What To Expect With Dishwasher Installation

By Lyle Weischwill | Jan. 18, 2024 6:14 am PST

Homeowner installing a dishwasher

Buying a new dishwasher is an exciting process – filling you with the anticipation of soon using your new appliance. Getting the dishwasher installed smoothly and properly will cap off your buying experience.

Whether you do it yourself or have a professional installer do it, getting your old dishwasher out and installing the new one smoothly involves many important steps.

Knowing what to expect with dishwasher installation will help you fully understand the final process needed to get your new appliance ready to use. It will also help you decide whether you want to attempt the installation on your own.

Here’s a basic description of the steps needed to install a new dishwasher.

Image of installer pulling the dishwasher out of the cabinet

Remove the Old Dishwasher

If you’re removing the old dishwasher yourself, you may need to refer to the installation guide for your old dishwasher to safely and smoothly pull it out.

Here are the general steps for removing your old dishwasher.

1. Disconnect Electrical Power to the Dishwasher

Before you attempt to remove your old dishwasher yourself, look at the power supply and determine whether you can safely shut off electrical power to the dishwasher.

  • Some dishwashers have a power cord that plugs into a normal electrical outlet under the sink – simply unplugging the power cord will disconnect power.
  • In some dishwasher installations, electrical power is connected directly to the dishwasher junction box through house wiring coming out of the wall behind the dishwasher or floor under the dishwasher. In this situation, you’ll need to shut off the correct house circuit breaker to completely kill power to the dishwasher.

If you’re even slightly uncertain that you can safely disconnect electrical power from the old dishwasher, stop and have a professional service provider install your new dishwasher.

If house wiring is directly connected to your dishwasher and you’re certain that you’ve disconnected electrical power, you’ll need to put on some work gloves and take these steps to disconnect the house wiring so you can remove the dishwasher.

Image of dishwasher power wires in the junction box

  1. Remove the kickplate under the dishwasher door. Follow the instructions in the installation guide for your model. You’ll typically just need to remove 2 mounting screws and then pull the kickplate off.
  2. Remove the junction box cover. It is typically secured with one or two mounting screws.
  3. Remove the house wire strain relief mechanism to release the house wiring from the junction box.
  4. Disconnect the house wiring in the junction box. You’ll typically need to remove wire nuts connecting black and white house wires to black and white wires inside the junction box. A green ground wire is attached to metal inside the junction box with a screw. You’ll need to remove the screw to release the ground wire.
  5. Pull the house wiring out of the junction box.

Once you’ve disconnected the house wiring or unplugged the dishwasher power cord from the electrical outlet, you’re ready for the next steps. If you unplugged the power cord, make sure that it will slide freely through the cabinet as you pull out the dishwasher.

Image of installer disconnect the dishwasher water line connection

2. Shut Off the Water Supply and Disconnect the Water Line

The water supply shut-off valve is often under the sink but can also be located in the basement. Shut off the valve to kill the water supply going to the dishwasher.

Disconnect the water line from the fill valve. You will likely need a wrench or channel lock pliers to disconnect the water line. Expect water to spill out of end of the water line and the fill valve as you disconnect the line. Wipe up water with a towel.

Image of installer disconnect the dishwasher water line connection

3. Disconnect the Drain Hose

Release the drain hose clamp and pull the drain hose off the garbage disposal or sink drain connection. Pull the hose clamp off the end of the drain hose so the hose will thread through the cabinet hose as you pull the old dishwasher out of the cabinet.

4. Remove the Dishwasher Mounting Bracket Screws

Remove the screws that secure the mounting brackets to the counter or floor. The brackets on most dishwasher are attached to the underside of the counter. For a dishwasher mounted under a granite countertop, the brackets could be in the sides of the counter opening or in the floor. After finding and removing the mounting screws, you should be able to wiggle the dishwasher inside the cabinet to make sure that it’s released and ready to pull out of the counter opening.

5. Pull the Dishwasher Out of the Cabinet

Slowly and carefully pull the old dishwasher out of the cabinet. In some situations, you may need to retract the front leveling legs to fit the dishwasher through the cabinet opening. If the dishwasher has a power cord with an outlet plug, guide the outlet cord and plug through the cabinet opening to keep it from getting stuck. Also, guide the drain hose through the cabinet opening as you pull the old dishwasher out.

