes completely dry and do so quietly.

There’s a reason that the most-read posts on this blog are about dishwashers.

They’re frustrating.

Half the time the dishes come out still needing to be dried — or worse — washed. Can’t they just get it right the first time?

And if your dishwasher does do the job, it probably makes its presence well known to anyone in earshot.

Sound familiar?

Frigidaire is making a big deal out of the Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher they’re selling that addresses each of these issues.

1. The OrbitClean technology, aka satellite-action lower spray arm, works independent of the upper and middle spray arms and covers 4x more area with concentrated soap and water.

Instead of drawing the same pattern of water over and over again, the OrbitClean rotates on the spray arm as it turns in circles at the base of the dishwasher. Watch the video. It’s pretty crazy.

2. The fan-assisted dry (“SaharaDry”) eliminates the need for toweling off your glasses while unloading.

3. The alternating wash arms that improved the wash action of the dishwasher also lessen the noise output. But the four-sided sound insulation wrap further ensures that this Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher is the quietest in its class (aka for the money; it retails at $599 at Warner Stellian).

PLUS, you’ll receive a free one-year extended warranty if you buy one before August 2012.

If you buy this dishwasher, Frigidaire is saying they get it right the first time; so no do-overs in terms of dishwashing. But if you share another do-over you’d LIKE to do, you can win the dishwasher.

7 most popular appliance blog posts of 2011

December 28, 2011

A post on cleaning the dishwasher was a top dog.

Though not the most-read posts of all time on the Warners’ Stellian Appliance blog, these next 7 posts garnered the most views of those written this year.

7. HOW TO: clean a dishwasher

With more states banning phosphates in dishwashers without consumers possibly noticing, dishwashers got white film.

But a regular maintenance cleaning is always a good idea.

6. HOW TO: clean cast iron grates

If you’re lucky enough to have cast iron grates, you’re unlucky enough to handle cleaning them. The experts at Wolf Range weighed in.

5. DIY Network ‘Rehab Addict’ Nicole Curtis talks appliances

Old house lover/rehabber Nicole Curtis invited us into her “Minnehaha House” in Minneapolis for tips on fixing up kitchens and buying the right appliances.

4. Stove drip pans cleaning tips

Is there anything worse than the grime that builds up on the burner pans on your stove top? Not only do I include a deep-cleaning method, but I offer up the secret ingredient to easily keeping those drip pans shiny on a weekly basis.

3. How long does a dishwasher last?

2. How long does a refrigerator last?

1. How long does a washer last?

No, you’re right; they don’t make ‘em like they used to. (But believe me, that’s not all bad!) Unfortunately, gone are the days when you could expect your appliances to last a decade and a half. Find the new lifespans in each post above.

Discount appliances at Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale this weekend

March 9, 2011

We’ll have thousands of appliance deals on hand for Warners’ Stellian’s (now-famous) Extreme Warehouse Sale, taking place 7 a.m. to 5 :30 p.m. Saturday, March 12 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 13.

Though there’s absolutely no early shopping allowed, I can give you this little preview of the appliance discounts smart shoppers will be snapping up at our St. Paul appliance warehouse (550 Atwater Circle, 1 miles north of I-94 & Dale).

See my tips on how to shop for appliance deals. Aside from the products pictured below, look for:

  • Electrolux laundry pair (gas dryer) for $1399
  • Up to 80% off professional built-in cooking products
  • A whole truckload of Bosch dishwashers
  • Up to 30% off blemished Frigidaire freezers
  • $249 for Dyson refurbished vacuums
  • $600 off our best-selling French-door refrigerator

All prices are good only while quantities last.

$349 GE stainless steel dishwasher with steam pre-wash

 

$399 stainless steel Frigidaire gas range with electronic oven controls

 

$399 (white or black) or $499 (stainless steel) 18.2 cu. ft. refrigerator with glass shelves. 66-1/8"H x 30"W x 29-7/8"D

 

$599 stainless steel KitchenAid dishwasher with 4 stainless steel wash arms and stainless steel interior

 

$799 stainless steel gas KitchenAid range, with 5 burners and electronic oven controls

$799 stainless steel electric KitchenAid range, with 5 burners and electronic oven controls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$799 Frigidaire washer (4 cu ft) and electric dryer (7 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Buy one pedestal, get one free (with this pair purchase; $220 value)

 

$999 STEAM Frigidaire washer (4.2 cu ft) and electric dryer (7 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Buy one pedestal, get one free (with this pair purchase; $220 value).

