Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Is a Dishwasher?
- 2 What Do You Need To Know About Installing/Replacing a Dishwasher?
- 3 What Are the Different Kinds of Dishwashers?
- 4 When Should You Hire A Professional To Install/Replace a Water Heater?
- 5 How Much Does Installing/Replacing a Dishwasher Cost?
- 6 What Should You Look For In A Dishwasher Installer?
What Is a Dishwasher?
A dishwasher is a major appliance that many homeowners have in their kitchens. They’re often mounted beneath your countertop in place of lower cabinets, and they’re connected to your main water supply for water as well as a drain for disposing of water after your dishes are cleaned and rinsed.
Rather than relying on manual cleaning, a dishwasher uses pressurized water at high temperatures to clean food and other debris off of your dishes and silverware. They generally use less water than one would when manually washing dishes, and most include an option to dry the dishes once the final rinse has been completed.
What Do You Need To Know About Installing/Replacing a Dishwasher?
Installing or replacing a dishwasher may seem relatively straightforward, but there are some things you should know about the appliance and the installation process that will make the work significantly more manageable.
Understanding how complex a dishwasher installation or replacement can be will also help you determine if it’s worth calling in a professional plumber to do the installation for you.
How Does a Dishwasher Work?
Dishwashers are fed water via a supply line, which is connected to your plumbing system and receives water from your main water line. Once a small basin on the bottom of the washer is full of cold water, heating elements powered by electricity turn on and heat it to between 110℉ and 175℉.
Your dishwasher then uses a pump to pull the water from the basin and force it up through jets located on the inside top of the appliance. Dishwashers generally either use a direct-drive pump or a reversible pump to move the water inside. Direct-drive pumps move water in one direction, while reversible pumps can pump in two directions to carry water to the jets or the drainpipe for disposal.
The heated water passes through the jets under pressure created by the pump and removes food and residue from your dishes. In many dishwashers, the jets are situated on a spinning apparatus for even and more effective cleaning.
At a designated point during the cleaning cycle, the detergent door opens, allowing the cleaning agent to mix with the water and get applied to the dishes.
Once the cleaning cycle is completed, the water is pumped toward the drain line. Direct-drive pumps rely on a diverter to point wastewater toward the drain, while a reversible pump moves water in the opposite direction toward the drain.
The rinse cycle occurs next, which begins with refilling of the basin. The clean water is then heated and forced over the dishes once again, this time without detergent. Once the dishes are rinsed, the pump redirects water to the drain line for the last draining.
Finally, the heating elements turn on to heat air that then gets passed over the clean dishes. Not every dishwasher has this option, but it’s useful for drying the dishes more quickly and thoroughly rather than having to do it manually.
Why Do Dishwashers Need to Be Installed or Replaced?
If you don’t already have a dishwasher in your kitchen, choosing to have one installed will not only make washing dishes infinitely easier and less time-consuming but will also make the process more energy-efficient and help save on water and electric bills.
Dishwashers use far less water and less electricity to heat water than you would when manually doing the dishes, so they’re easier on the environment and can save you some money in the long run.
If you have one installed already, there are several reasons you may need to have it replaced. Although the job it does is relatively straightforward, there are a few parts that can break down or lose efficiency over time.
The spray arms that deliver pressurized water evenly over your dishes can get damaged or clogged with extended use, which will render your dishwasher useless. Clogs can cause the pump in your appliance to overwork itself, which could lead to total pump failure and necessitate dishwasher replacement.
Many homeowners also have problems with their door gasket, float switch, and the drainage system installed within their dishwashers. These problems will typically result in your appliance leaking and may require a complete replacement if the problem is severe.
When Do Dishwashers Need to Be Replaced?
Most residential dishwashers last for around ten years before they need replacement. Some may need to be replaced after five to seven, while others may operate normally and properly for up to about fifteen years. If your dishwasher is approaching the ten-year mark, it’s a good time to replace it before a problem presents itself and potentially causes property damage.
Some of the most common problems with dishwashers involve them leaving your dishes dirty or with a residue on them. If this is the case for you, consider having a plumber inspect the equipment to determine if replacing specific parts could solve the problem or if you need a total replacement.
Leaking is a good sign that something is wrong with your dishwasher, so finding water on the floor near your dishwasher during or after a cleaning cycle could suggest that it needs replacement. If water pours out when you open the door after a cycle is completed, a plumber can determine if a full replacement or part replacement is required to correct the problem.
Is a Leaking Dishwasher a Severe Problem?
Whether your dishwasher leaks with the door closed during a normal cleaning cycle or spills water onto the floor when you open the door once the cleaning process is completed, you may have a very severe issue on your hands.
Dishwashers use a reasonably substantial amount of water, which can cause significant damage over time if a leak is left unrepaired. Water can soak into your kitchen cabinets or down to your subfloor and cause the wood to rot.
Not only does this put you at risk of an unstable floor and cabinet footings, but it can also promote mold growth in areas you may not notice. Mold spores are dangerous to inhale and are considered a health hazard. Airborne spores can negatively affect your indoor air quality and cause allergy symptoms and sickness.
