How to Install or Replace a Dishwasher Yourself (2022)

Make kitchen cleanup a cinch by installing a brand-new dishwasher

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There’s nothing like a good, home-cooked meal, but there’s nothing like having to hand-wash a large pile of dishes afterward. Maybe your dishwasher broke down, or you moved into a new place without one. Whatever the case, skip the monotonous scrubbing and drying and let your new dishwasher do all the work. This guide will help you figure out how to install a dishwasher in no time.

Benefits of Installing or Replacing a Dishwasher

Besides saving you time and work, dishwashers offer many other advantages like helping you clean your dishes better—the water gets up to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you opt for an eco-friendly version, you’ll likely be cutting down your water usage.

If you already have a dishwasher, you may need a replacement or want to upgrade to a smart dishwasher or more eco-friendly option. Either way, it’s a good idea to be aware of the telltale signs that a dishwasher is on its way out:

  • Dirty dishes after a cycle

  • Water leaks

  • Water pooling at the bottom

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  • Door not locking

  • Rust

  • Strange sounds

If you notice any of these signs, it might be time to install a new dishwasher.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Dishwasher?

On average, you can expect to pay $970 for the cost of a dishwasher and installation, but the unit price can range between $370 and $3,500. Depending on your setup, you may need to budget for additional work, such as:

Prepping to Install or Replace a Dishwasher

How to Install or Replace a Dishwasher Yourself (1)

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When preparing to do a dishwasher installation, turn off the water supply valve (or the main water valve in your home) and turn off power to the dishwasher at your circuit breaker.

Although your dishwasher will come with most of the parts you need, there are a couple of items you’ll need to buy. Check your owner’s manual to see if you can purchase universal parts or if you need to get model-specific parts.

The first item you’ll need is a water supply line. It’s best to purchase a stainless steel, braided supply line rather than a cheaper, plastic version to prevent leaks. Look for a supply line labeled for dishwashers. If you’re replacing a dishwasher, purchase a new supply line rather than re-using the old one.

(Video) How to Install a Dishwasher Step by Step - It's Easy!

Secondly, you’ll likely need to purchase a power cord. Look for an appliance power cord so it’ll be the right gauge. The only instance when you won’t need a power cord is if you plan to hardwire it from the house.

Before getting started, know that installing a dishwasher involves some plumbing knowledge and might take some electrical work (like hooking up a dishwasher to a power cord). Never attempt to do this on your own without the proper knowledge and training. When in doubt, leave this one to the pros.

Removing an Old Dishwasher

1. Disconnect the Old Dishwasher

After you turn off the water and electricity to the dishwasher, close the valve and unplug the power supply. Then, unscrew the dishwasher from the brackets on the underside of the counter. You may also need to remove the kicker plate at the bottom of the dishwasher and loosen the feet.

2. Unhook the Old Dishwasher

Unhook the water supply line, and use a bowl to catch any excess water. Then, unhook the drain line, which runs from the dishwasher to the underside of the sink. Simply loosen the clamp to remove it.

3. Remove the Dishwasher

Gently lift the dishwasher and pull it out of the cabinet. You may need to schedule a special curbside trash pickup if you’re throwing it away.

Running Supply Lines for a New Dishwasher

If you’re replacing an existing dishwasher, you can skip these steps.

1. Install a New Hot Water Supply Valve

Again, turn off the water supply valve and the power running to the dishwasher before starting. You’ll need to install a new hot water supply valve. Chances are, the one you have right now only has one branch. For the dishwasher, you’ll need to get a valve with two branches: one for the sink and another for the dishwasher.

Unscrew the existing supply valve, and install the new one.

2. Install a Dishwasher Tailpiece

Skip this step if you have a garbage disposal. If you don’t have a garbage disposal, you likely need to replace the tailpiece with a dishwasher tailpiece. Unscrew the original tailpiece and install the new one, making sure to secure the connection with a gasket and nut.

3. Drill Holes in the Cabinet

Depending on the layout of your cabinetry, you may need to drill holes in the cabinet to feed the water supply line, the drain hose, and the power cord. Use a 2 1/2” hole saw. Be sure to drill a hole as high up as possible for the drain hose. This will ensure proper drainage so water won’t back up into the dishwasher from the sink. However, you can run the water line and power cord through a lower hole.

How to Install the Dishwasher

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Photo: Lazy_Bear / Adobe Stock

Once you’ve finished the steps above, you’re ready to install the new dishwasher. Read the manufacturer’s manual for the most precise installation information.

(Video) How to EASILY REMOVE an OLD DISHWASHER and INSTALL A NEW ONE | Step by Step DIY Replacement Tutorial

To access the bottom of the dishwasher to complete the following steps, lay the dishwasher down on its back. Use cardboard or a towel on the ground to prevent scratches to your flooring.

If you haven’t yet, turn off the water and power to the dishwasher.