 

$1099 (stainless steel) or $899 (white or black) 19.7 cu ft French-door refrigerator. Spill-proof glass shelves and icemaker. 68-7/16"H x 29-7/8"W x 31-3/4"D.

 

$1499 LG STEAM washer (4.5 cu ft) and electric dryer (7.4 cu ft, gas dryer $70 extra). Pedestals available at additional cost.

 

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwashing detergent left in dispenser

December 7, 2010

My new baby (and yes, those are blue laminate countertops)

I got a new Asko dishwasher a couple of weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it: the way all my pots and pans fit, the stemware holders for my house’s wine habit, the knife holder for my vegetable habit.

Nothing comes out with a speck of food, and we no longer have to yell at each other over a tsunami of washing sounds. My life has improved two-fold. No more dishwasher problems.

Well, there was one. The Cascade Action Packs we had just bought on sale were getting stuck in the dispenser.

After reading the Use & Care manual (gold star for me), I noted that Asko recommends using powder detergent, and only about a tablespoon of it depending on the hardness of your water.

When I switched back to powder, everything was fine. But it’s not always as easy as switching dishwasher detergent.

If you still have caked detergent after running your dishwasher, try these dishwasher troubleshooting tips, adapted from Whirlpool Corp.

Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?

If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump. This also means that if there’s still detergent left in the cup, don’t think, “Oh, well now I don’t have to refill it!” Clean it out and start over.

Is the cycle incomplete?

If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher. But this probably isn’t the cause for those with chronic detergent-caking issues. Again, clean the detergent from the cup and start over again.

Is the detergent old?

Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Buy new detergent, and this time, keep it in a tightly closed container (i.e. not the box with an open flap) in a cool dry place (i.e. not under your sink right next to the wall where your dishwasher runs hot!).

Is the water temperature too low?

For best washing and drying results, water should be 120oF (49o C) as it enters the dishwasher, so check your water heater setting. I also try to remember to run the kitchen sink tip until hot water comes out to help this.

Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?

Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.

Other good (if not obvious) detergent guidelines

  • Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
  • Add detergents just before starting the cycle.
    • I’m guilty of this. I’ll fill the detergent cup when I’m done with the night’s dishes so I only have to press the button before bed a few hours later. Don’t be like me.
  • The amount of detergent to use depends on the hardness of your water and the type of detergent.
    • If you use too little, dishes won’t be clean.
    • If you use too much in soft water, glassware will etch.
  • Your manufacturer’s suggested amount is based on standard powdered detergent, so follow instructions on the package when using liquid or concentrated powdered detergent.
  • Water hardness can change over a period of time. You can find out your water’s hardness for about $15 by calling Water Doctors.

Black Friday washers, dryers and other appliance deals

November 25, 2010

Note: this post refers to the 2010 sale prices. see my posts tagged Black Friday for current postings about Black Friday deals.


The Big Event, Warners’ Stellian Appliance’s 2010 Black Friday, starts tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. and runs through Monday.

As always, we offer free delivery and appliance recycling in the Twin Cities metro on purchases $499 and up. But we also now ship for free nationwide on orders $1999 and up. Plus, pay no interest if you pay in full within 12 months.

Here’s a preview:

LG 4.5 cu. ft front-load steam washer, only $499 (save $1000, usually $1499)

Frigidaire stainless steel gas range $399

GE 18 cu. ft. stainless steel refrigerator $499 (normally $899)

KitchenAid dishwasher $499 (on sale from $799)

LG 20 cu. ft. French-door refrigerator $899 white/black, $1099 stainless (usually $1199 & $1449)

LG steam washer and dryer pair, $1199 (reg. price $1999)

MN appliance rebate stimulus (part 2) gone; wait list filling up

November 17, 2010

A little after 10:30 this morning, the $717,000 of unused appliance rebate funds were fully claimed, according to http://www.mnappliancerebate.com.

