Thread Number: 17388
Water usage in Kenmore Dishwasher
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Post# 285121   6/14/2008 at 01:30 (3,350 days old) by jeffg ()        

A few months ago we bought a new Kenmore dishwasher, and we're trying to understand something about it:

On every wash or rinse cycle, the dishwasher fills only to about 1" below the heating element before washing action starts. The water level at this point isn't high enough to even budge the float -- it's still sitting on the bottom of the tub.

If you stop the machine, turn the dial around and restart the same cycle, the machine *continues to fill* until it's right at the heating element, and the float has risen to engage its switch.

We're fairly sure this behavior has something to do with the dishwasher's Energy Star rating, and we're wondering two things:

1. How is it determining how much water has entered the tub, if the float isn't being used to monitor water levels, and

2. Is there any way to make it fill all the way to the heating element without having to stop/turn the dial/restart on every wash and rinse cycle? The difference between the two is only a few gallons per cycle, and we notice much better cleaning performance with the higher water level.

Thanks in advance for any info. Here's a link to the model:


Post# 285149 , Reply# 1   6/14/2008 at 07:22 (3,350 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        
timed fill

laundromat's profile picture
All dishwashers have a timed fill.That's why when you reset the cycle,if the water has not yet activaed the float, which will stop any more water from entering,more water comes in.I always listen to the sound of the recirculating water.If it sounds like the pump is straining or the water isn't circulating right,I stop it and pour a gallon of hot water in.I have a "Frigiscare"Pro series dishwasher.Your hot water presure may not be powerful enough.

Post# 285154 , Reply# 2   6/14/2008 at 08:00 (3,350 days old) by jeffg ()        

Thanks. I didn't know all DW's had a timed fill. Our last one (a 1985 Kenmore) filled to the bottom of the heater element on every fill, so I assumed it was using its float switch to monitor water levels.

We don't have a problem with our hot water pressure. Trust me on that one. :-)

If fills are timed, is there any way to adjust/lengthen this time? All exterior controls on this unit are mechanical (no electronic panel or buttons etc).

Post# 285162 , Reply# 3   6/14/2008 at 09:29 (3,350 days old) by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Jeff, this dishwasher is different than your old one. My Kenmore (although it's a tall tub) does not fill covering the heating element. It's actually doing what it is designed to do as well as how it's supposed to accomplish it. I have no cleaning peerformance problems with my dishwasher, I jsut accept the fact it doesn't use as much water. Are you sure you're turning the hot water tap on full force? I do have a suggestion. Measure the drain ater, since this is a portable. Can you put a 6 quart stock pot under the coupled hoses and let it drain into the pot? It appears it should use 1.4 gallons of waater per fill, based on user manual. And incidentally, the onnline manual has a misprint in cycle sequence for heavy and normal. Heavy is the 84 minute cycle. Normal and light have the same number of fills for both, the only difference is the normal button allows for water heat option to be used. Look at the cmoparable Whirlpool DP840 and notice cycle chart sequences for the 98, 90, and 85 minute cycles. Pretty much same gallon use/cycle as what's stated in the Kenmore manual. Unfortunately, the Kenmore manual uses cycle sequences when WP still had a separate starting point on the cycle dial for Normal and Light when in reality they both start at the same start point and have the same number of water changes.

Post# 285345 , Reply# 4   6/15/2008 at 14:19 (3,349 days old) by jeffg ()        

Bob, thanks very much for the info. We measured the water and it is using just under 1.5 gallons per fill.

If the timed fill can't be adjusted it's no big deal. It performs reasonably well at the lower water level.

Post# 285354 , Reply# 5   6/15/2008 at 16:14 (3,349 days old) by nmaineman36 ()        

Not all dishwashers have a timed fill. My Miele has metered fill. Regardless of water pressure it will sense how much water is going into the dishwasher and if the pump motor senses that it needs more water the machine will give it more. The sensing is part of a system he determines load size. if the dishwasher pump is satisfied with the amount of water it has it wont add water. But I have seen many times where the machine will stop to add more water and then kick the pump back on. Especially with big loads this happens and it makes sure that the dishwasher gets exactly what it needs. As Miele says as much water to get the job done and not a drop more.
I have even added more water than I needed to and find no difference in performance. Maytag at one time said that they used metered fill and had the timer as a back up in case the "metering " failed.

Post# 285604 , Reply# 6   6/16/2008 at 21:03 (3,347 days old) by stevet (palm coast florida)        
Don't do this at home!

