Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

Troubleshoot Tuesday

I have a Frigidaire dishwasher that I got as a gift when we moved into our present house. It replaced a much older (maybe darn near original) one that worked but left a few things to be desired. The Frigidaire wasn’t the cheapest dishwasher available, nor was it the most expensive. I’m not fussy. I just want something to wash the mountains of dishes that my family creates in a day so that I don’t have to do it all by hand.

However, this Frigidaire dishwasher is the bane of my existence. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Last night, it was the top wash arm that mysteriously appeared in the upper wash basket. This required figuring out how to pull the upper basket out of the track (remove two clips) and then how to reattach the wash arm. Were that my biggest problem, I’d never mention it. It’s just the latest of several.

Recently, you’ll remember, my Frigidaire washing machine became a bit…quirky. My brother-in-law exorcised that gremlin over the phone (knock on wood), but the dishwasher requires a more hands-on intervention. Naturally, it’s no longer under warranty and as I discovered when my Frigidaire refrigerator stopped keeping a safe temperature no matter how I set it, appliance repair people are expensive. It costs money just to have them come out to your house and if your appliance is not repairable, you owe for the service call in addition to the cost of a new appliance.

Enter Google.

Why bother with the repair person when I can tell Google things like “my upper spray arm fell off my Frigidaire dishwasher” or “my Frigidaire dishwasher is leaking out the front?” On that last one – a nice techie by day, homeowner by night posted this helpful video,

which also included the problem and replacement part number in the video comments. It’s a known issue, too – why this isn’t a recallable thing, I’ll never understand.

Once I’ve figured out my problem (new top wash arm, new front door bottom seal, new top wash basket wheel) I can ask Google how to find my dishwasher’s model and serial numbers. From there it’s a short trip to Sears Parts Direct (the cheapest place I’ve found to buy Frigidaire replacement parts) where I can look up parts diagrams and buy what I need for a small fraction of what the appliance repair folk will charge me.

New parts need installing in your appliance? Enter YouTube where any number of folks have posted videos to show you how to replace your malfunctioning parts. Then it’s just a matter of rummaging around in the husband’s tools to find what I need or asking the boy to bring his toolbox up from the basement. More likely, it will be the latter which will thrill the kid to no end. Picture me, ardent homemaker extraordinare, surrounded by kids and cats while I try to fix the dishwasher. It’s a riot, I tell you.

Google and YouTube even taught me how to take the fluorescent light tubes out of my recessed light fixtures when the husband couldn’t figure it out. Someday it’ll even teach me how to replace the ballast in the light fixtures seeing as new tubes didn’t help and the blinking drives me batty. If they weren’t filled with mercury, I probably would have taken a hammer to the light fixtures a long time ago.

I’d really rather have a spouse that took care of all this stuff for me. I know that sounds hopelessly archaic, but for goodness sakes, everything I know about home repair I learned on Google, it’s not like I have a grand storehouse of practical experience to draw upon. True, reader, my husband couldn’t figure out how to remove the tubes in the light fixture, but he’s got more experience generally speaking. And, yes, even if I get him to do the grunt work, I’m still the one who has to do all the troubleshooting.

Hell, if I were like Ann Romney, I could buy a new dishwasher for the house plus several back-ups. Then, I could pay an appliance repair guy to sit around and wait until I had a problem. I could ring a bell and send someone else in to fix it without ever having to touch a computer keyboard. Maybe I’d even have an elevator for my fleet of dishwashers revolving around in my underground appliance storehouse. I’d never have to worry about my dishwasher again!

On the other hand, maybe the local technical college will let me teach a home repair class. I can see it now…no need for fancy tools or workshop space, just a computer lab. Step one, open a web browser. Step two, go to a search engine of your choosing. Step three, ask your question. Class dismissed.

Yes, yes, I know this all seems a bit…absurd. Is it really too much to ask that a dishwasher work for longer than five years without leaking all over the floor and breaking here and there and everywhere?

Oh, and for the record, the dishwasher was the last Frigidaire appliance I’ll ever buy. New-ish Frigidaire refrigerator – toast, replaced with a Maytag. Even newer dishwasher – accumulating problems like my children accumulate dirt. Not exactly the sort of confidence inspiring track record you expect from a company like Frigidaire.

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