Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to hot wire a dishwasher

Okay, so it's not really hot wiring, but if, like me, your existence is so pampered that the prospect of an extra month without a dishwasher seems intolerable, and you happen to have a tap which can serve the purpose, this is a good temporary solution. Especially because it's extremely easy!

This does require you to have an available hose tap or washing machine tap, as those already have threads on them that make the job easy (doing this with a sink tap would require changing out the fittings, which is probably getting in the too-complicated-for-short-term-gain category). You'll also need a drain nearby, and a power point for the dishwasher.

I should note that this is at your own risk - the main risk being leaks, so if you're at all unsure watch the connections when the dishwasher is running to avoid catastrophe. And if you're really unsure, get a plumber!

If you have those amenities, here's what you need to do:

1. Make sure you have the fittings you need
20mm crox / hex nipple
Depending on the proximity of your tap to the location of your dishwasher you may need an extra hose. We're using a hose tap outside the kitchen window, with the dishwasher inside, which means we need an extra hose to reach all the way through the window. I bought a 2m mesh-encased washing machine hose from Bunnings for $33. You can get cheaper versions but when it comes to plumbing I'm risk averse, even when it's a short term thing.

If you need the extra hose you will also need a fitting called a "20mm crox nipple" or "20mm hex nipple." This is a small piece of brass with an external thread on each end, so you can screw the two hoses together. It's a common plumbing fitting but the small Bunnings I visited didn't have it so I went to Zip Plumbing Plus - a full-size hardware store should have these though.

You'll also need some tape to make sure the drain is held in place - I picked some up from the plumbing store, you might already have something though, so long as it will hold.

2. Make sure the tap is running clear
This is just a precautionary step in case it hasn't been used for a while. Our house had been unoccupied for nearly a year when we moved in so there could have been some gremlins in the pipes and you don't want to clog up your dishwasher with gunk, so just run the tap for a minute or so to flush it out.

3. Connect up the hose
If you are using a second hose you'll need to screw both the dishwasher hose and the extension onto the nipple, and you'll also need to screw the other end onto your tap.

All connections need to be screwed on firmly - at least as firm as you can do with your bare hands. Using tools for this is not advised because you can damage the thread and that can cause leaks - but if you're a weakling like me gentle use of a tool may help get it snug (i.e. don't do it as tightly as you can with the tool, just use the tool to get it a bit tighter than you can with your hands). Otherwise get someone with strong hands to tighten it!

4. Fix the drainage in place
Put the drainage pipe from the dishwasher where you want it - ours is draining into the kitchen sink. This does mean the sink needs to be kept clear of obstructions to avoid flooding the kitchen (one of many reasons this is only a short term solution!).

The drainage pipe is the darker grey one poking down behind the mixer -
see the sophisticated tape job, only the best here! 
You will need to tape this firmly in place (ours is fixed to the taps in a highly professional manner) as it will move when draining. You know how garden hoses turn into vicious snakes when turned on full? The last thing you want is that happening in your kitchen with your dirty dishwater.

5. Turn on the dishwasher
Yep, simple as that! It pays to run a rinse cycle to flush it out before you wash a load of dishes (regardless of whether it's new or not) but otherwise you're good to go.

The dishwasher will be unstable without a bench above holding it in place, so you may want to rest something heavy on top of it, or at least be careful loading and unloading.

The finished setup... It'll do for now. 
So now, glory of glories, after six weeks without a dishwasher we have one again! Do you think we're nuts for setting it up, or are you similarly attached to yours?

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