My 25 year old Whirlpool dishwasher finally stopped working and I've
been shopping for a replacement. I've also been looking for special
offers on the installation charge since the standard fee seems to be in
the $150-175 range (Phila,PA suburbs). However, I have not been able to
find a dishwasher I want which also is offering an installation special
(i.e. $69 at Boscov's recently).
Is a new dishwasher install that difficult a procedure? I was looking
at some YouTube videos and it doesn't look all that complex. Just a
couple of connections? This is one of the videos I was looking at.
I'm not much of a handyman, but I have done simple stuff like
installing a ceiling fan, garbage disposal, etc. What do you think? Is
installing a new dishwasher using the existing connections a DIY
Thanks, in advance, for any info or advice.
Pretty straight forward:
1. Turn off power
2. Turn off water (hot)
3. Disconnect drain, water feed, electrical connection.
4. Lower washer -- usually jacked up slightly with leveling jacks.
5. Slide out -- be careful you don't mess up your floor -- old rug,
cardboard, piece of plywood, etc.
6. Slide in new washer - this might take some help.
7. Reconnect drain, water line, electricity. Make sure the unit is
8. Level washer (use a torpedo level, or the like) - you want door to
9. Try it out.
The only problems will be if the water line is in a different
location, or the like. Determine this first. Similar considerations
for the electricity, but there should be some play in the cable.
Not a lot to it. If all goes well, and you don't have a last minute
run to the hardware store, should be less than an hour, start to
finish. If you can get the old washer pulled out first, they will
likely take it away for a modest fee, otherwise you have to dispose of
the old one, which is a PITA.
3.1 Remove the screws holding the brackets at the top front of the dishwasher
to the underside of the countertop. (Open the door and look under the
countertop, and you'll see what I mean.)
8.1 Reinstall screws removed in step 3.1 above **before** you try opening the
door all the way. (Unit may tip forward on its face otherwise; open the door
just far enough to get the screws in place.)
8.2 Turn water and electricity back on. <g>
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Ah, you forgot 1 important step. Many dishwashers come with a plug
installed on the pump output line. Stupidly, not knowing, I installed and
pulled my dishwasher out 3 times trying to figure out why it wouldn't drain.
Finally took it out in the carport (daylight) got it up on my hydraulic lift
table and analyzed the problem. Felt like an idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Note: While this washer was new, it did not come with instructions (third
party). Said instructions probably mentioned the plug.)
I'd say, in general, installing a dishwasher isn't any more difficult
than installing a garbage disposal, especially replacing an existing
one. It's probably easier because you don't have the sometimes tight
angles and spacing to align the garbage disposal to the waste pipe,
A dishwasher *installation* i.e. new installation where a dishwasher
never was before, can range from easy to a royal pain in the butt.
A dishwasher *replacement* is typically very easy unless the original
installation was really a hack job. You should be able to remove the old
dishwasher pretty easily to assess the situation (water and power off of
If the electrical is neatly connected, and even more importantly the
water supply and drain lines are neat with easy to disconnect
connections, then installing the replacement dishwasher should take 30
If you find corroded water fittings with no shutoff valve, duct taped
drain connections and taped electrical connections hanging in space with
no wire nuts or box then it's best left to a pro to rectify the problems
and install the replacement dishwasher.
A home repair / electrical book from a library, or some printouts from
DIY instructions on the Home Depot or Lowe's sites may be handy to have
All good points. I'll add one thing to watch for. If the kitchen
floor was redone with the dishwasher in place at any time in the past,
such that the floor level is higher now, it may be a royal pain to get
the old one out and the new one in. Measure from the top of the
finished floor to the bottom of the counter top. If it's much less
than 34 1/2 inches you are probably in for a struggle.
If you can get the old one out, you will be able to get the new one
in 99% of the time, so if you have any doubt, pull the old one before
you buy the new one. This will also give you a sense of what you are
in for, but as others have said, it's pretty straight forward.
We had that problem with our old one. Some previous owner had added
laminate flooring to the kitchen, raising the floor level about 3/8 inch
everywhere except in the dishwasher compartment. The old one barely
came out after screwing the adjusting feet all the way up.
