From riding a bike to driving a car, there's a first time for everything, including installing a dishwasher. Older homes tend not to have the necessary plumbing and fixtures required for a dishwasher, so you're starting from scratch.
There's more to installing a dishwasher for the first time than just plugging it in, however. We're here to run you through four things you need to consider when installing a new dishwasher where there was none before.
1. Location Is King
The biggest deciding factor on the cost of your dishwasher installation is its location. Most dishwashers are installed right next to the sink to take advantage of the easy access to the existing drain and water supply here.
The further you move away from this spot, the more labour and parts you'll be up for. Not only that but a dishwasher away from your sink is simply inconvenient. The most efficient spot for a dishwasher is next to your sink and garbage disposal so you can easily scrape and rinse your dishes and load them without having to move around.
If right next to your sink isn't an option, then as close to your sink as possible is the next best. So long as it doesn't collide with any cupboards or block a pathway, the closer the better.
2. Ace the Space
With the location decided, it's time to determine the dishwasher opening size. Are you installing it in your cabinet space under the countertop and need to do some cabinetry cutting? Before you get a little too saw-happy and cut too far, you need to make sure you've got the dimensions right.
The standard size of a built-in dishwasher is 24” wide x 24” deep x 34 ½” high. While this is a good guide, you should check the specific dimensions of the dishwasher you're installing. You'll also need to make sure there are no pipes or wires at the back of this space too.
You can cut out the cabinet yourself using a reciprocating saw. Without the proper experience and know-how, it can be difficult to have a neat and tidy end product and might be best to contact a professional to complete this part of the job.
3. Create New Connections
A dishwasher needs three connections to run - a water supply line, drain line, and a power supply. The specific connections you need will be determined by your dishwasher.
When you're installing a dishwasher where there was none before, you'll need an electrician to install a powerpoint if it's a plug-in type or have it wired directly.
You'll also need a new water connection to supply water to clean your dishes. Clean water typically enters your dishwasher through a steel braided flexi hose from your home's water supply. This should have a separate shut off valve in case the hose bursts to save you from flooding your kitchen.
When your dishwasher has finished washing the dishes, the dirty water needs to drain somewhere. This is through a flexible line attached beneath your sink. Building codes vary when it comes to how this connection needs to be made, with some areas requiring an air gap to prevent the sewer from connecting with the dishwasher drain.
Older homes are unlikely to have either a water supply line or drain line in a suitable position for a dishwasher installation and so a plumber will likely be required to install this first.
When in doubt, get an experienced professional to come out and do the work for you. An improperly installed water connection or powerpoint risks damaging your home and even harming those in it.
4. Secure Attachment Above All Else
Most dishwashers come with a mounting bracket so you can secure it to your cabinet. This is to stop it from moving around and even falling out of place when it's washing dishes.
Typically this bracket is screwed into the underside of the countertop or cabinet. If this isn't appropriate for your installation, this can be relocated to the back wall or side. Stone countertops will need a separate kit to mount the bracket as these can't simply be screwed in.
An unmounted dishwasher that's fully loaded and washing dishes poses a risk to the contents inside, as well as your kitchen floor and cabinets. If the unit was to topple over, you risk the dishes inside breaking and even damaging the floor or cabinets from the impact of it falling.
You can actually save money using your dishwasher rather than handwashing, making it a no-brainer to make room for one in your old kitchen. It's important you install it right though, or else you might be up for major repairs. Don’t risk damaging your kitchen or brand new dishwasher, contact a professional when you need help.