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Useful Life of a Dishwasher


Porthos
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We are in need of replacing our dishwasher. I bought a large-capacity Whirlpool some years ago that I was very happy with. The electronics went south maybe 5-6 years ago.  I liked the model well enough to buy the same one again.

 

The electronics started givng me problems a few months ago. It randomly decides to just  stop running mid-cycle and not respond to the control panel. If I reset the power it will pick up where it left off,  leaving the "on" button blinking as if you had opened the door, and continue where it left off once you press the button. It has, at this point, all but completely failed.

 

Usage: we average between 2 and 2 1/2 loads a day, including the 3 periods a year when I might run four consecutive loads in a day two or three times a week. If the machine is 5 years old (I wish I could remember better) conservatively that means I've run at least 3600 loads and would not be surprised if it was over 4000 loads. When I talked with the sales person at my local Lowes she thought that I had gotten a good life span out of it.

 

As an aside I think I am going to go with a Bosch this time around.

 

Here is my "seek opinions" question: Is 3600 loads, in a hard water environment, a reasonable life expectancy for a home dishwasher?

 

RE: repairing it: Cost of repairs would run about 1/2 of what the new machine would cost, but what happens if there is something else showing its age that will break in maybe another six months?

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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These are the same questions, IMHO, that apply to any purchase of something that you expect to last a while and that's large enough for you to think more than twice about: a dishwasher, a washing machine, a snowblower, a water heater, a car.... Did it last as long as you expected it to? Did it work as well as you thought it would? Is it worth fixing, or would it be better to instead replace it? (And also: what would happen if you don't replace/repair it now?)

 

We put our Bosch dishwasher in when we completely redid our kitchen in the summer of 2006. We run it three-ish times a week, so that's probably "only" about 1200 cycles, and have been very happy with it. The stainless interior is maybe not quite pristine anymore, but it's still in very very good shape, and the racks have held up well. Our water hardness is such that we need to give our showerheads a vinegar soak about once every four or five years. The dishwasher has been more reliable than either the Amana fridge or the GE Monogram range. The only (minor) issues happened when the detergent manufacturers removed phosphate from their formulas, and the detergent we'd been using all of a sudden didn't work as well as it had. We changed brands and haven't had any issues since. My only real complaint about Bosch is that the owner's manual is apparently not available to download, so I have to dig out the paper one when I want to change whether it dries with heat, since that isn't at all intuitive.

 

And one more thing about Bosch: several years ago, they apparently issued a recall due to a problem with the control panels shorting. I checked our serial number at the time it was first announced, and we were not included in that recall so I promptly forgot about it. We periodically got phone calls for TWO YEARS after that, from Bosch or one of their representatives, to check our serial number and make sure we weren't part of the recall. They were definitely concerned, although I'm not sure how their record-keeping is.

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

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Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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we got 10 years @1x/day on the old builder's grade dishwasher - which seems about average.

 

replaced it about 3 yrs back with a Bosch - we're very happy with it.

 

one thing about the then/now(?) models - they do not have a 'dry the dishes' heating element.  this may sound like a problem, but it really isn't as apparently there is enough residual heat to dry the dishes - we're not experiencing 'everything is WET!'

 

they also 'vent' through the water drain - so there's no steam/vapors coming out through the front/somewhere.

 

about a year into it there were times when it would not 'switch on' - the pump seal was leaking - Bosch has a "tray" under the machine so if anything leaks, the water is contained.  and . . . there's a float switch in the tray that disables the machine if the tray fills.

 

one of their advertising claims is how quiet they are - that is not hyperbole - they are indeed very quiet machines.

 

and, according to the sales person, Bosch (German parent) is the only  dishwasher still made in USA.  go figger.

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I have Bosch in my house in Nova Scotia. I have Samsung in my house in NC. I like both (the Bosch IS quieter but also seems to run much longer to do the same job) but then I don't use either of mine very often any more. For my purposes, I like the interior layout of the Samsung better, mind you.

As much as any appliance in this 'throw away', 'built in obsolescence' society is going to 'last', I would say look at the Bosch (especially given all the 'yay' votes here so far) because it probably is the better option for you. And, perhaps also invest (much as I HATE this 'marketing' strategy) in a long term warranty as well since you are such a heavy user - it is more likely to be worth it for you in a couple of years than for those of us who don't use their machines as often.

Edited by Deryn (log)
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Okay, I'm working on a theory for large kitchen appliances. Here's my theory: purchased appliances seem to last about half as long as the the previous one you bought. When we bought our house it came with a 30 yr old Kitchen Aid dishwasher that was still limping along, but pretty grody. It soon broke and we replaced it with another KA. That one lasted 15 years. The next one lasted about 10 years. Now we have an Asko and it is still going strong after about 5 years, but it gets lighter use since it is now the two of us only and I don't use it for large pots and pans.

