Remodel journal 2005-07-28 thru 07-31: (NB Somebody emailed asking why I dated these journal entries. I try to take pictures while I’m working, but I usually don’t have time/energy to write up a post or tweak and upload the photos at that time. I write up the post at my leisure, and leave the posting date as-is, but I put the work date in the journal entry.)
I spent a few vacation days and the weekend getting our new dishwasher hooked up. This is a big win for us–not so much because of the automatic dishwasher itself, but because it doubles the amount of counter space we have available in the kitchen. (Not having to wash dishes by hand is nice, too. But the counter space was critical!)
We originally had the microwave on the counter by the stove (picture above). It completely covered the counter and barely fit underneath the cabinet. Now the microwave is on top of the dishwasher, so the counter is clear and the top of the microwave is available for lightweight storage.
Most of our counter space is next to the sink (picture above). Before the dishwasher was hooked up, we left a drainboard and other dishwashing paraphenalia on the counter next to the sink. Now all that stuff is put away, and it looks like we might actually have some room to cook! (Dining out and fast food is getting pretty old. I haven’t been able to do much cooking since we moved in 2.5 months ago.)
There were 3 major aspects of this project: cabinetry, wiring, and plumbing.
- Cabinetry: All the dishwashers that we’ve owned in the past were designed to roll into an opening under the counter. This is a “built-in” appliance, which gets screwed into the adjacent cabinetry and/or countertop. Since we didn’t have cabinetry to enclose the dishwasher, the first thing I had to do was build some sort of wooden box to hold it. We’re going to remodel the kitchen in a few months, so I didn’t want to do anything fancy/difficult/expensive. I chose to slap together a plywood box with some 1″ x 3″ boards for the joints. It looks like crap, but it got the job done cheap and simple. You can see a bit of the “cabinet” surrounding the dishwasher in the first picture in the article.
- Wiring: This dishwasher is hard-wired into its own 15-amp circuit, unlike other units I’ve owned which just plugged in to an outlet under the sink. I didn’t have any power in that corner of the kitchen, so I needed to run power anyway.
Doesn’t this modern breaker box look like “fun” waiting to happen? Installing the breakers and hooking up the wires were the easy parts of this job. The difficult bit was running the wire from inside the panel, up through the wire chase in the garage, over to the kitchen (right next to the garage, thankfully!), and down through the garage/kitchen wall to the hole I drilled in the wallboard. Lesson learned–plaster veneered drywall is very messy. I drilled 3 x 1″ holes through the drywall with a hole saw, and there was plaster dust all over the kitchen!
- Plumbing: The previous owner of the house had a utility sink in the garage, right across the wall from where the dishwasher is installed. They even had 3/4″ hose fittings on the hot- and cold water lines in the sink, so all I needed to do was put together some fittings to connect a 3/4″ hose to a braided dishwasher line, which I believe uses 3/8″ compression fittings. A quick trip to Emigh Hardware was all it took to get the braided dishwasher hose and the fittings I needed to hook it up to the utility sink. Emigh rocks!
It took me quite a while to get all this stuff done. I didn’t work on it exclusively on any given day, but I did put in at least a few hours each day of my extended weekend, usually in the morning as it was too hot to work in the afternoon. (No air conditioning–yuck.) But this dishwasher (and the extra counter space) is worth the effort. The dishwasher is so quiet that it’s hard to tell if it’s running!
I think this is the last upgrade/repair task for the existing house–everything else is actual remodel work.