Jeff, I guess you are like alot of us here.We love to hear lots of water getting pumped around the tank and when you open the door and don't see much water in the sump you may think you have something wrong but as explained by the guys above, your machine is working the way it was designed to operate.
If you actually do increase the water level, you could wind up extending the cycle times if the timer has to wait for the extra water to be heated and if there is no appreciable difference in performance, why change the water level?

Just the same, I have a Whirlpool DU950 with the sensor wash in my garage as our overflow machine and I have installed a Kitchenaid water valve with the flow washer removed which fills the WP right up to the point where the float cuts off the water which adds close to 2 gallons of extra water to the tank and I do it primarily so that when the machine fills in the purge portion, it fills up completely and pumps alot more water around in the 5-7 seconds it uses to purge which to me works like additional rinses. Sometimes the machine runs for a long time heating the water especially in the final rinse.However, it does have a default time where it quits heating and finally continues, especially in the cooler winter months.

I often throw my barbecue grilles and radiants into that unit and it does clean like you would not imagine so I think the extra water helps. Does a great job on dishes and casseroles too and I am using the Cascade Complete powder to wash them.

The machine will never dry like my good old Kitchenaids but I take the good with the bad!

Post# 285606 , Reply# 7   6/16/2008 at 21:24 (3,347 days old) by ultramatic52 ()        
Timed fill!!!

Hi everyone. Here in Mexico the water pressure is not enough to fill any dishwasher correctly. What I discovered is the water valves have some sort of pressure checks on the inside. I´ve removed them from mine and have no more filling problems which is a GU3600XTS Whirlpool dishwahser. I´ve done this to a lot of friends dishwasher and now they enjoy and love doing dishes in their dishwashers with no need of pre rinsing and getting sparkling clean loads. You need to unscrew the valve from the dishwasher, the first thing you will see is the water filter, remove it, then you will find a black O ring inserted on a white little thing (this part is different depending on the brand and model of dishwasher, GE and Frigidaire dishwasher have 2 rounded checks and need to be removed both, Whirlpools and Kenmores have this black O ring) . Remove this checks by inserting a small screwdriver on one of the holes it has (tiny) and pull hard until they´re out. You will notice that this checks don´t alow water to come in correctly if you dont have a good pressure. The hole remaining (valve´s hole) is big enough to let a lot of water in. Put the water filter in again. Screw what is needed, place the valve in the correct position, plug the hose and the cable and turn on your dishwasher. I can asure that doing this, you will have your dishwasher full at half the time it takes normally and the water level will reach the heating element as well giving as a result excellent performance in any brand of dishwasher.

By the way, European dishwasher (Bosch, AEG, Miele, etc) also have this checks but its more difficult to remove them since the valve is almost always at the back of the machine and you will need to remove all the cabinet to reach the valve, on the other way American dishwashers always have the water valve on the lower front right or left corner.

I hope this information is useful. I will try to make a video showing all you have to do to get this more clear.

Post# 285639 , Reply# 8   6/17/2008 at 06:03 (3,347 days old) by jeffg ()        
Guys, thanks.

Ultramatic, your post is especially interesting. Is the "little white thing" just a flow restrictor? I'm no stranger to removing those.. :-)

Post# 285648 , Reply# 9   6/17/2008 at 07:01 (3,347 days old) by logixx (Germany)        

logixx's profile picture
Don't know, whether it applies to your dishwasher but I found this on

"2007 E-Star Dishwasher"

- A flow meter is being incorporated into water inlet.
- The flow meter can fill to ±3% of water volume instead of by time.
- A typical fill of 6.8 liters becomes 6.5 liters, saving water.
- In low pressure situations, the dishwasher will fill with more water, up to 240 seconds,
resulting in better wash performance.

Post# 285778 , Reply# 10   6/18/2008 at 00:37 (3,346 days old) by ultramatic52 ()        

I´m sorry for my post. I guess "the white little thing is in fact a flow restrictor". I don´t know all the terms in english but try to do my best everytime I describe something in the page for you to understand.

By the way, I didn´t understand your comment"I'm no stranger to removing those.." What do you mean?

Thanks for understanding my situation of not being a native english speaker!!!

I hope my information was useful.

Post# 285784 , Reply# 11   6/18/2008 at 03:02 (3,346 days old) by jeffg ()        

ultramatic, yes your information is very useful. Thanks!

My comment had to do with the popularity of flow restrictors (in shower heads, faucet spouts etc) here in the States. I was just saying, I'm familiar with the concept of removing them.

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