Home>Discussions>KITCHENS>Can you use a built in dishwasher as a free standing one?
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Can you use a built in dishwasher as a free standing one?

I know this may be a dumb question, but since I know they are normally installed in cabinets, I figured I'd ask. My kitchen cabinets are only about 31" from floor to under the countertop, so I can't install a dishwasher there. I do have an old washer hookup in the kitchen that I found instructions on how to adapt for a dw. I don't need a portable one-they are expensive compared to the built-ins, but how would I go about building a cabinet for the dishwasher? I've seen people use two end cabinets on either side, and just throw a countertop over it all, but I don't have the space for that because there is a radiator on the same wall as the hookup. I'm not a carpenter or even a huge diy person-I am pretty much just learning as I go. This is our first house, and I'm having a baby (to grow our family to 6!) and was really looking forward to having a dishwasher before she comes in March.

Re: Can you use a built in dishwasher as a free standing one?

A portable dishwasher is not exactly like a built-in unit.

If you can tolerate the moving and shaking of an unsecured built-in DW, the inconvenience in connecting and disconnecting it and in moving it around when not in use, I don't see why you can't use it as a portable unit.

There is a reason why a portable DW costs more.

Somehow, with your idea to convert a washer waste line, I think you're going to end up with a leak.

But what I don't understand is why your space is only 31" high.

Re: Can you use a built in dishwasher as a free standing one?

Sure, you can. You can also put a couch on your front porch and your old car up on cinder blocks. It's almost St. Patty's Day; don't forget the inflatable leprechaun on the roof. :D

One problem with your idea is stability -- the washer will likely tip over when you open the door, especially when you pull out one or both racks. You could build a box for it, but you'll need to put some weight in the back at the bottom so it won't tip over when you open it up.

Re: Can you use a built in dishwasher as a free standing one?

@dj1-I don't want to move the dishwasher-I have extra wallspace where there used to be a washing machine in my kitchen. I just wanted to know if other people have done something similar and had it work out.

@Fencepost-My brother helped do finish work in houses, and offered to build a cabinet for it. I don't know why I only have 31" of space, I just know that is the measurement from the floor to just under the countertop. I'm really short, so it works for me, anyways :P I've seen other posts with people asking about converting an old washer hookup for a dishwasher, but there aren't any replies saying how it worked out. I don't want it to leak, though I don't know why it would if everything is secured properly.

Re: Can you use a built in dishwasher as a free standing one?

As you've probably discovered, standard countertop height is 36", which typically leaves 34" to 34.5" for the dishwasher. Perhaps a previous homeowner was short and had the counters built lower for ergonomic reasons. Since you say you're short, too, don't complain too loudly!

I don't see any problems with using an old washing machine hookup; just be sure to connect it to the hot water supply and not the cold. Make sure the dishwasher drain loops high and that there is a vacuum break. The high loop prevents the DW from being drained when you don't want it to be, and the vacuum break prevents siphoning out of the dishwasher and, more importantly, prevents wastewater from being siphoned back into the dishwasher. That would be unsanitary.

As long as your connections are secure and your electrical is done safely, there shouldn't be an issue. If you intend some measure of portability, you can connect it with a plug-in cord. (A dedicated circuit is only required for hardwired installation, but may be a good idea anyway as this is a heating appliance.) As I pointed out in my previous post, your main concern will be with balance. If the cabinet you build for the washer is fastened to the floor or wall, it won't be an issue.

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