DEAR MIKE: My dishwasher has finally gone to the appliance graveyard. I thought I'd buy a new one and install it myself. It looks pretty easy. Is it? -- Craig A.
DEAR CRAIG: Yes. Whether you buy a new or used dishwasher, they all install the same way in the same space.
First, remove the old dishwasher. Disconnect the power cord from the outlet (under the sink), then turn the water supply valve clockwise to stop the water to the dishwasher. There is either a second hot water supply valve just for the dishwasher, or the hot water supply valve that has an extra nipple on it that supplies both the dishwasher and the kitchen faucet (if you have this kind, the water supply to the faucet will also be turned off). Use an open-end wrench or a crescent wrench to disconnect the water supply hose to the dishwasher. Some water will dribble out of the hose.
Use a screwdriver to loosen the clamp on the drain hose, which is connected to the air gap fitting that rises out of the sink. This fitting branches out under the sink in two directions: to the garbage disposal and the dishwasher. Disconnect the dishwasher side only.
Open the door to the dishwasher and look under the counter, where there are two brackets that hold the dishwasher in place. Unscrew the bracket screws, then pull out the dishwasher from the opening. Have some rags handy because the hoses will leave a trail of water.
Depending upon where you get a replacement dishwasher, you may need to "prepare" it for installation. This doesn't mean telling it how much you love it, but rather connecting the electrical cord and water supply tube.
You may need to connect a brass L-fitting for the water. Remove the panel on the bottom front of the dishwasher, then wrap the fitting three times with Teflon tape and screw it snugly into the dishwasher's water valve. Wrap the other side of the fitting with tape and attach the water supply tube. Make sure all the connections are tight so there won't be any leaks.
If you have to connect the electrical cord, follow the manufacturer's instructions (Usually you connect the red wires, the white wires, and the grounding wire to the grounding screw.). Make sure you use wire nuts for secure connections.
Replace the panel on the front of the dishwasher. Thread the cord, water supply tube and drain hose through the access holes in the cabinet. You'll have to push the dishwasher part way into the opening because the cord and water supply line will not reach otherwise.
Attach the drain hose to the air gap fitting using the hose clamp. Attach the water supply line to the water supply valve using Teflon tape. Turn the valve on (counter- clockwise) and check for leaks. If there's a slow drip, give it another one-quarter turn or re-connect the tube.
Finally, make sure the control dial on the front of the dishwasher is "off" then plug it in. Adjust it in the opening until there is an equal distance on either side, then secure the unit by attaching the brackets under the counter.
Now, celebrate your accomplishment by going out to dinner and letting someone else do the dishes.