How To Install a Dishwasher

install a dishwasher

by Dave The Handyman on November 29, 2009

Everyone knows that do it yourself home improvement projects are the best to add to the value of your home, but not all do it yourself projects are easy to do. This though is one exception, as if you have any kind of handyman ability in you at all then I can tell you that it is easy as hell to learn how to install a dishwasher, and I believe if you were clueless on how to install a dishwasher after reading this I am sure that you will be able to complete this task in a couple of hours. For a professional this will take about 30 minutes for the beginner it may take 2 hours or more.

Attention: Before you start anything whether it is installing or uninstalling the dishwasher make sure that the circuit to the dishwasher is fully secured and the hot water supply going into the dishwasher is fully shut off. Failure to follow this could result in severe injury, death, or flooding of your home! If you have any doubts understanding the above DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INSTALL A DISHWASHER OR UNINSTALL A DISHWASHER!

I will be eventually putting up a video on how to install a dishwasher but for now you will have to use the pictures that I took as a guidance tool and I will try my hardest to type out every detail possible to ensure that you do not miss anything at all. For this tutorial I will be teaching you how to install a GE dishwasher, and the same methods will apply to almost every type of dishwasher that is out there.


As you can see this is the opening that we will be working with when installing the dishwasher. As you can see I had already removed the old dishwasher. If you do not know how to uninstall a dishwasher all you really have to do is read my installation steps backwards.

Some things that need to take place before we begin the installation process, which since this is a DIY home improvement project I am assuming you had an old dishwasher installed previously, if not you are going to need the following.

- A place to drain the water to….In this dishwasher installation tutorial I will be using a garbage disposal to hook up the drain line. All new garbage disposals come with a drain hook up for dishwashers.

- Hot Water Supply….This will usually be the hot water supply to your faucet, usually. If you are making room for a dishwasher and do not have this there are valve attachments that you can install to the hot water supply.

- 120 Volts…..Most of the dishwashers, actually all of the dishwashers that I have installed in my life have been hard wired, meaning you need to connect the wires by using wire nuts. But I know there are some that are not. For this you will need the cord attachment as well as the plug to insert the cord in.


These are the parts that you are going to need to install the dishwasher. What you are seeing above here are the drain line to the left, and to the right you are seeing the supply line kit. The supply line kit comes with the dishwasher supply line along with a 90 degree brass fitting that will be installed on the bottom of the dishwasher. The silver thing to the left of the dishwasher drain line is the electrical cover where you will joining the electrical connection at.


This is the GE dishwasher that we will be installing in this tutorial. As you can see it is straight out of the factory and you will need a pair of pliers to remove the screws from the wood, after you remove them insert them back into the bottom of the dishwasher as this will be what we us to adjust the height of the dishwasher and make it level. SL380355

Next get your roll of teflon tape and you brass fitting and wrap the threads with the teflon tape. This will not only help prevent leaks it will also preserve the threads so if you have to remove it a couple years or more down the road, you will not have to struggle to hard to break it free.


Now grab your channel locks, or your wrench and we will begin to install the the brass supply line fitting to the bottom of the dishwasher, you do not have to have it muscle man tight but make sure that it is pretty snug. SL380358

Next we will be hooking the drain line up to our new GE dishwasher, this is usually located in the center bottom of the dishwasher. SL380360

As in the picture above you will more than likely need an all purpose 6 in 1 screwdriver to tighten the supply line onto the bottom center of the dishwasher. Again make sure that it is snug it does not have to be super tight as this piece is usually plastic, just tight enough to where it is not going to leak.

