How to Install and Connect a New Dishwasher

Choosing the Right Dishwasher

The first step is selecting the right dishwasher for your needs and kitchen setup. Consider the following:

  • Size: Standard dishwashers are 24 inches wide. For small kitchens, compact 18-inch models are available. Measure the width of the space to ensure a proper fit.
  • Tub material: Most are plastic tubs nowadays. Stainless steel tubs are more durable and hold heat better for improved drying.
  • Rack adjustability: Look for adjustable upper racks to accommodate taller items and fully extendable racks for easy loading/unloading.
  • Cycle options: Basic models have just a few wash cycles while higher end ones offer 6-7 cycles plus additional options like sanitizing, pots & pans, and quick washes.
  • Efficiency: Look for ENERGY STAR® models that will use less water and energy. Most new dishwashers have a standard Energy Factor around 0.7. Higher is better!
  • Special features: Consider added features like a third rack for cutlery, hard food dispensers for scraps, sound insulation, and connectivity options.
  • Budget: Dishwashers range from $300 on the very low end to $1500+ for ultra high end models with every bell and whistle. Set a budget that fits your needs.

Dishwasher Installation Steps

Once you’ve selected your ideal dishwasher, follow these key installation steps:

1. Prepare the Area

Start by removing existing dishwasher if replacing an old unit. Turn off power and water supply lines and disconnect drain and supply lines. Remove outer housing and set aside. Clean away old sealant/adhesive from the underside of counter.

2. Position & Level the Dishwasher

Slide new dishwasher into place ensuring no hoses or wires are trapped or snagged. Make sure rubber feet are fully on floor. Level unit side-to-side and front-to-back using the adjustable legs. A small level tool helps get it perfectly even.

3. Secure Dishwasher into Place

Most dishwashers include a mounting bracket kit. Fasten the brackets to the underside of the counter per the manufacturer’s directions. Many have slide-on or twist-lock mechanisms for a tool-free install.

4. Connect Drain Line

Attach drain line from the dishwasher outlet to the sink drain line. Use the provided hose clamp for a secure fit. Position the high drain loop at min. height specified. This prevents backflow into the dishwasher.

5. Connect Water Supply Lines

Connect hot water line to the hot water inlet valve. Repeat for the cold water line if unit has a cold hookup. Use new supply lines and ensure tight, leak-free connections. Turn on the hot water to check for leaks before moving on.

6. Connect Power Supply

Most dishwashers use a standard 120-volt electrical outlet located under or near the unit. Use wire nuts to securely connect dishwasher wires to outlet wires with similar colors: black to black, white to white, and green to green ground wire.

7. Secure Dishwasher into Cabinetry

On wood cabinets, the side panels often keep the unit snug once attached. With metal cabinets, use screws through side holes to secure in place. Do not fully tighten if adjustments may be needed.

8. Attach Protective Covering

Coat underside of the countertop with adhesive caulk to seal the unit. Install any protector films on the top of the dishwasher provided. Replace outer housing and secure in place with screws.

9. Test Dishwasher Operations

With everything hooked up, briefly run the dishwasher to test for leaks and proper washing/drying function. Make any final adjustments needed to racks or leveling.

And that’s it! Proper installation is complete and the dishwasher is ready for a trial run on dirty dishes. Just add detergent and run a full cycle. With sound construction and care taken on each step, the dishwasher should provide years of service.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dishwasher Installation

Here are answers to some common questions homeowners have when installing a new dishwasher:

Do I need any special tools for installing a dishwasher?

Basic tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and a utility knife are required. Having a cordless drill, level, and keyhole or cabinetry saw helps. Always use caution when handling electrical and water supply lines.

Where can I find the installation instructions?

Detailed installation instructions specific to your dishwasher model are included with the unit or can be downloaded online from the manufacturer’s website. Always follow directions closely.

How difficult is connecting the drain line?

Connecting the drain line is relatively easy for most kitchen setups. Having a bit of plumbing skill helps make this step go more smoothly. An additional rubber clamp helps get a leak-free fit.

What if my electrical outlet is not right below the dishwasher?

Use a longer power cord or install a new outlet closer to the dishwasher if current one is too far away. Hardwiring directly or running wires through cabinetry are other options.

Can I install my dishwasher myself or do I need to hire a pro?

With some basic DIY skills and tools, most homeowners can install their own dishwasher successfully. However, if uncomfortable with plumbing/electrical work, hiring a professional installer may be your best bet.

How can I make sure my new dishwasher doesn’t leak?

Carefully follow install directions, secure drain and supply lines tightly, level the unit properly, and thoroughly caulk around the perimeter to prevent leaks. Running initial test cycles helps identify any issues.

Installing your own dishwasher is an extremely rewarding DIY project. Ensure you have fully prepped the install area, carefully follow all instructions, securely attach the drainage and water lines, properly mount and level the unit, connect the electrical supply, and test its operation. With attention to detail throughout the process, your new dishwasher will be washing dishes in no time!


Installing a new dishwasher is a worthwhile upgrade that can be tackled by most do-it-yourselfers with proper planning and by following the manufacturer’s installation instructions closely. After choosing the right model for your needs and kitchen layout, take time to correctly prepare the install area, securely fit the dishwasher into place, connect all plumbing and electrical connections, attach the unit under the countertop, and thoroughly test its operation. Paying attention to the details at each stage ensures a smooth installation process. With a quality dishwasher properly in place, you’ll enjoy sparkling, sanitized dishes for years to come.