Additionally, your dishwasher leak could reach electrical wiring if it’s severe enough. As most homeowners know, water and electricity don’t mix well, and a significant leak could lead to a fire, as well as immense property damage and personal injury.
Can You Install/Replace a Dishwasher Yourself?
If you have a plug-in dishwasher installed already and plan on replacing it with a similar kind that doesn’t need to be hard-wired, you could tackle it as a DIY home improvement project if you’re handy.
In most cases, it’s beneficial and worth the investment to have a professional plumber complete the installation for you, especially if your old appliance was hardwired or your new machine will need to be.
If you’re replacing your dishwasher with a similar kind that doesn’t need new connections or electrical components installed, check out the video below for DIY instructions:
What Are the Different Kinds of Dishwashers?
There are four primary types of dishwashers, which differ mostly in how they wash your dishes and how they hook up to your plumbing system.
Traditional Built-In Dishwashers
Built-in dishwashers get installed beneath your countertop in the place of lower cabinetry. These are your average dishwasher with a single compartment for washing and two interior drawers. These units can be hardwired or rely on a power cord for power, and they’re built into your plumbing to receive water from your pipes and drain water to your main sewer line.
In most cases, dishwasher drain lines connect to your kitchen sink drainpipe or garbage disposal for easy draining of used water, and some even use the same hot water line as your faucet.
Drawer dishwashers are very similar to traditional built-ins in that they’re installed permanently beneath your countertop. However, they have two separate drawer compartments that allow you to run each separately. They’re beneficial for limiting the amount of water and electricity you use to clean your dishes, and they enable you to run individual cycles for different dishes.
Free-standing dishwashers – also called portable dishwashers – aren’t installed in your kitchen. Instead, they sit in a mobile unit and allow you to plug them in as needed and where appropriate in your kitchen. They generally drain directly into your sink via a visible drain line. These units are great for saving space and maximizing storage, but they can be bulky and are generally less powerful than built-ins.
As the name implies, a countertop dishwasher sits on your countertop and is fully mobile. It plugs into a standard, grounded wall outlet and drains directly into your kitchen sink. These have a minimal capacity and are significantly less powerful than built-in and portable units, but they’re ideal for apartment dwellers and others who are short on space.
When Should You Hire A Professional To Install/Replace a Water Heater?
We strongly recommend hiring a plumber and electrician to install or replace any built-in dishwasher, including traditional and drawer models. These require hardwiring or the addition of a dedicated 110-volt GFI outlet beneath your sink or near your dishwasher, and adding this connection yourself can not only violate building code but also be extremely dangerous. You may put yourself at risk of electrical shock and death and your house at risk of fire and severe damage or property loss.
Additionally, any mistakes you make hooking up your dishwasher to your plumbing system and waste lines could lead to severe property damage. Leaks from improperly installed connectors or equipment can also cause fires and property loss, as well as lead to water damage and hazardous mold growth in your home.
While it’s always best to leave the installation or replacement of built-in units to a professional, portable and countertop dishwashers don’t require installation, so most homeowners can set these up in their homes quite easily and without risk.
How Much Does Installing/Replacing a Dishwasher Cost?
The national average cost to have a dishwasher installed is approximately $2,500, while dishwasher replacement averages around $1,000. These cost estimates include the installation labor cost as well as the dishwasher and any necessary equipment.
Your total cost will depend largely on the unit price, which ranges based on the type of dishwasher you purchase. The cost range for traditional built-in dishwashers starts at $300 for cheaper models and goes up to around $1,000 for high-end, stainless steel dishwashers. Single drawer dishwasher prices fall between $300 and $800, while double drawer units can be as expensive as $1,500.
Portable dishwashers typically fall around the $500 mark. Countertop units are the cheapest, totaling between $200 and $400, on average.
The labor cost will depend on the plumber you hire, as well as whether or not you need a dedicated outlet installed and new dishwasher plumbing hooked up under your sink where your dishwasher can drain.
If you just need your old dishwasher swapped out for a new one, you can expect to pay around $1,000 for the labor and the new dishwasher. If you need new plumbing installed, it will cost an additional $800, on average. You can add another $250 for the outlet installation if you don’t already have one.
What Should You Look For In A Dishwasher Installer?
When you’re searching for a professional to install a new unit or replace your old one, it may be tempting to choose a general contractor or handyman who install dishwashers for a lower price. However, we strongly recommend hiring a certified plumber, as mistakes or improper installation can potentially end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair costs.
Installing or replacing a dishwasher is a very straightforward job for an experienced plumber, so most professionals will be able to offer flat rate pricing rather than hourly rates. We recommend you choose one who provides a flat rate estimate, as this will help guarantee you don’t end up needlessly spending more for a slow installation or replacement job.
Some plumbers will haul your existing dishwasher out of your home for you, which is very convenient. This may not be necessary, but it’s a great option to have.
Lastly, we recommend you choose a plumber who offers a satisfaction guarantee or warranty for their work. A professional who ensures you’ll be pleased with their work is far more likely to deliver trustworthy service.