Aside from the mechanics, the Asko is incredibly smart in design; that may be just a lucky coincidence due to the size/shape of our dishes, but it holds a lot of dishes. The GE dishwasher at my in-laws' beach house is about the same size, and holds a third less dishes due to really poor design. So bad design in this case means having to use a third more cycles in the same time period reducing its life by the same. Taking a sample of your dishes when checking out dishwashers is very helpful. We settled on the Asko rather than the Bosch simple because its dimensions fit our space better. Both European models were well designed.

I have had similar experiences with washing machines and dryers. Each generation seems to be half as good as the previous one. The one exception was a Maytag washer that was bought 30 yrs ago and is still working, although not very energy efficient. If my theory has any validity, soon appliances will last about 5 years, tops, and that will be considered good.

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happend to us this year.

 

first our 8-9 year old dishwasher died.

 

we went for the Bosch.

love it.

get one.

 

 

then our refrigerator went 4 months later.

 

I think this appears to be the lifespan with moderate normal use.

 

I expect the washer or drier to be next.

Edited by weedy (log)
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Agreed that the mainstream appliance makers are building their machines purposefully to wear out faster.

+1

 

My husband thinks that appliances (washers, dishwashers, fridges etc.) should last like, oh, 30 years or more so he gets livid every 5-6 years when something simply wears out and quits.  Hey, so do I, but they just don't make 'em like they used to.

 

IMO, 5-6 years on your dishwasher with the amount that you've used it is a good usage amount.

 

I, too, have read that Bosch is the way to go.

 

P.S.  Don't ever buy a front load washer and dryer.  Just sayin'.

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Have a serious look at Miele. We have one that is 16 years old and I still open the door when it us running as it is almost silent. Has some great design features like a separate cutlery tray, integrated water softener, self cleaning filter and can take a huuuuge 20 liter stockpot. It also uses only 9 liters of water for a full load.

I run it between 1 and 3 times a day and it has never faltered. Likewise, I have their washing machine that runs about 10-15 loads a week and the only maintenance has been a set of motor brushes and had to clean the filter once when my wife washed a set of football boots that had a 2 inch layer of muddy grass on the bottom.

I even bought their upright freezer as it is the only one I found with an efficiency rating of four stars versus all the others of one or two.

Seriously, their products are the best I have seen in terms of engineering and build quality.

Simon

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If you have hard water, another advantage of the Bosch dishwasher is that many of their models have building water softeners. This feature helps him clean dishes better and gets rid of the hard water residue on the dishes.

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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+1

 

My husband thinks that appliances (washers, dishwashers, fridges etc.) should last like, oh, 30 years or more so he gets livid every 5-6 years when something simply wears out and quits.  Hey, so do I, but they just don't make 'em like they used to.

 

IMO, 5-6 years on your dishwasher with the amount that you've used it is a good usage amount.

 

I, too, have read that Bosch is the way to go.

 

P.S.  Don't ever buy a front load washer and dryer.  Just sayin'.

 

One also has to remember that back when appliances lasted longer, there wasn't the emphasis on energy efficiency that there is today.  That means smaller, lighter motors and components and the appliance capacity has actually increased. (Was that 30 year old dishwasher a deep tub? Probably not.)  So appliances have to do more work with less energy and lighter weight components - they just aren't going to last as long.

 

Also, front load washers are not a new thing.  My grandmother had a front load washer 70+ years ago and all commercial size washers are front load.  Now energy efficient, low water using front loaders are another story, but they have improved a lot.  I sold a ton of them back when I was in the appliance game.  We got one recently to replace our old top loader and it made a huge difference in our energy bill and it does a better job on the clothes.

 

Last, all dryers are front load.

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Mark

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I now have a Bosch - 6 years old now - but for 20 years I had a commercial under counter dishwasher - Hobart - which really spoiled me - the 90 second cycle was noisy but over quickly.  The only difficulty was moving the trays in and out when my arthritis became too severe.

So I gave it to my friend who owns a bakery/cafe and he bought me the Bosch.

 

The Bosch is so quiet I can't tell that it's running most of the time - only when the water begins draining.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Some post-scripts from reading reviews regarding complaints.

 

1) "The manuals aren't available on-line so you have to keep your hard copy handy." I downloaded the manual last evening. It took maybe 2 minutes from the start of my search to be downloading it.

 

2) "The drying cycle doesn't get the dishes dry."  It's adjustable. The machine comes set for the shorter, more energy efficient time. A simple change to that setting allows for a longer, higher heat drying cycle.

