Dishwashers are invented to save homeowners the time to clean their dishes and cookwares. They use less water per round of cleaning as compared to manual washing, especially when you come from a large household.
You have probably heard of standalone dishwashers and you are thinking of making a switch. Or you’re just here simply to know if a built-in dishwasher is a worthy investment.
As always, the best choice would be dependent on your actual needs and kitchen design. It helps to know the types of built-in dishwashers, how to choose and their cons. Lastly, the budget you have to invest in one.
Also as important, descalers and cleaning aids to have on hand for your appliances to function as good as new for a long time.
BUILD-IN DISHWASHERS AND TYPES
A built-in dishwasher is a kitchen appliance that helps to wash your dirty dishes and designed to match seamlessly with the rest of your kitchen decor.
Also known as an integrated dishwasher, it is meant to fit neatly beneath the countertop. Sometimes with a custom cabinet door to fully conceal it when not in use.
Built-in dishwashers normally have more advanced functions as compared to freestanding dishwashers. Specialised wash cycles and targeted sprays for big cookware are examples.
This kitchen appliance is especially ideal for homes with more than 2 people, where a large number of dirty dishes are expected at one time. Built-in dishwashers can either be be fully integrated or semi-integrated.
Fully integrated dishwashers
Fully integrated dishwashers will likely be the quieter models. They are designed to be fully concealed, including the control panel. Highly appealing for its seamless look across the kitchen cabinetry.
Semi-integrated dishwashers are also designed to fit nicely in your kitchen cabinets like a fully integrated model. However, this type has its control panel features on the exterior of the door, at the top. They are more traditional and amongst the lower priced.
No matter which type of built-in dishwasher you are planning on taking, they are all supposed to save space in your kitchen, by being somewhere fitted near your sink.
HEAT DRYING VS CONDENSATION DRYING
It is one of those factors to prioritise when you are looking for one – the drying process.
The drying function of a built-in dishwasher saves you even more time and effort. All that’s left to do is to put away the clean dishes and utensils.
Image credit | BELLINGHAM ELECTRIC
Heat drying refers to producing hot air by having the air fans to push steam through exhaust vents. Although this method will dry your dishes fast and spotless, it consumes a lot of energy.
Condensation drying is a process that happens when dishes are rinsed with hot water at the last cleaning cycle. Condensation forms on the cooler surface of the stainless steel interiors of the dishwasher. This would dry off the dishes.
Logically, condensation drying would use less energy as compared to the heat drying process. However, as it is ‘air-dried’, you might need to still manually wipe the damp dishes yourself.
Bottomline, it’s speed versus energy.
Either methods, it’s best to maximise the drying process with a few simple rules of thumb:
- Avoid overloading: Allow spaces between your dishes and/or pots for better water and air circulation.
- Open the dishwasher door after each cleaning cycle to allow steam to escape.
- Empty racks from bottom to up.
- Recommended to use a rinse aid to speed up the drying process.
The good news is: the newer built-in dishwasher models come with both drying options, giving you more flexibility to choose.
SIZE AND CAPACITY
Dishwasher dimensions vary from brands and models.
Precise measurements should be taken prior to purchasing a built-in dishwasher. Having the measurements will help to filter your options better.
One should know the depth, width and height space that can fit the appliance. In general, the common sizes for built-in dishwashers are:
- 810-850mm high,
- 540-570mm deep, and
- 585-606mm wide.
It is always good to leave a bit of room around the dishwasher, with an extra depth of 20-30mm to allow for cable space.
One must also account for ‘hidden’ measurements, like the dishwasher’s handle and potential added floor layering.
Those who are planning on buying the fully integrated built-in dishwasher should include the dimension of the matching front cabinet panel.
Image credit | WHIRLPOOL
Also important to note: measure enough room in front of the dishwasher. You will need to account for comfortable space to load and unload the dishes, while still having space to move around the kitchen.
CONS OF BUILT-IN DISHWASHERS
Unlike a freestanding dishwasher, a built-in dishwasher is permanently installed into your kitchen. It will get left behind when you move. As such, built-in dishwashers are not recommended for a rental home or apartment.
Secondly, although built-in dishwashers make your space less cluttered, which is especially useful for smaller sized kitchens, permanent installation means that it is taking up spaces that you could have used for extra cabinets or drawers.
It is a considerable amount of storage space to give up. So this is a point to ponder upon for those making the switch from a freestanding to a built-in dishwasher.
Lastly, a built-in dishwasher must be installed, leading to additional costs, should a plumber be hired to help you connect the water lines. More costs will definitely be incurred if further modifications are needed to have your kitchen cabinetry to have the needed opening.
In summary, the downside of built-in dishwashers:
- Will get left behind when moving out.
- Reduces potential cabinet or drawer space.
- Expensive installation, modification and maintenance.
CLEANING AND DESCALING A BUILT-IN DISHWASHER
Like any other household appliances, especially for one that is used as regularly as the dishwasher, you need to correctly clean them so they can function efficiently over a long period of time.
Dealing with waters leads to limescale buildup. Over time, food residues like grease, starch and protein, will clog the drain and spray arms. Built up limescale and grease are usually in the hidden areas and hard-to-reach parts of the dishwasher.
For homes in areas with hard water, rinse agents are especially useful. They help to gett rid of water spots, leaving the dishes shiny and sparkling.
When you have a built-in dishwasher, make cleaning and descaling a weekly and/or monthly habit. The following recommended products can help built-in dishwashers last longer and remain consistently efficient over a long period of time.
All 4 products are from the same brand, Finish. Finish is a trusted brand for dishwasher detergents. They have a range of products that are well trusted by consumers for decades.
RECOMMENDED ITEM 1: QUANTUM DISHWASHER DETERGENT TABLETS
Purpose: To remove the tougher stains, mess and grease, resulting in clean and shiny dishes.
RECOMMENDED ITEM 2: FINISH QUANTUM JET-DRY RINSE AGENT
Purpose: Works with the detergent to rinse the stubborn stains, especially on plastics, cutleries and tupperwares. This product would also dry dishes faster and prevent water spots (especially on your clear glassware)!
RECOMMENDED ITEM 3: FINISH DISHWASHER CLEANER
Purpose: To remove hard water stains and limescale buildup in hidden and/or important parts of the dishwasher like the spray arms, filter and pipe. It can be used during the regular load cycle, saving you a cycle and that means saving you a bit more electrical energy.
RECOMMENDED ITEM 4: FINISH HARD WATER BOOSTER POWDER
Purpose: As the name suggests, to boost the detergent strength for clean dishes. Aids in removing spots, residues and hard water film. As well as mineral buildup in the dishwasher. Leaves a delicate lemon scent.
DO YOU NEED A BUILT-IN DISHWASHER?
Whether it is a standalone or a fully integrated built-in dishwasher, it all boils down to every individual’s wants and needs.
It depends on what the household needs. Like how often cooking happens in the kitchen and how many people are living in a single home.
There are also other important factors like kitchen space, financial budget and even, how permanent is the home?
Owning a built-in dishwasher might be considered as a good investment for some. And it must be known that cleaning and maintenance is just a part of the commitment.
Buying one for a new home should be simple. But If you’re making the switch from a standalone to a built-in dishwasher, make sure you plan and rearrange cabinet space to make up. Head over to another article if you need inspiration for interior design ideas for the kitchen!
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