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Yet another DW query

Posted by pshaffer (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 11, 12 at 11:01

GW,
We are about 1 year away from our full kitchen remodel, but are replacing some appliances now. We really want to replace our lemon of a dishwasher (Bosch SHE3AM16 model). We are so tired of having to rewash dishes, a good dishwasher is a big priority. To give you an idea of the rest of the appliances we are planning on... We already bought a new GE Profile electric slide-in range ($1200). Our overall appliance budget is about $5000. We plan on a Sharp MW drawer, which will be about $750. That leaves $3000 for refrigerator and DW. We are planning on a CD refrigerator and my wife isn't too interested in the FD models, actually preferring the S/S, which run about $1600 or less for a Samsung, etc... So should we spend $1400 on a Miele dishwasher (Crystal full console model) or go with something more reasonable like a KitchenAid ($700-$900 KUDE30/40 model) and save the money for other parts of the budget? We live in a blue collar suburb and I can pretty much guarantee you that no one in town has a Miele dishwasher. So we aren't trying to keep up with the Jones and are definitely "overbuilding" for the house, but we just want a good dishwasher and we are likely to be in this house for quite a while. But, I think I might be getting too caught up in the hype about Miele and that's where I need your advice. Is it worth putting a $1400 dishwasher into a 3 bedroom ranch? Are there nearly as good dishwashers out there for significantly less? I am just getting caught up in the idea of having at least one "high-end" appliance in the remodel from looking at all the great kitchens online? Or is the Miele worth every penny and in all likelihood I will never regret it? Any suggestions are welcome, I just want some support (or constructive criticism) before dropping a ridiculous amount of money on a dishwasher and regretting it.

Cheers,
Paul


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Yet another DW query

"....lemon of a dishwasher (Bosch SHE3AM16 model). We are so tired of having to rewash dishes....

Not there; don't know, but.....DW's all do the same thing the same way. They are all capable of excellent results unless something is wrong with them or their installation or their loading or the detergent dosing. I have little doubt something's being missed with your existing Bosch.

For a new machine, I would examine whether or not the arrangement of the racks works for you and I would pay for quiet. I would buy something with dependable local support and make competent installation part of the deal. Otherwise, anything you choose will wash your dishes just fine. Miele makes good machines. So do quite a few others....including Bosch.

FWIW, I've had Whirlpool for quite a while. One machine is a year old, replacing previous 9-year-old that fried a board. Another one is 13 years old and still working wonderfully. Whirlpool is very middle-of-the-road machine but cleans absolutely as well as any other.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Was gonna say the same thing as asolo: something must be wrong with the Bosch, its installation or usage pattern. I'd investigate before getting a new dishwasher. We here can certainly try to help you with that - unless you're set on getting a new dishwasher, of course.

Alex


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RE: Yet another DW query

We are looking for a new dishwasher with the remodel because current is black and will have stainless for others. I have been through every thread I could find here and elsewhere about "fixing" problem dishwashers. I have tried just about everything I have read and nothing seems to help. But I am definitely willing to listen if people here are willing to offer suggestions. The one key piece of data I am lacking is the water hardness. I am in the process of inquiring with our town's water division to get that number or will order a home kit. So short answer, I would love to make our current dishwasher clean better, but will replace it within the next year (much sooner if it stays malfunctioning).
Symptoms of malfunction: Some stuff comes out sparkling, other with small "flecks" of contaminants all over it. These flecks end up on stuff like glasses that never had any food residue on them, so it is definitely cross-contamination and not lack of "scrubbing". Suggestions?
Thanks in advance.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Just heard back from the town water division. Water hardness is 40-80 mg/L. So moderately hard/soft water.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Those "flecks".....are they sort of uniform white things or are they variable shape/size/color? Uniform white flecks generally indicate calcium flakes or undissolved detergent grains. Variables usually indicate food particles.

Usual culprits are inadequate fill-level and/or water not heating to 120F or above and/or obstructed drain path.

Don't know if this is filter or disposal machine. If filter, can remove and describe what found in filter/sump?

Also, depending on the nature of the "flecks", I would be checking possibility of obstructed spray arms.

All of this stuff is pretty easy to check.


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PS to previous......

