Our new DW condenses under countertop edge! Help!

lovetogarden_oakMay 5, 2013

Dear GW-ers,

We just installed our new GE Monogram Dishwasher a couple weeks ago. To our chagrin, we found that it vents upward (not downward as the appliance sales guy originally informed us).

The problem is the steam released at the end of the cycle condenses under the edge of our marble countertop, creating beads of water which then drips to the top panel of the DW and to our brand new hardwood floor. See photo below.

We called GE service center. They sent out their technician who said that this is a typical issue with top control DW that are installed under granite/marble countertop. Really???

We put a plastic moisture barrier between the DW top panel and the countertop, and there's still condensation beads at end of the cycle.

I am worried of cabinet damage as well as floor damage in the long run.

The appliance store is willing to take it back, and we can choose a replacement DW (paying the difference in price, if any) and will install it for free.

The sales guy proposes the Euro units as they don't vent upward: Bosch 800 Plus, Miele Classic, and Thermador DWHD640JFP (made by Bosch).

My concern is that the Euro units doesn't have a disposer and have filters that need to be cleaned out regularly. I am not into touching greasy yucky stuff. Also, I heard that the Bosch units can get smelly. Is that true?

I like the Kitchen Aid KUDE units but per a GW-ers', fivefootzero, experience, I am wary of Kitchen Aid dishwashers. Can anyone comment on their KA dishwasher after a couple years of using it?

Could you help me and let me know what DW you have used that you are happy with, especially those of you with stone countertop?

If you did have moisture issue or venting issue when you first had your dishwasher, how did you resolve it?

Our DW criterias are quite simple actually: clean and dry dishes well, reasonably quiet, has a delay start, disposer, towel bar, top controls and doesn't destroy floor or cabinet in the long run :) If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please post!

Thanks so much for you help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchenaid dishwasher vent issues

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We spent a lot of money on our high-end KA dw, but I can't say that I'm in love with it. I honestly think Miele is better; they're built like the proverbial tank whereas the KA is a whole lotta plastic. I would have bought a Miele if it had fit my very odd-sized loads, but it didn't (sigh).

We've owned ours since 2009 and although quiet at first, it has slowly become progressively noisier. It's not super-loud (like my old terrible Kenmore/GE) but it is very definitely noisier than it was before.

I have an open kitchen/LR/DR in a small house. When the KA was first installed, if I sat on my LR sofa I could only hear an occasional soft noise. But now I can hear every cycle start when I'm in the LR reading. You can still talk over it if you're standing in the kitchen, but currently it's the same level of noise as if I had the kitchen exhaust fan on medium-low.

I can say it's a better DW than the Kenmore/GE I had before, but heck, hand-washing was better than that thing! It's an okay DW, but next time, we're buying a Miele. The KA is a good appliance, but not a truly high-quality appliance.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 2:36PM
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Are the controls on the top of the door or the front? Our GE Profile has buttons on the top and at install it requires 1/2 in clearance (can adjust the feet for this) between the controls and bottom of the counter to prevent condensation. I would check the manual and your install first before going too far, as that would be a very easy fix.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Go for the Miele. The grinder is a red herring. As long as you scrape your dishes you'll rarely end up with anything in the filter. On the other hand, the European DWs don't have heated dry, if that matters to you. For me that's a bigger issue than the grinder.

I've had a top-of-the-line KA for nearly 11 years now and it's great but I've read about issues with the newer models. My KA does have a grinder but my previous Whirlpool didn't and I hardly ever had anything in the filter.

This post was edited by weissman on Sun, May 5, 13 at 15:17

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:15PM
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I would definitely check the upper clearance of the dishwasher as williamsem suggests.

Another thing that may help is to mount a strip of wood that won't rot from moisture, like cedar or teak, right under the edge where you get the condensation. The steam hitting that strip may be less likely to condense on it than hitting a cold stone surface. Paint the front edge of the strip white, to blend with the counter top.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Ditto what Wiessman said on the Miele. I just installed two and I love them - I rarely clean out the filters - there is almost nothing in them. I also agree that the lack of a heated dry on most European DWs is a bigger issue than lack of a grinder. I have mostly gotten over that hurdle by using Sanitize for a more heated dry cycle. Other than that I think the Miele is a superb DW.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:48PM
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My Kenmore DW also creates condensation on the bottom of my marble counter. Occasionally it does drip down onto the DW control panel and down the front of the DW because I can see the marks in the stainless. Judging by the drip line residue, it doesn't look like the drips reach the hardwood floor below, but I do check for damage there. Nothing so far.

