Wed, 03 Dec 2008

The One About the Burning Dishwasher

This is a long story, so I'm going to try a narrative style that attempts to convey what's been going on with my dishwasher in 5 minutes instead of an hour.
  • My dishwasher caught on fire.
  • It's only 4 years old, a Kenmore Elite Stock #17462. Model #665.17462.300. It's an OEM Whirlpool unit
  • I suspected something was up when I smelled a strong plasticy burning smell.
  • At first I thought it was a baby bottle nipple burning on a heating element
  • Opened the door to check, got water all over my floor as the dishwasher didn't stop
  • Pressed the cancel button. No buttons on the front are responding to input!
  • Tried the GFCI circuit. Didn't kill the dishwasher
  • Ran to the garage, tried to turn it off at the circuit breaker. Must have counted wrong cuz that didn't work.
  • Grabbed Christine, who was sleeping. (Did I mention it was 3am?)
  • Told her "let me know when the dishwasher goes off"
  • Found the switch that finally shut the thing off.
  • Christine thanked me for saving our house and our lives from fire, and went back to bed
  • I was too amped, and couldn't go to bed if the thing could still be smoldering
  • Called the Renton FD.
  • They pulled it out, cut the power cable, disconnected the water and sewer
  • They then left, but I was still amped so I opened it up. Photos below of the melted parts.
  • Called Whirlpool and Sears the next day. No recall. But they'll fix it for free (reimburse us) if we just pay the service guy.
  • Not a bad deal, they can be out the next couple days.
  • This sucks, we have lots of baby bottles to wash.
  • They show up, oops, don't have the parts they need. They'll order the parts.
  • WTF?
  • Parts begin to show up. They call back to reschedule the appointment.
  • They show up to install the parts.
  • Oops, they sent the wrong part.
  • WTF? I've been without a dishwasher for a month now!
  • Wait a few more days. Another part shows up.
  • They schedule to come out.
  • WTF? They sent the wrong part again!
  • But what's this? The part number is correct? They're mislabeling parts at the factory? WTF?
  • On Fri. 11/28, I ask "Can you guarantee that you'll have the correct part by Wed?"
  • Their response "Probably, but no."
  • On Sat. afternoon, I go to Lowes (screw Sears and their crappy Kenmore private brand and service)
  • Note to self: Don't buy a Whirlpool. It's the same thing, different skin.
  • Selection criteria: Which stainless steel models do you have in stock?
  • Wow, this one is really quiet. Let's get that one. Don't have it in stainless.
  • Damn. Here's one. Well hot damn that thing is expensive... But it's in stock and I'm not going to wait another month to get the one I got repaired. I'm going to install this TODAY.
  • OK, let me go get my hatchback, my sedan won't fit a dishwasher.
  • Damn. This thing won't fit in my A3... without taking out the floor panel for the spare wheel, and even then the hatch is open. Good news is Lowes is just a mile away from home.
  • I need to buy a dolly just to get this thing in my house single handedly.
  • OK, brought it in the house, moved the old one, shoot, the stupid firemen cut my electrical cable.
  • Whew, I jury-rigged the damn thing so that I can fit my dishwasher back there and the power just barely reaches...
  • Crap! The water line is 48" long and the connector on the new one requires more like 60" since it connects near the front. Run to ACE to pick up a braided steel 5/8ths water line.
  • Damn. The sewer drain is now making it hard to fit the damn thing in, and the previous dishwasher has damaged the particleboard flooring. Gotta pull it out and in and out and in releveling the feet.
Long story short, I finally wedged the dishwasher in (not fully up to spec just yet... It took me all told 6 hours to install and I stopped short of perfect)... I still need to a) pull the dishwasher back out, b) tear out the old particle board, c) put in new particle board platform, d) cut my hardwood floor (it's about a 1/4 inch too deeply laid to fit properly), e) install the surround plastic pieces, and f) install the kick plates. All told, probably at least another 2 hours of work...

Meanwhile I still need to fight the cretins at Sears to repair my old one so I can recoup SOME of my cost from the old one. And it occurs to me that even if I had signed up for the "extended warranty" it wouldn't have made my experience any better. More evidence that these things are scams. If they can't send the proper part to your house, what difference does the extended warranty serve except to illustrate only that much clearer that you've been screwed twice over?

This and my privacy trees (yet another blog post) and my car repair taking longer than I anticipated has resulted in a quite unpleasant November (excepting Thanksgiving which is always nice to spend with family).

Khan Klatt

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