What would it cost to install a dishwasher?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ October 23, 2013 ~ No Comments

We are moving into a new rental and are unsure if we should install a dishwasher in an empty space across from the sink or get a portable one. What would we be getting into work- and cost-wise installing a dishwasher?


Jeffrey Anderson

Crystal, I'm not sure what the best choice might be as there are a number of issues to consider. All dishwashers need three items to operate: a drain line, a water supply line, and a source of electricity. Undercounter dishwashers are normally located next to the sink for convenience, but also for easy access to the plumbing in the underside of the sink cabinet. The dishwasher's supply and drain lines can normally be tied in with the sink's plumbing with a minimum of trouble.

However, electricity can be a little more difficult. Most undercounter dishwashers are hard wired in place as opposed to having a plug like the appliances that would sit on top of your counter. If the kitchen wasn't originally set up to have a dishwasher, there's a pretty good chance there isn't a wire installed.

That means that to install an undercounter unit a wire would need to be run from the main electric panel, and I'm not sure that's something you would or should undertake in a rental unit. If the landlord is willing to hire an electrical contractor to run the wire and make the connection at the dishwasher, that would be a different matter. Most landlords would rather do it that way so they know the work was done properly.

If your landlord isn't willing to do the wiring, then using a portable unit might be the best way to go. They aren't as convenient since they have to be hooked up to the sink faucet before being used. However, they drain right into the basin and can be plugged into any nearby electrical outlet. The only problem I see with purchasing one of those models is that it may never be used again when you leave this rental. An undercounter washer can be used in the future if you happen to rent or purchase a home that has an older unit. It would be fairly easy to pull the old unit out and stick your newer model in - the whole job might take an hour at the most.

As far as cost, the portable unit wouldn't require any contractors as they're designed for homeowner use. The plumbing for an undercounter unit could be hooked up by a DIYer, but hiring a plumber would be a good idea to guard against leaks. Unless there are complications, installing the lines shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. I would estimate the plumbing labor could cost about $140 to $180. It might be more if you live in a large metropolitan area as labor rates are often a little higher there.

I can't estimate the electrical cost as it depends on how far away the panel is located, the difficulty in running the new line, and how many wall repairs are required. However, electrical costs shouldn't be your concern as that portion of the job really should be handled by an electrical contractor hired by the landlord. If you go with an undercounter unit, you can then add a countertop over it, though it's only necessary for cosmetic reasons as long as the unit can be secured in some fashion.

Good luck!

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