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Installing a dishwasher in a kitchen that never had one calls for careful planning. In addition websites to hook up water, power and drainage, there are design issues to consider such as kitchen traffic patterns and space requirements.

To avoid problems down the road, spend some time thinking about your new dishwasher — especially how and where to hook it up. Dishwashers can create design challenges. The farther you move a dishwasher from a standard installation, the less convenient it is to use and the more it will cost to install in terms of materials and labor. That’s why in most respects the ideal place for a dishwasher is on one side or the other of the kitchen sink, within easy access of existing water and drain lines. In fact, those two spots are so desirable you’re usually better off moving or at least shrinking cabinet space to make room for the new appliance. The second-best place is as close to the sink as possible without committing a design faux pas such as colliding doors or blocking pathways. Another suitable location is in an island directly behind or across from the sink, although the plumbing is more complex.

Read the owner’s manual for the dishwasher to determine the size of opening you’ll need to create beneath the countertop. If you’re still in the shopping phase, most major manufacturers also have rough-in dimensions on their websites. Armed with this information, you can try different locations on for size, then have the space framed and ready prior to installation. A few things to keep in mind are suitable, level flooring underneath the dishwasher, a means of attaching the mounting brackets and perhaps some extra insulation, especially if the noise might cause problems or you plan to put the hot and steamy dishwasher next to the refrigerator. A dishwasher requires three utility connections to operate. The electrical connection is most often a 15- or 20-amp dedicated line run from the circuit breaker panel by a licensed electrician. Some dishwashers plug in, while others are wired directly to the appliance.

Fresh water enters the dishwasher by means of either a steel braided flex hose or rigid copper tubing connected to the household water supply, ideally with a separate shutoff valve. Dirty water is drained from the appliance via a flexible line attached between the dishwasher and a suitable connection beneath the sink, such as a fitting on the garbage disposal or on the drain line feeding into the sink trap. In some areas, building codes require a device called an air gap to physically prevent a direct connection from ever forming between the sewer and the dishwasher’s drain line. Most dishwashers have a pair of mounting brackets on top that are designed to be screwed securely to the underside of the cabinet or countertop. On some models it’s also possible to relocate the brackets to the side of the dishwasher cabinet. In the case of a stone countertop, there are kits available for attaching mounting points directly to the stone with epoxy adhesive, or a narrow strip of wood or metal is sometimes installed across the top of the dishwasher opening instead.

Whichever method you choose, don’t skip this important installation step. A fully loaded dishwasher can cause all sorts of damage if it tips forward out of its enclosure. Steve Hamilton has been writing professionally since 1983. His credits include novels under the Dell imprint and for Harlequin Worldwide. A remodeling and repair specialist with over 20 years experience, he is also a Certified Pool Operator and holds an EPA Universal refrigerant certification. What Is the Rough Opening for Most Dishwashers? Is Placing a Dishwasher Next to a Stove a Bad Idea?

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