Is that old dishwasher struggling to clean your dishes? Are you tired of washing dishes by hand? A new dishwasher is an affordable upgrade that saves time and can even lower your water bill. Replacing a dishwasher is a straightforward task that most homeowners can accomplish quickly and easily. However, it can be more difficult to install a dishwasher if you do not have one already.
Whether you are replacing an old dishwasher or adding one for the first time, follow these steps to install a dishwasher. If you are uncertain about the installation or encounter difficulties along the way, contact a licensed plumber for assistance.
How To Install a Dishwasher
Here is a general guide on how to install a dishwasher:
1. Gather Tools and Supplies
Before you begin, you will need a number of tools and supplies. Most importantly, you will need a new dishwasher. You will also need a few supplies, including a water supply line, drain hose, and a few plumbing fittings and washers. These supplies are often sold together as a dishwasher installation kit.
In terms of tools, you will need an adjustable wrench, pliers, screwdriver, level, and a tape measure. While not required, a power drill is also helpful.
2. Shut Off the Water and Electricity
Next, you need to shut off the water and power. Find the hot water valve under your kitchen sink, usually located near the sink’s plumbing connections. Rotate the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply.
If you do not have a shutoff valve under your sink, shut off the main water valve in the basement or utility closet. Then run the kitchen sink to drain the water lines as much as possible.
Then locate the electrical circuit breaker that controls the power to your dishwasher. Flip the corresponding breaker switch to the “off” position. Double-check that the dishwasher is powered off by pressing several buttons before continuing.
If you do not have an existing dishwasher, skip ahead to step 4.
3. Remove the Existing Dishwasher
With the water and power off, you can now remove the existing dishwasher. Start by unplugging or disconnecting the dishwasher from the electrical outlet. Again, make sure the power is off before disconnecting the electrical wires.
Then remove the mounting screws that attach the dishwasher to the countertop. Carefully pull the dishwasher out from under the counter. Place a towel on the floor, then disconnect the water supply and drain hose and move the old dishwasher out of the kitchen.
Clean the space where the new dishwasher will be installed. Remove any debris or dirt and ensure the floor is level and free from obstacles. Also, remove any remaining pipe tape from the hose connections.
If you are replacing an existing dishwasher, skip to step 5.
4. Create a Place for a New Dishwasher
Most dishwashers are installed under the countertop and replace an existing cabinet. In order to install a new dishwasher, you need to create a space to put it.
Our instructions assume you are installing on either side of the kitchen sink. However, you can technically install it anywhere. The exact process will vary depending on your installation location.
Empty out the existing cabinet, then remove the doors and drawer. Next, remove the mounting screws from the cabinet and carefully lift it out from under the counter. If necessary, you may need a pry bar to get the cabinet free.
With the old cabinet out of the way, cut a hole in the neighboring cabinet for water, drain, and electrical connections. Make sure that the electrical outlet will accommodate the dishwasher, and make updates if necessary.
Finally, install a new water supply connection and a waste water drain line. In most cases, you can add a new water supply fitting to the current supply line under the sink. The same is true of the drain line.
You will need to cut the existing pipes, install a new splitter fitting, and then seal the connections. Seal copper water pipes with solder and glue PVC waste pipes with two-step pipe cement.
5. Connect the Water Supply Hose
Attach the water supply line to the hot water valve under your sink. Use the provided fittings or adapters as necessary. Wrap the pipe threads with Teflon plumbers tape to form a watertight seal. Then screw on the water supply hose, using an adjustable wrench to get a tight fit.
Then repeat the process to attach the water supply line to the dishwasher. Again, cover the threads with Teflon tape to prevent leaks. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a proper connection.
6. Connect the Drain Hose
Connect the dishwasher’s drain hose to the drain pipe under your sink. It is usually connected to a garbage disposal or a separate drainpipe.
Attach one end of the dishwasher’s drain hose to the designated drain connection point. Use a hose clamp or a provided fastening mechanism to secure the connection.
Then position the drain hose to prevent kinks or bends that could obstruct drainage. Ensure the hose has a high loop or an air gap to prevent the backflow of wastewater.
Ensure that both hose connections are securely fastened to prevent leaks.
7. Install the Mounting Brackets
Identify the mounting brackets: Most dishwashers come with mounting brackets that help secure them in place. Locate the brackets and any accompanying screws or hardware.
Attach the brackets to the sides of the dishwasher, ensuring they align with the openings in the adjacent cabinets.
Use screws or other provided hardware to fasten the brackets to the adjacent cabinets. Ensure the dishwasher is securely held in place. The brackets are crucial for preventing movement or tipping during operation.
8. Push the Dishwasher Into Place
Carefully slide the dishwasher into the designated space, ensuring it aligns with the opening in the cabinetry. Feed the electrical plug or wires into the adjacent cabinet so you can connect them later on.
Use a level to ensure the dishwasher is level both horizontally and vertically. Adjust the dishwasher’s position as needed, using shims or adjustments on the leveling feet.
Make sure the water supply line and drain hose are not kinked or twisted. Ensure there’s enough slack to allow for movement without causing stress on the connections.
9. Secure the Dishwasher
Once the dishwasher is properly positioned, use the provided screws to attach it to the countertop or cabinets. Refer to the dishwasher’s installation instructions for the specific locations where screws should be inserted.
Most dishwashers are attached to the underside of the countertop, but some get mounted to the adjacent cabinets. This step helps prevent the dishwasher from tipping forward when you load or unload dishes.
10. Connect the Power Supply
Most dishwashers have wires that need to be installed directly into an electrical junction box. Install the power cord into the junction box using wire nuts.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the specific electrical requirements for your dishwasher. Some models may require a dedicated circuit, while others can be connected to an existing outlet.
If your dishwasher requires a separate power supply, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect the electrical wiring. This step may involve wiring the dishwasher directly to a junction box or connecting it to an existing outlet.
If you are uncomfortable working with electrical connections, hire an electrician to handle this step.
Although rare, some dishwashers have a plug that you can connect to any normal outlet.
11. Turn On the Water Supply and Power
Turn on the water supply to the dishwasher, turning the hot water valve under your sink counterclockwise. Open any other water valves you shut off at this time as well. With the water on, check for leaks around the water supply hose.
Then return to your electrical panel and switch on the circuit breaker for the dishwasher. Confirm that power is restored by turning on the dishwasher’s control panel or checking for indicator lights.
12. Test the Dishwasher
Lastly, you need to test the dishwasher. Add a small load of dishes and detergent, then start a test cycle to ensure the dishwasher fills, washes, and drains properly.
Check the dishwasher throughout the cycle for any leaks around the water supply line and drain hose. If needed, make any necessary adjustments to ensure the dishwasher is level, stable, and functioning correctly.