When installing a new dishwasher in a home, you generally have two kinds of situations. You are either installing a brand new appliance (or new to you) and you don’t actually have designated counter space for a dishwasher. So, maybe your kitchen didn’t have one before, or you want to perhaps change it from one side of the sink to the other side of the kitchen. In the other likely scenario, you simply want to replace the dishwasher that is already in your kitchen, perhaps upgrading to a new model or swapping one out that was broken. The process for both of these situations are a bit different, but don’t worry, we’ll tell you how to both!

Now, the actual process of installing the new washer is easy. The second option being the easier of the two because in this case, you’ll still have the same connections to use and it’s basically a methodical approach to disconnection and reconnection of power, drain and water lines. The task is easy enough for most DIY type and you will only need to follow the next few basic steps.

to Replace or Install a Dishwasher

Replacing a Dishwasher Prep and Checklist

Important: Before you begin working on any dishwasher, you should always cut the power off at the circuit and turn off any water connections that lead to the sink before starting.

Step 1. Remove couplings from dishwasher to water, drain and electricity.

Note: it is vital that you are careful when removing the copper tubing pieces because they can bend easily and if you kink it, you’ll have to get a new one.

Step 2. Remove old appliance and inspect each line. If each connection is clear and in good repair, you can use them to connect to your new dishwasher. If they are corroded or damaged, be sure to replace them before installing your new unit. Water, drain and electrical connections for your dishwasher can be purchased at any home improvement store and are relatively inexpensive.

Step 3. Connect and install new dishwasher by reattaching connections and placing the unit in the proper place.

Step 4. Bolt and secure the dishwasher into place.

Step 5. Once water connections are established allow the dishwasher to sit for about 4 hours. So long as you have no leaks at that time, then run a test wash load and verify there are no leaks. If there are not, then you can congratulate yourself on a job well done. If there are leaks, you will want to reevaluate your connections, replace if needed. On rare occasions for unknown or advanced leaks, you may need to call your local plumbing professional.

With these five easy steps, you would be able to replace most modern dishwashers with a standard older unit. As you can see the task is simple enough, and often the one that most people are thinking of when they begin to consider doing a DIY installation.

For those that would prefer to install a brand new dishwasher, into a kitchen that either didn’t have one before or want to change the location of your dishwasher in the kitchen, then you have a more difficult plumbing task on your hand. It is still doable for those that have the right tools.

The following instructions were originally intended for a GE washer but are applicable to other brands as well.

Opening Your New Dishwasher

When you first open the new dishwasher, cut it open on the cutline. This is important because you don’t want to scratch or damage your appliance.

Once you have the box open, you will want to take off any padding, clear the unit and grab the directions. While this guide will walk you through the main steps of installing a dishwasher into a location that doesn’t have a space for a dishwasher. The main specifications from the instructions will give you valuable details about your specific model, which you should apply to these directions.

Prepare Your Kitchen for a Dishwasher

Step 1. Drill a hole through cabinets.

If you do not have a predetermined space in your cabinets for a dishwasher, you will need to make one.

You will want to drill for the drain line to connect to the water pipe under your sink, to the new dishwasher. The hole needs to be large enough to fit both the water hose and any electrical. For most dishwashers, will drill the hole approximately 6” from the wall and floor in order to maintain integrity to your cabinet.

If you are installing a fully integrated appliance (aka flush-front) you will need to drill a 2” hole with specific placements. Your manual will give you the exact number for your model. If it does not a rule of thumb for these kinds of machines is 3” above the floor and 2” from the backside of the wall. In some cases, you may also need to make an additional 2 11/4” holes on the back floor of the cabinet

Step 2: Install the Air Gap

This piece is designed to prevent the water from siphoning and is often required to be installed
To install the air gap, you simply attach it to the main line, under your sink. to meet code.

If you choose to not install an air gap, you instead will have to loop the drain hose line, tape it up high and then attach it to either the garbage disposal or a wide wrench tailpiece. It is important to loop the drain up as high as possible to install correctly.

Step 3: Get Your Water Lines Ready

First, you will want to gently uncoil the copper tubing and thread a length of it through one of the holes on the bottom of the cabinet, near the dishwasher bay. Measure the copper carefully, as you need to have enough to reach past the bay of the dishwasher.

Caution: Always be mindful that copper can bend easily. If you kink the tubing, you will not be able to use it.

Trim off any excess with a tube cutter and then shape the copper tube with a tube bending spring that will fit down your tube. You’ll want to be mindful to avoid any kinking so that you don’t damage the tube.

Finally, attach a compression nut and the ferrule near the valve, over the top of the tubing. Gently tighten the nut over hot water valve, being mindful of the ferrule. Once in place, use your wrench to tighten. This should be ¼ of a turn.

