House, Renos

Dishwasher Dramz (but ultimate success)

Our dishwasher has been getting progressively more broken for the past few months. I think it all started when a glass broken in the dishwasher and some of the shards of glass lodged themselves in some of the spinning parts that floosh the water around. Whatever the reason, the dishwasher has been on the fritz and getting fritzier by the minute. I took it apart numerous times and tried to clean out/repair what I could, but ultimately all I managed to do was delay the inevitable. Last week the electrical panel started acting up and we had to constantly reset the panel (using a weird button press pattern) but eventually it just wouldn’t finish a cycle no matter what we did.

In the parking lot of Costco, awaiting rescue…

Yesterday my husband declared enough was enough and that it was time to buy a new dishwasher. He saw one at Costco for a good price and went and bought it. After a bit of drama around trying to get it home (turns out it would NOT fit into my hatchback, which forced us to impose upon Noah’s biomom/stepfather who have a truck…) it was time for me to install it.

Except it wasn’t because I am still recovering from a back injury.

After taking a couple muscle relaxers and a nap it was time. We turned off the breaker for the dishwasher, confirmed it was in fact off, and I got to work.

Getting the old broken one out was a huge pain in the ass.

First I’d like to say that I consider myself a fairly handy, DIY-capable person and I generally take the Top Gear stance of “How hard can it be?”, but holy crap donkies, this was way more fuss than I anticipated. To start with, getting the old one out was a flipping pain in the ass. The waterline hose was so snug that it just wouldn’t come out far enough for me to be able to detach it. Plus, it was an old stiff copper tube so it wasn’t like it had much give.

Secondly, while I THOUGHT I had turned off the water I apparently hadn’t which meant when I did manage to detach the waterline I ended up spraying water EVERYWHERE and utterly soaking myself. My husband quickly ran over when he heard my shouts of “PROBLEM! PROBLEM!!!!” and got the water turned off correctly, and then every towel in the house was used to sop up the mess I made.

“What did I get myself in to?”

Minor disaster, but it was deeply frustrating. It also served to instill some doubt in my husband as to whether I could actually do this. Normally he is relatively trusting that I can successfully pull off whatever renovation or project I have in mind and just lets me do my thing, but the flooding water all over our hardwood floor gave him pause.

Thirdly, after I finally got the old dishwasher out I realized I was missing a key bit of plumbing. I figured I’d be able to cannibalize whatever parts I needed off of the old one, but nope, not this one piece. It didn’t have an equivalent on the old one, so I had to trudge out to Home Depot to get it. While I was there I also got new flexible hosing to replace the old stiff copper pipe to hopefully make the installation of the new one a little easier on myself.

And finally, of COURSE the drain tube and the water supply pipe were now just thaaaaaaaaat much bigger and would no longer fit through the existing hole drilled through the cabinets. AAAAND of course I couldn’t find my hole punch drill bits anywhere to make the hole bigger (or make a second smaller hole for the water supply pipe) so I had to use a flipping hammer and chisel to widen the existing hole a wee bit to be able to get the pipes through. That felt like an unnecessary slap to the face in an already frustrating project, but if I’m going to be honest it didn’t take long to correct.

Far too much time and effort later, I actually managed to do it, and holy crap it works. And it works really well. The cycle is much shorter than our old one, and it is MUCH quieter than our old one as well.


There are a few lessons to be learned here, though.

  1. Don’t do appliance repair when you have a back injury.
  2. Copper tubing is evil. The flexible metal woven kind is MUCH better and it was well worth the bit of cost to make that switch.
  3. Turn off every water shut off valve you see, not just the one you are “sure” is the one for the dishwasher.
  4. Keep many many towels at the ready.

Dishwasher replacement, while a pain in the ass, is definitely doable. I think I could do this a lot more quickly and easily if I had to do this again, but holy crap I hope that isn’t any time soon. And my husband is very appreciative that I did it (since it saved the cost of having to hire someone else to do it). And my kid is extremely impressed as well.

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