I don't have a strip of wood like you or anything else between the top of the DW and the marble. It's just marble.

I'm not pleased by how my Kenmore performs and by its noise level so I will be buying a Miele in the next year or two. I run the DW at least twice a day so I want *quiet*. I am on strike against any Bosch product because of their treatment of Julia Child so that pretty much leaves Miele, or maybe possibly a higher end KA. I'm not afraid of the occasional dumping of the filter in the non-disposer units as everything I've read on the Appliances Forum about doing that makes it sound like a benign task. Some of the Miele's have a drying system whereby the door pops open at the end of the cycle, letting the steam escape and getting the dishes completely dry.

I suggest cross posting this over in Appliances, if you haven't already.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:27PM
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I love my Bosch. I have a pretty low end one and its great. Very quiet, cleans perfectly and no issues after 6 months. I rarely have even a crumb in the filter which takes 2 secs to remove if need be.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:26PM
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I also am very happy with my low end bosch. I might find a pea in the filter. My dishes are so much dryer WITHOUT the heated dry. The condensation drying works so much better.

Always had kenmores before. Noticed the laminate was crumbing in front of the dw when we demo'd.

Sorry have no suggestions for your current dw issue. If you decide to change don't be afraid of bosch.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:40PM
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I agree on the red herring issue with the grinder - I barely scrape or rinse in our Miele and it almost always is perfect.
Some peeps say it doesn't hold much but I can put 12-14 plates, salad plates, bread plates, glasses and silver without a problem.
I have both high end porcelain and lower end thick porcelain and they both fit.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:05PM
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Wow, thanks everyone for responding so quickly!

Thanks for all the info and suggestions, as well as letting me know about the filter in the euro dw being a non-issue for you (glad to hear it's not as bad as I thought.) All of this info is so helpful!!!

breezygirl, sorry to hear you also have condensation issue with the steam from your KA dw as well. I will post this issue in the appliance forum as well.

I just spend an afternoon visiting with our appliance sales guy and it was quite an informative visit!

Besides the Bosch 800 Plus line, our appliance guy suggested Miele Future Dimension G5505SC (it is on a 20% sale right now because Miele is discontinuing this line and the appliance store needs to get rid of the floor model), KA KUDE70 and Jenn Air JDB8700. He thinks that as the KA and Jenn Air units have the Pro-Dry feature that uses the side vents as inlets, there won't be any condensation on the countertop as there will be no venting to the side or top of dw. He seems confident that any of these units will solve our problem. Good news, I think.

But, before we switch out the GE monogram dw for good, we will try a couple other ideas recommended in this post.

We did check the spacing between the countertop and the top of the DW panel. It does have a 1/2" gap between the top of the panel (not the top of the controls) to the bottom of the countertop. But, we will see if we can lower the legs down even more.

Also, we'll look into installing the wood strip as gpraceman suggested, or foil strip or some metal strip maybe. Thinking it is also prudent to put a few coat of shellac to the plywood under the countertop and the maple board that the DW is attached to.

Thanks so much for sharing your info with me!

