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New Dishwashers Clean Quietly and Efficiently

September 28, 1997|JAMES DULLEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

QUESTION: My old dishwasher is very noisy and sometimes leaves specks of food on the dishes. Are the new super-quiet high-tech models much more efficient? What convenience and noise reduction features are best?

ANSWER: Even though your old dishwasher still works, installing a new one can be a wise financial investment. Whereas your old dishwasher uses about 12 gallons of hot water per load, the quietest new designs use as little as 4 gallons. This savings can pay back its cost over its life.

The noise level has been reduced to a whisper in the best models. Heavy wall insulation, especially heavy felt-asphalt pads bonded to the tank (the same as used in Mercedes cars), blocks sound and vibration. Designs with automatic-closing vents (wash cycle) also reduce noise.

Many of the most efficient and quietest models use two small motors and pumps instead of one large reversing motor. One high-pressure pump is used for the wash spray. The other quiet higher-volume one is used for draining.

Because each pump in a two-pump system is smaller, a smaller water reservoir is needed and less hot water is used. Also, by using a different pump to drain the dirty water, there is less chance of residual tiny food specks.

Whether you choose a super-efficient two-pump or a single-pump system, select a model with triple self-cleaning filtration. The wash water is highly filtered. As it drains after each wash cycle, the waste water flushes out and cleans the filters. Built-in particle grinders help too.

New dishwashers have up to eight wash cycles and up to three temperature settings. An optional super-high-temperature sanitizing cycle is good. A built-in heating element heats the water to between 160 and 180 degrees. There are child-safe knobs to lock it shut.

A new efficiency feature is an automatic cycle sensor (CleanSensor or Intellisense). These sense the amount of soil on the dishes and adjust the cycle time and water temperature accordingly. They work by shining a light through the initial wash water to determine the amount of dissolved food soil.

Several of the high-quality stainless steel European models use a condensing method of drying to eliminate excess heat and humidity in the summer. Cool room air is circulated in a heat exchanger to condense the sealed dryer air and the moisture drips into the bottom of the tank.

A new model (by Aquatec), just being introduced into the U.S., uses a polypropylene foam tank. This muffles the noise and keeps the water warm for efficiency. There is also a quiet mini-dishwasher (by Richlund), which can fit on a kitchen counter. It's only about an 18-inch cube.

Write for or download (http://www.dulley.com) Update Bulletin No. 703, a buyer's guide of the most efficient and quietest dishwashers, water usage, number of pumps, wash cycles, convenient features, prices and efficiency tips. Please include $2 and a business-size self-addressed stamped envelope and mail to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.

Letters and questions to Dulley, a Cincinnati-based engineering consultant, may be sent to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244; or download: http://www.dulley.com

Letters and questions to Dulley, a Cincinnati-based engineering consultant, may be sent to James Dulley, Los Angeles Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244; or download: http://www.dulley.com

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