The Summer of My Home Appliance Discontent

Geek Culture
It may be dead, Jim.

This summer has been hell on our home appliances. Not for any good reason, mind you. Heck we were gone for a fair bit of the summer on various family related trips. But some confluence of bad mechanical luck has hit us (or else Harry Dresden has been hanging around).

[Note: this is a sponsored post. I am a product ambassador for Kenmore. The story here is true, and will include some promotional consideration for Kenmore products.]

The first thing to start going was our microwave. The door catch began to fail, such that the only way to get it properly closed so that the unit would, you know, actually work, was to slam it so hard I started to fear that the glass would shatter. No amount of fiddling would fix it. We had to replace it.

Not long after that failure process began, we ran the self-cleaning cycle on our in-wall over, which finished with it completely inert, and locked. Checked the breaker but it was not tripped. Started digging around online and discovered that a common problem with this brand was a thermal safety fuse mounted in the back that was meant to only trip if the heat got out of control, but had a habit of going off in the cleaning cycle, resulting in exactly our situation. The key words there are “in the back,” meaning we’d have to pull the oven out of the cabinet to replace the part.

We ordered the part, and did the job (including marking up the floor real good, darn it). No luck. Still a dead oven. I’m now in the process of figuring out how it will be fixed or replaced. In the mean time, we cook many of our meals in a toaster oven.

And just this weekend, the dishwasher started acting up. It has decided to get hung up in the middle of cycles, just going into a “help me, something’s wrong” mode filled with wet dishes and hot water. I’ve gone through and done some… postventative maintenance (you know, preventative maintenance done after the fact), hoping a clogged filter was all that’s been causing the trouble, but it’s still going into stall mode, and requiring resets every 15 minutes.

All of which has gotten me thinking about new appliances.

While new appliances are nice, it’s really too soon for us. We only renovated our kitchen about four years ago; and by “we” I mean my wife and I demolished the old kitchen to the studs, fixed various structural problems, re-rocked the walls, put down the flooring, assembled and installed the Ikea cabinets, tiled the backsplash, installed the vent hood, painted, and finished it ourselves. We only got a bit of help on the electrical, plumbing, and countertop installation. We have a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in this kitchen. The oven was new when we finished the job; the microwave and dishwasher just a couple of years older. It shouldn’t be their time yet. But, alas.

So, since it looks like I’m about to be in the market for a new dishwasher, and I’m part of their ambassador program, why not look at the new Kenmore Elite dishwashers then?


Dishwasher technology is actually pretty impressive, considering you’ve got the equivalent of a car wash installed under your counter, scrubbing your kitchen wares clean in a cost- and environmentally-effective way, while keeping any water from leaking out. I mean, watch this video inside a Kenmore dishwasher, taken with a GoPro:

These machines are incredible. Here are just some of the features that makes the new Kenmore Elite dishwashers an excellent choice:

• New! MicroClean™ innovative filtration system helps deliver peak cleaning performance with less water and shortened cycle time
• New! Exclusive TurboZone Reach ™ uses 24 spray jets to clean deep inside bowls, bottles, and glasses in the upper rack, leaving no corner left unclean
• The Quietest Elite, is rated at 39 dBA, and is so quiet you may not even know it’s on
• SmartDry™ selects the best drying cycle automatically that matches the selected wash cycle, to deliver the right drying for every load, while New! SmartDry™ Plus dries 25% better than Smart Dry™!
• Exclusive 360 PowerWash ™ Plus Spray Arm reaches deep into every corner. Industry’s only Motorized driven arm that senses blockages and still moves, making sure cleaning isn’t compromised.
• New! LED Lighting illuminates the dishwasher’s interior so consumers can easily find items they need
• Turbo Zone ® with Rotating spray jets means no more soaking or scrubbing. In the back of the bottom rack, 4 jets, rotate to power-clean stuck on foods while two stationary jets reach into the deepest corners delivering focused cleaning


I personally love the LED lighting idea. Now, I wonder if I can replace them with programmable RGB LEDs? Hmm, something to look into…

So, as I finish this post, the dishwasher is finishing its load. I had to re-start it three times over the hour-long cycle, but we have made it to the finish line. I have no idea what’s wrong. It looks like we need both a new oven and a new dishwasher. But that’s a lot of money. So, the question becomes, which appliance can we do without more so on the short term: the one that makes the dishes dirty, or the one that gets them clean?

It’s a tough decision. I think we’ll get some take-out tonight, and worry about it later.

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2 thoughts on “The Summer of My Home Appliance Discontent

  1. I know this is unsolicited, and maybe that’s a stock photo, but based on my spending years working with chemical companies, I recommend not putting anything plastic in a dishwasher. The temperature change will cause the plastic to change in character and release chemicals into your food/drink. I would even go as far as suggesting that any plastic cups of the kind you get at an amusement or ball park should be treated as single use. It is worth trading up from plastic to glass tupperware (lids are okay, just never heat in a microwave with the lid on them).

    Toxicology is always about rolling dice, plus many additional factors, but there is a long list of reproductive toxins, carcinogens, and the like in these plastics. Those serious ills are worth avoiding.

  2. I am obfuscated by the techno jargon in the specs of this new model. What is missing is the why this will change my life, and how it all works.

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