famous last words

Challenge 2018

how hard can it be?

After several trips to the big box hardware store,  and a week of fits and starts, my new dishwasher is functional*, and Saturday, I will complete installation by securing it in place. For most handyman types, this would not seem so difficult.  What modern kitchen in North America does not have a dishwasher?  It should be plug in, screw on,  turn water on.  Not so fast! 

First of all, my kitchen was designed in the 1960s and is virtually unchanged but for the new appliances and some new electrical wiring I put in ten years ago.  The last dishwasher was a 1980s (or older?) unit that quit working early in the new millennium.  We then had boys whom I thought worthwhile to train them to wash dishes -by hand.  (You know how that went. Each boy only washed -generally – his dish or cup and left everyone else’s alone.)  Anyway,  just before Thanksgiving, we shopped for appliances since these were the best deals of the year. While the delivery included hauling off the old appliances and plugging in the refrigerator,  I purchased installation to go with the dishwasher and microwave, but there were “complications”. 

The water supply under our old sink had not been renovated in all the time we owned this house.  Unfortunately, our last refrigerator purchase (15 years ago) with an icemaker line was never connected, as the prior homeowners had never owned such modern convenience and did not have a supply line.  It is not that I never could have done so.  I replaced a garbage disposal three times (4?) for glass, spoons, random bits that fell into the opening and jammed the motor until it died. (I got better at sealing the disposal maw off from ignorant dish tossers.)  I replaced the PVC pipes last year; before that, semi-annually, I dealt with a clogged sink and a family that seemed to laugh at my linking ‘stuff that should never be flushed down a sink’ with clogged pipes.  

I mentioned in a prior blog entry, how Dexter and Comet had sought refuge away from me while I brazed copper pipes for the icemaker – but I neglected last week to install a hot water spigot for the dishwasher. They gave me the same look the other day – and hid when I brought out the tools and torch.   I was confident.  I was pretty good with a torch, and solder after a couple tries.

Half a dozen trips to the store later – for tubing,  exchanging parts and buying another two properly-sized valves, a drain hose, power cord, and such, I was ready to do battle.  I kept putting it off till the weekend.  Fifteen years without modern convenience so a few more days would not be an issue.   Friday was to be the evening to get everything done.  

not bad for an amateur

Suffice it to say, the dishwasher went in fairly easily.  I found that the unit was level on the first attempt.  Everything was connected properly.  There were no water leaks, no electrical problems, and no leftover parts.   

Power ON.  A couple beeps, a flashing LED, and yet no motor action nor flowing water.  I verified everything again.  Got out the manual.  (My son tells me “the manual.  that’s why they include one.” Soft generation! My generation just figured it out)    But I’m a modern man – mostly.  After consultation via YouTube and online technical forums, I did not find the problem to be exactly what I was experiencing.   As a last resort,  using the manual,  I called the manufacturer’s tech support line – at 7:30 PM  on a Friday – and a nice lady walked me through everything:

Blinking LED ?  No,  that indicates a problem.   

“Rinse Aid” LED lit?   

Did you put the Rinse solution in the slot in the dishwasher?   No?   The dishwasher will not turn on until it registers the Rinse Aid solution.   (The dishwasher came with a packet of the stuff, but I did not understand the relevance from the operation manual.)  A few hiccups and then everything is cycling like a charm.  The dogs can come back into the kitchen now.  Everything is calm and quiet.  That dishwasher is a quiet machine to be sure, but the cussing in my head might have drowned out any noise it might have made while being installed.  During my online study of these German marvels for the problems I was seeing,  I did find that I, unintentionally, have gone more “Green”.  This unit is an energy and water-saver by design, so  am continuing to save the planet!   While it takes longer to wash dishes through one cycle,  I  reduce my carbon footprint.    

A technical career prepares me for almost anything.  I can build highly advanced technology, communication systems and mechanical devices.   Change my vehicles’ oil, do routine maintenance and install plumbing.  I can run electrical and diagnose wireless connection issues on my home network.   But next time, my wife suggests, maybe I will have installation help come.   

I have to replace my broken range-top microwave.  The new one is in still sitting the garage.  Apparently, California building codes require me to get new cabinetry to have the required separation between the gas range and the bottom of the microwave. .  He did not remove and haul away the old one.  For an inch and a half below the required minimum, the installer left it untouched.  He could not install the new one.

But I can.  How hard can it be?



  1. Great job! I admire your do-it-yourself-itivism. Not many people are willing to take up a torch (and some solder) and get such a daunting plumbing job done.

    I generally have the intelligence and mechanical ability to do things myself, I just don’t have the patience. Plus, I always assume that I will have to pay a professional to undo whatever botched job I do, so I just eliminate the middle-man (me) and call a professional to begin with. It generally saves me time, money, and aggravation.

    Anyway, excellent job! If you’re ever in the Dallas area, I have some minor plumbing repairs I could use your help on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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