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Dishwasher Installation for Older Homes

by Jon Nunan

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In homes that are already set up for it, dishwasher installation is pretty straightforward. Other than plugging it in and connecting the water lines, all you really need to do is make sure the model you purchase fits into the space it's supposed to occupy.

Dishwasher installation takes on new meaning in an older home. Though a dishwasher isn't as new an invention as, say, a microwave, it is much more difficult to find a good place to put one in a home that wasn't set up for it.

Space Considerations for Dishwasher Installation
One of the biggest problems in older houses is finding a suitable space for the dishwasher to occupy. Sometimes, there is enough cabinet space under the counter that a few cabinets can be removed without causing any storage issues. Dishwasher installation is easiest when this is the case because there is no need to dramatically alter the existing layout of the kitchen.

Dishwasher Installation Basics
After you've got the space picked out and have purchased the machine, there are a few things that need to be in place for the unit to work properly. The machine will need a hot water line and it is recommended that it have its own separate circuit. Neither of these is easy to put in for someone who is not experienced; even if you feel confident enough to pull out cabinets on your own, it is probably a good idea to have some professional help with electrical and water lines.

Alternative Dishwasher Installation
In situations where there is limited space to begin with, it is possible that major renovations would be required to accommodate an appliance as large as a dishwasher. There are a few different ways to get around this, however, without having to redo the entire space.

Installing a dishwasher in an area that has a lot of space, like a dining room, is one possible solution. As dining areas are often pretty spacious and are generally located near the kitchen, it makes them a reasonable alternative. Having to transport the dishes from one room to the other might be a hassle, however.

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Some homeowners have opted for a smaller dishwasher for their older home. These models are a lot less intrusive than a regular sized dishwasher, making them a good choice for older kitchens. Their capacity will be smaller, but the job they perform will be the same.

Yet another option (and one of the best liked) is purchasing a portable dishwasher. These wonderfully convenient appliances are easy to move around and don't require the same permanent hook-ups of stationary models. Their water requirements can generally be met by attaching a water hose from the unit to the kitchen sink. Portable dishwashers are often around the same capacity as a regular dishwasher, but can easily be moved out of the way when not in use.

Many portable dishwashers are also available with butcher-block tops, which provide more counter space in kitchens with a limited floor plan. In some instances, a portable dishwasher can be converted for under counter use, though a kit is often necessary to do so.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.