If anyone else want to let me know about your experience with your KA, Jenn Air, Miele or Bosch dishwasher - the good and the bad - especially if there's condensation from DW under your countertop, I would love to hear from you!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:25PM
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No, no!! My DW is not KA. It is Kenmore!!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:30PM
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I had a Bosch dishwasher in my previous home (after going through 2 Whirlpool ones within 8 years). When we moved into our current house we immediately changed out the previous owner's dishwasher for a new Bosch. Fast forward 10 years and we gave that Bosch dishwasher to a friend and installed a new panel ready 500 series Bosch in our remodeled kitchen. So in the past 18 plus years we have used 3 Bosch dishwasher and never had a problem or service call with any of them. I have had no issues with smells, condensation or anything else. They have all been super quiet, dishes have come out sparkling clean, no problems with drying and no concerns with the filter. I may be just extremely lucky but I love Bosch dishwashers.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:41PM
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MY mistake, breezygirl! Thanks for the correction!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:28PM
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Miele. My last DW was a Hobart Kitchenaid. It lasted 35 years.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Hi...You are right to be concerned. My drawer next to the dishwasher was warped from the moisture. Thankfully it went back to normal after we replaced the unit. When I replaced my KA with a Bosch, I have never looked back. No disposal, I've cleaned the "filter" maybe 3 times in almost 2 years. If you scrape your dishes, you will be fine. And there are no odors whatsoever. I run it once every other day for a family of 4. The only recomendation I have is if you do pick a Miele or a Bosch, go to the store with some of your dishes, this way you can be sure they fit. The tines are much closer together in my Bosch than my KA were, but my dishes (Fiestaware) fit just fine.

And not having heated dry has not mattered at all. Only thing that stays wet are the tops of my Tupperware tumblers, because of the design. But this would be true in a dishwasher with heated dry as well.

Email me if you have any questions...Good Luck.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:37AM
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Our old DW vented up and caused damage (to old wood edge of tile counter). When we remodeled we bought a Whirlpool 'Gold Series' DW that did not have a vent. It has a stainless steel tub and according to Lowes rep, that is why it does need a vent. So far has been a great DW - and no condensation.

I will try to link to the model we bought.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whirlpool Gold Series DW

This post was edited by amandapadgett on Mon, May 6, 13 at 8:52

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Grab the Miele floor model. Seriously.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'm sitting here with owner's manuals from the appliances that we took out of our current renovation. I'm going to list them on CL, so the manuals help.

The kitchen cabinets near the DW were a mess! Obvious water/steam damage. The brand was Kenmore.

We have KA on the list to purchase. Now I'm rethinking. Thanks for this post!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Kristen Hallock

I have a KitchenAid Architect dishwasher. I bought it in early 2005 (like January). We've been using it for 8 years now with no problems. Hubby doesnt like the layout on it, but it has never stopped working or anything like that. Its stainless steel on the outside and stainless on the inside as well.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Thank you again to everyone who has chimed in!

(And it is just so darn cool to hear from many of you illustrious GW-ers whose posts and kitchen we have read about and inspired by while we are in the process of designing and renovating our kitchen!)

OK, so here's the skinny on our last ditch effort last night. We spent 2 hours, or maybe more, lowering down the legs and leveling the DW. We managed, we thought, to lower the unit by at least 3/16" to 1/4".

We put shellac on the exposed bare wood and plywood parts above the unit. We also taped up a foil tape covering the exposed plywood subcountertop, the maple crosspiece, and most of the bottom part of the marble edge.

We discovered:
(1) When we drill the unit back up to the maple crosspiece, all that 3/16" - 1/4"minute space we gained was barely there at all! We wonder whether by tightening the unit to the wood under the countertop we have raised the unit back up. We un-attached the unit, which by this time is out of level again (huh?), releveled the unit, confirmed that we indeed have more spacing than before by sticking our index finger in the space and it felt looser. Attached the unit, and what do you know, tight again.

(2) Putting the foil tape didn't stop the condensation. But, it probably protect the wood and plywood.

So, we are going to return the GE monogram DW. Other than the condensation issue, this unit has pretty much everything I have listed on my DW wishlist (and we got it with $1000 rebate, ending up to be $399. A really great deal!)

In any case, I hope that the replacement DW will solve this issue.

We think we'll go with the Miele G5505SCSS unit although the controls on the front don't go as well with our kitchen vision as the Bosch 800 Plus, KA KUDE70or Jennair JDB8700 units would be. A part of me is also angling for the Jenn Air JDB8700 because I like the look of it best. It also has everything in my DW wishlist, except for the Miele reputation.

Thanks everyone for sharing your information! You have been so helpful!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:07PM
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You can attach the DW to the adjoining cabinets, rather than to the underside of the counter. Check the instruction manual.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:32PM
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Put a spacer in there under the counter, to keep the screw from lifting the top of the unit.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Thanks, Angie_DIY and attofarad for your tips.
Will inform you if there's any improvements.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:53PM
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