Forgot to opine.....people have been getting excellent results with "moderately hard" water for decades. Soft is better, of course, but I doubt that's your problem.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Ok. Here goes. The flecks are dark colored, variable sized and almost certainly food related. It is a filter unit. We have routinely cleaned it out and find almost nothing in there. Checked and cleared all spray arms. Definitely gets hot, judging by steam and temperature if you open right after wash (before drying). No water left in bottom of tub after wash cycle either. What else should I check for? Thanks.


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RE: Yet another DW query

OK, thanks.

ALL of that stuff should be flushing out of the machine with each drain. Since it's obviously not, I'd be suspecting two things: 1) Insufficient fill-level and/or 2) obstructed drain path. This is somewhat presumptuous at cyber-distance, I realize, but I'll place my bet here.

Can you eye-ball the fill-level and describe? Can you eyeball the drain-line and verify no kinks? Can you describe manner of connection of drain-line to the sink drain?

Whether connected to disposal or to sink-drain pipe, you can do a slightly messy exercise that will tell you a lot. Disconnect the DW drain-hose from the sink-drain. Inspect the end and entry into the sink drain to see if there's any obvious obstruction there. Disposal connections, for example, are notorious for accumulating gunk right at the connection-point that can obstruct more than 1/2 of the outlet into the disposal.

Get a several-gallon bucket and hold or secure the drain hose so that it will empty into the bucket. Run the DW through a fill/drain or rinse-only or whatever-it's-called cycle so that the DW fills, runs for just a minute, and then drains. HOLD THAT HOSE so that it doesn't blast all over. Observing what comes out and the speed at which it comes out will tell you a lot. It will tell you the quantity of water the machine's filling with, whether or not the pump is performing at should, and whether or not there was a bunch of crap in the drain-line obstructing the flow.

What you're wanting to see is a considerable rush of water with nothing in it. Notice the total volume of water expelled. The quantity you should see is different for each machine. You'll have to consult your manual or other mfgr information to learn how much water that should be.

All I can tell you is that IF you're getting a complete fill and IF the pump is operating as it should and IF the filter is clean and IF the drain path is clear you will NOT be seeing residual food particles in your washer. If you're willing to do this, I suspect your problem will show up right there.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Grit is often left behind where there is insufficient water circulation. This can happen in an overcrowded dishwasher, when the spray arm holes are clogged, if the spray arm isn't spinning freely, if the cycle was too gentle, if not enough detergent was used or if too much was used and suds slowed the spray action down. Plenty of possibilities.

The drain hose must also be installed with a high-loop.

Don't know where the water level should be for the American Bosch dishwasher. Our model from 2006 fills with roughly one gallon per fill.

What I do if I want to thoroughly clean the inside of the dishwasher is: clean the filter, put the pieces in the racks and run the machine with a cleaning product through the heaviest cycle. Yes, without the filter in place. Assuming you don't have chunks of food laying around in the bottom of the tub, there won't be much (anything) for the filter to catch.

This is the water level of our Bosch. Notice the suds I got when using German Finish with built-in rinse aid. Dishes got clean but I could hear the pump sucking in the foam.

Suds after using detergent with built-in rinse aid


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RE: Yet another DW query

I would save the money and go with the KitchenAid. I don't think you even need to go to the 30 or 40 model either--save some more money and go with the 10 model. You will be amazed how much easier it is stack a KA too compared to the Bosch (at least IMO). Plus, no filter to clean as it has a hard food grinder in it!

We have 2 of the KA KUDC10FX and love them. Even baking dishes with stuck on lasagna come out perfectly clean using the quick 1 hr wash cycle. They're quiet at 52 dBA, I only ever hear them when the water drains out of the machine into the sink drain--you'll get that with any DW though. The other DW we considered was the Samsung 800 series. Very similar to the KA with 48dBA, but due to scheduling issues, we had to go with the KA with the thought that if they were too loud we would exchange them for the Samsungs. Haven't needed to do that.

BTW-for the price of 1 Miele Diamond, you could have 2 KA KUDC10FX or 2 Samsung 800 Series DWs and likely be just as happy.

Hope this helps!


