Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.
A New LG Dishwasher! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
I was excited to get a new dishwasher. My wife and I picked out a great-looking unit at Lowe's. It had stainless steel exterior and a stainless steel tub inside as well. It had "LoDecibel" 48dB Quiet Operation, nice-looking purple plastic trim on the dish racks, and a "Smart Diagnosis" feature, which, unfortunately, I had to use within the first week of owning the new dishwasher.
What could possibly go wrong with a brand new dishwasher? Plenty, as you'll find out. I should mention that this was a brand new one. It was new in the box—not a returned item or a "scratch and dent" sale item. The dishwasher was delivered new in the box, and the Lowe's delivery guys even unpacked it for me.
I installed the unit very carefully, intending for it to last a very long time. Its useful life was less than a week as it turned out.
Problems With My New LG Dishwasher
Here are the issues this dishwasher had.
1. Strange Sounds
The first problem I noticed with my new LG dishwasher was fairly minor, and I was willing to live with it. Even though it was advertised as being quiet, it made some strange noises. I guess technically the dishwasher may have been quiet if measured with a sound meter, but the noises it made were distracting. It sounded sort of like a helicopter taking off or something. Even though my old dishwasher was louder, its sound was more consistent and blended into the background better. The LG made some chopping and rattling sounds that were hard to ignore. But I was willing to try.
2. "tE" Error = Temperature Error
So I was willing to ignore some obnoxious sounds, but the "the" error could not be ignored. After starting my third load of dishes in the brand new dishwasher, it beeped and displayed "the" error code on the display. The "the" error caused the dishwasher to stop running. I figured it was probably something minor that would be cleared by turning the power off and back on. Since I had just finished installing the unit, I had the manual handy and checked the "the" error code. It stands for Temperature Error. The recommended action is to call for service.
Bad news. Is a three-day-old dishwasher already broken down!? It would start to fill with water, and the "the" could would come on after about a minute. I decided to turn it off and try again. "The" error again. Another try and I got another "the" error. I did see that the LG has a Smart Diagnosis feature, so I downloaded the LG app on my cell phone. You can push a button on the dishwasher and it makes sounds like an old-fashioned modem. You can hold the phone near the dishwasher when it is playing its diagnostic data and you can get a diagnostic report. This report also confirmed that the unit had a Temperature Error and that the next step was to have the unit repaired.
Some research on the internet showed that the "the" error could be caused by a bad thermistor, a bad computer board, or by a faulty cable in the cable harness. I called LG to report the problem, and they scheduled a repairman to stop by. The time window was between 8am to 5pm. I'm glad they could narrow that down so I could plan my day...
3. Leaking Water!
I called the local repair shop the next morning to try to find out what time they could check the dishwasher. The repairman was able to stop by in the early afternoon, and I drove home to meet him. When I arrived home, I found water on the floor behind the dishwasher.
I was surprised to see water leaking behind the dishwasher. Since the water hook-up was on the front, I expected to see a leak there if I didn't get the supply line tightened up enough. But why would there be water leaking out the back of the dishwasher? Good thing the repairman was on the way.
Good Advice From a Dishwasher Repairman
When the repairman arrived, I briefly mentioned the two major problems: the dishwasher would not run due to the "tE" error, and there was a puddle of water in the back. The repairman decided to check out the puddle of water first. He could see it leaking. He slid the dishwasher out and tipped it at a 45 degree angle so he could check out the bottom. He checked it out from inside as well and said that it was leaking around the sump.
The repairman couldn't find a way to tighten or adjust anything to stop the leaking—he would probably need to order parts to repair the leaking. Yikes!
Next he put the unit back in place and investigated the "the" error. Sure enough, it happened again. He said he could take it apart and try to isolate the problem, but first he asked how long I had owned the unit. I replied about one week. Next, he asked if I knew the return policy of the store where I bought it. This was a great question, and it made me realize that a smart thing to do would be to return the unit and get something different. LG paid for the service call since the unit was under warranty, but I decided not to have the repairman work on it and exchange it for another dishwasher instead.
I called Lowe's to explain the situation and they said to come in and pick out a different one. I made it clear that I was interested in looking at other brands, and the appliance manager said that was fine.
Replacing the LG With a Bosch
After checking around, I decided that Bosch was one of the most reliable brands around. A couple houses ago, I installed a Bosch dishwasher and really liked it. I also talked with an appliance repairman who said that Bosch was at the top of his list for the most reliable dishwasher brands.
The only trouble I have with Bosch is pronouncing the name. I used to think it was pronounced to sort of rhyme with "post", but I think it is supposed to rhyme with "tosh" as in macintosh.
