New dishwasher, install question
December 26, 2017 3:21 AM   Subscribe

I am buying a new dishwasher. Can the shop installer deal with my snowflake-y situation?

(UK-based, if it makes any difference at all.)

One of the Christmas gifts I got from my wonderful parents is enough money to buy a dishwasher.

I've never had one before, but I'm pretty sure the lady who owned my house before me did have one... but I'm not certain. Here's my situation:
  • I have two equally-sized holes in my kitchen counters (let's call them A and B, going left to right). A is currently empty, B has my washing machine.
  • I have no idea if the water hookups are already split, or if the installer will need to add a split to the ones that go to the washing machine.
  • There is a wall of cupboards to the immediate left of A, with handles that would get in the way of a dishwasher opening...
  • what I would like the installer to do is move my washing machine to A, and install the dishwasher in B.
I'm currently looking at a nice Bosch dishwasher from John Lewis. If I tick the "dishwasher connection" checkbox when buying it for an extra £25, will the guy they send with the dishwasher be able to do what I want? Should I warn them ahead of time? (How?) If the guy from the shop can't do it, who do I call? ("A plumber", yes, but does the place that replaced my boiler and fixed a valve in my heating system count as a plumber, or should I look elsewhere?)

I feel like this is a really silly thing to ask, but I very easily get very anxious about things like this, and start imagining all the things that can go wrong, and - basically I just need a more adult adult. An adult². Help?
posted by sailoreagle to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
I'm an adult2, and I'm also buying a dishwasher (in the US) right now. I have bought them before. You are right to ask.

You should make a phone call to John Lewis to arrange for installation if it's an option. That way you can get all your questions answered. There are fiddly bits you should ask about, such as connector hoses and elbow joints (are they included in your purchase?) and optional connections to aerators (do you have one/would you need one?) and, as you mention, splits. And what I'm reading about Bosch dishwasher installations is that they're a bit (or can be perceived as a bit) non-standard. To paraphrase one reviewer on, "I've done auto mechanics and installed kitchen appliances before. Installing this Bosch dishwasher made me question my faith."

I plan to call Lowe's this morning, in fact, and say something like this to them. Feel free to modify for your needs: I want to buy this Brand X dishwasher and have it installed. I currently have a Brand Y dishwasher. What information do you need from me? I want to make sure my installer has everything he needs when he arrives.

And then relax. They will not/should not expect you to know much. That's why you're hiring them.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 3:32 AM on December 26, 2017

With the caveat that I’m also in the U.S. and have no experience with U.K. appliances, the hookups for dishwashers and clothes washing machines are quite different. Dishwashers have a single-temperature water supply and small drain hose that’s commonly connected to a sink drain. Clothes washers need both hot and cold supply connections, and the drain hose is much larger and requires a different sort of connection. Without being able to see what’s in the two openings, I’d say it’s unlikely that they’re both set up the same way, and also unlikely that such a swap will be within the scope of a £25 connection service. If you don’t have a handy friend who can shed some light on this for you, I’d call a plumber.
posted by jon1270 at 5:11 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

What you are describing sounds much more like a job for an actual plumber, not the appliance installation person, particularly with the potential need to rearrange both water supplies and drains. It will cost more, but there's also a better chance that it will be done right.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:29 AM on December 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

The dishwasher requires only a hot water supply. The clothes washer requires both hot and cold supply. It is unlikely that the two openings are swappable without some plumbing modification.

Appliance installers are usually only equipped to hook up existing water and drain lines. They won't be equipped to make plumbing modifications. You probably should call a plumber to have a look. Do that before you purchase the dishwasher in case you find out the required modifications are too costly.
posted by JackFlash at 8:10 AM on December 26, 2017

Agreed that you should call a plumber for this and that you should do it before you order your dishwasher. If the person who replaced the valve in your heating system advertises themselves as a plumber, they'd probably be a fine person to call. Without seeing your plumbing setup, it's hard to know for sure, but my guess is that this will be a pretty straightforward (and inexpensive) thing to do for any plumber.
posted by Betelgeuse at 10:08 AM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

I, too, recommend getting a plumber on the line. When we installed our dishwasher in a kitchen that had never had one, I called a plumber. He did several things that I had no idea were even necessary but he had all the tools and was able to improvise one thing and it was great. A seasoned tradesperson is very handy and often clever at working in a non-standard situation. Ask around for recommendations and then work with a plumber directly.
posted by amanda at 10:09 AM on December 26, 2017

Hello. Because you’re feeling anxious, I want to tell you this is an easy & routine job for a plumber. Ask friends or neighbours for a recommendation if you want to know what a particular plumber is like but any plumber will be able to do this quickly. You can even send them pictures of your connections and model numbers of your machines beforehand so they have the correct size fittings when they come. I live in Australia and this kind of work would cost maybe $ I don’t know the exchange rate right now but something like £250.

If it’s just the handles, can you change them for ones that won’t get in the way? That might be much cheaper. I did this when I was renting and my dishwasher was right next to the corner cupboard.
posted by stellathon at 12:49 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

My installer could definitely handle this, they install appliances all day and will do minor plumbing and electrical work and to code. If they can't they'll ask you to get a plumber in and work with them.

