Friday, May 25, 2012

Finish is for Clean Dishes

So back to why my dishwasher wasn't cleaning anymore...

After the repair guy had gone through every nook and cranny of my washer, and declared it, well, a slacker... he added an interesting caveat: It doesn't matter what detergent we buy anymore.  Nearly every detergent on the market is phosphate-free. 

That's good for the environment, but bad for clean dishes.  See, phosphates make all the junk on your plates disappear (well, there's a serious scientific discussion there, but who's got time for that right now?  Google it, yourself).  But phosphates also make algae grow like nuts in water, which consumes all the oxygen and kills off the fishes and stuff.  In 2010, a handful of states banned phosphate detergent and the likes of P&G got on the consumer bandwagon and did nixed it brand-wide.

Yea for clean water!

Boo for clean dishes!

Combine ineffective detergent with high efficiency, ultra-quiet machinery and you've got a recipe for unhappy Americans (because everyone else obviously is washing their stuff by hand... in a stream or something).  The detergents just can't do the job as well anymore.

So, Suzi started checking around and found Finish detergent additive. I'm here to say it absolutely works.  First time out, it was winner.  Dishes and glasses are noticeably cleaner.  There's no question.  And it's phosphate-free.  Why we have to add one more thing to our detergent-additive-power rinse cycle I don't understand, but for now, the pile's outta the sink.

And that means we're happy as clams over here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why my Dishwasher Needed Repair

This is a compressor cooling fan from a Samsung refrigerator.  It has nothing to do with my Whirlpool dishwasher.

And that's what makes this story so cool.

Over the past couple of months we've noticed a gradual, but distinct change in the output quality of our dishwasher.  If this was a personnel issue, I would have taken the individual aside for a little tête à tête.  I would have discussed the reasons, "peeled the onion," to find the root cause of his inability to clean dishes as he once had.  "I know you can do it," I would have said, "But there's something holding you back.  Let me help you, help yourself be the success that's deep within you."

Or something like that.

Instead, I have a box of parts that's slacking at its sole purpose in life: Clean Dishes.  I did the research.  I cleaned out the tub drain.  We swapped out detergents like tires at Talladega.  Nothing worked.  I finally cracked and Suz called the repair dudes.

Bill showed up, looking snazzy in his logo polo and toting a Toshiba Toughbook.  He went through the obvious issues and declared I'd done everything he'd do... besides replacing the dish racks (which were cracked & rusty), and there wasn't much that could be done.  The professional deemed our dishwasher a poor performer.  See the next entry for why...

He checked part numbers and we talked appliances for a bit.  He mentioned Samsung fridges were a monster to repair because of their odd internal designs.  That reminded me that the frame between the doors of our Samsung fridge was always ridiculously hot.  That caught his attention.

See, on the Samsung, the coolant line from the compressor routes through the door frame to cut down on condensation.  Think about your AC unit outside.  There's a line that carries freon to & from the A-Frame inside your HVAC unit inside. Simply put, it brings coolness in and takes hotness out.  Bill knew immediately that the fan on the fridge's compressor had quit.  That's why the line was so hot.  Imagine if the fan on your AC unit outside quit blowing.  The compressor would burn up.

We pulled out the fridge and sure enough, the fan wasn't just inoperable... it was snapped in two.  The motor had failed catastrophically.  And it had been that way for months.  It had gotten so hot underneath that sound dampening had melted.  He couldn't believe the fridge was still running... it was pretty impressive.

We looked up the parts and shipped 'em to the house for me to install this weekend.  In the mean time, I put a small fan behind the fridge and the frame cooled down within minutes.

So, the moral of the story... my dishwasher may not be the best, but it certainly saved me from buying a new fridge.

And that's pretty cool...