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Old 11-29-2007, 08:42 PM   #21
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Well, it's in. We bought the KitchenAid KUDK03IT (thanks, Achiever!).

I could see some impressive design changes over the last seven years (or the prompt-jump quality upgrade), not the least of which was rear wheels instead of furniture-glide feet. They were adjustable to the counter height and they made it a lot easier to get it into the hole. The lower sprayer has four arms, not two, and the upper rack has its own spray arm fed by a hose that goes up the rear wall (instead of taking up space in the lower rack) to spline into the top rack. It's the first dishwasher we've ever had with a stainless-steel cabinet interior. The racks are not only gray (instead of dirt-revealing white) but some of the ends are capped to protect them from chipping. (I don't think I'll be buying appliance paint!) The motor is actually sound-mounted and has flex couplings to the water pipes, so it more or less floats without transmitting its noise & vibration to the rest of the dishwasher. The top rack even has little clips to hold the mixing cups and light items that are always flying around in the spray.

Installation hasn't improved, unless you're old enough to remember the "air gap" requirement. Nowadays you can just put an extra loop in the drain hose and tie-wrap it high under the counter. Tightening the nut on the water fitting still took about 40 sets, one flat at a time.

It seems to re-use a lot of its water-- efficient there as well as with electricity (even though our hot water is free). There's a lot less discharge into the sink/disposal drain. The EnergyStar criteria was raised for dishwashers this year but the total number of cycles was dropped by 18%, so this one is rated at 334 KWHr/year based on 215 loads/year (although we barely run two a week). Our kid tells me that the racks have more available space and pack better so we'll actually run fewer loads than before.

Speaking as an acoustic-sensor professional: damn this thing is quiet. You can barely hear it across the kitchen and not at all from another room. Even standing around in the kitchen it's subliminal.

One convenience I miss is the ability to tell where the dishwasher is in its cycle. It doesn't have a rotating timer dial-- just indicator LEDs. Our old dishwasher used to count down the minutes, but I'll get over that in a couple weeks. I used to be able to tell how the old dishwasher was doing by the noises it made, but now I can't even tell that so I'll just forget about it until the next time I walk through the kitchen. It'd be nice to have a transparent door, too, but that novelty would probably wear off quickly.

Pricing was like negotiating in a Moroccan bazaar. Lowes started out at $679 (thanks to shipping fuel surcharges) but we bought a $500 gift card for $450 off Craigslist. Then we went back a week later for a 10% Veteran's Day discount and another 10% appliance-sale discount so we picked it up at $550. Maytag will send us $75 compensation for the "fireball recall" and HECO will rebate us $50 for the EnergyStar rating. So we netted out at $375, and I'm pretty sure we'll see this on the electric bill (at 22 cents/KWHr). (I'll have to check federal/state tax regs to see if there are any EnergyStar appliance credits.) It's not as good as a Craigslist $50 kitchen remodel but I don't think I'll have to buy another one for a while.

Our energy efficiency is approaching diminishing returns. Solar water made the biggest impact and the front-loading washing machine was a close second. (It spins the clothes so hard that they come out almost dry, and our dryer use is way down.) Fridgezilla uses about 80% as much energy as its predecessor but it's 25 cu ft, so our next model (in a decade or so) will be about 20 cu ft and probably use about 75% as much energy. Our convection microwave probably uses half the energy of our traditional 18-year-old electric oven, and we only use the big oven for high-volume production like cookies & turkeys. We bought an EnergyStar ceiling fan a couple months ago and we might see that in the electric bill, but the weather was already turning cooler so we might have to wait until next summer to see the numbers in the spreadsheet. We could upgrade a couple of upstairs ceiling fans to EnergyStar, but at this point the only remaining significant lifestyle change we could make would be to unplug the clothes dryer or replace view windows with louver models. Spouse has informed me the first is not happening and she's ready to expedite the second...
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Old 11-29-2007, 09:32 PM   #22
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This is why I like this place.

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Something to be careful of
Old 11-30-2007, 09:14 AM   #23
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Something to be careful of

If you have a standard formica countertop be very careful about selecting a model which does not vent upwards toward the countertop. The steam will cause the particle board to swell and will eventually ruin the countertop unless measures are taken to prevent the moisture from collecting. We have a Whirlpool Quiet Partner III which has this problem. Whirlpool's solution is to put a metallic tape on the effected portion of the countertop edge. This will not work because unless it is exposed it will not seal the area where the formica and particle board are joined. We have to put a piece of tin foil between the top of the DW door and countertop each time we use it. PITA
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:25 AM   #24
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Glad to be of service! Hope your new dishwasher serves you as well for many years. I continue to be amazed at how efficient and quiet this KitchenAid is...my last dishwasher was so noisy that I couldn't talk on the kitchen phone when it was running! Now, I sometimes feel the door of the machine to find out if it's still running.

