Mailbag: Winterizing a Dishwasher

cedarsyrup wrote:

I have a dishwasher (whirlpool) in a summer camp. Do I need to do anything to protect it from freezing?

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Message sent from IP:

Excellent question, and the short answer is an emphatic “oui, oui!”

Two methods are commonly used to winterize wet appliances: the dry method and the wet method. Briefly, the dry method involves draining every last bit of water from the appliances using compressed air and requires more technical expertise. In the wet method, you run a nontoxic, potable antifreeze (propylene glycol or “the pink stuff”) through the working parts of the appliance. For home appliances in most parts of the sub-arctic northern latitudes, including my beloved home state of New Hampshire, the wet method provides adequate protection (and it’s a whole lot less hassle). So, that’s what I’ll describe.

The first step for winterizing your dishwasher (and generally all wet appliances) is to make sure that the dishwasher is as empty of water as it can get after a normal wash cycle. If residual water remains in the basin, sop it up with a sponge. Then, turn off the household water supply, open every single faucet in the house and leave them that way. Pour about half a gallon of PINK antifreeze–not the green or blue stuff, just the pink stuff–into the basin of the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher so it pumps the antifreeze around for a few seconds and then turn it off. You’re done.

Have a good winter. See you next summer!


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