Dishwashers User’s and Buying Guide
Dishwashers are incredibly useful and time saving machines that relieve the daily household chore of washing dishes, cutlery and kitchen utensils. They are essentially robots that do the dirty work for you, once a human has performed a few initial tasks such as loading dishes, inserting detergent, selecting the appropriate setting and hitting the start button. These are necessities that take just a few seconds whereas the dishwasher will perform a process of functions to ensure the end result of clean, dry dishes. These functions include:
- Filling the basin with water and heating to a suitable temperature
- Dispensing detergent at the pivotal moment
- Pumping the water into the jets to power spray the dishes
- Draining the grimy water
- Rinsing with new, clean water
- Draining water once again
- Drying the dishes using heated air
A small computer integrated into the machine allows the dishwater to monitor each of the processes and react autonomously according to sensors and timers. This makes sure that the dishwasher is running how it should for optimal results. Water and air temperature sensors for instance keep the heating elements at the right level so they don’t cause heat damage to the dishes and other contents of the washer. A water level sensor is another important example, which is used to activate the draining function and prevent water levels from getting too high and potentially overflowing. The more expensive and sophisticated the machine the more of these monitoring features you can expect it to have.
Getting the most out of your dishwasher depends upon a number of factors, including a basic understanding of the mechanics and how to properly use the machine, as well as purchasing the right model according to your needs and requirements.
The Interior Mechanics of a Dishwasher
Dishwashers, as you would expect, are built to be watertight but while there are certainly jets of water shooting around inside, they don’t ever (intentionally) fill with water. Rather the basin at the base of the machine fills up, where it can be heated and then pumped around the machine to the various water jets. Heating elements in the base of the machine allow the water to reach average heats of 130-140°F. As the water is propelled into the small jets, an increase in water pressure causes an effect akin to putting your thumb over the end of a hosepipe, allowing powerful streams of water to blast the food and grime off of the dishes. Furthermore, this water pressure causes the jets to spin, creating a wide angled sprinkler effect.
After the initial washing process and again after rinsing, the water drains back into the basin, where the pump is then able to force the water out of the machine. The process of eliminating the dirty water from the dishwasher can vary slightly depending on the type, but will typically connect directly into the drainage pipes under the sink or into the sink itself.
The final stage of the process is to dry the dishes, which not all users opt to utilise. The dishes will of course dry naturally and without the need to expend additional energy, but to speed up the process the dry cycle will heat the air inside the dishwasher using the heating elements in the bottom.
Mechanically speaking, the inner working of a dishwasher is fairly straightforward with just a few primary parts required:
Just behind the control panel on the inside of the dishwasher door is the control mechanism. This is essentially the robots brain, which activates the other parts of the machine at the appropriate moment using a timer. This ensures that the cycles run for the length of time requested by the user and that the processes such as releasing the detergent, initiating the jet spray and draining the water start and stop in the right order. Many of the newer units have a safety feature that only allows the machine to run when the door is properly closed.
The intake valve is simply the point at which water enters the dishwasher from the property’s water supply. Water pressure ensures that as soon as the intake valve opens, water runs into the machines basin.
The pump is used both to push water up into the spray jets during the wash and rinse cycles and to pump water out of the dishwasher during drainage. This part of the machine is located centrally, under the basin and is operated by an electric motor. Both reversible and direct-drive pumps are found in dishwashers, with each working in a slightly different way. As the name suggests, reversible pumps are controlled by reversing the direction of the motor in order to determine whether water should be pumped up into the jets sprays or out into the drainage pipes. With direct-drive pumps, the motor operated in a single direction with the use of solenoid valves to control the flow of water into the appropriate part of the dishwasher.
Portable and Permanent Configurations
There are a large variety of types and styles of dishwasher but the two main types regarding configuration are that of portable and permanent dishwashers. In the case of portable machines, they are free standing units with finished sides and a top that is suitable for use as a countertop. They can be placed anywhere in the kitchen as they are only plugged into the sink when in use. Whenever the dishwasher is required, it is simply rolled over on casters and connected to the faucet and a drainage outlet. A permanent dishwasher on the other hand is bolted into place underneath the countertop, often below or very close to the sink area. The unit is connected directly into the sink or the appropriate water supplies and drainage pipes. A 120-volt grounded line is necessary to power both configuration styles.