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Install Dishwasher without a Garbage Disposal


dishwasher plumbing tailpieceInstalling a dishwasher without a garbage disposal sounds a little daunting, but it isn’t. You will need a few specialized plumbing parts, but otherwise it should be straightforward.

The dishwasher will go into the cabinet the same way the old one came out. Some people don’t like garbage disposals and so they remove them, I personally like them and don’t know why anyone would get rid of one. Anyway, when you remove the disposal, you will need to add a sink strainer and a dishwasher tailpiece. This looks like an ordinary tailpiece except that it has a nipple that sticks out of the side. This tailpiece nipple takes the place of the nipple on the disposal where the dishwasher drain was connected.

The dishwasher drain will run up to the air gap and then down to the tailpiece nipple. Secure the drain to the nipple with a hose clamp. The water supply connection is the same. Screw the water supply line onto the angle valve until snug after you wrap the threads with Teflon tape.

Shimmy the dishwasher into its final position so that it lines up with the cabinet faces and is centered in the opening. Open the door and secure the dishwasher to the underside of the counter with some short screws. The screws go through the brackets and into the underside of the counter.

Plumbing Leak Under Sink When Dishwasher Runs


leak under kitchen sinkTroubleshooting a plumbing leak requires some patience. The key is to isolate the problem. In the case of a dishwasher leaking under the cabinet, clear out the cabinet and make sure there isn’t an active leak and then start the dishwasher.

There are plenty of possibilities here, from the water supply to the draining of the dishwasher. Grab a flashlight and watch…and wait. If it is leaking under the sink cabinet, it really is isolated to either the water supply to the DW, or the draining action of the DW. If the dishwasher itself were leaking, you would notice water coming from under the unit itself, rather than in the sink cabinet.

Start at the wall valve and look for leaks. Follow the water supply line from the valve to where it exits the cabinet. No leaks? Then wait for the drain cycle.  When the dishwasher drains, it sends water up the drain hose to the air gap (on top of your sink) and down to the inlet of the garbage disposal. Watch for leaks. It will likely be coming from either the air gap or the disposal. If you have a damaged hose, replace it and re-secure the hose clamps. You may have water coming from the air gap on top of the sink and some of it finds its way into the cabinet.  If that is the case, clean out the hose from the air gap to the disposal so that the blockage doesn’t force water out of the air gap. You might also find that the disposal itself is leaking (it should also leak when you run water down that side of the sink from the faucet). If that happens, you need a new disposal. The leak could be from something not discussed here.

Broken Dishwasher Leads To Ceramic Tile Problem


dishwasher feet resized 600I had a frantic call from a homeowner today about her dishwasher. She needed to pull the dishwasher out of the cabinet and couldn’t get it out. She said the ceramic tile was blocking her from pulling it out. Apparently, she had some tile installed and the raised lip on it was blocking the feet on the dishwasher from moving.

I was able to talk her through it without too much trouble. She didn’t realize that the dishwasher was screwed into the cabinet underneath the counter.. After she opened the dishwasher door, I had her look up and remove the screws. This helped out quite a bit.

The next step was to create a little space in the opening. Somehow the feet needed to clear the extra height of the ceramic tile. Easy enough, just raise the feet. Actually, it’s more like lowering the dishwasher.

The front feet can be adjusted up or down so that the dishwasher fits uniformly into the opening. So my lowering the feet, you create space at the top of the dishwasher underneath the cabinet. This will allow you to lift the dishwasher up and over the lip of the tile and you can easily pull it out of the opening. Simply turn the feet clockwise (like you are tightening a screw).

Dishwasher Airgap Leaks On Countertop


dishwasher airgapWhen you run your dishwasher, does it drain on top of your counter? If so, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and fix the problem. The first question I usually ask is if the homeowner recently had a new garbage disposal installed. If so, then it is likely the installer forgot to remove the knock-out plug that allows the dishwasher to drain. If the knock-out plug has not been removed, the water will back up to the air gap on top of your counter and run all over the counter. The fix here is to remove the rubber discharge hose and tap out the plug, then reinstall the hose.

If the plug has been removed, it is likely that the discharge hose is plugged up with debris from the dishwasher (you know, the food that you didn’t wash off of your plate before you loaded the dishwasher). With the discharge hose removed from the garbage disposal, use a long screwdriver or other implement to try to pull out the debris. You can place this hose in a bucket and run the dishwasher on “rinse and drain” to push out any remaining debris.

