Dishwasher comments from salesman - BS or fact?

karen_belleFebruary 16, 2010

At the appliance store the gregarious salesman said "I'm out to save countertops!" and proceeded to push the Bosch d/w over any other that lets steam escape from the top of the door. He said since d/w makers have moved the steam outlet from the door's front to its top, everyone loves the new clean look of the door, but recently he's been hearing about damage to countertops and cabinets due to swelling etc. of plywood exposed to the steam.

This struck me as a hard sell on Bosch - I've never heard or seen a complaint on this forum about steam from the d/w damaging cabinets, but I haven't been watching this site that carefully. Plus, if you have granite or quartz or laminate on your countertop, who cares about steam? And if the face of the cabinet swells behind the installation d/w, is it a problem?

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It's pretty much bull, I have the kitchen aid with the top vent and it creates no problem, I did not go Miele (price), I did not go Bosch (no dry cycle) I am very happy with the Kitchenaid and yes it is very quiet

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:05PM
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My Bosch vented steam out the top and deteriorated the underside of the laminate countertop (turned it to "sawdust."). The repair guy who came to replace the control board on it put a piece of foil up under there to deflect the steam. It helped. When my new GE Profile was installed, the guy asked me if I knew the countertop was bad under there. I told him I knew about it. He said they usually put a plate under there to prevent damage from steam vents. I have no damage to my cabinets. So, it can be a problem if not properly installed. The Profile doesn't vent there.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 1:14PM
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We have a KA with top vent (5 months). It has quite a large 1/4" thick rubber thing that goes over the top of the dishwasher before installing - plus a foil strip. I'm sure there will be no damage from steam.

Our KA is a nice dishwasher.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 4:15PM
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It's not bull. Steam venting from dishwashers can damage counters and cabinetry under the right conditions. There are obviously a lot of variables, including frequency of use, indoors relative humidity, and cabinet/counter construction.

It's just one more thing to keep in mind when buying a dishwasher.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:58PM
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hmm.....I have never seen any steam at all come from my Miele.
I wonder where it goes? There are no vents on the outside or underneath at all.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:25AM
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My Miele came with a stainless steel plate to install on the underside of the countertop to prevent steam damage.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:43AM
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For the KAs there's a foil flashing that you can request be installed underneath the countertop to avoid steam damage. It was an extra $5 to the install.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 1:43AM
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Quote from the british mielesite :

"Turbothermic plus drying
After the last rinse cycle room air enters the machine at the bottom of the appliance, and is circulated between the internal and external cabinet walls."

The stainless steel tub is cooled by this air flow forced by a fan, so that moisture condenses on the tub walls and will be pumped out. During Automatic/Sensor cycle the drying profile may change according to room temp/moisture

Anyway this system in the past was very different.

Stoneage mieles had a fan that forced steam from the top of the tub to the sump filled with cold water. It was ineffective in case one had the machine hooked up to hot water line.

Later the the steam was extracted and mixed with room air by a fan. It was exausted from a vent on the contol panel

Here is a link that might be useful: Search for T

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 4:42AM
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Surely the steam condenses on the stainless steel lining, and then drains? I've never had any steam vent out from my Bosch. That's the whole point of the system.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:59AM
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Sara_the_brit, the Bosch system does exactly what you say - condenses the steam on the stainless box and then drains it away. There is no heated dry cycle in a Bosch. However, other d/w vent steam outside the box (like the KA), and have been doing that venting through the top of the door, right into the countertop overhang, for the past few years.

Thanks for the feedback, y'all! I guess the salesman wasn't blowing smoke. He called the flashing installation "unsightly," however, when he talked about the KA.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 12:15PM
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I wish someone had mentioned this to me when we were shopping for dishwashers. We have the GE SmartDispense, which we love. And I might even get it again, but I really, really dislike the top-vented steam. We have quartz counters, but I still don't like that steam coming out there every day.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 2:17PM
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Mfduffy, in one sense I guess you are lucky. In several places I have lived (both rental and owned), the low end GE dishwasher that came with the place had no vent whatsoever.

The moisture just re-condensed on the dishes' surfaces, and it was like not running a heated dry cycle at all. In all cases, the only viable option was to turn the heated dry off and to open the door at the end of the rise cycle and let everything air dry.

I still own an out-of-state property equipped with one of those miserable things.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:10PM
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In a nutshell Karen NOT BULL! That being said, wood and steam over a period of time will, REPEAT! will equate to problems.

I have found that the heating element inside the DW is another thing that shortens the life of plasticware and premature repair depending on usage.

I've been through three diswashers in 15 years. The first two were KA and the present one is bosch which I now own two because of time issues and daily multiple loads. They work very well and the first bosch which is about four years old is going well. The other one I just installed a week ago.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 6:53AM
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Steam does gradually get into wood-based counters. When vented at the top of the DW, it's just "a matter of time" as insurers speak; in other words, it's guaranteed to hurt the wood and glue in the countertop, but the date when you feel it's now damaged is the unknown.

Some models have a vent down at floor level.

