When you purchase a dishwasher, whether a built-in or countertop model, you may wonder if it comes with the necessary power cord for operation.
Including a power cord largely depends on the manufacturer and the specific design of the dishwasher.
Dishwashers With Power Cords and Dishwashers Without Power Cords
Countertop dishwashers, designed for portability and simplicity, usually have a power cord. They are meant to be plugged into a standard wall outlet, providing ease of use and convenience.
You can typically unplug and move these units as needed without professional assistance.
For built-in dishwashers, the standard practice is often different. Many built-in models are sold without a power cord because they require a hardwired connection to the home’s electrical system.
This setup is done to handle the higher power demands and to ensure a stable and safe operation. Here is an outline of the key differences:
With Power Cord
- Used mostly for countertops and some portable dishwashers.
- Offers a plug-in system for ease and flexibility.
- Installation can often be handled without professional help
- Some examples are the Comfee countertop dishwasher and Hermitlux countertop dishwasher
Without Power Cord
- Common in built-in dishwashers.
- Requires a hardwired connection directly into the home electrical circuit.
- Professional installation is recommended to ensure safety and compliance with local codes.
- Some examples are SPT dishwasher and Midea built-in dishwasher.
Also read: Does Dishwasher Need Air Gap?
Reasons for Dishwashers Not Including Power Cords
When you purchase a new dishwasher, you might notice that it does not come with a power cord. There are several reasons for this practice:
Many dishwashers need to be hardwired directly into the home’s electrical system because they demand higher power for operation.
By ensuring dishwashers are hardwired, manufacturers aim to reduce the risk of electrical faults.
Installation requirements vary by region. Dishwashers in the U.S., for instance, usually follow the National Electric Code, which prefers hardwiring for fixed appliances.
However, some regions allow the use of power cords if they adhere to local electrical standards.
The absence of a power cord provides you the flexibility to meet specific installation demands.
For example, your kitchen’s layout or the location of electrical outlets may necessitate a cord of a certain length that manufacturers cannot standardize.
Hardwiring a dishwasher also offers a level of safety. Since these appliances often reside in moist environments, direct wiring can help prevent electrical hazards.
By not including a power cord, manufacturers encourage professional installation, ensuring that the dishwasher is properly and safely integrated into your home’s electrical network.
What Type of Power Cord is Needed for a Dishwasher?
If your region allows power cord installation to your built-in dishwasher, you can buy a power cord and get it installed.
Alternatively, some brands may offer a power cord kit for purchase if you prefer to have a plug-in system.
However, this should always be installed in compliance with the manufacturer’s guidance and local regulations.
Here are some electrical requirements to keep in mind before selecting a power cord.
Your dishwasher requires a 120-volt power supply, which is standard for most household appliances.
Ensure the electrical circuit providing power to your dishwasher adheres to this voltage to maintain compatibility.
The power cord must be capable of handling the current rating of your dishwasher. Typically, a 15-amp circuit is sufficient, but some models may require a 20-amp circuit.
It’s vital to check your dishwasher’s specifications.
Dishwashers generally consume around 1,200 watts of power. Your power cord should be rated appropriately to match this consumption without overheating or becoming a safety hazard.
Most dishwashers use a three-prong cord for grounding. This design complies with the NEC to protect against possible electric shock within the proximity of water sources like your kitchen sink.
A 12-gauge wire is typically needed for dishwasher power cords, as it aligns with the National Electrical Code recommendations.
This gauge ensures the cord can safely carry the necessary current to your dishwasher.
How to Install a Power Cord for Your Dishwasher
Before installing a power cord to your dishwasher, ensure you have the right tools and materials.
Compliance with the latest National Electrical Code (NEC) is crucial for safety and proper function.
Turn Off the Power
Ensure your safety by turning off the power at your home’s circuit breaker or fuse box.
Double-check that the power is indeed off by using a voltage tester near the dishwasher’s location.
Connect the Power Cord
Remove the dishwasher’s access panel and locate the junction box.
Attach the power cord wires to the dishwasher’s terminal block by matching the wire colors and securing them together with wire nuts.
Ensure the ground wire is properly connected to the dishwasher frame for safety against electrical faults.
Secure the Power Cord
Protect all electrical connections from strain and wear by using proper insulation techniques. Tuck all wire connections neatly into the junction box and secure the cover.
This prevents potential damage and disconnections.
Position the Dishwasher
Carefully slide the dishwasher into place. Keep the power cord free from kinks and ensure the appliance is level by adjusting its feet.
This avoids operational issues and excessive vibration during cycles.
Plug-In the Dishwasher
Locate the nearest wall outlet that complies with the NEC requirements, including GFCI protection for outlets within 6 feet of a sink.
Once everything is in place, you can plug the dishwasher into the outlet, and turn the power back on at the circuit breaker.
Remember to test the GFCI monthly to ensure your dishwasher operates safely.
Here is a practical demonstration of attaching a power cord to a whirlpool dishwasher:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some common queries.
Are Dishwasher Power Cords Universal?
Not all dishwasher power cords are universal. The compatibility of a power cord can depend on the brand and model of your dishwasher.
It’s important to check with the manufacturer or the installation manual to ensure you have the correct type of power cord.
Do New Dishwashers Come With Power Cords?
Some dishwashers may include a power cord, while others might require a separate purchase.
This often depends on whether the dishwasher is designed to be hard-wired directly into a dedicated circuit or if it has an accessible electrical cord that plugs into a standard outlet.
Can You Use an Extension Cord for a Dishwasher?
Using an extension cord is not recommended for dishwashers.
Dishwashers need a reliable power source and should be connected to a dedicated circuit to prevent any electrical hazards or performance issues.
Can I Reuse the Power Cord from My Old Dishwasher for a New One?
If upgrading to a new model, check if the power cord from your old dishwasher is compatible with the new one.
Some manufacturers allow reusing the same power cord if it meets the electrical requirements of the new dishwasher.
Are Power Cords for Dishwashers Easy to Install?
The installation of a dishwasher power cord typically involves connecting it to the appliance’s access panel and ensuring secure connections, which can be a straightforward process using tools like an adjustable wrench.
However, if you’re unfamiliar with electrical work, it’s advisable to consult a professional.
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