How to Install A Dishwasher (Step-by-Step Instructions)

So you bought your new dishwasher and you’re excited to try its cool features and finally have a rest from doing dishes manually, yet there’s a final challenge for you to overcome: how to install a dishwasher?

If you bought your dishwasher from a specialty outlet you wouldn’t have to worry about installing it because the price you pay often includes the delivery team to install it for you.

But if you buy your dishwasher from an online retailer or a home-improvement center you will probably have to do it yourself or be charged more money for the delivery team to install it for you.

This article will guide you through the required steps to install a dishwasher properly, but before we dive into the details you might want to consider if you should actually do this yourself or call a professional plumber.

How to Install A Dishwasher

When Do You Need A Plumber to Install A Dishwasher

Probably this is one of the first questions that will come to your mind, at the end we’re all looking for the least-resistant route, and if it doesn’t cost much to call a plumber to install the dishwasher for you then why not? Unless of course, you’re a hardcore DIYer that enjoys doing stuff himself.

Should You Install A Dishwasher Yourself?

There are two cases where it’s okay to install it yourself, first, if you love doing DIY projects and enjoy researching all the information you need to properly install your dishwasher.

Second, if you are already aware of all the plumbing codes and regulations required for you to properly install your dishwasher.

If you have time and are willing to invest it in this project, or if you’re already aware of the codes, then doing it yourself might be the best choice for you.

But if you want to save the headache of all the research and the actual work needed for the dishwasher to be installed, then you should call a plumber.

How Much Does It Cost to Get A Dishwasher Installed?

The cost of installing a dishwasher depends on the situation but the range is between $100 and $450 with an average of $190 for a basic installation. If this is the first time installing a dishwasher then you might end up paying more than the average cost because it includes drilling the holes and connecting the power cords, water supply, and drain line connections.

Before The Installation:

Before installing your dishwasher, here’s a list of the tools you will need in the process:

  • screws
  • brackets
  • clamps
  • screwdriver
  • pliers
  • wrench
  • measuring tape
  • power drill
  • flashlight

2 Scenarios of Installing a Dishwasher:

Okay, so you decided to do it yourself, it seems like you’re the hardcore DIY type. You need to know that from this point there are 2 scenarios you might be in:

  • It’s your first dishwasher
  • You’re replacing your dishwasher

The steps required for each scenario might differ a little bit, for the first scenario you will need to setup the cabinet where you want to install your dishwasher and get it ready with all the connections required.

With the second scenario, the first step you will need to make is to remove your old dishwasher so the cabinet is ready for the new one.

Let’s talk about the first scenario:

Installing A Dishwasher for the First Time

Step 1: Pre-Installation Checks

The first step you will need to make in order to install a dishwasher is to make some checks before you get your hands dirty. First, you will need to ensure that the floor is perfectly square leveled, because an out-of-level dishwasher may leave standing water and food particles where it’s not supposed to be.

Second, you want to confirm that the opening space is of the standard size of the dishwasher, typically should be 24 inches deep x 24 inches wide x 34 inches high.

Step 2: Set the Drain Up

Next, you will want to locate the existing trap, life would be a lot easier if you installed the dishwasher next to it.

If it’s far from it you will have to make a dedicated outlet (a vertical pipe connected to the current wastewater system).

Also, you’ll need to fit the dishwasher with an air gap, especially if the drain tee is not more than 18 inches from the floor. The air gap introduces air into the drain hose to prevent air from flowing back into the dishwasher.

Step 3: Connect Power

You will want to let the power come into the dishwasher through the cabinet from the rear bottom. You can use one hole for the wiring, waterline, and drain hose. But, ensure that the hole isn’t bigger than 1½ inches. But, if you are using a flexible cord, use a different hole. Ensure that the hardwiring cable comes up along the bottom to the right side.

Step 4: Connect Water Supply

The water supply passes through a hole of about 1½ inches at the bottom of the cabinet. Turn off the water to set it under the sink hand shutoff valve.

Locate the dishwasher water connection on the left side and set the water heater’s temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, ensure that the water pressure is set between 20- 120 PSI.

Step 5: Prepare the Dishwasher

You will want to adjust the spring tension if needed and check the door, then attach the legs close to where you would install the dishwasher.

Step 6: Installing Dishwasher Hose

Connect the drain hose and position the water supply lines and the electric wiring where the dishwasher’s bottom would not catch them. Then, in front of the opening, push the dishwasher carefully and feed the drain hose via the 1½ inch hole you had earlier made.

Step 7: Position the Dishwasher

Feed the power code and hose supply tube into the sink base at the cabinet back corner hole and push the dishwasher slowly into place. With some inches of the dishwasher left outside, stop and check if anything is kinked. If everything is in order, continue pushing it in.

Ensure that the door edges are at the rear of the cabinet frame. Confirm if the door closes and opens smoothly. Then, level all the dishwasher’s sides by adjusting the leveling legs.

Step 8: Secure the Position

Aligning the brackets will secure the dishwasher’s position.

Step 9: Fix the Water and Power Supply

Connect the water and power supply through the access panel and then join the drain hose under the sink.

Step 10: Test the Dishwasher

Test your dishwasher, make sure everything is working as it is supposed to be, and now you’re done installing the dishwasher.

Installing A Dishwasher in Existing Cabinets

Step 1: Turn Off the Water and Electricity in Your Kitchen

Your dishwasher depends on water and power supply to run properly, so you don’t want to risk water leaks or electric shock while installing your dishwasher.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Plumbing Situation

If you’re sure your plumbing follows the codes of your local area then you won’t need to change anything in this step. But if you’re hesitant about whether it follows the codes or not you might want to call for professional help or do some research and adjustments based on your situation.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Electrical Situation

Most modern dishwashers must connect to a grounded branch circuit, meaning they will need to be permanently grounded or come with a grounding power cord.

Step 4: Remove Your Old Dishwasher

Start by removing the toe kick, it’s a metal plate at the base of your dishwasher. Once this one is removed you will want to unscrew the leveling legs found in each of the four corners of the dishwasher base.

Now you should have some space that will allow you to slide the dishwasher out of the cabinet. 

Step 5: Clean the Dishwasher Cabinet Thoroughly

This area probably has accumulated much dust over the years and you couldn’t regularly clean it out, now make sure to clean it thoroughly so it is ready for your new dishwasher.

Step 6: Follow the Installation Instructions in Your Instruction Manual

You can go to step 5 in the previous section or just read the installation instructions in your instructions manual and you would be able to easily install your dishwasher.

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