Dishwasher questions -- trying to avoid a portable machine
January 23, 2014 4:18 PM   Subscribe

There is a great spot in my small kitchen next to my refrigerator for a dishwasher. I would like to avoid one of those portable ones with wheels that you have to roll out and hook up to the sink. What are my options?

I would prefer it to be one that I can leave in the same spot and just turn on. I am not against hiring a plumber to assist with this endeavor. However, I talked to a guy at Home Depot and he told me what I want to do is impossible, and that I either need to remodel my kitchen or buy a portable one. This is because the non-portable machines are not built to be used without a counter around them. Any kitchen contractors or plumbers out there know anything about this? Could I "directly connect" a portable one so that I wouldn't have to deal with rolling it around and connecting a hose to my sink across the kitchen?
posted by mzwz to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you just need to buy (or have someone build) something for you to put the dishwasher in, since they don't have presentable/finished sides or anything on top. It could be something like this Ikea cabinet (that happens to be Australian but it's just to give you an idea) or just wood with a reclaimed piece of butcher block or stainless steel on top.

As for the plumbing, there's no way for us to know whether it would be possible to run the water lines in your kitchen based on your description. How far would it be from the sink? Is it on the same wall or corner?
posted by bcwinters at 4:47 PM on January 23, 2014

It's on the opposite side of the kitchen from the sink. It is next to our refrigerator, which has a water line from the basement connected to it for the ice maker, which makes me think (perhaps incorrectly) that it would be somewhat easy to get water to the dishwasher.
posted by mzwz at 4:52 PM on January 23, 2014

You would also need a drain hook up.
posted by waterandrock at 4:57 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

In addition to a drain, you need a hot and cold water line. Particularly since the water line to your fridge is probably a low-volume line, there will likely need to be a significant amount of plumbing done. Talk to a plumber; I would think that it definitely could be done, but it will be significantly more involved than a standard dishwasher install.
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:09 PM on January 23, 2014

waterandrock has it - the tricky part would be plumbing the drain. Normally they run into a sink or garbage disposal, with an "air gap" on the countertop to prevent a clogged sink from backing up into the dishwasher. You'd want to check with a plumber who knows local code to see if there are alternate ways you could plumb this (maybe something like a washing machine standpipe, though no idea if it would be to code)

You'd also need water hookups and an electrical hookup - which it sounds like you could bring up from the basement.

As far as building an enclosure, most cabinet companies make "dishwasher end panels" which could be used to fabricate the sides, and the top could be made from a piece of whatever countertop material meets your taste and budget. You might need to build/have built some kind of framework as the end panels are normally used at the end of a cabinetry run.
posted by zombiedance at 5:12 PM on January 23, 2014

I won't address the plumbing, but you can use a "Built-in" dishwasher without remodeling the cabinets. I have this one (cabinet) from Ikea. I don't see that they still carry it, but such a thing does exist. I have heard them referred to as "doghouses" as well, although Googling "Dishwasher Doghouse" didn't help much. I really like mine for my situation and recommend it. Good luck.
posted by Fortnight Bender at 5:38 PM on January 23, 2014

Plumbing issues aside, they do make 18" built-in dishwashers that are just permanent versions of the portable models.
posted by hwyengr at 5:57 PM on January 23, 2014

The water line for your ice maker is probably for cold water. You need a hot water supply line for a dishwasher, and a drain.

You don't have to "remodel" your kitchen to put in a dishwasher. You can have a very short run of countertop over it.

It might be easier, cheaper, and faster to remove the cabinets next to the sink, put the dishwasher there, and install new storage cabinets on the other side of the room. Bonus, it's nice to have the dishwasher right next to the sink where the dishes accumulate.
posted by yohko at 6:28 PM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I did (almost) exactly what you want to do using a standard Bosch dishwasher. It sits across from my sink, between the refrigerator and range in my galley kitchen. I plumbed a new hot water supply (you don't need cold for a dishwasher btw) and drain, both of which come from the basement and go through holes in the floor behind the dishwasher. The drain is indeed the trickiest part. There are practical limits to how far you can safely carry a fixture drain lateral away from the vertical drainpipe it feeds without providing a new vent pipe; this distance can be maximized by oversizing the line to the dishwasher. In my case a 2" lateral about 6' long, starting at the existing sink drain and ending in a PVC trap before it transitions into the vertical standpipe which rises, hidden, behind the dishwasher.

As for covering up the raw outsides of the dishwasher, I built a carcass from scrap lumber that fits over the washer and put a slab of beechwood butcher block from IKEA over it.

It has worked really nicely for ten years.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:43 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

We did this in our old house. We bought a dishwasher enclosure from IKEA. We bought a nice kenmore dishwasher. I called six or seven plumbers and finally found one who was willing to run the water line across the kitchen (the sink was opposite from where we needed the dishwasher). This was easier because there was a basement underneath the kitchen so there was access without needing to rip up the floor or anything.

It was great. (We moved; I suppose it's still great. )
posted by leahwrenn at 9:17 PM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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