The Mysterious Microwave and Dishwasher Diagnostic Dilemma

Jason Nobles May 11, 2021

In most cases, modern dishwashers and over-the-range microwaves no longer make sense to repair despite their young age, price, or pleasant appearance. If you want to understand how to determine the best course of action if your dishwasher or over-the-range microwave breaks down, then you are in the right place.

Modern dishwashers are very different from their long-life predecessors of earlier generations. The U.S. government, via the E.P.A., imposes strict limitations on the amount of energy and water an automatic dishwasher can consume. These limitations have had a deleterious effect on the quality of the cleaning you will experience.

The reduction in the use of water combined with weakened pumps and motors has created a poor cleaning effect. This effect has lead consumers to seek out evermore concentrated soaps and dishwasher cleaning products to remedy the situation and restore the dishwasher to health.

The use of concentrated soaps and adulterated cleaning products has further exacerbated the problem with dishwasher cleaning quality. When used over a few years, these concentrated products can damage seals and o-rings within the appliance infrastructure.

The damage caused by the use of ill-advised soaps and cleaning products ultimately fails the main pump, drain pump, heater, or tub seal. The cost of repairs to your dishwasher once it has begun to leak can be high.

I have written an entire article about the modern phenomenon of over-soaping. That article explains the problem and what you can do to restore your appliance to health. You can view that article here.

Since modern luxurious homes have no walls separating the kitchen from the leisure areas, the level of sound a dishwasher produces is very important. Reducing the total amount of sound the dishwasher emits during operation is another weakening process. The pumps and motors become weaker to make the dishwasher quieter and obtain a low decibel rating—the lower decibel rating results in a highly desired product. The consumer is often willing to pay significantly more for a quieter product. But, that silent dishwasher has been weakened considerably and will likely fail within the first five years to seven years of operation.

When these dishwashers break down, the repairs are often expensive. There are very few repairs that are less than two hundred dollars. Even to remedy a small leak after years of over-soaping, most repairs may require rebuilding or replacing the main pump, heater, or seals.

For that reason, I recommend that you consider the wear and tear of the dishwasher, the potentially high cost of repair, the cost of a commensurate replacement, and your level of enjoyment the dishwasher provides before scheduling a diagnostic appointment.

Over-the-range microwaves also do not make sense to repair in most cases. The process of diagnosing a malfunctioning microwave requires the removal of the unit from its installed location. Then I must disassemble the unit and perform various tests to isolate the cause of the failure.

The process of diagnosing a microwave requires more time and labor, and therefore, the diagnostic charge is more than a regular service call.

Modern microwave problems are in three categories. These problems are door switch issues, computer or control issues, and high-voltage issues. Repairing the control or a high voltage issue is usually cost-prohibitive. These types of repairs can exceed four hundred dollars and rarely make sense to carry out.

For that reason, I also recommend that you consider the wear and tear of the microwave, the potentially high cost of repair, the cost of a commensurate replacement, and your level of enjoyment the microwave provides before scheduling a diagnostic appointment.

The cost to diagnose an appliance in its location without removal is $93.60. Most of the time, I will need to uninstall the microwave or dishwasher to diagnose correctly. The cost to remove a dishwasher or a microwave to diagnose is $153.90. All diagnostic charges are part of the total repair cost.

Lastly, I do not install microwaves or dishwashers and cannot assist with their removal. I recommend that you purchase your new appliance from a reputable local dealer that will install it for you. In our area, there is Mattern's Ridge Appliances and Sanatoga Corporation.

If you have decided to have a diagnostic appointment, then please call me first to discuss. Because of all the problems mentioned, I do not allow microwave and dishwasher appointment scheduling online.