Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's that burning smell? Oh, it's just my dishes.

I'm sort of paranoid about my dishwasher catching on fire and burning my house down. I know that seems like an irrational fear, but when I was in middle school, my dad's dishwasher caught on fire while we were out of the house and caused a substantial amount of damage, so it's not like it can't happen. Every time I turn the dishwasher on before I leave the house, I'm thinking in the back of my mind how my dogs are going to perish--not that it keeps me from taking the gamble. My dishes need to get clean, after all, and the thing is kind of loud.

Considering my fear of dishwasher meltdown, you can imagine my horror at detecting a burning smell this morning while putting away my clean dishes. Where was that coming from? I opened my kitchen window, thinking maybe it was just the neighbor's house burning down. Nope. Not coming from outside. I pulled out the bottom rack of my dishwasher and, to my dismay, saw this:

This is the heating element at the bottom of my dishwasher, and the brown stuff would be the burnt calcium deposits I scraped off of it with my finger nail.

Admittedly, I probably should have cleaned the white calcium deposits off of my heating element a long time ago, but what the heck??? Why did it get so hot as to burn the stuff off? Are all my dishes going to turn brown now?

Unfortunately, I am married to an incredibly un-handy man, so fixing this problem is pretty much up to me. So far, I've poured some vinegar in the bottom and run an empty cycle, but I think I may need to get in there with some Lime Away and scrub. I'm more than a little concerned, though, that even if I get the element clean, my house is going to burn down. If the dishwasher is getting so hot as to burn itself up, isn't it only a matter of time before the dishes explode? Or am I just being dramatic?

Good thing I have tea to calm my nerves. I took a picture, since I had the camera out in the kitchen anyway, of my tea cabinet. I mentioned my love of tea before, but I thought a picture would give you all a better idea of what kind of a tea-obsessed freak you are dealing with here. Behold:

Sadly, this is what my cabinet looks like when I'm running low. I'm hoping to make it to the Asian market sometime this weekend to stock up on my loose-leaf jasmine.

Anyway, if anybody has any experience with DIY dishwasher fixes, I would be very happy to get a few tips. If I don't respond, you are too late and I burned up in the fire.

UPDATE 6/3/2010:

My dishwasher has been RECALLED due to fire hazard!  Ha!  I knew it!!!
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