Things you should know before buying a dishwasher

buying a dishwasherWhen designing a client’s kitchen, we make sure that every inch of space is measured properly for the homeowner’s appliances.  When measuring for a dishwasher, there are several design aspects that must be taken into consideration.

The first is the size of the opening.  Sometimes the measurements are taken before the flooring is installed.  Then the dishwasher doesn’t fit!  So if the dishwasher size is 24″ x 34″ and an opening this size is created, then a floor is added – oops, the dishwasher isn’t going to fit now!  Some people forget that.  To measure the opening properly,  measure from the floor to the bottom lip of the counter – both on the left and the right (floors are often uneven).

A couple of other tips for buying a dishwasher:  there are two types – American and European.  European tend to be 23-5/8″ wide and 34″ tall.  American, 23-7/8 or 23-3/4″ wide and 34″ tall.

American dishwashers usually stick out about 3/4″ from the counter.  This has to be taken into consideration if the dishwasher is going to be near a corner, where a drawer may be coming out and not clear the front of the dishwasher.  European dishwashers tend to be flush with the countertop.  The exception is if there is a handle sticking out.  This can happen with both American and European dishwashers.  In this case, a clearing of two to three inches will be necessary.   Most of the newer models don’t have a handle like this.

What type of drying system do you want?

European dishwashers, such as Bosch, tend to use a condensation system.  The steam in the tub condenses on the side walls of the dishwasher and drains out the bottom of the tub.  American brands, such as GE,  Kitchen Aid,   and Amana use a coil that heats up and dries the dishes,  basically by baking them.

The condensation method is more efficient because there is no extra energy being expended in the drying process.  However, it’s a longer drying cycle.

Filtering water vs. continually running fresh water

European dishwashers have traditionally used a filtration system to re-use the same water throughout the cycle.  American dishwashers, on the other hand used to run new water through and drain it out for every part of the cycle.  Since filtration systems only use three our four gallons of water as opposed to using 30 or 40 gallons the other way,  American manufacturers have moved to the filtration system in order to be energy efficient.

Do you want a disposal, or a strainer basket?

With a disposal system, garbage from the dirty dishes is ground up.   Because of the noise it makes, many manufacturers are now using a filtration system – basically, there’s a strainer basket at the bottom of the tub.  You’ll still find that many American dishwashers are loud,  because they still use the disposal system.

Hopefully these tips will help when you’re looking to buy a new dishwasher.  If you go to a big box store and can’t get help with these and other questions – and they don’t ask you the right questions to make sure you are buying the right brand for you – then consider going to our friends at Kahian’s Appliance One in Hanover.  They are very knowledgeable, and will go out of their way to make sure you get the right appliance for your needs.  Ask for Paul Kislauskas, who provided today’s tips.  Thank you, Paul.

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