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call Tri-Lakes Repair!

(231) 347-6913


serving Northern Lower Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some answers to common questions we receive about appliances. Please complete our Repair and Parts Inquiry Form with any additional questions.

  1. What appliance brand or model has the least repair costs?

    When making any major purchases, people want to know about quality and other costs of ownership. The truth is every brand and every model has its issues. We suggest researching any appliance purchase thoroughly using Consumer Reports or a similar site. Also ask your friends -- they are a great source of information.

  2. Why is my dishwasher not cleaning my dishes?

  3. There are a few things you should know before scheduling a service call: Check out our links page, too.

    • Water Temperature

    • You can check this easily: let the cycle start, open the door, and use a kitchen thermometer to measure the water temperature. It should be about 120 degrees, but no more! -- this is ideal for the new enzyme-based detergents. If the water is too hot it will kill the enzymes in the detergent. If you find the water is not hot enough, try running the hot water in your sink before each load -- this gets the hot water into the pipes. The newer dishwashers use very little water, and water sitting in the pipes cools down in only a few minutes.

    • Dishwasher Detergent

    • Michigan along with many other states has banned the use of phosphates in residential dishwasher detergent as of July 1, 2010. Once down the drain, the phosphates make it into our lakes and rivers. Phosphates increase the amount of algae in the water which reduces the amount of oxygen available to aquatic life. The decline in water quality affects fish and waterfowl populations and ultimately the use of our lakes and streams for recreational purposes, impacting the state’s tourism industry. Phosphates condition hard water to help the detergent dissolve. The new detergents are enzyme-based; their cleaning characteristics are different from the previous phosphate-based detergents. Enzymes need organic matter to activate. If you prewash your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, the enzymes will not activate and your dishes will be less clean than if you had not prewashed them.

      Try a different detergent. You may find that another brand or form of detergent works better for your situation. One detergent we suggest trying is Finish Quantum dishwasher tablets. This detergent addresses the stains using a bleach additive, deals with proteins using an enzyme base, and incorporates a rinse agent to help sheet the food and water off your dishes. The use of dishwasher tablets also prevents using too much detergent. There is a tendency to use way too much detergent; however, more is not better in using dishwasher detergent -- too much actually decreases the effective cleaning action of the dishwasher.

      Make sure you are using a rinse agent like Jet Dry for every load. If you have an automatic rinse agent dispenser try turning the setting up so it uses more agent. Some dishwasher detergents include a rinse agent but you still may need to use regular rinse agent anyway.


    • Owner's Manual

    • Finally, make sure you have read your owner’s manual -- even if you’ve had a dishwasher for years. For instance, you will read that your newer machine uses less water, less detergent, and longer cycle times to achieve the desired cleaning effect. Most manuals will also give recommendations on how to load and position dishes in your dishwasher for the best cleaning performance.


  4. Hard Water Problems

    If you live in Northern Michigan, you have hard water! Dishwasher performance is greatly hindered by hard water. If you have a water softener make sure it is operating correctly. If you do not have softened water, you will get mineral build-up, which will eventually clog the water pores and diminish cleaning action. Using a dishwasher cleaner such as Lemi Shine Dishwasher Cleaner or AFRESH once a month will get rid of mineral deposits and soap residue. If the problem is lime buildup, you can use a product called Sparkle, which is sold at most janitorial supply companies. These are safe and effective products as long as the directions are followed. Another remedy that may work for you is to routinely run a gallon of white vinegar through a full cycle without dishes every month to prevent major build-up. Adding a couple teaspoons of table salt to the detergent will help soften the water during the wash cycle if you do not have softened water.

To schedule service, please call (231) 347-6913 or complete our Repair Inquiry Form.