Non-steam producing dishwashers have another advantage: they don't put steam into your house. Moisture inside a house is not a good thing, as a general rule. Indoor air is often too moist, and furthermore, more than half the year you need more to cool your house than you need to heat it.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Thanks for clarifying!

For what it may be worth, IKEA sells a sheet of plastic film designed to go on the underside of countertops, to prevent steam damage. I think it costs $15 or less - so it's hardly going to break the bank if you need to protect a counter.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 3:34PM
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This concerns me. If the steam settles on the flashing or plastic liner, could this become a mold problem?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 7:07PM
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When we removed our KA dishwasher, one of the sides of the adjacent cabinets had deteriorated. The white laminated particle board (melanine?) had basically broken down presumably from exposure to some heat and moisture from the dryer.

The Miele we replaced it with does not have the heated dryer cycle, and it did come with a metal shield to protect the countertop lip (there is a plywood base underneath) from steam that comes out the front door whenever you open it.

So, while I don't think it's salesman BS, my opinion is this is a minor benefit from the newer designs (he sounds like a good salesman to really feature it), and other things should be weighted more in any decisions.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:01PM
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I have to agree with what guadalupe posted. I have a KUDE60 with a top vent. I was also very concerned about steam venting from the top because my old Maytag had a front vent and it put a LOT of steam into the kitchen. I assumed the new DWs vented as much steam, but my new KA with the top vent just doesn't. I've watched and it doesn't send steam up into the countertop. While it does have heated dry, it has the stainless tub like the European models and it just isn't as "steamy" as the old DW models.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Some units have a mechanism to close/seal the vent during the washing & rinsing periods, largely to cut down on noise. As I've seen/heard tell, the latest KA models keep the vent closed for 4 hours after the cycle ends, I assume to help deal with the moisture issue. Other brands may do that as well, don't know.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 12:06AM
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Sorry to be uninformed, but is there something wrong with having a heated dry? We have a GE with heated dry, and there's no steam whatsoever. Wouldn't this be a plus? Again, apologies for my doltishness here.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Not a stupid question at all. Heated dry, or not is 100% a personal preference. I prefer the heated dry but some folks prefer the non-heated dry for the energy savings and not having to worry about melting plastic if it falls to the bottom or gets too close.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 9:34PM
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In 28 years, my Whirlpool or Maytag dishwashers never caused a problem with my countertops (laminate at the time). My new KA KUDE60 is top venting but the vents stay closed for 4 hours after the cycle finishes. It was installed with a foil lined tape under the counter overhang. Counters are granite now.
Yesterday, at my daughter's home, I noticed the particle board/plywood (or whatever that is under the laminate) was a bit bulged and could easily be scrapped off. Her Frigidaire dw vented on the front, at the top. I suggested she buy some of the foil lined tape and fix that before her counter TOP starts to warp.
As for the foil flashing being "unsightly",you'd have to open the dw door, stick your head inside and look up to see it. Yeah, that's not a problem for me :)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 11:53PM
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Here is a tip... when I installed my E'lux dishwasher I had some sound deadening left over from a car project. It is a butyl - rubber compound with a water proof silver foil top layer. I put it on the inside of the cabinets and on the underside of the countertop (which is currently particle wood which REALLY does not like mositure). I really did it to make the DW as quiet as possible but it has the added benefit of protecting the wood from possible moisture. This place sells it by the square foot and you can cut it with any utility knife. It sticks well. It is only $1/sq foot. Good peace of mind. They make three thicknesses, the thinest will do well since you really want the waterproofing more than the silencing. BTW we absolutley cannot hear the DW from even a few feet away. Our living room is right next to the DW so we really wanted silence. The only noise you hear is the water being pumped out down the drain. Maybe I'll try some pipe insulation on that one day.

Here is a link that might be useful: eDead 45

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 11:55PM
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Your sound deadening tip is wonderful!

We used a similar product to deaden the sound resonating along heating ducts. Didn't do all we wanted but it helped much more than anything else we had tried and our floorboards in the dining room stopped vibrating.

We're designing a new space and will definitely get some more of that kind of product and put it in. Sound is a major issue in our household. Now that I think of it, maybe should stick any scraps on the range vent ductwork also.

A warning to all....this stuff has a very effective adhesive, so don't make any mistakes!

I very much appreciate the discussion of steam effects from dishwashers. Keep 'em coming!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 12:54PM
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its no bull, Kitchenaid Top vent dishwasher in 18 months time ruined out kitchen countertop. It rotted the formica counter top, the side of one cabinet, and the covering of the top of the dishwasher insulation had mold and we had to go to the Attorney Generals office for help. its been 5 months without a dishwasher and we are still trying to get this all fixed. Price tag: $3800. I tell everyone I know never buy a top vent. Also the top rim of the dishwasher has cracked, and will need to be replaced. by us of course.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 7:28AM
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Because of the advice from this forum, when we bought our KA KUDS30IVSS, we had the foil flashing tape installed. Cost an extra $5 and you can't see it at all, so the salesman's comment about 'unsightly' is a typical non-issue.

