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How to Install a Dishwasher: The Definitive Guide

Maybe your existing dishwasher finally decided to kick the bucket or maybe it was just time for an upgrade – there are countless reasons you might be wondering how to install a dishwasher. A project of this size can seem intimidating, but don’t worry, you’ve got this! And hey, even if you don’t, we’re here for you.

Remember, this guide is meant to be a general overview and cannot guarantee results! Every kitchen, home, and dishwasher is different, so when in doubt, call an experienced plumber.

So How Do You Replace a Dishwasher?

Good news – dishwashers have been using the same three basic connections for decades.

  • A water supply
  • A drain line
  • An electrical hookup

Why is this good news for you? Fewer things to worry about messing up! If you’re replacing your existing dishwasher, you will just need to undo these three connections from your current dishwasher and reattach them to your new dishwasher.

sink drain waterStep 1 – Turn Off Water & Power

If installing a new dishwasher involves detaching and reattaching, the first step (and this is crucial) is to shut off the power and close the hot water valve. The power should be shut off at the breaker level, and the hot water valve, located below the sink, should be closed.

How Do You Remove a Dishwasher?

Before you attempt to move your dishwater out of its current position, make sure you have completed step 1 above[1]. If you want to be extra sure that your water is off, it’s not a bad idea to try turning on your sink. If water still comes out, the water has not been shut off. It is also a good idea to test that you’ve turned off the power. Try turning on the lights or an appliance plugged into an outlet in your kitchen. Once you’ve ensured that your power and water are off, you can move forward with removing your dishwasher.

Step 2 – Unscrew Your Dishwasher

Most dishwashers stay in place with the help of some attachment screws. Take a look at the screws and determine if you need a Phillips head or flathead screwdriver. Then, proceed to unscrew all of the screws. When you’re finished removing all the screws, take off the bottom cover. It should pop off fairly easily.

Step 3 – The Junction Box

The junction box is what covers the wires in your dishwasher[2]. You may need to unscrew the junction box as well. It is usually located on the right side. Once the box cover is removed, you’ll be able to see the electrical wires. Remove them from the box and cap them off with wire nuts.

shutting off water supply sinkStep 4 – Taking Care of the Water Supply

After removing the electrical wires, locate and disconnect the water supply. In most cases, water supply hoses are underneath the dishwasher. Remove the hose from the supply pipe by loosening the nut. Next, go under your sink and remove the hose. This can be accomplished by loosening the clamp. The disconnected hose should now be completely removed from the water supply.

Step 5 – Sliding the Dishwasher Out

Once everything has been disconnected, it is safe to slide your dishwasher out from under your counter, or wherever it is currently located. It might be a good idea to lay down a blanket, old sheet, or mat so that the dishwasher does not scrape your floor. If you have difficulty moving the dishwasher, check to make sure everything has been disconnected. You may need to lift up before you can lift out. During the lifting and moving phase, expect some spills. Even though you’ve shut off the water, water left behind in the pipes and machine can spill.

Installing the New Dishwasher

Now that your old dishwasher has been taken out, you can install your new one! Before you get started, make sure your new dishwasher is in the right position. The best way to hook up your new dishwasher is to position it on its back, with the front of the washer facing the ceiling.

Step 1 – Connect the Hose & Fittings

To connect a drain hose to your new dishwasher[3], attach the hose to the drain line at the dishwasher. Make sure it’s secure by using pliers or some other type of clamp to secure the hose to the drain line[4]. Once connected, slide the hose back through the hole to the area underneath your sink so it can be reattached. You can now slide in your new dishwasher.

Step 2 – Connect the Water Line

Underneath your dishwasher, you’ll need to locate the water line and connect it to the dishwasher 90. Not all new dishwashers come with a dishwasher 90, so you may need to purchase one at a hardware store.

Step 3 – Put the Cables Back

Remember how you undid the wires from your junction box? You’ll need to put those back in place now. Uncap the wires, then slide them through the sleeve and tighten so that the cables remain in place. Make sure all your electrical connections match – white to white, black to black, etc. Secure all connections and then screw the junction box back in place.

reconnect water hoseStep 4 – Reconnect the Drain Hose Under the Sink

You’ve already connected your drain hose to the new dishwasher. Now, it’s time to connect the drain hose under your sink. Connect the drain hose the same way it was before you detached it. Likely, with a clamp.

Step 5 – Test the Water

Once everything is reconnected, turn the water valve back on and check for leaks. Keep checking until the water is able to run through the pipes and your new dishwasher without leaks. At that point, you can fasten your new dishwasher in with screws and turn the power back on.

How Long Does it Take to Put in a Dishwasher?

Some suggest that putting in a new dishwasher and removing your old one can take about an hour-and-a-half[5], but this is dependent on a few factors:

  • Your experience level
  • If you run into any snags
  • How old your home’s plumbing is
  • Whether you are relocating your dishwasher or keeping it in the same place as the old one

Some people opt to install a new dishwasher on their own to save some money, but others find that the cost is worth the time and effort saved by not having to do it themselves. The choice is entirely up to you.

How to Install a Dishwasher Where There Was None?

Can you put in a dishwasher where there was not one before? Maybe! As a general rule, it’s best to locate your dishwasher as close to your sink as possible. The further it is away from your sink, the more finagling you have to do to ensure your hose reaches and can remain hidden behind cabinets.

You should also make sure that the new location of your dishwasher will not conflict with any existing cabinetry or appliances. For example, it could be inconvenient for your dishwasher door to block your oven door.

A final consideration is whether you’ll have to make new connections. If you’ll remember from the beginning of this guide, a dishwasher needs a water supply, a drain line, and an electrical hookup to work. If you want to install a dishwasher in a completely new area, you may need an electrician and/or plumber to come set up new connections.

To sum this up, yes, you may be able to install a dishwasher where there was none previously, but consider:

  • If the new location is close enough to your sink
  • If the new location would conflict with any existing cabinetry or appliances
  • If you’ll need to have a professional come set up new connections

When To Call a Plumber

If the thought of installing a new dishwasher is intimidating, or you’ve already made an unsuccessful attempt, we’re here for you! Call Monkey Wrench Plumbing and you can be confident that we’ll get the job done right the first time. All you have to do is sit back and relax!

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