It isn’t by chance that dishwashers are some of the most popular appliances in Israel. We all have dirty dishes after a meal, and who among us wants to deal with them!?
Washing dishes is one of the least-favorite house chores. Towards the end of any large dinner or family get-together, looks are exchanged, and the question is asked: who’s washing the dishes? The task is given to one of the participants, and he or she then walks towards the sink, head hung low, as though they were walking to the gallows. Well, yeah, I took it too far, but I am sure we can all agree that washing dishes is not the most fun.
This ancient tale brought on that amazing invention – the electric dishwasher!
But, just like with any electrical appliance, over the years it may experience issues with functionality – issues which get more frequent as the appliance ages. This is especially true to appliances which use water, which makes things even more complicated.
One of the most important things about owning and maintaining a dishwasher in Israel is to contact the right repairman (if there is a problem), is knowledge. In this article, we will attempt to understand the way in which our dishes are cleaned, delve a little into the inner-workings of the mechanism and its methods, and learn the most common issues which are associated with the dishwasher. We will also provide a few tips, to stop those issues from ever occurring.
How Dishwashers Works
How a dishwasher works – First, let’s go over the way our dishes are cleaned:
- Water goes into the device’s tank
- The water is then heated to necessary temperature
- A cleaning agent of some kind is automatically inserted at the appropriate time
- The dishes are sprayed with water at the desired level of intensity
- The dirty water is then drained
- Clean water is then used to rinse the dishes
- That water is then drained
- Finally – the air within the washer is heated, to dry the dishes
Parts Of A Dishwasher
Electronic control board
The control board is the machine’s computer, the brains behind the washer’s functions, the one calling the shots. The board is placed in varying locations, depending on the make and model, and it is one of the most expensive parts of the washer.
The electric dishwasher has no hands or sponges to wash dishes with. It works in a way which is only possible in an enclosed space. Were we to attempt those washing techniques in our kitchen sink, we would find ourselves in a veritable flood.
There are endless models of washers, and they each have a way of getting the job done. However, they all have an arm or other spraying mechanism, which is usually found at the bottom of the machine. The spray arms are designed to provide a jet of water at a high intensity, combined with the cleaning agent which is mixed into it. The arms usually have several degrees of intensity, and are powered by a small motor.
There are several YouTube videos in which a GoPro camera was inserted into the dishwasher, and these document the goings-on in a very impressive way. This one is our favorite:
Dishwashers usually have two pumps. Their job is to allow water to flow to certain parts of the machine, and then extract that water when it is no longer necessary.
Spray pump: Used to facilitate the high-intensity flow of water through the spray arms, onto the dirty dishes.
Suction pump: Used to drain the dirty water from the bottom of the machine to the sewer drain.
In most cases, a dishwasher will use hot water to provide a more effective cleaning. As with many electrical appliances, there is a heating element, which is housed at the bottom of the washer, with the water tank. Unlike an electric pot or boiler, the heating element is a “smart” one, meaning it heats itself up to the required temperature, according to the selected program. Actually, the element itself is like any other, but it is hooked up to a computer (the aforementioned control board), which gives it the necessary instructions.
There are several filters which come into play, before the water is sprayed onto the dishes, and after the water is drained. Because the intent is to later eat and drink using these dishes, it is obvious why we would want the cleaning water to be filtered. Furthermore, there is a need for a second filtration, on the water’s way out, in order to avoid any buildup which may clause blockage.
Also, as with any water-heating device, it is important to prevent the formation of water scale, and for those reasons the dishwasher is equipped with special filtration systems.
A dishwasher has many sensors, which are tasked with collecting information and relaying it to the control board. Several of the most important ones are:
Water level sensor – prevents the washer from overfilling itself, and flooding the machine and our home.
Door sensor – prevents the door from opening when the machine is functioning.
Security sensors – because a dishwasher is an appliance which uses electricity and water, a maximum amount of security is necessary when the washer is operational. To facilitate this, security sensors are placed, which cut the electrical power to the washer as soon as any contact between water and power is made.
Common Dishwasher Problems
There are a number of issues which can occur with a dishwasher, and it is important to identify the severity of the problem. Sometimes, we call a repairman, just to find that the electric fuse was off. “how much? 200 shekel?”
Or worse, who knows how many times we have paid for a “repair” or “hose replacement” when in fact the problem was in the main electrical box?
There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of different problems, and we can’t solve them all on our own, but we will now go through several of the most common ones, and learn the “symptoms” of each one.
1. Heating element malfunction
- Water not heating.
- Dishes coming out dirty.
- Electrical short circuit.
If the washer is working, but we see the water is not heating up, this may mean the problem is with the heating element.
If the dishes are coming out dirty, simply set the washer to run on a hot water program, and open the machine in the middle of the process, to see if the washer is hot inside. If it is, then the problem is probably not with the heating element, and that another element is causing the machine to fail.
With any problem you may have with a dishwasher, the possible root cause is always the control board. If a certain element – such as the heating one – works in certain programs, but not in others (ones which use heat), then the element itself is functioning, which means that the issue is most likely with the instructions it is receiving from the control board.
In case there is something wrong with the heating element, an appropriate technician has to be called in to fix or replace it.
2. Scale buildup / spray arms blockage
- Dishes coming out dirty.
- Dishes aren’t getting wet.
The buildup of water scale and dirt is frequent in washers where the spray arms are located at the bottom. The dirt from the dishes goes flying down, sometimes right on top the arm, causing blockage which prevents the water from spraying out properly.
Sometimes, we can use simple cleaning agents to solve the issue, but in the case of water scale, more dangerous cleaning agents may need to be used, at which point it is best to seek the advice of a professional.
It is important to remember that anything we put into our dishwasher could potentially end up in our next meal. Make sure any and all cleaning agents are removed from the dishwasher’s systems.
3. Leakage from the lower part of the washer
- Water leaking from bottom front of the washer
- A thick, white substance leaking from the front or sides of the washer
A leakage from the washer can usually be traced to a drain blockage. The drain’s opening is usually on the bottom center of the machine.
The easiest way to identify such a blockage is by looking at the bottom of the tank, to see if there is any water buildup. Even when there is no buildup, there could still be a small blockage, which only becomes an issue when more water is involved, or in other words – during operation.
The thick substance which escapes from the sides of the washer is soap which accumulates at the bottom, and leaks out due to the blockage.
One option is cleaning the drain opening. Sometimes, we will find dirt or plastic which is preventing the water from flowing down. Most of the times, however, the problem is rooted deeper in the dishwasher’s systems.
A leak may not always be indicative of blockage. Sometimes, the problem could be with the drain pump, which calls for a technician’s visit.
Some drain-opening products are available for those who wish to attempt to fix it on their own.
If it is in fact a leak, there are several options:
First, the leak may originate in the washer’s draining hose. It is worth looking into, since all that is required is to hook up the draining hose to the sewer opening.
In many Israeli homes, the draining hose connects directly to the sink’s drain system, which complicates things a little.
It is important to note that when a leak is occurring in the washer and the kitchen sink, it is very possible that the origin of the problem is in the home’s main drainage systems – an issue which calls for a plumber and not an electrical technician. This will save us from wasting extra time and money.
Furthermore, as stated earlier, the problem which is causing the leak may be related to the electronic control board! Because many issues stem from the inner-workings of the dishwasher, it is best to call for a professional, or at the very least consult with one, in order to see what course of action is best.
— Shaughnessy Service (@ShaughnessySK) August 28, 2017