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Dishwasher installation inspection, troubleshooting & repair suggestions: this article describes several quick inspection points and tips that can head off dishwasher troubles with leaks, drain siphoning, electric shock, and mice infestations. We link to additional articles on residential dishwashers including the impact of dishwashwers on the septic system or soakaway bed.
Our own dishwasher shown at above left is installed atop a concrete slab and drains out through the adjacent sink trap.
But at above right we illustrate a different and horrible dishwasher drain arrangement: the isntaller just dumps the dishwasher into the crawl space beneath the home: an invitation to rot, mold, insect damage. Don't do that.
Mouse Hotel Below the Dishwasher
When inspecting dishwasher drains and drain connections keep an eye open for mouse poop (below left). Nice big openings left between and beneath kitchen cabinets make it easier for the plumber to route dishwashwer drain lines but they may also creat a winter resort hotel for local mice. Mouse droppings are not the cleanest environment for your dishes and eating utensils.
Dishwasher installation instructions require the high-routing for the dishwasher flexible drain line connection shown at above right.
This high routing avoids an accidental drain siphon problem (back-draining from a sink into the dishwasher drain line) and it also combines a high location in the cabinet wall with a small penetration opening that make mouse passage more difficult in either direction.
Our phot at left shows a typical dishwasher installation in a new home: while the drain connection (not shown) was routed high and to a sink trap appliance drain tee, the electrical wiring and water supply line were routed through a conveniently big hole in the cabinet side near the bottom.
We like to caulk or seal this opening using spray fire caulk or equivalent as a draft and mouse barrker.
Photo courtesy Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Poughkeepsie, New York.
Shock Hazards at Dishwashers
Watch out: while the owner (me) served honest notice to potential home buyers that the dishwasher was not in working condition - leaving a note in and on the appliance, I got a nasty shock while rummaging around beneath the dishwasher trying to get it working.
Don't go reaching into a wet area containing live wires and plumbing and pipes connected to an electrical ground. Especially if the floor beneath the dishwasher is wet.
Also see DISHWASHERS vs SEPTICS for a discussion of the impact of dishwasher water volume or dishwashing detergent on private septic sysetms and soakaway beds.
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Eric Galow, Galow Homes, Lagrangeville, NY. Mr. Galow can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 914-474-6613. Mr. Galow specializes in residential construction including both new homes and repairs, renovations, and additions.
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