If you have a dishwasher in your home, you may take it for granted. You may just load your dishes into it and turn it on and never wonder how it works or what you would do to keep it running well.
But there are a lot of things to remember when you are using a dishwasher.
So here we are going to tell you how a dishwasher works and what you can do to make sure yours is working well.
First let’s look at what dishwashers do:
- Adds water
- Heats up water until it’s the right temperature
- Opens up your detergent dispenser automatically when the time is right
- Shoots water through its jets so that the dishes are clean
- Drains out dirty water
- Sprays additional water onto dishes so that they are rinsed
- Drains again
- Heats up air so that the dishes are dried, if you have chosen that setting.
Additionally dishwashers are always monitoring themselves so that everything’s properly running. There’s a timer that regulates how long each cycle runs. There’s also a sensor which detects the temperature of the air and water so that the dishwasher doesn’t overheat or damage the dishes.
There’s another sensor which is able to tell if the level of the water has gotten too high and then if it does, it drains the dishwasher so that ti doesn’t overflow. Some of the dishwashers also come with sensors that detects the water’s dirtiness which is flowing off of your dishes. When the water’s clear, it knows your dishes have been cleaned.
Inside your dishwasher
Even though they’re watertight, dishwashers aren’t actually filling up with water. There’s a little basin in its bottom which is what fills up. There’s heating elements which heat up the water from between 130 – 140 degrees F.
Then there is a pump which sends water up to its water jets, and these force the water out and spray it against your dirty dishes. It’s kind of like how a garden hose works but it doesn’t have a nozzle, when you are placing a thumb over the hose’s end and decreasing the amount of space that the water has to come out.
This way it’s more forceful. The jets of the dishwasher use this same principle. The water’s force also rotates the arms that are holding the dishwasher’s spray jets, similar to how lawn sprinklers work.
When it’s done with the wash and rinse cycles, the water goes down into its basin once again, where its pump sends water from the dishwasher. Based on the dishwasher type, the water might go right into your sink’s pipes or it could come to your sink using a hose.
There is one last step in washing the dishes and this is completely optional and this is your dishwasher’s dry cycle. There’s a heating element at your dishwasher’s bottom which heats up the interior air to help dry your dishes. But sometimes people will allow them to dry on their own without using heat since it will save energy.
Dishwashers really aren’t mechanically complex.
Next we are going to look at the different main components of basic dishwashers.
A dishwasher’s main parts are:
This is found inside its door behind the dishwasher’s control panel. A lot of units use an electro-mechanical system that is simple – the timer determines the length of time each cycle part lasts and then activates the right function accordingly.
These are things like its detergent dispenser, spray, and the draining function. Units which are more costly may have a control system that is computerized. The units that are more modern also have door latches which have to be closed so that they run and some also have locks for child safety.
The intake valve’s where the water from your home’s supply comes into the dishwasher. The pump in the unit doesn’t pump water into its basin – once this valve is open, the pressure of the water makes the water go into your unit.
The pump’s powered by an electric motor. During the pump, it forces the water into the arms of the sprayers. While its draining, it directs water into the hose. The assembly’s mounted under the basin. This is in the dishwasher’s center.
There’s two kinds of pump:
Reversible – The reversible pumps go between sending the water to spray arms to sending water to the drain and it’s done by reversing the motor’s direction. They are generally mounted vertically.
Direct-drive – In the direct drive, its motor runs in a single direction, That means that the flow’s direction is changed from the spray arms to the drain through a solenoid which closes and opens the right valve or changes one of the hose connections to another. These types of pumps usually are mounted horizontally.
A dishwasher can be either permanent or portable.
The portable units come with finished sides along with a top that you can use as another counter. When they’re not being used, they sit next to a wall. When you have dishes to was, it can be rolled using casters to your sink where it will connect to your faucet and plug into an outlet.
In permanent installations, it goes under your countertop and gets bolted into place. Hoses beneath the sink connect directly to your line that controls hot water and your drain line. The unit generally plugs in beneath the sink too. Both kinds of installation will need a grounded line of 120 volts.
Here are 11 tips for using a dishwasher
- Do not use regular soap as if you were washing dishes by hand, otherwise your dishwasher will overflow.
- Don’t put too much into your dishwasher. There needs to be room for your water jets to spray your dishes.
- Face your dishes’ dirtiest part towards the sprays, and they usually will come from the dishwasher’s center.
- Don’t mix silver and steel items. When you put two different metal types in an environment that is humid, it can cause corrosion.
- Try keeping spoons, bowls, and other kinds of dishes that have identical shapes separate. If you don’t, they’re going to nest with each other and therefore the water won’t clean them properly.
- Don’t put fine china, crystal, wood, hand-painted, or cast iron items into your dishwasher. These items should be washed by hand.
- Use your dishwasher when you have really good water pressure, often when it’s night time. You are going to get better results if you aren’t using lots of water for other things, like laundry or showering.
- If you have a problem with hard water, use a bit more detergent.
- Use rinse aids for avoiding spots and helping the dishes dry faster.
- Don’t place your plastics on your dishwasher’s bottom rack, particularly if you’re using the hot drying feature. Your plastics might melt.
- Don’t pre-clean your dishes. Your dishwasher depends on the food bits clinging to your dirty dishes so that they can maintain the right pH level in the unit. But you should scrape the large pieces off.
A dishwasher can save you a lot of time. Just take good care of it and it will last for years.
About our Professional
Rachael Lowe is the owner of Titanz Plumbing, LLC. A native of Southwest Florida, she’s owned Titanz Plumbing in Port Charlotte, FL since 2008. Servicing many areas of Southwest Florida including Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, North Port, Cape Coral and Fort Myers.