We use dishwashers to clean plates and pans, but how does a portable dishwasher work? While it’s become a staple in many homes around the world, few are familiar with the process. In this guide we’re going to explain how does a dish washer work, because while there are differences they follow the same general principles.
Step by Step: How a Dishwasher Functions
The following is an outline of how a typical dishwashing machine works.
- Cold water is sent into the dishwasher from your house’s water supply.
- At the bottom of the machine is a heating element. Running on electricity, this heating element increases the water’s temperature from 30–60°C (86–140°F). This increase in temperature is higher than what we use when hand washing dishes, and it is better at killing bacteria too.
- A pump at the bottom of the dishwasher sends water along the side walls. The water enters through openings in the bottom steel paddle, causing it to rotate. The bottom paddle on dishwashers is constructed from metal as it needs to be durable enough to cope with the high temperatures.
- At the upper paddle (usually made of plastic), cooler water enters, causing it to spin as well. Plastic paddles are permissible here because the upper half of a dishwasher is cooler, so there’s no harm done.
- Once the water has bounced off your dishes and pans, it is drawn back to the bottom of your dishwasher where the system heats it again and is then pumped and circulated.
That, in essence, is how the dishwasher works, but to better understand how it functions, we should examine it’s other aspects.
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Why is a Detergent Required by a Dishwasher?
A solid or liquid form detergent is required by a dishwasher to break down the grime and grease on your dishes. To use a detergent, you load it into the machine’s dispenser by the dishwasher door. After you turn on the dishwasher, the dispenser opens, dropping the detergent into the hot water at the bottom.
Detergents for dishwashers function the same way as detergents for clothes. The ingredients have been specially chosen for removing different types of food deposits on your dishes and cutlery. In addition, detergents include anti-corrosion chemicals and water softeners to keep the dishwasher from rusting. Most of these detergents also have fragrances and scents to remove unpleasant smells. Some detergents also require salt to minimize timescale and keep their water filters in good condition.
Control Mechanisms in a Dishwasher
To understand how does a dishwasher drain water we have to take a closer look at its control mechanism. This is situated inside the control panel on the door, and most units use a basic system: a timer is included to determine the duration of each cycle. The timer also switches on the appropriate function at the right time, i.e. draining, wash spray and detergent dispenser among others. More expensive dishwashers have a computerized system with extra features and child safety enhancements.
- Intake valve: this is where the water from your home supply goes into the dishwasher. It doesn’t pump water into the basin: what happens is when the intake valve is opened, water pressure draws water in the dishwasher.
- Pump: dishwasher pumps are powered by an electric motor, and it forces water in the spray arms during a pump cycle. In a drain cycle the pump points the water in a drain hose. Today’s dishwashers use either a reversible or direct drive pump.
- A reversible pump switches from delivering water into the spray arms to drain water pumping by reversing the motor’s direction, and they are mounted vertically.
- Direct drive pump motors operate in one direction, so the flow direction is changed via a solenoid that closes and opens the right valves. These pumps are often mounted horizontally.
Dishwashers can be installed permanently or sport a portable design: the portable ones come with a finished top and sides for use on a kitchen countertop.
Understanding Your Dishwasher
Understanding how a dishwasher works internally will help you to be able to better maintain your unit as well as troubleshoot any problems that may arise. Learning about your dishwasher will take the mystery out of what is going on when using your machine beyond what is listed in your owners manual.
This guide on how does a dishwasher drain hose work is a general one, and competition has led to the addition of new features to make them easier to use. Make sure to read the user guide that came with your dishwasher to maximize it’s potential.
If you are experiencing a drain clog with your dishwasher or any other component of your home in Charlotte County, please call a professional, Call Protek Plumbing and Drain Specialists at 941-575-7324