Offcuts: Get What You Pay By: Don Heisz

Some of you may be aware that I like to get a “good deal”. Now, a good deal can range from paying somewhat less for something than you normally would to getting something great for nothing at all. I have mentioned several examples of such things over the years, most notably my purchase of a radial arm saw. That was a great adventure in and of itself – in spite of the fact that the saw has, since then, mostly been a fancy-looking table in my workshop.

Some of you may recall how I like to try to milk everything I can out of my stuff. I have written numerous times about fixing my tools. For example, a while ago, I wrote about my collection of tools with melted brush housings. I later revisited those tools and fixed them. And, since then, I am happy to report, I have once again destroyed them. The last time I used the saw, smoke was coming out of a screw hole. And, oddly enough, the reason there was a screw hole with no screw was that the interior had melted enough for the screw to fall out. Maybe I can’t be totally trusted to repair tools.

Anyway, I also wrote here about my trials of replacing my leaky dishwasher. I, of course, replaced it with a brand-new, fresh from the carton dishwasher. My main problem at the time were finding fittings that worked with my existing plumbing. Oh, I also had the problem of not being able to find my propane torch.

Since that time, the “new” dishwasher has died. It suddenly refused to actually spray water around. That makes it a machine that just cooks food remains onto dishes. Extensive research revealed that my machine, the absolute bottom of the line of a store-brand, was prone to that fault. And what is there to do about it? Two options: Fix it or replace it.

This is getting back to the “good deal” bit. I considered a dishwasher that was roughly half the cost of the one beside it, yet looked exactly like the one beside it, to be a good deal. After all, a dishwasher is a machine that is supposed to wash dishes. It’s unskilled labour. You pay someone minimum wage to do stuff like that. So, of course this machine could actually perform the task.

But perhaps that was wrong. While that should be the case, since even a good deal on a new dishwasher is a significant amount of money to part with, it’s a little too optimistic to think that manufacturers are not going to skimp on the material and parts of these things.

My brother John, of course, told me it was my own fault for being too cheap and buying junk. He’s known for his sensitivity (it runs in the family).

So, the dishwasher has been sitting there unused for about 5 months. I was hoping it would start working on its own or I would find some magic cure. Then, the day before yesterday, I stumbled upon a “good” deal.

There, on the side of the road, in a snowbank, in front of a house that has new windows and other renovations underway, sat a shiny and hopeful-looking dishwasher.

I weighed it out in my mind. It seemed likely it would work. It was probably taken out during the renovation to install a new dishwasher that matched the rest of the appliances. That’s common, right? (For those of you who don’t know, that’s called “wishful thinking”.)

I loaded it up and dragged it home. Into the warm it went where it thawed out overnight.

Next morning, just like a rat on cheese, I was all over getting that one installed. Out with the old in a jiffy and in with the new. It took nowhere near as long to get it installed as the previous time, due to my prior excellent workmanship.

Off I ran and flipped the breaker.

Dead dead dead. It was nonresponsive. It looked shiny, it looked happy, but it would not come to life. I tried a number of different things. I tinkered with it endlessly, thumbing my nose at the fact that I know nothing about dishwashers or the magical dodads inside them.

Good deal indeed. You get what you pay for, right?

Where it belongs

I don’t know. I get overpowered by the possibility of not losing out and end up wasting time, energy, and usually money. I pulled the “new” dishwasher out and dumped it back in the snow. It sits there still.

And, to top it off, in all my messing around, I wrecked the shut-off valve for the dishwasher water supply. Off I trotted to the hardware store and bought a replacement valve. It should be a short order to swap them out….

The torch is nowhere to be found. I found the solder, the flux, two propane tanks, even the roll of cloth sandpaper. I could not find the actual torch. I can feel it watching me and chuckling from its hiding space.

I almost went and bought a new one.

Instead, I hooked the old dishwasher back up. I then put my replacement shut-off valve under the dishwasher where I would be sure to find it.

Then I went and ordered a new dishwasher. The brand recommended to me by the appliance-researching brother. I don’t need to pay for more ridicule.