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Of mice and men

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Late last night, I found my kitchen floor covered in water. It was coming from the dishwasher. I am currently renting my home. The owners had just redone the kitchen with top notch materials and appliances. It is a fantastic place to cook!

After some initial clean up, I thought it would be easy enough to do more investigation on the leak, so I unscrewed the wood facing that covers the bottom of the dishwasher. Interestingly enough, it’s the small things like this added piece of trim that gives the kitchen a custom built-in look. Anyway, I figured that at the very least we should remove the wood trim to prevent any warping that might occur. Upon removing the trim, I saw mouse droppings. Initial diagnosis: a mouse must have chewed on a hose. This would be a task left for Sunday.

Earlier this afternoon, I removed the bottom insulation of the dishwasher, which is held on by two screws. I took a flashlight and looked under the washer to see what I could see. More mouse droppings and dried urine. I ran the washer on rinse and saw that the water was literally pouring out the bottom of the washer. I unscrewed the two retaining screws (top front sides of the washer) and pulled out the machine. The hose that connects to the dish washing machine pump was chewed up. The lip that goes around the pump connector was too mutilated to be reattached.

After a quick trip to Home Depot, I had clear vinyl tubing and a couple stainless steel tube clamps. I used new tubing to patch the eaten end with the pump end, tightening the clamps to ensure a snug connection.

I cleaned out the entire area behind the dishwasher and stuffed steel wool in two holes (one in each corner) to deter future mouse activity. This was a little trick I learned when living in Roxbury, Connecticut – an extremely nice area, but more nature than a former Upper East Side, New York City resident can take. Steel wool isn’t fun to chew and often sends the rodent to play elsewhere. I returned the washer, secured it with the retaining screws and tested the wash on a rinse cycle. Everything looked good, no leaks. Mouse and man are now even.

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