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RE: Yet another DW query

I'll be an enabler and tell you that I'm about to go the more expensive DW route myself.
The best DW I had was a Thermador back in 1985.... lasted forever, had one of the first stainless tubs and could clean anything with a special steam cycle and do it quietly. Since then I've tried to go cheaper and had a string of mediocre machines that have died premature deaths but sadly no longer under warranty.
In 1985 we paid almost 900.00 for that Thermador machine and everyone thought we were crazy (including me) but the SS tub was just too pretty to pass up. :) We never regretted the purchase.
When it went under, we had several young kids and decided to scrimp by purchasing mid grade DWs. A KA eventually got so loud that we couldn't watch TV in the den when it was on, another KA barely outlived its warranty before seizing up, the GE Monogram was forever getting things stuck in the wash arms so that every week I had to take the tweezers to the arms to remove seeds etc, then it caught on FIRE!!
Now we're in a rental home while our new house is under constuction and the bottom of the line KA here is the pits. It barely cleans and is just cheaply made all around.
And yes all of the DWs have been properly installed.
I've come to the conclusion that I'll be touching the DW several times EVERY day and using it at least once a day. It's worth investing a little more and I'm just sick of crummy machines.
I'm not sure what I'll get but it won't be a GE... (the fire scared the patoot out of us) or a KA.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Alright. Tested out the old Bosch last night. First, my DW informs me that it know we are thinking about getting rid of it, because the last two loads have been great, everything spotless. Anyway, checked the drain hose and connection to the sink, all good. Ran a quick wash (no rinse cycle on this guy) with no detergent. Filled with about 1-2 gallons of water, very hot. Drained rapidly and completely. Tried a cycle with detergent, no suds at all (is this odd?). Anyway, hard to diagnose the problem since it seems to be working this week. But thanks for all the help and when dishes start coming out dirty again, I will try the same tests to see if anything has changed.

I am still undecided about the Miele. Also, I am thinking about paying the $130 or so extra dollars for the fully integrated custom panel version. If I am going to pay $1500 for a DW, I want it to look like a $1500 DW (which means it disappears into the cabinets). Or I can get a KA for a much more reasonable price.

Thanks again for all the help and keep it coming.


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RE: Yet another DW query

"....it know we are thinking about getting rid of it...."

An underreported fact is that all of our household machines hold regular meetings after midnight to decide what they're going to do next to mystify and annoy us. As with biogenesis, it's never actually been observed but we can tell by the evidence that it happens.


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RE: Yet another DW query

Another question... Considering our water is relatively soft, is there any reason to go for the Crystal Miele model instead of the Classic and save $300? I would get the cutlery tray in the Classic, so I would be missing the water softener, China and crystal mode and about 5 dB from what I can tell. Oh, and a couple of fold-down tines in the bottom rack. Thoughts?
Thanks.


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RE: Yet another DW query

@ Asolo: Bwahahaha!

I currently have a very frugal Kenmore that is around 5 years old. I'm researching to decide what to get when it craps out. I must admit to being seduced my the lure of Miele. But paying that kind of $$$ for a dishwasher will be a hard sell to the Minister of Finance (aka DH).


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RE: Yet another DW query

@pshaffer...

Opinions will vary on each of these, but here's my view.....

If you're sure about your water hardness being between 2.4 - 4.8 grains (20-40 mg/l) I wouldn't spend the money to soften. (If I had water harder than that, I'd go with a whole-house softener rather than a single appliance that has one built in anyway.)

My personal "quiet threshold" is around 52dba. With the new machines running longer cycle-times, I think quiet has become more of an issue than ever before. I don't know the dba ratings for the models you mentioned.

Personally, I don't like utensil trays. They look pretty in the promotional photos, but I think they just add to the work-load. Much prefer a basket.

I've never understood "china and crystal" cycles. I have china and crystal that still looks like new after almost forty years of "normal" DW cycles. If you use too much detergent or run them through high-heat/long-cycle "pot scrubber" cycles then you'll get etching sooner rather than later, certainly. Then, again, I've always thought "pot scrubber" cycles were silly, too.

Miele's are fine machines, but they're not magic. There are many, many less expensive competitors. Notwithstanding their reputation and supporters, it seems to me they have come in for as many problem-posts as anything else on the various forums. However, assuming you have the bucks, get what you want. You'll be living with it every day for a decade or more. I it's important to be satisfied.


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RE: Yet another DW query

On your Bosch, be SURE to check the middle rack feed pipe. I have inserted a picture thusly:

Photobucket

Borrowed from Whirlpool trainee, (thank you, my friend!) but with my own annotations to illustrate where to check.

If that pipe pops out, you will get a huge drop in pressure to the upper rack and the result will be mung on your glassware. The pressure of the pump can force it out of joint on some machines, mine being one, and I fixed it with some electrician's tape around the pipe to make it harder to dislodge.


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