And you got it at a very good price too. Enjoy...
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:51 AM   #25
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If you have a standard formica countertop be very careful about selecting a model which does not vent upwards toward the countertop. The steam will cause the particle board to swell and will eventually ruin the countertop unless measures are taken to prevent the moisture from collecting. We have a Whirlpool Quiet Partner III which has this problem. Whirlpool's solution is to put a metallic tape on the effected portion of the countertop edge. This will not work because unless it is exposed it will not seal the area where the formica and particle board are joined. We have to put a piece of tin foil between the top of the DW door and countertop each time we use it. PITA
Corian on top of heavy plywood. We got a good deal from a guy who claims it fell off the truck.

We looked at the Whirlpools (although we didn't realize this problem) and were struck by how difficult it was to find any quantitative comparison (dBa) among their Quiet Partner models. They're all 3-6 dB noiser than the KitchenAid we decided on, and Whirlpool lacks a few of the other features that you get for the KitchenAid bucks. We really had to dig around for the details but we decided that EnergyStar, noise, and stainless-steel interior were our top three-- in that order.

Now I understand why KitchenAid's installation manual had the same metal-tape recommendation for some of their models. I'll keep any eye on the counter area but the fiberboard of the surrounding cabinets is all sealed away from the front of the dishwasher behind acoustic baffles & insulation. (I added the old dishwasher's acoustic insulation to the new and stuffed the whole mess into the hole.) The vent in the top left-hand side of the door shuts during operation and vents away from the counter at the end of the cycle.

But they all vent upward when the door is opened, right?

I'm just glad we got the EnergyStar we wanted before spouse found any of those Fisher-Paykal cabinet-drawer models on Craigslist...
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:21 AM   #26
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Great info, thanks. I'm supposed to spend another $10,000 between now and Jan 1, but I'm not sure I can bring myself to throw away the current DW (dishwasher!) which is working fine. The reduction in noise sounds great though.

Do I understand correctly that you did the installation completely by yourself? What did you do with the old one?

What is the advantage of stainless steel interior? Around here everything seems to rust, even stainless.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:00 AM   #27
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You can freecycle or craigslist an older working dishwasher pretty darn quick...

Installation isnt that tough. Unhook the drain, unscrew the water supply, unplug it from the outlet under the sink or unscrew it from the junction box behind the kick panel, remove a couple of screws holding it in under the counter and yank it out. Reverse to reinstall.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:42 PM   #28
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Do I understand correctly that you did the installation completely by yourself?
Yep. What CFB said. This is about my sixth dishwasher so I'm feeling pretty cocky proficient.

We don't have a receptacle in the hole, but the builder's electrician helpfully installed a wall switch under the sink. So you just turn off the switch (or the circuit breaker), unscrew the wires from the old, and screw them onto the new. It also helps to ensure that the wire (laying on the ground) doesn't entangle itself in the new dishwasher's wheels when you roll it under the counter, but I don't care to discuss how I learned that.

Our water supply line is hard-piped copper to a compression fitting, but I've also used braided-steel hoses. Ironically the only water-supply leak I've ever had was a braided-steel hose that I hadn't gotten around to replacing at its 10th anniversary. It was 10 years four months old.

Most manufacturers include spring clamps for the drain hose connections, but I prefer to really tighten down a hose clamp.

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What did you do with the old one?
"Ask us about our low low shipping fees!"

To qualify for the Maytag "fireball recall" $75 check you have to sign a "Proof of Destruction" affadavit with the model & serial number of the old one. (The recall part is an electrical connection in the door that gets soaked with rinse aid and catches fire. We never use rinse aid.) I'd feel bad if that model/serial turned up in the forensics of some Craigslist buyer's home fire, but I'm toying with offering cheap dishwasher replacement parts over Craigslist. Otherwise we'll ditch it in bulk pickup, where JG will probably pull it out of the landfill and set his own kitchen on fire.

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What is the advantage of stainless steel interior? Around here everything seems to rust, even stainless.
Then it's not stainless!

Believe it or not, stainless is more resistant to chemical attack (dishwasher detergent is basically full-strength lye) and it can be made quieter with less flex (water leakage) than a plastic tub. (The entire pressure vessel and primary piping loop of naval nuclear reactors is cast or forged from DT304 stainless steel, although Naval Reactors uses a heavier gauge than KitchenAid.) The trick is to make it without galvanic corrosion from connectors, which is the most common source of "rust". It's expensive to do correctly.

Stainless dishwasher tubs are also recommended in Rex Cauldwell's "Plumbing a House", which is as close to the plumber's Bible as I've ever seen.
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:41 PM   #29
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By the way, its pretty dang easy to upgrade your "quietpartnershieldnoisereducer II" to a IV.

Just wrap some more insulation around it or tape some thin styrofoam insulation in place around it, providing you have room.

