Can I Put a Stove Top Above an Undercounter Dishwasher?

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It's not safe to have a dishwasher and a cooktop too close together.
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Installing a dishwasher and a stand-alone stove top (more commonly called a cooktop) takes some consideration, especially if you have a small kitchen. You need to know how much space each unit requires if you are considering placing the appliances close to each other. You also need to consider the safety issues of having a dishwasher and a cooktop near each other in the kitchen.

Both appliance generate heat, so they can withstand it, but a dishwasher also generates moisture in the form of steam, and that's not good for a cooktop.

Cooktop Requirements

According to GE Appliances, a cooktop needs insulation on the underside. The insulation must be at least 1/4-inch-thick millboard and sheet metal must cover the insulation. Cooktops require varying amounts of empty space underneath to provide enough room for the ductwork, blower and vent housing. Some cooktops are designed to be installed above a built-in oven and require slightly less space, but 5 inches is about the minimum and some models require as much as 18 inches of clearance underneath.

Built-In Dishwasher Requirements

Built-in dishwashers sit directly under the countertop and are, in fact, attached to the underside of the counter to avoid tipping forward when the door is open. For its models, GE Appliances specifies that the distance from the underside of the countertop to the top of the dishwasher must be at least 1/2 inch to provide enough clearance to slide the appliance into place. This is a standard requirement that you'll find in the installation instructions for most other models as well.

Dishwashers must be installed within 10 feet of a sink so that the water drains correctly. The wall behind the dishwasher should not have any wires or pipes, except what is needed for the dishwasher. That requirement precludes a receptacle for an electric cooktop, but you can always install the receptacle above the counter.

Effects of Heat and Condensation

Cooktops generate heat, and so do dishwashers. Any cabinets or other kitchen appliances above, below or on the sides of the cooktop must be able to tolerate heat of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. When you open a dishwasher after the wash cycle or immediately after the drying cycle, on the other hand, steam pours out of the door, and it condenses on nearby solid surfaces. Steam and condensation should never be present around a cooktop, especially an electric model, because of the potential for corrosion.

Important Safety Concerns

Besides the room each appliance needs, there are safety concerns about placing a cooktop and a dishwasher near each other, much less on top of each other. If you are cooking, you don't want to have a dishwasher producing even more heat in the area. Another concern is bending over to take something out of the dishwasher while a burner on the cooktop is hot. You could place your hand on the hot cooktop and burn your hand, knock a pan off the cooktop or parts of your hair or clothes could touch the hot burner and catch fire.

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Pamela Gardapee

Pamela Gardapee is a writer with more than seven years experience writing Web content. Being functional in finances, home projects and computers has allowed Gardapee to give her readers valuable information. She studied accounting, computers and writing before offering her tax, computer and writing services to others.