Not wanting the new install to be a similar challenge, we bought a
Whirlpool model that is 1 inch shorter than "standard" - it will fit
into a 33.5 inch high space. It also has long adjustable feet, and an
adjustable trim panel at the bottom, so it will fit into a
standard-height space or even something slightly larger.
To help with installation, we placed some scrap pieces of laminate
flooring and underpad along the sides of the dishwasher compartment, to
bring them up to the level of the rest of the floor. That way, we could
adjust the dishwasher legs by measurement, then just slide it into place
in its compartment without much further leg adjustment. If we hadn't
done this, we would have had to make the legs shorter initially (to get
through the opening) and then adjust them longer when in place (to get
the dishwasher to the correct height on the lower floor).
One problem I've run into is in a kitchen where the linoleum floor had
been replaced a couple of times (without the removal of the older
linoleum) and it was not possible to easily remove the old dishwasher
which was now lower than the floor in front of it. I had to hacksaw part
of the frame to get it out. The new one fit without a problem as it
wasn't quite as tall (adjustable legs raised it once it was in place.
I'm in the process of remodeling that kitchen now (it's a rental now),
and am putting in a tile floor, and the tile will cover the whole floor,
then cabinets and appliances will go on top of it (the area under the
cabinets and appliances doesn't have to be expensive tile, any tile will
As far as doing the plumbing and electrical, as you stated, it's easy.
For rental units, I find good appliance deals on FreeCycle, from people
that have just redone their kitchens. I got bombarded with offers for
dishwashers, and got a high-end Kitchen-Aid, almost new, for free. When
people get the stainless-steel bug, they are anxious to discard their
old stuff without paying to have it hauled away (personally I use my
Sawzall to break up old appliances into small enough pieces to have the
regular garbage pick-up take them away).
Replacing existing one is not that difficult after turning the water and
power to the unit off. Only thing is new style washers called tall tub
ones maybe little diferent. Other than that go for it. My GE washer is
getting old but after replacing pump assembly from eBay for ~30.00, it's
warking again. On next trouble I am replacing it as well.
I'd call it a "medium" job, perhaps the same order as an
over-the-range venting microwave or water heater. Like any appliance
task it can turn into a difficult job. Protect your floor, have
plenty of lighting, and all the tools/materials you may need. My
guess that it will take 1 to 3 hours (it's always easier/faster the
If you can handle those jobs, you can handle the dishwasher. The difficulty
is more age dependent since you have to get down on the floor to make the
water connection. That sure seemed easier 10 years ago.
You got that right! It's probably been 10 years since I did those jobs.
My knees aren't what they used to be and it's harder getting down,
working in cramped spaces, etc. With people living longer 50 may be the
new 30, but somebody needs to convince my body of that.
I resemble that remark. Since I hit the wrong side of 50 and bought this
house, I'm running through a lot more of the ibuprofen than I used to.
Seeing small details in dark places is the hard part for me. I have this
zone in-between what I can see without glasses, and what I can see with
the reading glasses, and the stuff I need to work on always seems to
fall in that range. A third hand to hold the light on the work would be
a big help, too. (didn't used to need that, IIRC...)
There are some technological assists available:
- Get a pair of bifocal safety glasses. You'll be able to see moderately
close again while protecting your eyes.
- For closer work yet, headband-mounted binocular visor magnifiers are
- For illumination, get a battery-powered light that straps onto your
forehead, commonly sold in camping/outdoors stores. The good ones use
1 W or more LEDs and are very bright.
At age 50+, I find that I can do really fine work *better* now than I
could when I was young - because I now own a few illuminated magnifiers
and a stereo microscope that I lacked when young.
WalMart has one these days in gift wrap for $4. Three brightness settings
with 2/4/8 LEDs. 3 AAA batteries. I liked it enough to buy a spare and I
might give a few as minor gifts. Found it on a display of various gift-
wrapped things like mini-toolkits, wallets, etc.
How long is the head strap that comes with it? I wear an 8 1/4 size hat.
Try finding a hardhat in that size sometime....:^(
I suppose at that price I can dig out the sewing kit and make a longer
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.