How to install your new dishwasher (and remove the old one).


Written by Vanessa Wolf

Are you tired of scrubbing dishes by hand and dreaming of the convenience a dishwasher can bring to your kitchen? Or, are you planning to replace your old dishwasher (which keeps breaking down) with a newer, more efficient model? If so, you've come to the right place. 

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of replacing and installing a dishwasher. Don't worry if you're not a DIY expert; we also have dishwasher installation professionals who can complete the steps for you.

What you’ll need.

Before we dive into the dishwasher installation process, let's make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment. For this project, you will need to gather several items:

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Level
  • Drill (only needed if there aren't any holes in the cabinet for the power cord and drain hose)
  • Teflon tape
  • Dishwasher installation kit
  • A new (or new-to-you) dishwasher

Bear in mind that while installing a dishwasher is certainly feasible, it’s not simple. If you already feel like you might be in over your head, consider hiring a pro to take care of this particular task for you.

If you’re ready to forge ahead, gather all the tools and materials mentioned, and let’s get started.

Please note: This guide provides a general overview of dishwasher installation. However, the specific instructions may vary depending on the model you own. For your safety (and to avoid damaging your new dishwasher), review your user manual before starting any work.

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Step 1: Check your kitchen's layout and space.

If you’re ready to forge ahead, the first step is to assess your kitchen's layout. Determine the best location for your new dishwasher. Take measurements of the available space to ensure the dishwasher will fit seamlessly. 

Keep in mind that dishwashers come in various sizes. Choose one that complements your kitchen and meets your needs.

Step 2: Take stock of your plumbing situation.

Remember, your dishwasher installation must comply with local codes and ordinances. To begin, determine the drainage method for your dishwasher. Some dishwashers drain through the garbage disposal, where the drain hose connects directly to the disposal. However, you can also opt for a direct drain connection to the water supply pipe under your sink.

If you already have a dishwasher installed, you may choose to follow the existing plumbing setup. Just make sure you are confident in its condition. Always familiarize yourself with local codes, and double-check for any potential issues before proceeding.

Step 3: Turn off the power and water supply.

Safety should always be a priority when dealing with electrical appliances. Locate your kitchen's circuit breaker panel, and switch off the power to the dishwasher area. 

Next, find the water shut-off valve under the sink and turn off the water supply to the dishwasher. This ensures a safe environment during the installation process.

Step 4: Disconnect and remove the old dishwasher (if applicable). 

If you're replacing an existing dishwasher, disconnect it first. Start by removing the lower access panel at the front of the dishwasher. Use a screwdriver or wrench to disconnect the electrical wires, water supply line, and drain line. Be gentle when loosening the drain line to avoid damage.

Related: How to remove a dishwasher in 8 simple steps.

Step 5: Prepare the space.

Once the old dishwasher is out of the way, take a moment to clean the area and remove any debris. Ensure that the floor is level and that there are no obstructions that could interfere with the new dishwasher's installation.

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Step 6: Install the new water supply line. 

With the space ready, you can now attach the new water supply line to the water inlet valve on the bottom of the dishwasher. Use Teflon tape to create a secure and leak-free connection.

Step 7: Position the new dishwasher. 

Carefully slide the dishwasher into the designated space under the kitchen counter. Use a level to ensure it's level both front-to-back and side-to-side. Adjust the dishwasher's feet as needed to achieve a perfect level.

Step 8: Connect the electrical wiring. 

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to connect the power cord and electrical wires to the dishwasher. Most wires are color-coded to simplify the installation process. Securely fasten the connections using wire nuts and tuck the wires neatly into the electrical box.

Step 9: Connect the drain line.

Attach the dishwasher's drain hose to the kitchen sink's plumbing. You can often connect the drain hose using a high-loop installation or an air gap, depending on local building codes. Ensure the connection is secure and free from any kinks or blockages.

Again, if you're replacing your dishwasher, you may want to use the same drain hookups from the previous dishwasher. It may be simpler and faster to do so.

Step 10: Anchor the dishwasher to the countertop. 

To prevent the dishwasher from tipping forward when you open the door, secure it to the underside of the countertop. Use brackets or screws as recommended by the manufacturer to fasten the dishwasher securely in place.

Step 11: Turn on the water and power. 

With all connections in place and properly secured, turn on the water supply to the dishwasher. Be sure to double-check for any leaks around the water supply line and drain line.

Once you're confident in the connections, restore power to the dishwasher by flipping the circuit breaker.

Step 12: Test your new dishwasher. 

Congratulations! Your new dishwasher is now installed. Run a test cycle to ensure everything is functioning correctly.

Listen for any unusual noises, and check for leaks during the cycle. If everything looks good, you're ready to enjoy the convenience of your new dishwasher.

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When to contact a professional to connect your dishwasher.

While installing a dishwasher can be a rewarding DIY project, there are situations where it's best to bring in an installation professional and/or plumber. Here are some instances when you might consider seeking professional help:

  • Complicated electrical connections: If you’re not comfortable working with electrical wiring, it's best to leave this task to an electrician.
  • Plumbing challenges: If your kitchen's plumbing system is complex or requires modifications, a professional plumber can handle the connections efficiently.
  • Warranty and insurance: Some dishwasher manufacturers require professional installation to maintain warranty coverage. Additionally, professional installation might be necessary to meet insurance requirements.
  • Lack of time: If you don't have much time or don't want to deal with installation, hiring a professional can help you save time and effort.

Related: How long do dishwashers last? Signs yours is going bad.

Use Thumbtack to find plumbers, appliance pros, and more.

Installing a dishwasher, connecting the lines, and removing the old one is a big task. Fortunately, Thumbtack can help you find experienced technicians, plumbers, and electricians for your dishwasher installation. 

Compare quotes, read reviews, and choose the best professional for your needs. Download the Thumbtack app, input your project details, and receive several bids from pros in your area. 

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