Whether your dishwasher is old, broken, or never existed to begin with, you may someday find yourself needing a guide on how to install a dishwasher. Though it may seem like the kind of project that only experienced plumbers should undertake, it’s actually deceptively simple to install the dishwasher yourself.
This guide includes everything you’ll need to get the job done, from the tools and supplies to the prep work, and the installation itself.
Tools You Will Need
Here are all the tools you’ll need to install your own dishwasher.
A hole saw, drill, and drill bits—If there’s never been a dishwasher installed in your kitchen before, you’ll need these tools to cut a hole in the wall for the water and power lines. If there’s already a hole for the dishwasher lines, you can skip these.
Dishwasher Connection Kits
While some new dishwashers come with everything you need to install them, most don’t. Check the box or the product description online to see if there are any additional accessories you need to buy.
A dishwasher connection kit will usually come with a tee/elbow compression fitting, brackets, wire caps, water hoses, and waterproof tape. If your dishwasher doesn’t come with a power cord, you might need to buy one separately, or look for a dishwasher connection kit that comes with one.
Things to Consider
When you buy a new dishwasher online or through the manufacturer, you can often arrange for the delivery crew to remove and haul away your old dishwasher for free. Take advantage of this service if at all possible.
If you’re reusing any of the tubing or connectors from the old dishwasher, tell the delivery crew ahead of time, so they don’t take them away. If any of the old hardware looks rusty or corroded, or any of the tubing is kinked or worn thin, don’t reuse them.
Prep-Work You Need to Do
Before you even start shopping for a dishwasher, you should measure the space in your kitchen where you want the dishwasher to go. Check the height, width, and depth of the location, and then compare your measurements to the dishwashers you’re shopping for.
Once your dishwasher has arrived, verify that all your measurements still match up. You can even measure the dishwasher yourself outside of the box to make sure the specs from the label or website are correct.
When you’re ready to begin the installation process, turn off the water and power to the dishwasher. This is an important step when you’re undertaking any project dealing with plumbing or electricity.
Removing the Old Dishwasher
If you’re replacing an existing dishwasher, you’ll need to remove it before you install a new one. First, place a blanket or tarp on the floor in front of the old dishwasher so that you won’t scrape up your flooring.
Remove the faceplate from the dishwasher, turn off the power switch, and unplug it from the electrical outlet (usually under the sink). You can also use a voltage meter to verify that the dishwasher isn’t holding any electricity before you touch any of the wiring.
Remove the power cord from the old dishwasher. The wiring is usually attached using wire nuts. Just remove those and any electrical tape that might be wrapped around it.
Look for the spot where the water supply hose connects to the dishwasher—it’s usually under the bottom panel. Remove the nut attaching the hose to the compression fitting. If you’re going to reuse the water supply line for the new dishwasher, leave it connected to the water supply. Otherwise, disconnect it from the tee adapter on the hot water supply and remove the hose from the wall.
Disconnect the drain tubing from the inlet arm on the sink drain. Clean up any water that leaks out. This tube comes with the dishwasher and can’t be reused.
Open the door of the dishwasher and check to make sure there isn’t any water left inside. Unscrew the mounting brackets from the inside ceiling of the dishwasher.
Now it’s time to slide the old dishwasher out. If it’s not coming out easily, you can unscrew the leveling feet to lower the height of the dishwasher. Slowly work the dishwasher free of the counter. Clean up any dust, debris, or water that has collected under the counter in the spot the old dishwasher was occupying.
Prepping the New Dishwasher
If you haven’t already, unbox the dishwasher and check to make sure you have everything you need.
Read the instruction manual to see where the power, drain, and supply ports are. You should have a drain line that comes with the dishwasher as well. If you need to cut a new hole for your dishwasher, measure and mark where the hole will be. It should measure about 1 and ½-inches in diameter.
Slide the dishwasher into place to make sure it fits. Open and shut the door to ensure nothing is blocking it. Then you can remove it again and set it aside for later.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Install a Dishwasher
Cut a Hole in the Wall
Use your power drill and hole saw to cut the hole you previously marked in the wall. Skip this step if that hole already exists.
Attach the Water Supply
Connect the elbow compression fitting to the supply port on the new dishwasher. Take your water supply tubing and line it up with the elbow adapter, then push the compression nut of the tubing. Place the compression ring over the end, and use the adjustable wrench to tighten it.
Inside the wall, attach the tee adapter to the hot water supply (unless there’s already one there from the previous dishwasher). Measure the water supply hose so it will reach the hot water supply with just a little bit of slack, then cut off any excess with your tubing cutter.
Connect the supply hose to the tee adapter using the compression fittings. Temporarily turn the water back on to see if any water leaks out. If you find leaks, you can either tighten the connection or use pipe joint compound or pipe thread sealant tape to seal the leaks. Turn the water back off.
Install the Drain Tubing
If your sink drain doesn’t already have one, attach a tailpiece with one that has a side inlet. Remove the cap from the drain outlet port on the dishwasher. Clean up any water that leaks out. Connect the drain tubing to the outlet port using pliers.
Thread the drain tubing through the hole in the wall. Measure it so that it reaches the sink drain inlet without too much slack. Connect the drain tube to the inlet using pliers, just like you did on the dishwasher’s drain outlet.
Connect the Power Cord
Match up the electrical wires from the power cord to the ones on the dishwasher. The wires on both sides should be white, black, and green. But if any colors don’t match, you should refer to the manual to see where they go.
Connect the wires with wire nuts and secure with electrical tape if necessary. Plug the cord into the electrical outlet.
Move the Dishwasher
Push the dishwasher into place under the counter. Use the adjustable feet on the bottom of the dishwasher to get it to the correct height. Use your level to make sure the top is even with the counter, adjusting as necessary with the feet.
Open the door of the dishwasher, and use screws (included with your dishwasher) and a screwdriver to attach the mounting brackets in the ceiling of the dishwasher to the countertop.
Test the Dishwasher
Once you’re happy with the placement of the dishwasher and you have everything connected snugly, you can turn the water and power back on. Run the dishwasher through a full test cycle, occasionally checking to make sure there aren’t any water leaks or drainage issues.
After the cycle is over, pop the faceplate on to the front of the dishwasher. Clean up any residual water or debris from the floor or the front and sides of the dishwasher.
You’ve now successfully learned how to install a dishwasher!