No worries at all for a competent installer- totally routine question! If they are unsure or don't know how to proceed you need another installer.
posted by fshgrl at 1:52 PM on December 26, 2017

If the "installer" there is anything like the usual "installer" here in the US (at least in my experience) they are little more than a delivery person who knows how to hook things up as long as the standard connections are there. They aren't going to do any extra plumbing.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:07 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

No help at all on installation, but I can attest for at least myself and four other households of friends/family that you are going to love your Bosch dishwasher. Just remember to look for the light before opening because they're so quiet, and to ALWAYS use the rinse agent(Jetdry)--the machine is designed for it and dishes will not look clean if you skip it.
posted by nenequesadilla at 8:42 PM on December 26, 2017

My EU clothes washer and (pretty sure, it's a bit hidden back there) dishwasher both have only cold water supplies, although my machines back in the US were different. So you may be alright there if you have only cold water supplies to your dishwasher/clotheswasher spaces in your UK kitchen. Also, I think if you've got two large gaps in the cabinets then you are correct that they're for a washer and a dishwasher. Stick your head down there and see if you've got two electric outlets -- if you do, you have the answer. If you don't, well, now you know something else you need to have done before you can install a dishwasher.

When I bought my washer from Giant Whitegoods And Electronics Store BV, I bought the installation service as well. They saw my electric outlet (high on the wall, rocker-style switch between two outlets) and decided it needed ripping out and replacing with a new one exactly like it before they could complete the installation. They did take care of it, but charged me an extra €100 or so and several days' wait for the privilege. I kind of trust John Lewis to be slightly less haphazard in that respect, but it's well worth asking them up front what they do when they encounter older/disused hookups. They may not want to move your washing machine from Spot B to Spot A, but again, it's worth asking. (Maybe there's a 'non-standard installation' surcharge but otherwise they're happy to deal with all this for you.)

Call John Lewis up. Or you could snap some photos of the hookups and cabinets with your photo and talk to someone in the shop. If nothing else you'll find out if they do it themselves and can directly help or if they sub it out to Generic Whitegoods Delivery Ltd. that you'd need to talk to to get better answers. I can guarantee you're not the most helpless customer they've ever talked to, and I'm sure they'll be happy to give you advice about any prerequisite work they can or can't help with.

And congrats on your awesome present! Your parents have given you the gift of free time and less hassle. Way to go, Parents. You're gonna love dishwasher ownership.
posted by sldownard at 1:02 AM on December 27, 2017

Clothes washers need both hot and cold supply connections

Clothes washers in the EU generally only have a cold supply these days.

The dishwasher requires only a hot water supply. The clothes washer requires both hot and cold supply. It is unlikely that the two openings are swappable without some plumbing modification.

/Neither/ washing machines nor dishwashers require hot water supplies in fact. Standard UK / EU dishwashers and washing machines are only plumbed into the cold supply.

(This is mostly for both energy efficiency & simplicity reasons I believe - modern machines use so little water that you waste more energy draining lukewarm water out of the pipework than you do heating cold water from scratch.)
posted by pharm at 2:06 AM on December 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Here’s what you do (This is what I’d do anyway):

You want to find out where and how the existing washing machine is plumbed in & whether there’s a spare socket for the electrical supply.

If crawling into slot A will let you look behind the washing machine, do that, otherwise pull the washing machine forward a bit and have a look. You want to a) trace the power cord to the electrical socket + see if there’s a second one for the dishwasher (they usually come in pairs, but there might be two singles, one behind slot A and one behind slot B, so have a look around). Then b) trace the cold water feed and the waste water drain pipes. These probably end up under your sink somewhere. Ideally, you’ll find a capped off head on the pipework there that’s just waiting for the cold water feed for your dishwasher to be attached to it, plus a similar one for the drain.

Note that if you want to move the washing machine, it might need the feed pipes replacing with longer ones in order that they reach slot A. Get a tape measure out!

Once you know what the plumbing & electrical situation is, you know roughly how big a job this is. If you’ve already got all the relevant bits in the existing pipework (odds on you do, because the previous owner had two slots) & a spare electrical socket, then you’ve got everything you need. Just check the supplied flexible hoses are long enough.

Alternatively, if you need work done on the water supply pipework to add feeds & drain points etc, then it’s time to phone a plumber. Likewise for the electrics.

Whether the shop installers will be willing to move your washing machine I don’t know - you’re best asking the shop because they might refuse on the grounds that they don’t want to touch anything that they’re not delivering. Honestly, it’s not hard to do yourself if everything is in place already - the fittings are all plastic twist fit and they only need tightening by hand to be water tight.
posted by pharm at 2:23 AM on December 27, 2017

John Lewis will not do anything other than a really straightforward swap install. I know this because when I needed them to swap out my broken washing machine for a new one, they couldn't because the plug needed to be cut off. Even though they themselves were capable of doing it all, they weren't allowed by their insurance/rules.

Get a plumber, the one you used to fix your central heating will be fine. If it's next to the sink, and there's plug socket it's easy to do the relevant plumbing. If there's no plug socket, get an electrician to add one first.
posted by plonkee at 11:08 AM on December 27, 2017

Excellent, thank you everyone - looks like the consensus is "call the plumber first", so that's what I'll be doing.

(I'm looking forward to this dishwasher so much, you have no idea. I loathe washing dishes by hand, takes an eternity and it's been keeping me from cooking more because I often only have the energy to cook, not cook and do the dishes.)
posted by sailoreagle at 1:09 PM on December 27, 2017

My EU/Irish dishwasher is cold fill, as is my washer. The man who installed them and services them is the same plumber who services and repairs my boiler, my Insinkerator and my heating system.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:12 PM on December 27, 2017

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