Install the New Dishwasher

If you were able to safely pull out your old dishwasher, then you’ll likely be able to install the new one yourself. Read through the installation guide for your new dishwasher and make sure that you have the supplies needed.

To install the new dishwasher, you may need supplies such as:

  • Thread sealing tape.
  • Pliers (possibly including channel lock pliers).
  • Wrench set or adjustable wrench.
  • Wire nuts or wire connectors.
  • Screwdrivers.
  • Level.
  • Water inlet valve adapter (for some installations).

The process for installing your new dishwasher is often a reversal of the steps you followed to remove the old dishwasher. Carefully follow all of the steps in the installation guide if you’re installing the dishwasher yourself. Failure to properly install the dishwasher can cause problems and void your warranty.

Here are general steps for installing a common dishwasher.

Image of installer connecting power cord wires on a dishwasher

1. Connect the Power Cord

If your old dishwasher used a power cord with an outlet cord, transfer the power cord from the old dishwasher to your new one (or install a new power cord). Follow the instructions in the installation guide to connect the power cord.

Attaching the power cord correctly is essential to the safe operation of the dishwasher. If you’re not completely confident that you can properly connect the power cord yourself, have a professional service provider install the dishwasher.

Note: If your old dishwasher was directly connected to house wiring, you’ll skip this step for now and connect the wiring later in the installation.

Image of installer connecting the water supply to the dishwasher

2. Connect the New Water Line to the Water Supply

In some areas, only a licensed plumber should connect the water line for the dishwasher. If local codes allow you to connect the water line yourself, attach the new dishwasher water line to your home’s plumbing system. Seal the connection with thread sealing tape.

Thread the supply line into the cabinet so you can connect the water line when you push the new dishwasher into the cabinet later in the installation process.

Image of installer connecting the dishwasher drain line to the garbage disposal

3. Connect the Dishwasher Drain Hose to the Garbage Disposal or Sink Drain

Follow the instructions in the installation guide to connect the drain hose to the garbage disposal or sink drain using the hose clamp provided.

Thread the drain hose into the cabinet so you can connect the hose to the dishwasher when you push the appliance into the cabinet.

Image of installer pushing the dishwasher into the counter

4. Push the Dishwasher into the Cabinet

Position the dishwasher in front of the cabinet opening and connect the drain hose. Push the dishwasher into the cabinet and connect the water line to the inlet valve connection. Seal the connection with thread sealing tape.

If your dishwasher connects directly to house wiring, you’ll need to connect the house wiring to the dishwasher now.

Note: House wiring must be connected properly for safe operation of the dishwasher. If you’re unable to complete this step yourself, have an electrician or service professional connect the wiring.

5. Level the Dishwasher and attach it to the Counter

Adjust the leveling legs to properly level the dishwasher and attach the mounting brackets to the cabinet according to the instructions in the installation guide.

Image of installer opening the dishwasher water supply valve

6. Open the Water Supply Valve and Check for Leaks

Carefully open the water supply shut-off valve for the dishwasher and check for leaks.

If any connections leak water, shut off the water supply and tighten or seal connections then reopen the water supply shut-off valve.

Once you’ve verified that the water supply is connected with no leaks, install the kickplate and continue to the next step.

7. Apply Electrical Power to the Dishwasher

Plug the power cord into the electrical outlet or reset the house circuit breaker to apply electrical power to the dishwasher.

Image of installer testing the dishwasher

8. Test Dishwasher Operation

Run a dishwashing cycle to make sure the dishwasher fills and operates properly. Check the drain hose connections for leaks as the dishwasher drains.

If the dishwasher operates properly, you’ve successfully completed the installation process.

If you detect any problems, have a professional installer check the dishwasher if you installed the appliance yourself. Keep in mind that problems caused by improper installation of the dishwasher won’t be covered by the warranty.

Image of installer pushing the dishwasher into the counter

Deciding Whether to Install a New Dishwasher Yourself

If you’ve read this entire article to this point, you now have a clear understanding of what’s involved in dishwasher installation.

Deciding whether to tackle this complicated and detailed task yourself is crucial to your safety and the proper operation of the dishwasher.

If you’re experienced at completing DIY projects and you’re confident in your abilities to install your own dishwasher, then have at it as long as you understand the inherent risks of missing any of the numerous details of the installation.

To have your new dishwasher professionally installed, choose the installation option during purchase or contact a service provider in your area to arrange the installation.

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