So, I can tell you two things that the puzzle is not: It is not a photo of our microwave nor our dishwasher. When we first moved in, our kitchen had all matching appliances. The previous owner had purchased a Frigidaire appliance package that included the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, and microwave. We thought it was nice to have all matching appliances (see photo of “original Tampa appliances”), though we quickly realized our dishwasher was a piece of crap. How we came to that realization is a little complicated…
When we moved into our condo in Ohio, we had the world’s worst dishwasher. You may think I’m exaggerating, but really, I’m not. It was a General Electric dishwasher that had to have been from the 1950s (see photos above). I’m pretty sure it sprayed water when you turned it on, but that was about all it would do. It certainly didn’t clean dishes, but it did get them wet then try to dry them. It lasted almost two years from when we moved in before it just up and died on us one day. As poor graduate students we didn’t really have a lot of money to get a nice dishwasher, but we spent a lot of time shopping around for what makes a dishwasher a good dishwasher and finally settled on one we thought would be worth the extra money – a Whirpool Gold. Dishwashers claim to have all sorts of nifty features – multiple cycles, lots of jets, etc., but the one feature you really should get in any dishwasher these days is a food disposer. Without it, any food pieces left on dishes that you put in the dishwasher will end up clogging up the dishwasher as it can’t dispose of them. Over time, those food chunks build up in the dishwasher until you’re basically just making your dishes dirtier when you wash them, rather than cleaner. Dishwashers with food disposers cost extra, but they have a built in disposal that chops up the food bits and sends them on their way. Plus, with these models you don’t have to pre-wash dishes – just throw them in and hit start!
When we got our new Whirlpool Gold in Cincinnati we were excited to test the food disposer. We had some dishes that were very dirty. One was a dish that had barbecue sauce (from vegetarian BBQ ribs) baked onto the side of it. We didn’t think there was any chance that the dishwasher could get that stuff off. But, we had just forked over close to $500 for a super dishwasher, so we tried it out. Two hours later, the dish was spotless! We were sold, and have been ever since. That dishwasher was amazing.
As for the Frigidaire dishwasher in our new home, it was a Frigidaire UltraQuiet III (model: FDB750RCC1). From day one we have been nothing but disappointed in it. It never did a good job washing dishes, though initially some of that was our fault as we did not use the hot wash cycle. But even once we turned on the hot wash cycle it was disappointing. What’s more, it does not have a food disposer, which meant the screens and filters had to be cleaned out regularly, which wasn’t something we ever had to do with our dishwasher in Cincinnati. Oh how we missed our nice dishwasher from Cincinnati.
So, about two weeks ago our Frigidaire Microwave, which worked fine, up and died. I was baking potatoes in it and when it finished, the screen went blank and it kicked the bucket. We thought it might have been the breaker, but I checked it and it was fine. Not the breaker – a dead microwave. As I’m a sociologist, not an appliance repair person, I didn’t dig any further into the death of our microwave, but I wasn’t happy about replacing it: it’s an over-the-range model, which means it isn’t cheap or easy to replace. Microwave ovens that sit on your counter are fairly inexpensive, but the ones over the range start at over $200. And now that we have all stainless appliances, we felt like we needed to get a matching new microwave, which just added to the price. So, we went shopping and ended up buying an LG microwave (LMV2083ST). It’s been a great replacement and works very well, though I’m still not happy we had to buy it. 🙁
A week later, our crappy dishwasher basically stopped cleaning dishes at all. It turns on and makes a lot of sounds, but doesn’t do anything. Every load of dishes we ran ended up coming out dirtier than when we put it in. I pulled the dishwasher out, disconnected it, and cleaned out as much of the crap inside as I could. And oh was there a lot of gunk in there – piles of it! Maybe you didn’t want to know that about our dishwasher… I thought that maybe that would fix the problem, but no such luck. It was always a terrible dishwasher, but now it was actually just making our dishes dirtier. So, Debi convinced me it was time to get a good dishwasher. We didn’t want to replace two appliances within two weeks of each other, but so it goes. Having been so impressed with our last Whirpool Gold, we went with the same make, though a slightly different model this time: Whirpool Gold Model: GU2275XTVY. We’ve only run one load in it so far, but it made short work of the dirty dishes we loaded. With the Frigidaire, we had to wash everything we put in it. With this one, you can literally put completely unwashed dishes in with food chunks, etc. and it will give them back perfectly clean.
So, long story short, spend the extra couple hundred dollars on a good dishwasher with a food disposer; you’ll be glad you did. And for all those working on the puzzle, it is not a picture of our new or old dishwasher or microwave. But keep guessing. I promise it will start to become more apparent what it is in the next week or so.