A great place to reduce sound is behind the removable "kick panel" under the dishwasher in the front, near where the hookups are. Stuffing some fiberglass insulation under there (dont get it all over the motor or it might overheat) or a shaved up piece of styrofoam glued to the back of the panel can cut the noise from a dishwasher in half.

Five bucks says that Nords will be partially uninstalling his DW to try this out...

One other good thing to do if you're up for a little extra installation cost is to put a mini water hammer arrestor in line with the water connection. That'll seriously reduce shock to the water inlet solenoid and the waterline and should extend the life of both.

http://www.siouxchief.com/B_Products_Prods.cfm?ID=35

Good idea on your washing machine and your toilets as well.
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Old 11-30-2007, 08:40 PM   #30
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By the way, its pretty dang easy to upgrade your "quietpartnershieldnoisereducer II" to a IV.................
Another tip is to add self adhesive mastic to the outside of the drum. The added mass and damping knock down the low frequencies generated when the water jets hit the inside walls. You can use this stuff:

Ace - Ace Tree: Hardware: Garage, Driveway, Roofing & Siding: Gutters: Rain Diffusion Accessories: Gutter Seal Gutter Liner Roll (GL410)
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:05 PM   #31
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Five bucks says that Nords will be partially uninstalling his DW to try this out...
Already done. We used the insulation from the old dishwasher's kick panel, and we were even able to transfer the "acoustiblock" adhesive sound-damping material. Once that kick panel is in the drop in noise is impressive.

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That Sioux Chief catalog rocks-- professional plumber's porn!
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:24 PM   #32
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Aside from the sloshy water sound, most of the noise comes from underneath. Yet thats the part with the worst sound insulation on most.

A lot of dishwashers also do a lousy job of insulating the rear of the tub, presuming I guess that its going to be pointed at an exterior wall. In my last house it was pointed at the living room. Amazing how much quieter it got in there with an inch of foam on the back of the tub.

I swiped the insulation from my old dishwashers kickpanel too...
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:26 PM   #33
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This thread is destined to become the repository of dishwasher consumer advice, so here's another thing to look for when shopping: Make sure it is easy to open the dishwasher door with wet/soapy hands. We recently lived in a house with a dishwasher that was very difficult to open if you've been rinsing dishes, etc. The handle was smooth and pushed up flush with the rest of the underside of the front panel when operated.
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:27 PM   #34
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gosh i'm getting dishwasher envy...ours is a cheapy basic model that we had no choice in ...
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:40 PM   #35
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Eh, thats easy. Just do what I did and make yours spontaneously combust the first time you turn it on while on a fresh home warranty policy!
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Old 12-01-2007, 08:32 AM   #36
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I bought a Whirlpool Gold Quiet Partner III about 8 months ago replacing a 10 year old, entry-level Kenmore. I feel a bit silly now because apparently I thought all my glassware had "smoked" glass for a few years. I was wrong; they just weren't getting fully cleaned. The new one has a lot more room in it, has better utilization of the pre-defined space, and is MUCH quieter. It does require a dish-aid rinse though. I tried it without the rinse-aid, and it's clear that it's not designed to work right without it.

The Whirlpool is quiet, but not as quiet as the Bosch. I believe the main reason for that is that the Bosch's don't come with a food disposal built-in. Given how quiet this new Whirlpool is anyway, I'd rather be able to just load it up without having to rinse the dishes first.
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Old 12-01-2007, 11:25 AM   #37
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I'll be insulating ours, thanks for the tip. I can't justify a new dishwasher, since ours does the job fine (Kenmore Ultrawash III). We just run it when noise doesn't matter.

A quieter fridge, on the other hand...

Around here we go by the old sailor's saying: "Stainless steel isn't." But I'll consider it if our DW breaks down irreparably.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:12 PM   #38
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We replaced our 1st Kitchenaid after about 25 years. The dishwasher was still working great, but the rubber lining on the dish-rack had worn through in a few places and would leave rust stains where the rack made contact with the dishes.

The replacement Kitchenaid has been in place about 10 years (going on another 25 years). Works great and is quiet.
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Old 12-01-2007, 01:04 PM   #39
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The replacement Kitchenaid has been in place about 10 years (going on another 25 years). Works great and is quiet.
It's worth looking at your electricity use and figuring out the payback. Maybe it's not worth it at a load a week and a nickel a kilowatt-hour, but for our 2-3 loads/week and 22 cents/KWHr it makes a difference.

When we're empty-nesters, spouse wants to shift to food delivery and paper plates...
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:21 PM   #40
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Looong time payback. Packrat's rate in town is .06/kwh and up here on the River its .034/kwh. 98% of our power up here on the river is HYDRO which for some unfathomable reason here in Washington state is considered nonrenewable energy!!! Blame a tree hugger.
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