1. Hook Up the Water Supply Line and Drain Hose

For the water supply line, you may need to install an adapter elbow, which you should prep with plumber’s tape for a watertight seal. Screw the adapter in until it’s facing the back of the dishwasher, and then install the water supply line. This connection is a compression fitting with a rubber gasket, so avoid overtightening. Note that there’s a track for the supply line on the bottom of the dishwasher.

Next, take your drain hose and connect it to the dishwasher pump by tightening the clamp. There’s a second track for the drain hose.

2. Install the Power Cord

You may need to remove the kickplate to access the junction box. Once you get to the box, remove the plate.

Your power cord will come with two gray cords and one green cord or white, black, and green cords. If you have two gray cords, the smooth one is the hot wire, and the ribbed one is the neutral wire. If you have a white and black cord, the white cord is the neutral one, and the black cord is the hot wire. In both instances, the green is the grounding wire.

Connect the corresponding wires from the dishwasher to the power cord. Twist the wires together, attach a wire nut, and tighten. Reattach the cover to the junction box.

3. Prepare the Mounting Hardware

Lift the dishwasher into the upright position. Screw in the mounting pads on the top of the dishwasher. Then, secure the brackets on the underside of the counter.

4. Push the Dishwasher Into the Cabinet

Push the dishwasher into the cabinet. Make sure there’s about 1/8 inch of space at the top of the dishwasher. Adjust the feet (both front and rear) accordingly. Use a level to make sure everything is perfectly aligned. Once the dishwasher is properly positioned, secure it by installing screws in the brackets.

5. Connect the Water Supply Line and Drain Hose

Hook up the water supply line to the hot water shut-off valve, and then connect the drain hose. This process differs depending on whether you have a garbage disposal. If you have a disposal, remove the knockout plug before installing the drain hose. Otherwise, attach the drain hose to the dishwasher tailpiece.

6. Check for Leaks

Turn on the water at the source, and open the water valve. Check all of the connections carefully for any leaks.

7. Turn It On

Plug in the power cord, start the washer, and run its first cycle. Again, make sure there are no leaks. Using a flashlight to look under the dishwasher and in the cabinet for any stray water is easiest. In addition to checking for leaks, ensure the dishwasher is draining properly.

Tips for Preventing Dishwasher Repairs

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Photo: rois010 / Adobe Stock

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Here are some tips for preventing dishwasher repairs, which will also help your dishwasher last as long as possible. These tips may mean you’ll spend a little more time at the sink, but it’ll be well worth it in the long run.

You should always scrape your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Although it’s easier to load your dishes in the machine with leftover spaghetti pieces and cheese clinging to them, it’s not a good idea. The loose food will eventually clog the machine and the piping.

Secondly, don’t overload your unit by stuffing in too many dirty plates and utensils. This forces your dishwasher to overwork and can lead to water leaks.

Don’t forget to buy the right type of soap for your dishwasher. Doing a deep clean every three to six months by running a cycle with vinegar and baking soda is advantageous.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

You can DIY a dishwasher installation if you already have plumbing knowledge. However, if you’re installing a brand-new dishwasher in a new space, your project will be much more complex than if you’re simply replacing one. Installing a new dishwasher might require high-level work like installing an electrical outlet or plumbing.

You may also need to install a countertop or customize an existing one. If you’re unfamiliar with these projects or don’t have the necessary training, leaving this job to a pro is a good idea.

Properly installing your dishwasher is important because bad plumbing work will inevitably lead to water leaks. While cleaning up a leak or two might not seem like a big deal, constant leaks can lead to major water damage to your cabinetry, floors, and walls. Fixing that damage will likely be a much bigger hit to your wallet than hiring a professional plumber to do it right the first time.

Additional Questions

How many years do dishwashers last?

On average, your dishwasher should last around 10 years, although it can last 16 years or more with proper usage and maintenance.

How do I throw away my old dishwasher?

You can call your trash company to see if they offer curbside pickup of old appliances. You can also call a local junk removal service or rent a dumpster if you expect to have a lot of trash to dispose of. On the other hand, if your old dishwasher is still in decent working shape, consider donating it or reselling it on a local marketplace.

How much are portable dishwashers?

If you think a portable dishwasher is a better solution for you than a regular one, you can buy one for around $390 to $690.

There are many benefits to portable dishwashers. They're great for small spaces, are more budget-friendly, and are easily moved from place to place. However, you'll have to manage with small loads and noisier cycles.


Can I replace my dishwasher myself? ›

In fact, provided you follow a few important rules, there's no reason you can't install (or reinstall) your dishwasher on your own. Since dishwashers can differ from model to model, following the owner's manual, or the installation instructions, that came with the appliance is always recommended.

Is it easy to install a dishwasher yourself? ›

Replacing an existing dishwasher is a relatively easy job (provided you've measured up correctly and your new dishwasher fits in the space under your bench). All the infrastructure you need – power, water, drainage and space – are already in place.

How do you remove an old dishwasher and install a new one? ›

DIY replace or install dishwasher for beginners! - YouTube

Does a dishwasher need to be installed by a plumber? ›

All dishwashers require a licensed plumber to install the plumbing and an electrician for the power outlet.


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