Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Call

I got that call that every husband dreads...No, no that one...The one where the wife says something like...

"There's water dripping."

How much? How big exactly is a drip? Ok, how big is a big drip? Where? What were you doing? Have you checked the basement? Outside the house, too?


Visions of economic disaster danced through my head. We had just paid the next installment on college tuitions and Xmas, and now this. Driving home with a sense of urgency and being careful to stop at all the yellow lights in Rockwood, I mentally calculated the thousands of dollars that could possibly be involved in the simple statement, "There's water dripping."

Donning my trusty LED headlamp I went on a spelunking expedition under the kitchen sink. Talk about scary. There are superfund sites with fewer hazardous chemicals than the average American sink cabinet. Everything was tight and dry under there so the diagnosis was clear...We would be washing dishes by hand for a few days.

I don't know much about dishwashers, but I think that, with the possible exception of the artificial heart, the dishwasher is the greatest achievement of modern science and manufacturing. The beer cooler is obviously third.

Humankind cannot live without the modern dishwasher (THIS kind of humankind, at any rate), but why do they go bad, and how long are they supposed to last? The great minds of the 21st century must know. I didn't find out why they go bad, but I did find several handy charts showing how long various things around the house are supposed to last. I say "several charts" because I did notice that the ones that the appliance manufacturing associations have seem to say we should be replacing perfectly good gadgets at seriously short intervals. My theory on this is that if it ain't broke, give it a couple of weeks.

Most of the charts seemed to say dishwashers live about 10 years, though, and since we've gotten 15 out of this one, I'll just sigh and get ready to write more checks. Looking around at all the other machinery in the house, we replaced most of the appliances pretty close to what the charts predict, plus a few years, except for the Maytag Neptune washer, which was a piece of bleep. I guess I may as well start budgeting for a new hot water heater and heating and airconditioning system.

The charts say we've beaten the odds by several years and we're due for disaster.

I'm ready.



ps: The links above take you to one set of charts so you can see how long your precious appliances have to live. Don't let it depress you.

1 comment:

  1. We lost our water heater last Xmas and replaced our heating/air last July (to the tune of $12k as we added an additional return and augmented ducting - it is marvelous and our energy bills have been cut ~40% but still), our dishwasher should be replaced but unless it breaks down we'll wait another year. I can't wait for the next big one (roof).