F1: flood switch activated

There we were, having a quiet evening. Just back from Portland, bags unpacked, laundry done. Quiet playing and reading before bed. When … the dishwasher began a loud, incessant beeping. We have one of those fancy schmancy 2-drawer dishwashers inherited from the previous owner who had finished a kitchen redo the year before we bought the house. With these dishwashers you can run the top or the bottom or both. I was running the top.

Mysteriously, when the beeping started, both drawers got in on the action. Beeping and flashing an F1 with little wrench next to it. How helpful. Wrench = something is wrong. OK. I’ll just turn off the power I thought. The dishwasher was having none of that. As soon as I turned the power button off on the bottom drawer, it went back on. Same with the top. It as like a toddler having a tantrum.

K said, “you should call someone. Call Daddy.” Ahem. I patiently explained that Daddy wouldn’t know any more about how to fix a dishwasher than I would and it was too late to call a repair person. I said, “I’ll find the manual.”

Hmm. Where is that manual? Didn’t I stow all the appliance manuals together in one handy place? I’m sure I did. But they’re not in the office closet. That’s where they should be. Beep! Beep! Beep. “Mommy, it’s getting louder.” Beep! Beep! I wonder to myself if I can just kick it? Or maybe I’ll let it beep all night. Except it feels really hot and is probably a fire danger. Imagining the headline, I go back to the office and look in the credenza. That’s where it is. All organized and tidy just like I remembered (just not in the location I remembered!).

The manual says F1 means “the flood switch has been activated” and to turn off the water source and power to the dishwasher; then call your authorized service representative. Oh fine. As if I know where the frick the water or power to that one appliance is. I guess it must be under the sink. I pull everything out. K says, “while you’re doing that, can I carve stamps?” “No, you cannot carve stamps. Mommy is dealing with an emergency and really needs to focus.”

After a few seconds of blind panic, I see the person who constructed the kitchen has put handy labels on the water tubing; one is labeled dishwasher. I turn it off. Beep! Beep! Beep! Oh yes, which of the 3 power cords is the dishwasher? I have a 33.33333% chance of pulling the right one. I do. Buoyant with girl power, we call it a night.

Next day … enter cute dishwasher repair guy from a local appliance service. I tell Dave what happened. He says, “yep.” I say, “Do you know why it happened?” He says, “yep.” I hesitate … “So what was it?”

Turns out I was using the wrong dishwasher detergent. Despite it’s fancy schmancy-ness, this dishwasher doesn’t work well with liquid (unlike the fancy-schmancy washing machines). The extra bubbles caused several parts to rupture. Surprisingly, it took 5 years to happen … I guess, really, lucky me!

So Dave goes about fixing. I go back to work. Then Dave calls out, “do you want to see it?” More than anything. He shows me the tube that has snapped in half. And also the piece of glass he unearthed from the “trap.”

Dave is quite stern, “When you break a glass, you have to clean out the trap or it will grind down the mechanical parts. Do you clean the trap every month?” I say, “Um, well no. I didn’t realize there even was a trap.” Dave looks over to the manual, which I’ve left on the counter. “Did you read the manual? You have to read the manual.”

I figure it’s pointless to explain that I didn’t actually buy the dishwasher and so I never felt compelled to study it. Beyond looking at it briefly to figure out the basics, I haven’t touched it in 5 years. So instead I nod meekly and agree that reading the manual is exactly what I should do.

I learn that I should be rotating the drawers instead of primarily using the top one or else the parts will wear out unevenly, creating more service needs. Dave then instructs me to use the “jet dry” feature (more news to me!) and shows me how to properly load the dishwasher after informing me that I’ve been doing it incorrectly. And incorrect loading can prevent a tight seal and more F1s. He looks pointedly at me, “It’s all there in the manual.” Finally, Dave asks to see the plates we use. He places several in the dishwasher and tells me they’re OK. Whew! I passed one test right! Apparently, many people have dishes that are too big to fit properly and there are seal problems (again with the seal problems).

Just before he goes, Dave recaps everything I need to correct for the proper care of my dishwasher unless, that is, I want to see him every six months. I make notes.

To the backdrop of the once again quietly humming dishwasher I begin to see parallels between dishwashers and life. And this is what I conclude: if you have a manual, read it. And if you have the manual but don’t read it, at least know where you put it. Thanks Dave.

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5 Responses to “F1: flood switch activated”

  1. Lauri Says:

    I don’t know. It sounds to me like Dave needs to relax and appreciate the fact that it’s people like us who keep people like him in business. Maybe I’ll go back to handwashing because I sure as hell don’t want to read the manual – assuming I could find it, which I think I could, maybe.

  2. Michelle Moore Says:

    Actually, it sounds to me like Dave was kind of hot, ditch the manual…

  3. Martha Says:

    How terrible! I’m going to go read my dishwasher manual right now!

  4. Viviane Maino Says:

    Same just happened to me today. Think I’ll have to call one Dave guy to fix it.

  5. Kitchenaid kudc03fvss Says:

    Kitchenaid kudc03fvss…

    […]F1: flood switch activated «[…]…

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