How to Install a Dishwasher

By Amanda Lutz Updated February 16, 2024

If you’re planning to buy a new dishwasher, installing it yourself can make the purchase less costly. The best dishwashers range from around $400 to $1,350, and these prices typically don’t include installation. Adding the cost of professional installation to your purchase can bring your total up another $70 to $500.* Lower prices usually indicate the removal of your old dishwasher isn’t included. 

If you’re comfortable with (do-it-yourself) DIY projects and capable of moving a large appliance, you can install the dishwasher yourself. Here, we’ll provide the information you need for a DIY dishwasher installation, including precautions to take, the tools and equipment you’ll need, step-by-step instructions, and advice on when to call a professional. 

*Cost data sourced from Angi. 


Before You Begin

Dishwasher installation requires access to two major systems in your home: your electrical and plumbing systems. Certain preparations are essential to avoid damage and maintain safety.


Equipment and Tools

Before you begin the installation process, gather the tools you’ll need. A dishwasher installation can usually be completed with common tools you may already have in your toolbox. 

You’ll need these tools and supplies to install your new dishwasher:


Instructions

In most cases, dishwasher installation doesn’t require specialized skills or challenging labor. However, be careful when dealing with electrical and plumbing systems. Never hesitate to contact a professional if you’re unsure about the installation process.

When you take your time and follow this step-by-step guide, it’s possible to successfully remove your dishwasher and install a new one. 

1. Remove Your Old Dishwasher

Before removing the old unit, read the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the new one to learn what parts are needed to install the new model. Once you’re ready to proceed, shut off the electricity to the dishwasher at the circuit breaker, and turn off the water supply at the shut-off valve under the sink. 

Use a screwdriver to remove the front access panel near the bottom of the dishwasher below the dishwasher door. Identify the wiring connections in the terminal box. These can be disconnected by removing wire nuts or unplugging the cord.

Using an adjustable wrench, disconnect the stainless steel water supply line from the dishwasher. Place the ends of the supply line in a bowl or bucket to catch draining water. Remove the applicable fittings to disconnect the drain hose from the dishwasher.

Before attempting to move the dishwasher, remove the screws or brackets that attach it to the bottom of the countertop. Lay cardboard or a dropcloth on the floor in front of the dishwasher to avoid damage, then carefully pull out the old dishwasher. 

2. Prepare the New Dishwasher for Installation

Slide your new dishwasher near the installation location before removing the packaging. If needed, keep the cardboard to protect the floor during installation. An installation kit is included with your new dishwasher that holds all the supplies that aren’t already attached to the unit. Check this kit to ensure you have all the supplies you need for installation.

3. Hook Up the Power Supply to the Dishwasher

Gently lay the new dishwasher on its back to gain easy access to the electrical and plumbing hookups. Remove the front access panel with your screwdriver, and locate the wire housing. Thread the end of the power cord without the plugin into the housing, and connect wires from the power cord to the leads in the dishwasher housing with the corresponding colors using wire nuts. Replace the cover to the housing.

4. Connect the Water Supply to the Dishwasher

Locate the 90-degree fitting that came with your dishwasher, and wrap the threads with Teflon tape before screwing it into the new water valve. Screw the end of the new supply line into the 90-degree fitting, and tighten it carefully with your adjustable wrench. Avoid overtightening so you won’t strip the threads. If the dishwasher drain hose isn’t already connected, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to attach it.

5. Put the Dishwasher in Place

Stand the dishwasher up and align it with the space it will occupy. Identify where the water supply line and power cord will hook up. Typically, you’ll need to thread the water supply line and drain hose through the cabinet for hookup under the sink. Feed the cord through the space the old cord previously occupied. After ensuring the cord and supply lines are out of the way, slide the dishwasher into place under the counter, and use the leveling legs to adjust the height and level it.

6. Connect the Water Supply Tube

Connect the end of the water supply tube to the water supply shutoff valve under the sink. Turn on the valve and check for leaks. If you notice water dripping at either connection, gently tighten the fittings a little at a time until the leak subsides.

7. Connect the Drain Hose

Follow local code requirements to configure your drain setup. There are two basic methods for connecting the dishwasher drain:

Whether using an air gap fitting or a high loop connection, the drain hose should be directed higher than the drain inlet to avoid backwash from the sink drain. Attach the new drain hose to the sink drain connection or garbage disposal where the old one was removed.

8. Test the Dishwasher and Take Care of the Finishing Touches

Turn the dishwasher on, and run a complete cycle to test for leaks. If the dishwasher doesn’t start when you turn it on, then contact an electrician for advice. After the cycle begins, watch both connectors for leaks. Once you’ve ensured everything is working correctly, anchor your new dishwasher in place and replace the access plate.


When to Call a Professional

While a DIY dishwasher installation often goes smoothly, there are situations when you might need assistance from a professional electrician, plumber, or contractor. For example, in a home where a dishwasher has never been installed or your electrical setup doesn’t match local codes, you may need to contact an electrician to put the necessary wiring in place.  

Complex removals or installations—such as a home improvement upgrade where cabinetry needs to be replaced or a home has outdated plumbing—may require additional assistance. If you notice structural damage when you remove the old dishwasher, such as a spongy floor, you should call a contractor to make repairs before continuing with the installation process. 

Beyond these examples, your comfort level is a good indicator of when you need professional assistance. If you don’t feel comfortable completing the installation process on your own, it’s a good idea to call in a professional.


Our Recommendation

Whether buying your first dishwasher or replacing one, professional installation can raise the cost of purchasing the appliance. Choosing a DIY installation can enable you to purchase a deluxe model or get your dishwasher earlier than you’d planned. While this is a DIY project that often goes smoothly, it’s important to follow safety procedures closely and contact a professional if you’re unsure about the process. Safety should always be your top priority when working on your home.   


How to Install a Dishwasher FAQ

Can I install a dishwasher myself?

You can install a dishwasher yourself if you’re capable of handling the appliance and have a comprehensive understanding of the electricity and plumbing requirements. However, a complex installation may require help from a professional. 

What is needed to hook up a dishwasher?

A dishwasher can typically be installed with the use of common tools that may already be in your toolbox or are easy to find at your local home improvement store. You’ll need an adjustable wrench, screwdriver, Teflon tape, and wire nuts.

Do I need to turn off the power and water before installation?

Yes, you need to turn off the power and water before installation. It’s crucial to turn off power and water to the fixtures where the dishwasher will be attached. Power can usually be turned off from the circuit breaker without affecting power throughout your home. Water can typically be turned off beneath the sink where a shut-off valve is located.

How long does it take to install a dishwasher?

The exact amount of time it takes to install a dishwasher will depend on your abilities and experience with plumbing and electrical systems. Installation can usually be completed in two to four hours. However, a complex installation—such as adding the necessary wiring in a home that has never had a dishwasher—will likely take longer than average.

When should I call a professional for help?

You should call a professional for help if you feel uncertain at any time during the installation process. This can include concerns regarding electrical hookups, plumbing hookups, or safety concerns.