Q: My home was built in the 1940s, and the kitchen has never been updated. I’m tired of hand-making the dishes, and I really want to get a dishwasher. I don’t have a garbage disposal and don’t think I ever will. All my organic food waste I compost.
Is it possible to get a dishwasher, or will I have to wash dishes by hand forever? Do I have to spend a lot of money to remodel my kitchen? I’m pretty handy, so if possible, I would like to use the existing kitchen cabinets to do this myself.
The counters are 25 inches deep, and the counter height is 35 inches, with tile countertops. One side of the sink, measuring 26 inches between the stiles, has two side-by-side drawer banks. For a dishwasher, this seems to be a perfect place. What are you thinking?
A: Yes, in your kitchen you can have a dishwasher. Furthermore, you can save a lot of money by doing the majority of the work yourself. A built-in dishwasher requires four things: a location, a water supply line, a drain line, and power. We’ll go through them one by one.
Standard under-counter dishwashers have adjustable legs and are 24 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and approximately 35 inches high. In an opening a little less than 34 inches tall, we installed a dishwasher. It sounds like it’ll be a tight fit, but a fit nonetheless, based on your description. If the standard size won’t work, there are narrower models as well as single-drawer models with different dimensions. We’re confident that with a little research, you’ll be able to find one that fits your needs.
An ideal location is the drawer banks. For easy access to water and waste lines, keep the dishwasher close to the sink. Vintage cabinets were often installed in the 1940s. It should be as simple as removing the drawers, cutting out the cross rails and cutting out the cabinet’s bottom with a reciprocating saw to get your opening.
Water supply: A dishwasher necessitates the use of hot water. The hot water supply under the sink is the closest source. Replace the shut-off valve with a new one that connects the hot water line to both the sink and the dishwasher. The new valve, also known as an angle stop, will have a vertical outlet for the faucet and a horizontal outlet for the dishwasher’s hot water supply. For the connection, use a long braided wire hose available at plumbing supply houses, hardware shops and home centers. To route the hose from the shut-off valve to the dishwashing opening, you may need to drill a hole in the side of the cabinet.
Drain line: A hose used to connect the dishwasher to the drain under the sink will be delivered to the dishwasher. The hose is normally connected to a garbage disposal inlet. Because you don’t have one and you don’t want one, there’s a little bit of simple plumbing in order. Through a strainer, water empties from the sink into a tailpiece connected to a p-trap and then into the waste line. Substitute the straight tailpiece you now have with a tailpiece that looks like a “Y” to link the drain hose. Using a hose clamp, secure the drainage hose to the “Y.”
You may need to install an air gap in the countertop, depending on the local plumbing code. A diamond-tipped hole saw attached to a drill will be used to cut a hole in the tile. Backflow is prevented by an air gap, which prevents dirty water from entering the dishwasher again. If an air gap isn’t necessary, the same effect can be achieved by clamping the drain line to the top of the sink cabinet.
Power: Local codes generally require that a dishwasher be on a separate circuit that can be shared with a waste disposal system. The wire size and the circuit breaker will depend on the load drawn by the dishwasher. We use 12-gauge wire that is run to a duplex plug and protected by a 20-amp circuit breaker for safety. Use an armored cable to operate the line if the electrical box is surface-mounted. This is the only part of the job for your do-it-yourself project that may not be suitable. It all depends on your level of experience and comfort with electrical wiring.
Read the dishwasher manual for hookup instructions once the water, drainage, and electrical have been installed. In any event, because there is a question as to whether an air gap is needed and fresh wiring is involved, get a permit and have the job inspected.
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New York, NY 10016