KA KDTE204DSS disappointing performance

bbstxApril 22, 2014

The dishwasher in my new house is the Kitchen Aid KDTE204DSS. It is very quiet - a plus. It has a 3rd rack - a plus. It doesn't clean dishes very well - a minus that cancels out all other pluses. When I say it doesn't clean well, it doesn't wash hot chocolate residue out of a mug!

In my old house I had absolutely the cheapest dishwasher I could find. The one before it croaked on Labor Day weekend; I knew I was going to remodel the kitchen soon; I bought the cheapest thing HD had. It cleaned so well, that when I remodeled, I had it re-installed. Granted, it sounded like a freight train, but it worked! The one I have now is super quiet, but the dishes come out almost as dirty as when they went in.

I have a tankless hot water heater. It takes a while for water to get hot. Is that a problem?

And it absolutely swills Jet-Dri. I put it in the dispenser and a week later, it is gone.

Has anyone else had any experience with this dishwasher?

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a common issue with tankless is that the inflow rate of a DW (or regular washer) is too low to activate the heating. You end up using cold water all the time. On some models the flow rate for activation and continuation can be adjusted.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Depends on the capabilities of the dishwasher involved whether the incoming water temp is a serious problem. Units that have assured water heating -- they always heat the main wash and final rinse to target temperatures -- would work OK.

Try selecting High Temp Wash and/or Sanitizing Rinse options if your KA has them, or use a more intense cycle such as Heavy or Pots/Pans (which have a longer wash period and/or are more likely to involve booster heating) as your usual course instead of Normal or Short.

Also run your kitchen sink faucet until it's fully hot immediately before starting the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 6:50AM
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Another common issue with DWs is the detergent you are using. Ever since phosphates were banned from DW detergent a couple of years ago, people have been complaining about their poor performing DWs, when really, the detergent is the culprit. The DW could be perfect, but if the detergent isn't right with the hardness/softness of your water, it will seem like it's the DW at fault.

The detergent manufacturers have been constantly tinkering with the formulas the past couple years to get them to work better without phosphates, and a few companies seem to have got it right. You can do a search on this forum, but the most votes seem to go to Quantum Powerballs and to Method Smarty Tabs. Try either of those, and then report back.

For the hot water issue you mentioned: try running your kitchen sink hot water faucet to get the hot water going, and then turn on the DW.

For the Jet-Dri issue you mentioned, some DWs have a manual setting that is adjustable for how much rinse agent is dispensed with each wash. I don't know if your DW has that, but if it does, perhaps it is set to dispense too much with each wash. Look in your instruction manual, or call KA help line to see if you can adjust that.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:13AM
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Thanks, everyone. I often run the hot water at the sink before I start the DW. I'll need to pay attention to whether or not that makes a difference. I love the Delay Start feature. Guess it is out, if I have to run hot water at the sink first.

I use Cascade Complete. It has always worked well for me.

I'll give KA a call and let them walk me through it.

btw, for anyone just dying to have the 3d rack, be careful what you wish for. It prevents me from loading wine glasses in the top rack. If I lower the top rack enough for the wine glasses to fit, the dinner plates on the lower rack interfere with the middle water arm. Fortunately, the 3rd rack is removal. It probably stays out of the DW more than it is in.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 8:33AM
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I use Cascade Complete. It has always worked well for me. But maybe it's not working so well now. Try the Finish Quantum and Method suggested above, and perhaps some others.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:12AM
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Yes, try the Hi Temp Wash option (increases the wash temp) and/or the Sani Rinse option (increases the wash and last rinse temp). Either option extends the time frame the cycle has before the heating phase times out.

You can easily adjust the amount if rinse aid dispensed during the cycle. For a full dispenser to only last one week is weird. I wonder if the dispenser is leaking causing rinse aid flow in during the wash, which would cause suds that prevent proper spray action.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:22AM
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w_t, the rinse aid leaking out has certainly crossed my mind. However, I haven't refilled it recently so that wouldn't be the cause of the most recently failure to clean.

Except for the occasions when I have exceptionally icky dishes, I've been running it on the NORMAL cycle. I hate to use the additional water and electricity for a longer cycle, but it looks like that may be what I have to do.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:32AM
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