Our old Kenmore/GE always vented a lot of steam from the top vents, so I was surprised to find that the KA did not. We don't use the heated dry, but the KA is set up to use evaporative drying so using heated dry is virtually unnecessary anyway.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 8:00PM
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The butyl-rubber sound deadening is really aimed at higher frequencies. There is another product they sell call Teklite which is a 1/4" closed cell foam product. That works a little better on lower frequncies. I would think most of the noise from the vent is lower frequencies. They also make panels for walls. Maybe some of this attached to the inside of the cabinet surrounding the vent would help a bit?

I treated the trunk and doors of my car with the eDead and TekLite and it had a noticable effect, but not the degree I was hoping for.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sound Deadening Panel

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 9:03PM
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What do you guys think about the vents that are in the door in the top front? Is this better? I mean you can see the steam coming out... My problem is I have a Bosch, and the vent in the manual shows it son the right side, well, my right cabinet gets all steamy and it heats stuff in the drawer up, and then theres the fact that when touching the top of the countertop it will feel like im touching a stove burner... Should i go with the vent in the door one? What do you guys think?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 12:42PM
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The vent on the Bosch is on the right side but it's connected to a large tube that first runs upward along the side and then down to the base. The reason it first runs up the side is to allow the steam to condense in the tube and run back into the tub. The reason the tube then runs all the way to the base is so that it can vent into the base without acting like a chimney. Any air venting out of the tube has pretty much eliminated its moisture before exiting the tube.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 12:05PM
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We Just purchased the Kitchenaid KUDS50FVSS with the vent on the top. The salesman assured me that the vent DOES NOT let any heat or steam out. The vent stays closed for 2-4 hours after the cycle ends. BUT we are now afraid to install it after reading all the forums on these top venting machines. Some say they have never had a problem and some say that their counter is ruined...HELP i am so confused. We were going to put Bondo on the wood to seal it and then apply the vapor foil. It took me 4 months to pick out this dishwasher, it has the best functions with the best price, i dont like the european ones, they are to small.. and no venting causes the dishwasher to smell sour, you need to prop the door open to dry, whereas the kitchen aid vent opens up 4 hours later to dry the unit out. Not sure what to do now.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 6:17PM
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I do have a Kitchenaid dishwasher that I love, but I have to admit the problem you heard about is the only one I am complaining about. In time, the steam escaping from the top located vent caused a damage to the countertop. At first, I noticed some dust, but I did not pay too much attention knowing that I have corian countertop. Then, the problem worsened. Normally there would not be a problem, if builder had used 100% countertop. Unfortunately for us, our countertops are made of corian filled with plywood. Even so, there is a way to save the countertop; Ikea sells a metal strip that they apply under every countertop. You can buy it for $4. I did not buy directly from the builder, but I am really upset for his negligence because a professional should have know. I have learned by experience, but unfortunately it will cost me money.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 2:23PM
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All solid surface counters are done as an edge buildup only with plywood in the center. That's standard practice and not negligent. What's negligent is failing to install a vapor barrier.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:14PM
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The top-of-the-door vent is a real design problem: if it doesn't ruin your counter-tops, the inside of the machine itself can warp. That's what happened to us after 2+ years, because we had granite counter-tops (which, unlike formica & particle-board, don't warp -- at least not from mere dishwasher steam). We quit using the dishwasher over a month ago, -- it had been getting noisier & noisier; & then we discovered the inside of the dishwasher itself had warped! Metal! Warped! We had chosen to have a new Kitchenaid dishwasher installed back around 2010 as part of a big kitchen renovation, using a local reputable kitchen design-&-install shop. Kitchenaid had always worked fine for us, & had a good reputation. And I very much wanted to avoid the kind of disaster we'd had with a new clothes-washing machine several years ago (the "Calypso")(another case of lousy major appliances being sold under brand names that were once extremely trustworthy.) Now I'll never buy a Kitchenaid again. Our Kitchenaid dishwasher, when it was new, quickly melted off the end points of the internal dishrack within three months, exposing the metal which soon rusted. The dishwasher ran quietly and cleaned the dishes well, though, and there were other post-renovation problems to attend to. The rusted points were annoying, but looked like a cosmetic problem. But after 2+ years, the machine began to get noisier & noisier; when we called our kitchen company back in late this fall, they found the warping. They said they're seeing a lot of deformed formica countertops, caused by the same problem: the dishwasher vents straight up in the underside of the counter. So either the counter warps, if it is formica,...or the steam is forced back down into the machine if the counter is granite (as ours is), and can warp the actual inside of the dishwasher. I am furious. I wish I had complained to Kitchenaid about the melted, rusted points while the machine was still under warranty. I'm definitely going to complain now. But I don't want a Kitchenaid again. And I'm not using the one I own -- it is so warped, and it was getting so noisy when it ran, that I am afraid I will have a dishwasher spill all over the floor, or a fire. And I'll never understand how an entire company could design a machine that does not vent properly -- it's not even physics, it's simple common sense that steam can't be vented into a solid block of matter such as a counter-top! It's a vent! How hard could that be, to design properly!?!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 2:03PM
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