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How to Install a Dishwasher : Home Repair

Alright… I’m sorry to be the one to break the news to you. But…sooner or later, every appliance breaks down, even dishwashers . It’s inevitable. The worst part and sometimes the hardest part of the whole ordeal is tearing everything apart to remove the worn out one. Once that is all finished, you are faced with the challenge of getting it all back together and functional again .

This is all part of the fun that comes along with being a homeowner.

Since you are here reading this article instead of out having fun somewhere, I would venture to say that you have a dishwasher that decided to stop working, or maybe it just isn’t working as well as it used to. To top it all off, you don’t have a clue as to  how to install a dishwasher.

Maybe you are standing in front of the stupid built in dishwasher scratching your head, wondering where the heck to begin. Or maybe you just can’t make any sense out of the crazy directions that came with the new dishwasher. Although it is not a real difficult procedure, most people don’t have a clue as to how to remove an existing dishwasher, let alone how to install a dishwasher from scratch.

The first time I  replaced a dishwasher was a very challenging endeavor. I didn’t have a clue where to start.

Well, you can relax.

This article will provide you with step by step instructions on how to install a dishwasher, including the removal of the existing dishwasher.

If your ready, I’m ready…Let’s do it.

Tip: Before removing the existing dishwasher, it is always a good idea to unpack the new dishwasher and give a once over for any damage or defects.

Removing the existing dishwasher

Turn off electricity: The very 1st thing you need to do is turn off the electricity at your main circuit box. A little jolt of electricity will get you all wired up, but this is definitely not recommended. Usually, but not always, the dishwasher is connected to a dedicated circuit breaker.

If the breakers are marked, just flip the switch and the power should be off. If breaker is not marked you can turn the dishwasher on and begin to turn the breakers off until the dishwasher stops running. Note: Always test wires with some kind of current tester.

Turn off water: The 2nd step is to turn off the water supply to the dishwasher. Most often, the water supply comes off of a shutoff located under the kitchen sink. If you do not find it there, then check in the basement. If there is not a shutoff specifically for the dishwasher then it will be necessary to shut down the entire system.

Remove access panel: The access panel is located at the bottom of the dishwasher directly beneath the door. There is usually 4 screws that hold the panel in place. There is usually 2 screws on the bottom and 2 on the top . After you remove the screws the panel should lift right off.

Disconnect water line: Once you locate the water line you can remove the nut connecting the water line to the inlet valve leading into the dishwasher.

Disconnect electric: Locate the small box ( usually on right side ) where the wire connections are located and remove the cover. After you remove the wire nuts connecting the wires together, remove the wires from the wire box. If the wire is held in place with a romex connector, remove the inside nut turning counter clockwise. ( save the nut for the new dishwasher connection)

Disconnect drain hose: The drain hose can be disconnected under the sink where it is usually connected to a spout off the of the drain or  garbage disposal. This is easily done by removing the hose clamp.

Last but not least, remove the  2 screws located at the top of the dishwasher which go directly into the countertop. Turn the little adjustable feet located on the bottom of the dishwasher up a few turns to allow for ample clearance.

After doing so, grab the dishwasher at the top with both hands and slide out of opening. When doing so, be careful not to damage the electric wire or water line .

How to Install a Dishwasher

To begin the new installation, lay the dishwasher on its back and remove the screws that hold the bottom access panel in place.

 Loosen up the adjustable legs slightly using a pair of vise grips or channel locks.

Locate the inlet for the water supply ( usually on the left side ). Apply  a small amount of  pipe dope or Teflon tape on the  new L shaped compression fitted  dishwasher inlet valve. Screw it into the fitting and snug it up with a wrench. Point the fitting in the direction from which  the water line is coming from.

Install dishwasher: Stand the dishwasher upright and place in front of the opening with the drain hose coming up along side the dishwasher. As you gently push the DW back into the opening, slip the drain hose through the hole or cutout where the prior hose came through. Line up  the front of the DW body with the front of cabinets, adjust the legs if needed and install top mounting screws into countertop.

Water connection: Use a tube cutter to cut off about 1 inch of the existing water line to remove the old nut and compression ring. Install the new nut and ring onto the pipe, thread into the inlet valve and snug up with a wrench.

Electric connection: Place the existing wire with the romex connector through opening in the electric box ( usually on right side ) screw on nut and tighten.

Drain connection: Connect the new drain hose at the location where you disconnected the old hose. If necessary, trim rubber adapter to fit on receptacle.

Final step: Turn power on, turn water on and you are ready for a test run. It’s a good idea to run the dishwasher through a rinse cycle to check for any possible leaks. If there are no  apparent water leaks, proceed to re-install the bottom access panel.

Give yourself a high five for a job well done…Awesome, You have just learned 1st hand, how to install a dishwasher.

Protect Your Household Budget from Appliance Disasters with a Home Warranty Plan from Total Protect.

Written by: David Schuller

Related Article: How to Solder Copper Pipe

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  1. Hi David
    Nice job on the post.
    I actually paid someone to install my new one this year as I did not want to screw it up.
    One suggestion though, some images or a video would really help with a post like this.
    have a great xmas

    • David Schuller says:

      Hi Ashley, It was really great getting a non-spam comment. I have installed many, many dishwashers but first one was a nightmare to say the least. Just curious, what’s the going rate for a DW install in your area. That is a good suggestion concerning images, I’ll have to round a few up and post them.
      Thanks again Ashley

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