Anyway, I decided to replace the LG with a Bosch and hauled the broken unit back to Lowe's to exchange. I really wanted something in stock that I could install right away. I had lots of dishes piling up since I did not have a working dishwasher. Unfortunately, Lowe's did not have any Bosch in stock. It would take four days or so to get one in.
Next, we tried Best Buy. I have a Lowe's card that I use to get 5% off and Best Buy has a 5% rewards program. I would rather have the cash discount that rewards points, but at least they have something. The thing Best Buy did not have, however, was Bosch dishwashers in stock. This was not going very well...
I called up a local appliance shop. They had several models of Bosch in stock, so we headed over. This place had a great showroom, and the sales people there really seemed to know their stuff. The prices were a little higher, but we found a Bosch model there that was priced lower than at Lowe's or Best Buy. This was turning out OK after all.
Testing the New Bosch Dishwasher
I am running the second load in the new Bosch dishwasher now. It does not make distracting sounds like the LG dishwasher, and so far there are no error codes or leaks. It is worth noting that the sound level rating on the LG was 48 dBA and the sound level rating on the Bosch is 44dBA. The way that the dBA scale works, this means that the sound level from the Bosch is less than half as much as the LG.
This dishwasher does seem sturdier and is much quieter than the LG. I thought they both did a good job of getting dishes clean.
One thing that I noticed when installing the Bosch is that the water supply hook-up and electrical hook-up are in the back of the unit.
Most dishwashers, including my troubled LG, have the supply lines running under the dishwasher with the hook-ups on the front. Having the hook-ups in the back makes more sense. You can still slide the unit out to work on it, so this works fairly well.
Instead of using wire nuts to connect the electrical supply, you can use an appliance power cord that clicks into place in the back and just plug this into an outlet. This power cord was not included with the Bosch—I had to run to the store to pick this up when I realized that it was not included.
The Bosch did include the water supply hose. So I can return the appliance cord that uses wire nuts to connect and the dishwasher water hook-up hose that I bought to install the LG and get about $30 back.
What I Learned From the LG Dishwasher Problems
- Don't repair a new appliance that has multiple problems, You may be better off exchanging it if you are still within the appliance store's return period.
- Call the manufacturer and have them pay for a repairman to come out if the appliance is still under warranty.
- The sound ratings on dishwashers (dBA) may not capture how quiet they seem in your home. The LG model made a lot of distracting sounds even though it was rated as a quiet model.
- Small local appliance stores may be able to compete with the "big box" stores, but do you homework to make sure you are getting a good price. The service and selection they provide may be better than a big box store that sells lots of other things in addition to just focusing on appliances.
- If you can get 5% off at Lowe's using their credit card, this is better than getting 5% rewards points at Best Buy since the rewards points are only good at Best Buy. Cash is good anywhere.
- Talk to an appliance repairman about what appliance brands they would recommend. This may help you avoid getting a "lemon."
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2015 Dr Penny Pincher
BooWho on January 18, 2018:
Personally, I don't think you got a lemon. You just got an LG. I've had that brand in a dishwasher, a fridge, and a washer. They have all passed on. The first 18 months I owned the fridge a piece of plastic would fly out and hit me in the face every single time I opened the door. The washer couldn't get passed its codes. We had several repairmen out and nothing seemed to fix it for long. The locally-owned store where we bought it would do nothing. The dishwasher had a repair policy on it that stated if they came out more than three times in a calendar year they would replace it. They came out five times -- didn't replace it -- we bought a different brand and did not buy another repair policy. Didn't have any luck with the Bosch dishwasher either but seem to be fine with the current Kitchenaid. After all this, my take is modern appliances aren't worth buying and they certainly aren't worth fixing.
Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on January 27, 2015:
Moonlake, I am sorry to hear about the trouble you are having with your Bosch. Yes, hopefully the design has improved for newer models, I would be disappointed if it has major problems after only 5 years. Thanks for voting up!
moonlake from America on January 26, 2015:
Good luck with your Bosch. I just had the repairman here last month for my Bosch it was only 5 years old. It was washing dishes for at least 6 hours, nothing coming out clean. I can't say I have been happy with it. I've always had dishwashers and they lasted a lot longer. I couldn't afford a new one so I had to get this one fixed. The repairman told me there was nothing new about this problem with the Bosch. You have a brand new model so maybe they have fixed the problem I had. Voted up on your Hub.
Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on January 26, 2015:
FlourishAnyway, I am really happy we ended up with the Bosch! It was worth going through the trouble of returning the LG to get something better. My wife is wondering when I will be done "testing" the new dishwasher so she can have a turn running it...
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 26, 2015:
Both my mother and I have the Bosch dishwasher and love it. Sorry you got the lemon LG first.