ME and Ophelia

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

And frost free freezer

On December 6, my order of a new Hotpoint Aquarius Slimline Dishwasher SDW60 (£302) and Hotpoint Frost Free Freezer FZA30 (£299) arrived.

They were delivered and installed by a semi-local shop. I bought them unseen over the phone. I'd seen the spec and picture of the freezer in the shop's catalogue that a friend picked up for me but not the dishwasher which I ordered at the same time. I chose the dishwasher on the strength of a recommendation from a local friend who used the shop to buy the same model. The bill came to £601.00 plus £107.04 for extended plumbing parts and installation, making a total of £708.04.

When I placed the order, the owner said I could choose to pay by credit card or cheque. I said I would prefer to pay by credit card because there is more come back if anything goes wrong. He said he ran a reputable firm that has been in business for over twenty years and couldn't afford for things to go wrong. btw After the installation, it turned out that when the engineer presented me with the bill, he did not have the facility for accepting credit cards and so I paid by cheque.

Although the dishwasher is slimline, it holds 9 Place Settings, has a smart design with soft contours and a nice work top that make the whole thing inviting to use. Before the order arrived, a friend advised me over the phone to check both machines upon delivery. She once had a new appliance delivered that had been scratched in transit, refused delivery and it was replaced with another. Scratches may appear no big deal at first sight to unfussy delivery men, but a year later any scratch will turn rusty, start flaking and eat the enamel away.

When the machines arrived, I expected to see them in polystyrene wrappings for protection during transit. There were no wrappings. The instruction manuals and guarantees for both machines were not in plastic bags or presented as part of any "welcome" pack - they were photocopies, stapled together. I was a little perturbed there was nothing to tell me the machines were brand new.

The two delivery men worked so quickly, they had installed the freezer in its space before I had a chance to check for dents or scratches. While the dishwasher was parked in the middle of the kitchen awaiting its plumbing, I checked the outer casing and opened the door. I was surprised to see the plumbing gear sitting in the top tray with no wrappings or ties and the inside of the machine was wet with droplets of water inside the door like it had just been used. I pointed this out to the installers. One chap joked they had used it for their tea cups and a load of old rusty pots. I joked back that they'd better not be trying to palm me off with a second hand machine. They said it was normal for dishwashers to be tested at the factory before shipping.

The installer was here for two hours because he had to fit an extra pipe through the back of three kitchen cupboards to reach underneath the sink. He did a neat job and tested the machine and explained how it worked.

After using the dishwasher twice, which works great, I became apprehensive about the freezer because of its noise. I could hear it shuddering from here, in another room, and while trying to sleep. After reading its manual I felt reassured as it said to expect noise for up to two months while it settled down. Yesterday, I noticed it had been silent for most of the day so I was relieved my fears were unfounded.

Last night, I used the dishwasher for the third time. Ten minutes into its cycle, a rather loud clunk sounded. Ophelia sat up with eyes as wide as saucers. I know what she was thinking: a cat was banging on the catflap trying to get in. (I keep it locked because the wind makes it blow open). She could have been right, or a plate or something in the dishwasher could have become dislodged. It didn't seem true because I had filled the machine neatly and carefully all week - even rinsing everything first (!) and ensuring it was not overloaded.

After it had completed its cycle, I opened the door to see what had dislodged. Everything was perfectly in place. Got the manual out again and spent two hours googling for dishwasher symptoms. If the clunking noise did belong to the machine, it did not bode well. Ophelia was right, the noise must have been the catflap?

Just before going to bed, as I reached into the cupboard above the dishwasher for Ophelia's nightcap of fishy treats, I felt the tip of my sock getting wet. Looked down to see a patch on the carpet. I bent down to feel the carpet, it was wet on the left and right side of the machine. And I saw a 12" long scratch in the enamel at the base of the machine ..... grrr

At 8.30 this morning I phoned Hotpoint. They are sending an engineer here tomorrow morning. The manual says there is a 90-day guarantee on exchanges and refunds and a 1-year guarantee covering labour and parts plus a 4-year guarantee that covers parts only. Depending on what the engineer says, I may request for the machine to be replaced with the same model.

The only other thing I can think that could have gone wrong, that I shall tell the engineer, is that I used FINISH 3-in-one-tablets for the machine instead of GLIST 3-in-one-tablets recommended in the manual. FINISH does not list Hotpoint as one of the machines it recommends for its power ball tablets. If anyone else has had this experience, please let me know.

UPDATE Dec. 30: Good news is there is nothing wrong with the dishwasher. Loud clunking noise was the soap dispenser snapping open. scratch is not a scratch but a scuff mark (probably from the vacuum cleaner). Leaking water came from jubilee clips that was fitted during installation. Bad news is the Hotpoint engineer couldn't touch it. He said I had to call the shop. Their installer will be here tomorrow afternoon to assess it. Seems the only likely outcome will be that the machine will have to be moved to the other side of the kitchen, next to the washing machine which will probably mean my having to call out a local plumber to lay some pipes on top of the £100 I have already paid to have the machine installed.
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Yee-har! Texas today is admitted as the 28th US state after a period as an independent republic. The 'Lone Star State' has had a difficult birth mostly due to its proximity to Mexico, a situation that resulted in one of the most famous battles of US history - the Alamo.
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Note previous post here below has various updates.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 12/29/2004
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