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General Guidelines

Dishwashers are a modern convenience that few want to live without. Not only do they allow us to spend more time with our families and less time washing dishes, dishwashers have become so efficient they save us money on water and electricity. Today’s dishwashers use half as much electricity as those manufactured in 1972 and half as much water as washing the same amount of dishes by hand! And many new dishwashers have built-in booster heaters that gets water hot enough to kill germs and cut grease much better than can be done washing by hand.

Listed below are the popular kinds of dishwashers available today. Read about their pros and cons and also special considerations for each type. Remember to bring accurate measurements of the space you want your new unit to fill.

Under-Counter Dishwashers

Most homes use under-counter dishwashers today where the dishwasher is a permanent part of the kitchen. This saves valuable kitchen floor space, as opposed to separate portable dishwashing units and offer you many more options and styles to choose from. Under-counter dishwashers also fit more dishes and are available to match your other appliances. They are easier and faster to operate as they are always attached to electricity and water sources and you can use your sink at the same time as your dishwasher.

Dishwashers involve complicated interactions between your plumbing and electrical systems and their complex electronics. If you’re installing an under-counter dishwasher for the first time, extensive plumbing, carpentry and electrical skills are needed. Please consult professionals to make sure your appliance is installed safely and correctly. Also, make sure to accurately measure the space your new unit will fill, which can be difficult, as the old units are built in and it may not be easy to see where they end inside your counters. Most manufacturers can get you exact measurements when provided with a model number.

There are many different features available today in under-counter dishwashers. Make sure to examine your unique needs and choose the correct balance of features. Some features that you may wish to look into include noise reduction, delayed start and filters. Dishwashers can vary in their noise production, which can have a large impact on your family if your kitchen is connected to a commonly used gathering area like a family room. If a noisy dishwasher will interfere with your evening time in the family room, consider a model that has extra noise reduction features. Delayed start features allow you to set a time for the wash cycle to begin later in the day. This is very useful if you want to run your dishwasher at times when noise will not disturb you or energy costs are lower. Under-counter dishwashers have a variety of filtering methods. Some need to be replaced periodically and others have grinders which dispose of large food items without replacing filters. Look into each unit’s filtering methods to see which is right for you.

Portable Dishwashers

Portable dishwashers are much less common than under-counter dishwashers but can be a very convenient solution in certain circumstances. Portable dishwashers are stored elsewhere and connected to your kitchen sink when a load is ready to be washed. If there is no room in your kitchen to install an under-counter dishwasher, portable dishwashers can be stored elsewhere and wheeled in when needed. They often have butcher-block tops that can provide extra counter space when in the kitchen. Also, portable dishwashers can be taken with you when you move to another residence.

Portable dishwashers can be somewhat inconvenient since they need to be connected to and disconnected from electricity and water each time they are used. While they can save your under-counter space, they do need to be stored somewhere when not in use and do take up kitchen floor space when in use. These units are usually smaller than standard under-counter dishwashers but still clean effectively.

Make sure to measure the space you have available carefully, including where it will be when connected to water and electricity and where it will be stored when not in use. It is important to understand how to connect it to electricity and water and to make sure the proper connections are available in your space. Less features are usually available in portable dishwashers, but it is still important to compare your needs with the features available. See the last paragraph in the under-counter dishwasher section for a review of some convenient features you may wish to research.

Man and woman checking an appliance

A Special Note on Self-Installation

Thinking about saving some money by installing your new dishwasher yourself? Stop!!

Dishwashers are expensive and complicated appliances. They are very heavy, require specialized tools and can have complicated connections with your home’s plumbing and electrical system. Improper installation can result in broken appliances, invalidated warranties, damage to your home’s floors, surfaces, plumbing and cabinets and injuries to yourself. Not to mention that you’ll need to find a way to get your dishwasher home without damaging it and what will you do with your old one when you’re done?

If you’re installing an under-counter dishwasher for the first time, extensive plumbing, carpentry and electrical skills are needed. Please consult professionals to make sure your appliance is installed safely and correctly. If you want to get the most out of your investment, have it installed by an expert. Installation is usually very inexpensive and even small mistakes made while installing it yourself can cost you big bucks in the future. Save yourself! Let us, true experts, install your new dishwasher.

Woman checking a washing machine

To Warranty or Not to Warranty?

Dishwashers involve lots of water and lots of electricity working side by side, which we all know can lead to a dangerous and destructive situation should something go wrong. Misbehaving dishwashers can cause kitchen floods and only experts should attempt to deal with electrical matters when water is involved. Because of this, repairs to your dishwasher can be very expensive.

On the other hand, extended warranties are usually very inexpensive and can therefore save you thousands in the future. Some can even cover extra costs that result from the malfunction of an appliance. It’s simple and inexpensive to purchase extended warranties and one of the smartest ways to protect your investment.

If you can spare a few thousand dollars without batting an eyelash for a new one should it break tomorrow and destroy your floors along with it, don’t bother buying warranty. But if you’re like most of us, protect yourself by purchasing inexpensive extended warranties when you buy a new appliance and save yourself big money in the long run.

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