Because it's both a plumbing appliance and an electrical one, a dishwasher is more challenging to install than a faucet, toilet or even a stove, but you can do it yourself and save the installation costs if you have an intermediate knowledge of home repair procedures. Frigidaire dishwashers come with features that distinguish them from other models, but a Frigidaire dishwasher installation is basically the same as any other.
When you unpack the dishwasher, check the instructions for parts that aren't included in the Frigidaire dishwasher hookup kit that comes in the box. You may need to purchase a length of conduit and some wire caps for the electrical hookup, a brass elbow for connecting the water supply to the dishwasher and a hose clamp for the drain hose. You may also have to buy a water supply hose.
The dishwasher always goes next to the kitchen sink, and most models are designed to fit in a 24-inch wide, 24-inch deep and 34-inch high alcove. No dishwasher will fit in an alcove that's too small, but if the alcove is too big, you may want to think about how to trim out the excess space before you start. If you aren't replacing an existing dishwasher, you'll also have to make a few other preparations.
Getting Ready for a Frigidaire Dishwasher Installation
The dishwasher alcove is usually separated from the drain, and also sometimes the power connection, by the wall of the sink cabinet. Before you begin installing the dishwasher, you'll probably need holes for the drain hose and perhaps the power cord. Drill a 1 1/4-inch hole for the drain and supply hoses and, if needed, a 1-inch hole for the power cord, using a spade bit and drill.
If you aren't replacing an existing dishwasher, you may have to replace the sink tailpiece with one that has a tee connection for a dishwasher. If the sink has a garbage disposal, the tee connector may be present on the side, and all you have to do is remove the cap. You may also have to replace the hot water shutoff valve because it needs to have two outlets — one for the faucet and one for the dishwasher.
The dishwasher also needs power, but if there's a GFCI outlet anywhere within reach of the power cord, you're all set. If not, you'll have to install one. You can also hardwire the dishwasher, but it's usually just as easy to install an outlet, and it's more convenient in the long run.
Check Whether You Need an Air Gap
Some states and communities require the dishwasher outflow hose to pass through a small, domed-shaped vent attached to the sink deck. This fixture is called an air gap, and it prevents the backflow of contaminated water from the sink into the dishwasher.
Some jurisdictions are happy to let you form a long loop with the drain hose and connect it to the underside of the sink cabinet. Others require air gaps, though, which aren't the most stylish additions to your kitchen décor. Check with your local building department before you begin your Frigidaire dishwasher installation to determine whether the local code requires an air gap.
If you don't have to install an air gap, you can make the required loop in the drain hose by drilling the hole that allows it to pass into the sink cabinet near the top of the cabinet.
Step-By-Step Frigidaire Dishwasher Installation
After you've prepped the sink and added a drain connection and air gap, if necessary, and you've got a 120V/20A GFCI outlet, you're ready to install the dishwasher.
Hook Up the Water Supply Hose
Lay the dishwasher on its back — easy does it — and remove the base plate with a screwdriver to reveal the water and electrical connections. Screw a brass elbow onto the 3/4-inch hose thread inlet port and point the elbow in the direction of the water supply. Make sure the elbow outlet matches the Frigidaire dishwasher water supply line connector or, if one isn't supplied, the connector on the flexible hose you purchase.
Once you've tightened the elbow, screw on the supply hose. If you plan to connect the dishwasher with copper tubing, you'll have to wait until the dishwasher is in place before making this connection.
Hook Up the Electrical Wire
Locate the electrical terminal and remove the cover. Pass the supply wire through the hole in the back of the terminal, secure the wire to the terminal with a clamp and strip the ends of the wires. Connect the hot wire to the black dishwasher wire by twisting the wires together and screw in a wire cap. Repeat with the neutral/white wires and ground wires. If there's no Frigidaire dishwasher ground wire, connect the supply ground to the ground nut on the terminal body.
Adjust the Dishwasher Height
Lift the dishwasher upright. Measure the height of the alcove and the height of the dishwasher and adjust the leveling legs by screwing or unscrewing them until the dishwasher height is 1/4 to 3/8 inches less than the alcove height. Adjust all the legs by the same amount to make sure the dishwasher stays level.
If you have to level the dishwasher after it's in place, open the door and remove the two screws holding the front panel and remove the panel to provide access to the rear legs.
Set the Dishwasher in Place
Set the dishwasher in front of the alcove and feed the drain hose and power cord through the appropriate holes in the side of the cabinet. Push the dishwasher into the alcove while at the same time pulling the drain hose and power cord to relieve any slack.
Level and Secure the Dishwasher
Check the level of the dishwasher with a spirit level and make any needed adjustments to the leveling legs. Make sure the bubble on the level is centered along both the width and depth of the dishwasher. When the dishwasher is level, screw the two retaining clips to the underside of the countertop using the screws provided.
The tabs on the top of the dishwasher for securing it to the counter can be removed if you're not going to mount the appliance flush with the cabinet. Simply cut them along the preformed grooves using a hacksaw.
Connect the Drain Hose
Push the end of the drain hose onto the tee connector on the drain tailpiece of the garbage disposal and secure it with a screw-on hose clip.
Connect the Water Supply
Screw the water supply hose onto the tee connector on the hot water shutoff valve and tighten the connector with a wrench.
Plug in the Dishwasher
Plug the dishwasher into the power outlet or, if you're hardwiring it, connect the wires, push them into the electrical box, install a cover plate and turn on the breaker. The dishwasher may display a code that says PF. To clear this, open the door and push the Start/Cancel button twice.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.