The Great Wall of China

by on Aug.02, 2010, under home & stuff

A dishware replicate of this landmark had been forming in my kitchen.  For the past several weeks, my dishwasher has been little more than a glorified drying rack (and questionably effective at that).  Seemingly at random, this appliance had ceased to turn on at all.  And despite my best investigative efforts, I could not bear out any electrically rooted cause.  I recommended calling a repairman to look at it, but my wife would more readily spend the money on a replacement than a repair (it was a pretty cheap dishwasher – it came with the house).  And as it turned out, a decent replacement became available to me through a work colleague/friend at the best possible price (thanks again SK!).

So this weekend I went and picked up the replacement unit and spent much of Sunday attempting to swap out the old one.  There were various struggles and pitfalls along the way.  I shocked myself at least 2 times (thinking I had they right breaker off) before I just turned off the main breaker.  I went through 2 changes of clothes that got soaked by a combination of sweat, old dishwater, and a small amount of cleaning materials.  And once I managed to free the old dishwasher after a lot of disconnecting, cutting, and banging on things, I had to do some thorough cleaning as well as a certain degree of spackling (it seems the underside of our dishwasher had served at one time as a mouse hotel – hopefully my putty-work will fetter return visits).  I then had to make a run to Lowe’s to pick up some adapters and extenders to the hosed in order to connect the new unit.  Eventually I managed to get all of the connections hooked up, the dishwasher positioned and fastened in place, the power turned back on and …


After checking out the breaker box twice, it turned out that one of my breakers was half-tripped.  Not trusting the breaker to handle a job so vital as running half of my kitchen, I did some wire swapping with another similarly rated breaker (the questionable one is now sequestered to the less critical task of powering the smoke-detector array – at least with those I’ll know if the breaker went).  I got everything reassembled, went back upstairs and …

Nothing.  Again.

Luckily I noticed that the coffee maker also kicked out and saw that the outlet it was plugged into had its own breaker that was triggered (why such things would be connected in series I have no idea).  I pressed the reset button and EUREKA!  I have a working dishwasher again!

While it would be easy to chalk up the failure of the old unit to the circuit breaker, but I am not convinced that it was tripped the whole time (after all, I did get shocked by it twice).  So the old unit is still destined for the curb and the new unit is earning its keep as we whittle down the great wall of dishes.


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