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The Handiest Household Appliance Tips: Dishwashers & Garburators

Updated on December 31, 2009


Dishwashers vary in their loading capacity and in the selection of wash, rinse and dry cycles that they offer. Each new dishwasher is sold with an EnergyGuide efficiency rating. Most of the energy used by a dishwasher is in heating the water. You will be able to save a lot of energy and water over time, if you choose a unit that offers a “short wash” cycle for everyday loads.

Dishwasher Installation

Replacing a dishwasher is a job suitable for most homeowners because the plumbing and wiring can usually stay as is. Ask for detailed installation instructions and follow them.
Start by turning off the power to the dishwasher circuit on your main electrical panel. Shut off the hot water supply found either under the sink or under the unit itself (remove bottom panel). Disconnect the wires in the electrical terminal box. Disconnect the drain hose on the drain line, and the water supply line from the water inlet on the dishwasher. Keep an old towel handy. Remove the screws that secure the dishwasher to the underside of the counter top and slide it out carefully. Note: you may want to lay down cardboard or an old sheet to protect your flooring.

Make sure the connections on the new dishwasher match the existing ones. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the new machine. Adjust the levelling legs as required to fit into the opening. Attach the dishwasher to the underside of your counter. Re-connect the water, drain, and electrical lines. Adjust the door so that there is an even space on all sides, as required. Open the water valve and inspect for any leaks. Restore your electrical power, and give it a test run.

Dishwasher Care

Adjust your hot water heater if necessary to match the dishwasher manufacturers recommended water temperature. Scrape your dishes before you load them, and soak them for a couple of minutes if they are encrusted with dry food. Be careful of olive pits or nuts that can easily clog your dishwasher drain. Never let silverware and stainless steel flatware rest against each other in the machine. Your silverware may tarnish badly. To protect your dishes; you should still hand wash your ceramic mixing bowls, good glassware and any knives that have wooden handles.

Garbage Disposals (Garburetors)

Garbage disposals can operate maintenance-free if operated properly. Check with your local municipality before buying one as they are not legal in some places: They have a tendency to mess up water treatment plants and clog waste water pipes. Be sure to run lots of cold water any time you use the garburetor. You can not dispose of foods that are brittle or fibrous such as corn husks, celery stalks, olive pits, bones or shells. Keep the disposal opening covered when not in use or you will accidentally chew up cutlery, bottle caps, wire ties, dish cloths, etc., which will seriously damage the motor. To keep the disposal smelling fresh, grind a few ice cubes with a piece of lemon, once a week. It also helps to toss some baking soda down there when it gets a bit stinky.

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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I loved to toss NaOCl down my garb, but it cracked the rubber after a while. That horizontal drain line is one of the best extra added features of garbs. After a couple of years, you can harvest your own penicillin. :)

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I had a garburetor that was so stinky it obligated disassembly and bleaching. I bleached the rubber boot around the drain and I replaced the plumbing under the sink. The drain line was almost horizontal; a wonderful nursery for moldy stuff.

      It's much better now.