A lesson in appliance repair

It has been brought to my attention that “River City Jules” lacks substance. That these pieces serve as nothing more than emotional reprieve from the real news. “Fluff,” if you will.

So today I will deviate from my normal, silly banter and pass along a real-life lesson I learned last summer: How to get a new dishwasher.*

Obviously step one is to have an old dishwasher. In my experience, the old dishwasher does not need to be decades old to be old enough to replace, just slightly older than its factory-issued warranty.

Step two involves observation. When you remove glasses from the dishwasher, is there a grimy coating inside? Do your plates contain food particles from last week’s dinner? When you peer into the bottom, is there a lake of brownish water with bits of unidentifiable, though presumably organic, compound?

If so, begin disassembly. Remove the bottom rack, placing it in the middle of the kitchen floor to set a perimeter for curious bystanders. Using a multi-head screwdriver, unscrew everything you see and/or feel. You might wonder why every screw has a different head. You are not alone.

After you have removed every removable part from the bottom of the tub, it is a good idea to clean them. This will not fix the problem, but it will make these miscellaneous dishwasher parts smell better as they sit on your kitchen counter. You may group the parts with the corresponding screws provided you do not get too attached to the hope of ever putting them back together.

Next step: Ponder. Is it worth calling a repairman, or can I fix this myself?

Having grown up with a father who could repair anything, I usually opt to fix things myself and proudly boast a 53 percent success rate.

It is important to note that if you decide the filter is clogged and that the best course of action is to run the dishwasher without a filter at all, this move will result in hearing a small child yell up from the room directly below you, “MOM! THE CEILING IS LEAKING WATER EVERYWHERE!”

At this point call a repair service and brace yourself — you are almost there.

Do not be alarmed if the repairman turns pale as you explain all the steps you have taken so far. He will still get down on the floor and survey your handiwork before telling you that he cannot diagnose the original problem, as your last move permanently destroyed the motor.

As tears well up and you fight the urge to vomit, a good repairman will offer to apply that day’s service charges to the installation of your new dishwasher. And suddenly the sun begins to shine.

New dishwasher.

The words ring like Christmas in your ears as you research brands and finance plans (not necessarily in that order) and promise to never attempt home repair again.

*Also works for new cell phones, blenders and garage doors; has yet to work for new car.

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