Once you are done with that make sure that you have a hole cut out so you can get under the sink to hook up the connections. If you are replacing a dishwasher you should already have this. Run the hoses through the hole and slide the dishwasher into the opening keeping the dishwasher above the electrical cord as that will be hooked up in the front. SL380365

As you can see above I am hooking the drain line up to the garbage disposal. I will be using a small clamp for this that is tightened with the hex head of a 6-in-1 screwdriver. You can tighten this down pretty tight and it should not hurt anything. One important thing about the drain line is make sure it is mounted to the wall higher than the garbage disposal connection is. If it is not then gravity will do its work and when you are running water down your sink a good portion of it is going to end up in your dishwasher. There are many ways that you can mount the drain line if you need further instruction then just leave me a comment and I will cover it in the best detail that I can. SL380371

Next step that is show above is me mounting the supply line to the hot side of the kitchen faucet valve. We want hot water not cold, cold water will not clean dishes for shit. Many dishwashers recommend that you will need a water temperature of 140 degrees to ensure proper cleaning of the dishes. You can check this by adjusting or looking at what your water heater thermostat is set to. SL380374

After you have the supply line and drain line hooked up all you have to do is hook up the electric to make the dishwasher function. I use wire nuts to do so and once I am done doing this I will be installing that little silver panel you seen in the first picture of this post. SL380375

Next you will want to adjust the feet of the dishwasher to make it level. The feet are what was attached to the wood in the picture that was at the beginning of this post. Once I got the height right I am going to secure the dishwasher to the counter top with some wood screws. Make sure that when you do this that the screw will not pierce the top. I believe here in this picture I am using a 1/2 long wood screw, which is enough to keep the dishwasher from rocking and plenty of room to dig into the wood without piercing the surface of the counter tops. SL380377

That is it now all you have to do is test your dishwasher installation. Turn the circuit back on to the dishwasher and turn the hot water back on to the dishwasher and run a full cycle. Keep your eye open for any leaks. That is all you have to do to be able to install a dishwasher. If you have any questions or if I missed anything just leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard H. February 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I am moving my dishwasher about 7 feet from where it was next to the sink. I am installing it in a peninsula counter.
Can a new dishwasher pump a horizontal distance of 7 feet and from a foot below the dishwasher?
Can I pipe the drain as follows:
I plan to run the dishwasher drain tube into a 3/4″ pvc pipe.
The pvc pipe will be standing next to the dishwasher to a 3 foot height.
The pvc pipe will under the kitchen floor for about 5 feet.
Then it will come up thru the floor. A hose will connect it to the garbage disposal fitting about 3 feet above the floor.

I will be tying it in with a hose into the existing garbage disposal.

Dave The Handyman February 20, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Richard, I don’t see any reason why the dishwasher pump would not be able to pump the water out, so yes it should work..

Daniel Frelk May 6, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I just recently bought a home. I am going to put a dishwasher in. At some time there was a dishwasher. All the signs are there that there was an dishwasher at sometime, Water hookup, drain hose holes. But no hardwire line to connect the new dishwasher. This is very confusing. Anyways whom ever had this house before did some outlet additions in the kitchen. There is an outlet they put in, right behind where the diswasher would go. Can i change this to a hardwire cord that i would need to hook up this washer. Thank you. Dan.

Dave The Handyman May 9, 2010 at 5:17 am

Dan, under the circumstances you presented to me yes you could – all the dishwashers I know of run of 120 volts (US) and use very little amps compared to Ac’s, water heaters and ovens. All you need is the power (120 volt) from the leg and a neutral, you could use the outlet in the kitchen if you need to. If you have any concerns or don’t feel safe making the new connection call an electrician.

Dan July 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Hi Dave,

The above dishwasher appears to be very similar to mine. I’ve checked all of the parts and they all seem ok but my dishwash still isn’t draining at all. The only thing I can see out of place is a little white plastic ball that I found in the sump while taking it apart the first time. Do you know where the little white ball is supposed to go? I have a feeling this is the only thing stopping my dishwasher from draining.


dron October 14, 2010 at 8:05 pm

hi can you recommend a separator or worktop to fit on top of the dishwasher 600mm x 600m


Marvelette July 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Hi -

I am having new granite countertops installed and the dishwasher is a little high. I was told to lower is a smidge by using the leveling legs. Do I really need to turn off the electric? and how do I get into the front of this dishwasher to access them? Thanks

Samantha April 6, 2012 at 5:06 pm


I’ve never had a diswasher before, but I want one. But all my kitchen cabinets are already installed. How do I make room for a dishwasher. Does it mean that I have to break down my cabinets?


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