Dishwasher Freezing Prevention System

Catherine is, traditionally, in charge of keeping household appliances from freezing in our household. But during this bitterly cold snap she is away in Ontario, leaving me in charge. While normally a “trouble light” stuck inside the lower kitchen cupboard near the dishwasher will prevent freezing, I was afraid that a wind chill of -39 degrees would overpower this, and so I moved things up a notch:

Dishwasher Freezing Prevention System

I took a sealed electric space heater, stuck it in the corner where the dishwasher is, and shrouded the entire operation to keep more of the heat in. So far so good: it’s toasty-warm inside the cavern through which the dishwasher’s pipes run.

Kitchen usability is unfortunately somewhat reduced by this new setup, but I’m willing to pay that price.


Ken's picture
Ken on January 16, 2009 - 15:08 Permalink

Get a heater cord from Canadian tire and tape it to the water line, if you can get access to it. You will also need a power outlet installed in your cabinet, call an electrician!

Ann's picture
Ann on January 16, 2009 - 15:09 Permalink

Here’s what the Red Cross said about this in the Guardian today:

Space heaters should only be used on a level, flame-resistant surface at least one metre away from wood, cloth or other flammable material and should be turned off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Electric heaters can overload circuits, especially in older homes with limited electrical capacity. If the cord or plug for the heater gets warm or blows a fuse, the circuit is dangerously overloaded.

I’m just saying…

Marian's picture
Marian on January 16, 2009 - 15:25 Permalink

Um, don’t set the house on fire eh? Oh, I think Ann beat me to it…

Isaac Grant's picture
Isaac Grant on January 16, 2009 - 17:27 Permalink

Why would a windchill outside freeze a dishwasher inside?

Do you not heat your house during the day? Are your pipes on exterior walls with no insulation?

And add one more the don’t set your house of fire group.

Michael Gauthier's picture
Michael Gauthier on January 16, 2009 - 17:28 Permalink

Unless you have no walls, the wind chill shouldn’t affect your plumbing much. -21 C is still pretty cold though!

Johnny's picture
Johnny on January 16, 2009 - 17:30 Permalink

I feel its my fraternal duty to echo the fire safety concerns previously expressed here.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 16, 2009 - 17:47 Permalink

The heater is a ceramic convection heater, with no exposed electric elements. It’s on low. It’s not submerged in water.

Our house is 180 years old. It has little or no insulation. When the wind blows, causing wind-chill for people, it also blows cold air inside the house, including through the gaps between the house and the foundation that are near the dishwasher, creating sub-zero temperatures in the lower cupboard where the dishwasher piping runs.

oliver's picture
oliver on January 17, 2009 - 01:11 Permalink

it also blows cold air inside the house, including through the gaps between the house and the foundation that are near the dishwasher”

What about grout or calk? It sounds like air-seal more than insulation and outdoor temperature are your problem.

Alan's picture
Alan on January 17, 2009 - 02:27 Permalink

Open your cupboards. Turn the heat up to a normal level. Put a fan on in the room, not just in the corner. You need to remove the cold as well as add heat.

BTW, our little Rusticoville home was a 100 year old sieve. Heat tape will only get you so far when it is really cold. We added baseboard heaters and ran the propane furnace non-stop. Added a second layer of wall with shingles over the outside wall that faced the sea. 450 bucks a month ten years ago to heat that bastard in winter. Our 1960s brick home here is a dream by comparison.