Step 4: Mark and Position Your Lines

For this step, you will first want to find the clear forward to back paths. They will be at the bottom of the appliance. The channels allow the water and electric to be separated and connect to the front and rear sections of the appliance bay on the dishwasher.

Measure the distance from the side of the machine to the edge of these paths, then transfer these measurements to the floor of the machine.
Keep track of which is power and water line. You can use tape, a piece of chalk or anything that is convenient so long as you will remember which is which later.

Next, use and outside bending spring to bend your piping so that it curves down the cabinet side and along the floor, into the channel meant for water tubing. Place your electrical lines on the floor so that it lies opposite the water line, in its own channel.

Suggestion: Tape your power lines in place in order to avoid shifting.

dishwasher installation

Step 5: Connect the Water Lines

Before you begin, covering the floor with a tarp (or a water resistant sheet will also work if you don’t have one). This will not only protect your floor but makes clean up quite a bit easier.

Next, tip the unit on to its back and take off the cover panel that covers the bottom of the dishwasher. Now you will want to wrap Teflon tape around the water inlet’s connection threads, then attach a brass elbow on onto it. Tighten it securely with a wrench to prevent leaks.

Next, with a firm grasp, tilt the dishwasher and slide it into the bay. Be mindful of your angles as you’re going to set the unit down and want to be lined up with the power and water lines. Slide the end of drain pipe from the unit through the cabinet and in through the unused floor hole.

Suggestion: Grab an assistant to help guide you as you secure the match up with the drain. It can be a lot like backing a car in reverse without being able to see where you’re going!

Step 6: Connect Inlet and Nut

Now, connect to the brass elbow, carefully bending it with the appropriate tool. Trim off the excess tubing while leaving 2“ of straight pipe at the end. Similar to the other end of the pipe, you will want to a compression nut and ferrule over the end of the pipe, and tighten it to the inlet on the unit. Once, secure, use a wrench to turn it another quarter turn.

Step 7: Secure Electric Connections

Bunch any exposed wires first and fit them inside the sheathing together. If needed, you can fasten the clamp more securely with a screwdriver.

Next, unscrew the gear-like nut towards the end of the cable and fit into the junction box. Firmly reattach the nut to the threaded end of the clamp that is inside the junction box to secure the wiring in place.

Next pair up the wires from the unit with the newly secured wiring, blue to blue, red to red and so forth.

Suggestion: Keep in mind when grounding your dishwasher that if the cable is plastic sheathed (Romex), you will want to connect the green or bare copper ground wire of the unit, securing it by tightening the wirenut. Meanwhile, if you have BX cable, the metal jacket works as a ground when attached to the junction box. You just need to connect the units grounding wire to a mounting crew on the junction box

Finally, fit the wires back into the junction box and attach the metal cover plate.

Step 8: Make Sure the Secure the Drain Line

To ensure that the drain line is secure, place a clamp over the end of it and the secure and cover with the sink drain inlet. This will either be branching off your sinks drain pipe or the side of your garbage disposal if you have one. Make sure not to kink the hose. Keep care to make the hose looped and carefully adjust the hose clamp so that it is secured snuggly.

Step 9: Secure the Cabinet Wall Strapping

Grab the plumbers strap, securely fastening it over the main line for the drain. Match it up with the pre-drilled holes and then bend the hose and strapping so that it makes an ark higher than the drain pipe. Now using a screw, affix the strapping to the inner cabinet wall, securing your drain line in place.

Step 10: Secure the Dishwasher

Adjust the feet on the front of the unit until the mounting brackets are even with the underside of the counter.

To make sure the dishwasher is solid and in place, use a level to properly balance the unit. When you determine the proper location, drill a screw into the mounting bracket which will stabilize the dishwasher and keep it lined up with the leveling of the counter.

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Step 11: Be Sure There Aren’t Any Leaks

Leaks can happen if your connections aren’t tight enough or if there is a flaw in the appliance itself. It’s better to know about them now before you have it piled with dirty dishes. Turn the water supply and power back on, then wait and watch. You will know in a couple of hours if everything is installed right.

So long as there are no leaks, you can do your first test run after 5 hours. Once that is done, without any leaks or problems, you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

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  • Derek Dewitt

    September 11, 2017 | Reply

    My wife and I are renovating our kitchen but we don't know how to install the new dishwasher. I like that you suggested keeping the washer 3” above the floor and 2” from the backside of the wall. We want to leave a space to rumble around and not shake the whole kitchen so we'll be sure to do this. Thanks for sharing

    • Rooters On Time

      September 11, 2017 | Reply

      You are welcome Derek, glad this article was helpful for you!

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