 

3)  "Don't like the angled basket tines." To me this means you don't want to learn to load this new style of basket. I was reminded of a quote from Beckett's Waiting on Godot: "That's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet."

 

 

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Since the manual was on-line and I downloaded it, it made printing the page with the instructions on choosing a wash cycle simple to print and I am running through the laminator as I type. That will help me and my family make good use of the choices available, and by laminating it it can stay in the kitchen and survive.

 

It is indeed a very quiet machine, but has a smaller capacity that my last machine. However, since I can pre-wash glasses and such (yes, I pre-wash everything - I can't bear not to) and run them through the express wash cycle, not such a big deal. I really like the count-down display so I know how much time is left on a given load.

 

So now for my very red-faced confession. It turns out that the contact on the circuit breaker that connects the breaker to the bus bar in the breaker box was (unknown to me) going bad. So what appeared to be the electronics failing (and they really did fail in the machine before this) was being "fixed" by my going out and turning the breaker off and back on. My aging arthritic body was not interested in getting down into the back of the under-sink area where it plugs in to cycle power. My bad.  Of course now I'm plotting on how I can use the old machine during one of my peak periods.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Lucky you. Looks like Bosch has started putting their newer manuals on line, but ours isn't (yet?) available.

 

Before the detergent change, we were able to get things perfectly clean with the quick wash cycle. With the phosphate-free detergent, the quick cycle didn't work as well, so we went back to an "auto wash" cycle. The countdown is great, but I adore the delayed start feature because at night, I can set it to finish its cycle just before we get up and around in the morning. When we go into the kitchen to feed the cat and ourselves, we pop the dishwasher open, dump out the water from any containers that flipped open mid-cycle, shake off the plastic stuff that never gets completely dry in the dishwasher, and leave the door open a crack to let everything get completely dry.

 

As for the breaker...quiet is nice. :biggrin: And if you have somewhere to set up the old dishwasher, particularly if it's somewhere that you don't have to listen to it, so much the better!

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MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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  • 1 month later...

I thought I would comment on my thoughts regarding the Bosch Dishwasher since I used it for several weeks now.

 

Things I really like: The "add rinse aid" light is way better than the "float in a window" on my last machine. It is very quiet. It does a very good job of the final cleaning of the dishes (see post 17). I like the fact that the steam vents out though the drain instead of into the air directly. I appreciate the flatware basket design, 2 identical halves which can be split apart, allowing you to remove one,  when you have only a few pieces of flatware and want extra space for other things.

 

Things I don't care for: The angled tines in the rack having various spacings and directions made learning to load this machine efficiently a bit of a chore; I mostly have that down now. The count-down timer doesn't count down linearly when it goes into the drying cycle. The flatware baskets have an odd 2-level stepped bottom and you need to be a bit careful to get the flatware in all of the way.

 

Something that I missed when looking at the machine that I feel is sorely needed but doesn't have: You can not choose an unheated drying cycle. You can choose a shorter or longer cycle but not a "no heat" drying cycle. I prefer to dry my food processor parts on a no-heat cycle.

 

All in all, I am happy with this machine.

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Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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We are about due for a new dishwasher. We have a 25 year old Maytag that still works fine, but is getting noisier. Never a good sign.

 

The end is near.

 

That's about 9000 hard water loads with never a hiccup. Impressive. But from looking at CR and at the comments here I think a Bosch is in our future.

 

Are there any issues with septic systems and dishwasher choice?

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Granted, it's been a number of years since I've shopped for a d/w, but I do remember then that I noticed the interior size of the Bosch was smaller than the other brands!  I was told that it was due to it's being sold in European markets as well where the kitchen cabinets were smaller.  Anyway, I felt like it was a big gyp and purchased a Kenmore Elite instead; it's been an excellent appliance, cleans everything very well.

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...choose a no heat drying cycle...

 

are you sure that is not 'the default?'

when we bought ours the salesperson pointed out 'there is no heater for drying' as a drawback....

Edited by AlaMoi (log)
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...choose a no heat drying cycle...

 

are you sure that is not 'the default?'

when we bought ours the salesperson pointed out 'there is no heater for drying' as a drawback....

That was my understanding also of my Bosch. Drying is by evaporation after the last very hot rinse cycle. There is no heating element as I have seen in other dishwashers that I have owned. No more melted plastic as small pieces fall onto a hot heating element!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Not sure if it's still the case, but when I sold dishwashers, Bosch had no food grinder, so any solids that came off the dishes were trapped in a filter. The filter needed to be cleaned regularly to keep the dishwasher from reeking due to the rotting food that accumulated. Most consumers were unaware of the filter and the smell was a major source of dissatisfaction with Bosch until they understood what was causing the smell.

Mark

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