Those who didn’t get one of the nearly 4,000 second-chance appliance rebates can take a spot on the wait list and hope that someone doesn’t cash in for the up to $200 being offered for a purchase of an Energy Star appliance.

From the website:

Thank you for your interest in the Minnesota “Trade-in & Save” Appliance Rebate Program. Currently, all rebate funds for this program have been reserved. However, you may choose to add your name to a waiting list. In the event additional funds become available, wait listed rebate applications will be processed in the order they are received. To add your name to the waiting list, complete the online reservation, print your confirmation page and follow the instructions listed on the confirmation page. Qualifying purchases made on or after March 1, 2010 are eligible for a rebate. Please note that you must make the appliance purchase before applying for the rebate.

That’s all she wrote.

I hope our customers got the lion’s share of these rebates. And being that they’re smart enough to buy from us, I’m confident that they did :)

Did any of you get one this morning? How did you find out about the relaunch?


Get a second chance at an appliance stimulus rebate

November 17, 2010

The State of Minnesota Trade-in & Save Appliance Rebate Program relaunched today to hand out about $717,000 in unused funds to customers who didn’t get a rebate reservation in March.

If you bought an ENERGY STAR appliance on or after March 1, you could be eligible for a rebate of up to $200 from the State of Minnesota!

To get your rebate, go to www.mnappliancerebate.com or call 1-877-230-9119. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, but you cannot apply for a rebate until you have made an eligible purchase. So you better hurry, before you miss out for the second time! (At the time of this blog, more than $500,000 in rebate funds remained, with about one-quarter being used.)

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishwasher won’t drain

October 6, 2010

Dishwasher not draining right meow? Perhaps you have a cat in there.

A number of things could be causing standing water in your dishwasher.

First of all, make sure that the door is completely closed.

Press the “cancel” button (sometimes twice, depending on model) to manually drain water left behind because the dishwasher cycle was interrupted (i.e. kids/roommates). The dishwasher will turn off after a couple minutes.

Other tricks:

1. If you have a disposer, run it, because your drain system could be blocked.

2. If you have an air gap, it could be clogged. Consult your particular brand for instructions on how to clear that, but mostly it’s just taking off the chrome cap, unscrewing the plastic cap and cleaning out whatever’s ailing it. (Here’s a video by GE that’s kind of fun.)

3. Make sure you’ve got drain hose in right dishwasher area codes. The drain hose should be looped to touch the underside of the counter and connect to the sink drain or disposer. The hose should not exceed a foot in length. Also, check for any kinks.

4. If you’re still under water, call a plumber (or go cheap like me). Your sink drain could be clogged, which prevents your dishwasher from pumping out water.

Dishwasher film: Is the culprit environmentally friendly cleaning products?

September 27, 2010

I blogged about white film on dishes from dishwashers about a month ago, and the post has gotten an unusual amount of hits.

And then I read in the New York Times that dishwasher users complain new no-phosphate dishwashing detergents are causing dishwasher film.

Which is funny, because we’ve often suggested environmentally friendly cleaning products, such as Seventh Generation dishwashing detergent, to customers because we’ve foundits lack of phosphates actually prevents cloudiness and etching.

(For what it’s worth — maybe not much — Consumer Reports found that seven phosphate-free detergents worked pretty well.)

My suggestions?

1. Stop pre-rinsing your dishes

Residual proteins from leftover foods activate the detergent’s cleaning enzymes. So if you’ve cleaned all or most of the food off your dishes, the detergent can’t activate and stays in its crystal format, scratching your dishes on a microscopic level.

2. Use rinse aid

3. Stop using so much detergent and run a vinegar cycle

4. Before starting your dishwasher, run the tap water until it’s hot

Not only does this save energy, but older dishwashers don’t run as long as new dishwashers — better designed for less-harsh detergents – - and so every minute counts. Don’t waste it with lukewarm water that’s being heated up.


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