Reassemble it and test. If you still get water draining out of the air gap, check to see if the hose has a kink in it. If it does, you may need to trim a little off of the length to remove the kink. As a last resort, you may need to replace the air gap.


Handyman Repairs Dishwasher Blockage


dishwasher cloggedWhen you run your dishwasher and it rinses and drains, you typically hear a draining noise as it empties into the garbage disposal. There are times though, that instead of draining into the disposal, it backs up and runs out onto your countertop via the air gap device. You probably don’t need to call your handyman, but this indicates a blockage in the line at some point between the air gap and where it is draining in the disposal.

If your garbage disposal is new, it may be that the knock-out plug was not removed which would prevent the water from draining properly. Otherwise, remove the discharge hose where is connects to the disposal and snake a coat hangar or long screwdriver up there to dislodge the compacted food particles. You can then stick the end of the hose into bucket and run the “rinse and drain” cycle on the dishwasher to clean out the hose. Then just re-attach the hose to the disposal.

It may also be that there is a kink in the hose with is restricting the volume of the waste water. You may need to rotate the hose or even cut it slightly shorter to get rid of the kink.


Easy Dishwasher Adjustment To Align It With Cabinet


dishwasher adjustmentIf your dishwasher doesn't look quite right sitting in it's alcove, there may be an easy fix for it. I've seen dishwashers sticking so far out that it looks like the installer didn't push it in all the way. I've also seen them where they are pushed too far into the opening so that you really have to reach back in there to grab the handle.

So the first thing I would do is to adjust it for height. The feet are hexagonal shaped and you can twist them to either raise or lower the height of the dishwasher as it sits in the hole. It's as easy as screwing in a bolt.

The other adjustment will align the dishwasher with the front of the cabinets so that they are all in the same plane. If you open the door of the dishwasher, you will see 2 small metal tabs sticking out of the top of the dishwasher. These metal tabs will have a hole in the middle. Once you have the dishwasher where it is centered and is equidistant from the cabinets on either side of it, install a screw into each tab. This screw will go through each tab and into the wood base of the kitchen countertop (just make sure the screw isn‘t so long that it penetrates the top of the counter). This will hold the dishwasher in place and in line with the cabinets.

Dishwasher Installation Is Loose? Just Screw It In!


dishwasher installationHave you ever gone to open your dishwasher and the whole thing about pulls out of the counter? Well if so, you're not alone. Maybe it was the result of a poor dishwasher installation. It is a pretty simple fix that you and your trusty screwdriver can remedy.

Your dishwasher is secured to the underside of the counter by two screws. If you carefully open the door (so that the entire dishwasher doesn't tip out of the opening) you will see 2 brackets jutting out of the top of the unit. These brackets have holes in them for screws.

Once you place the dishwasher in position, simply secure it to the underside of the counter with screws. One caveat here: don't attempt to screw directly into the countertop material. You should be screwing into the sub-top which is typically made of particle board, plywood, or even cement board. If you try to screw directly into the countertop material, you risk damaging it by drilling right through the top, or even cracking some surfaces like granite.

It's probably a good time to adjust the height of your dishwasher too. The feet at the bottom turn to raise and lower the height of the unit. You can play with them for a level fit that is equidistant from all edges.

Dishwasher Airgap


dishwasher airgapIf you've ever run your dishwasher and had water end up on your countertop, you might look to that little nubby cap sitting on your sink. It's called an airgap, specifically a dishwasher airgap.

When a dishwasher drains, the waste water flows up the drain line to the airgap and then down to the garbage disposal where it joins your kitchen sink's drain piping. Typically, the airgap backs up when there is a blockage leading to the garbage disposal. Either the hose that runs from the airgap to the disposal is plugged or the knockout plug in the garbage disposal was never removed (this is common with a new disposal installation).

The fix is to disconnect the hose where it meets the disposal. If you stick your finger in the nipple of the disposal and it meets with the metal plug, remove it by tapping on it with a screwdriver and a hammer, then pull it out with your fingers. If the plug has already been removed, use a long screwdriver or a metal hangar and snake it up the hose to pull out the debris. You can stick the end of the hose in a 5 gallon bucket and run a "rinse and drain" on your dishwasher to blow out the remaining debris. Then you can reconnect the hose and run a load of dishes.

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