Dishwater: fill valve question

I've had chronic problems with my 4-year-old Kitchenaid dishwasher leaving everything crusted with food particles.
I'm tempted to throw it away and get a Bosch.
When I open the door during a wash cycle, I notice that the heating element is not immersed. Should it be?
My model has the "food chopper" so there are no removable filters to clean.
I was reading about the possibility of a fill valve problem.
There is a "port" on the left side of the tub, about 6" up. It has a plastic nut. Should I try to remove this and check for a clogged screen?
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You probably have a plugged up screen filter at the point where the new water comes into the system. On mine, I take off the lower cover, and the pipe coming up through the floor can be seen. Then after turning off the water feed, I remove the valve and the water line, and the screen filter can be carefully removed and cleaned. When stopping your washer, you should have a significant level of water in the bottom of the washer. This is not the easiest diy project, but it is not the hardest either. --Phil
Mitch@this_is_not_a_real_address.com wrote:

--
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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A defective fill valve or clogged screen would slow the incoming water but not reduce its level. Look for a float switch which tells the DW it is full. It may be damaged or crudded up so that it trips too soon.
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Well, the tub seems to fill properly.
My tap water is 122 deg. I ran a cycle on High Temp, and when the "Heating Water" light went out, I opened the door and measured the water temp. It was only 129 deg.
This makes me wonder if the heating element works at all. Could just the circulation through the pump raise the water by 7 degrees?
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Well get out the multimeter and verify the heating coil has a low resistance (not sure what to expect but it won't be open).
Perhaps it dosent heat the water, maybe it makes steam or is used for the drying cycle. Does the drying cycle work. Having the heater just above the water so that what is dripping hits it makes sense if you want to make sanitizing steam, it takes less energy than trying to nearly boil 4-5 gallons.
7 deg is not much but it had to come from the heating element, you don't get magic heating by pumping it around. The setpoint may have been 129 deg. Maybe you need to find that thermostat.
You said it was 4 years old but it is a fancy model with many functions or just a basic model. A high energy star rating may imply that steam is more likely than heating a bunch of water.
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I'm pretty sure mine is, or it would not be able to heat the water for the sani cycle. KA machines are some of hte best for cleaning. There is obviously a problem that should have been corrected a long time ago. If you don't get good answers here, try www.applianceaid.com and www.repairclinic.com Worst case scenario, call the local service tech.
Read about Bosch here in rec.food.equipment. They have many problems also.
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In most dishwashers, I don't think the water is supposed to be covering the heating element. I went through the same thing when I was having a problem with my GE profile. I found a repair advice place on the web where it said it;s normal for water to be close to, but not covering the hit heating element. If it heats the water while it's flowing, it doesn't need to be immersed. It really doesn't take much water in these for the pump to operate. Do you hear the normal sound of water spraying around? If you really thing that is the problem, place a glass in the upper tray. It should fill with water in 60 secs (think that is right, could be 30) See how much water goes into it. Then you can stop the cycle, add more water with a pot, restart the test. I'm sure you'll find the rate of water flow is the same.
That was not the problem with mine when all of a sudden it wasn't cleaning correctly. If you search on the web, you can probably find the same info. I definitely think you're barking up the wrong tree. With mine, it worked fine till all of a sudden dishes were coming out not totally clean. And the food left on was not particularly hard to get off. First I thought it might be loading, but after several times, it was clear something else was going on.
So, I wound up taking it out, thinking something must be wrong with the pump, like the impeller was slipping or something. I took that sucker all apart and all I found was a little bit of paper in the filter, also some in one tip of the upper spray nozzle. Looked like it could have been some of those little labels from fresh vegetables. Certainly not enough to account for what was going on. Put it back together, and it's been running fine ever since.
I would go to one of the appliance repair sites on the web. They have parts diagrams that show how its all put together, so you can figure out where the filters are. They have to have them to catch dirt, prior to it being sent out into the waste. Mine are under the lower spray arm, which comes off so you can get to them.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

That's an interesting question that I wondered about too. I know I saw at a fix it site online that they said it's normal for the water to be close to, but not covering the heating element. That's how my GE works, it's definitly not over the element. Yet, for the final rinse, it will sit there silently for a couple mins, during which time I would think it's heating. I guess there are 2 possibilites:
1 - It heats with the element out of the water, which I guess could work, since it uses that same element in the air to dry
2 - It puts more water in for that cycle, but this seems less likely.
I think I'm going to stop mine next time and open it up to see!
KA machines are some of hte best for cleaning. There is

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Are you using liquid detergent? They suck. If you are, try a powder one with enzymes like Cascade complete.

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bosch isnt a cure all, I have one and its had expensive troubles. worse there are few parts sources, basically sears...
bosch are quiet and mine cleans well when a board or float switch isnt bad:( $$$$$
consumer reports says bosch is dead last for reability and I agree:( Probably wouldnt buy another one the circuit board that has failed twice is over half the cost of the machine
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Couple of hints:
I believe most dishwashers turn on the water to fill for a specific amount of time. During this time the float valve will shut off the water, usually nothing seems to be happening during this time. So listen to your fill cycle and see if it behaves this way.
Another problem is if something prevents all the water from being pumped out between cycles so that there is never really clean water. Check just when drain pump stops and see how much water remains.

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browse thru this site: http://fixitnow.com
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I've had similar problems with my Maytag due to hard water- still haven't gotten around to putting in water softener. I've taken things apart to clean out deposits, also run a cycle with Maytag or Jet-Dry dishwasher cleaner every few weeks. I agree on the enzyme detergents- since reading in CR that they are superior, I've used Kirklands from Costco with better results.
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Interesting. Really, really interesting. One of the tips I got was to run the water in the sink until it's hot, then start the dishwasher.
I used a temperature probe and realized that if I don't do this, the water only makes it up to about 125 degrees, WITH the heating cycle. Only about 104 degrees without it.
I've run about 5 loads now, using this tip, and absolutely NO food residue. And I was about to drop $1300 on a new Bosch!
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Yeah, I always bring my water up to temp, too. Often I'll step just down the hall and part fill the washing machine, so I'm not wasting the "warm up" water.
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