Low cost or top of the range, the dishwasher is one of the most common appliances in a kitchen, whether large or a simple kitchenette.
Built-in dishwasher, practical and eco-sustainable
Among the appliances in the kitchen, the built-in or free – standing dishwasher is undoubtedly the one that has climbed the most positions in the rating of users of this space over time. Whether it is the kitchen of the villa of an aspiring chef or simply the kitchenette of a city studio apartment, the dishwasher has now become indispensable. On the market, leaflets and advertisements are on the agenda with built-in dishwasher offers that now cover all the needs of space and functionality, for large families or for singles.
One of the factors that most influenced, especially in recent times, the growing success of this appliance is the fact that new technologies ensure optimal performance and at the same time are in line with the dictates of eco-sustainable culture, in terms of energy saving and environmental impact.
The latest generation dishwashers guarantee reduced electricity consumption and above all water; this last aspect is very evident if the comparison is made with the normal hand washing of the dishes.
Capacity of the built-in dishwasher for number of place settings
Built-in dishwashers, as well as free-standing dishwashers, are first classified by capacity, or by the number of seats they can accommodate.
Regarding this aspect, it must be said that it is precisely because of the number of seats, with the same overall dimensions, that there are the greatest differences between one brand and another, differences that in a certain sense also determine the quality.
The fact that, with the same measures and energy class, a brand of built-in dishwashers ensures the washing of several covers, means that the internal structure for the arrangement of the dishes is more flexible.
This ability to vary the position of the grids is particularly convenient for dishes large as those serving or pizza or pans bulky. There are also models that require the insertion of extra trays in the upper part, to be able to arrange cutlery, for example.
All this with the guarantee of perfect washes with any program, from the fast to the longest intensive, thanks to the presence of jets that reach any interior space, despite the presence of these extra accessories.
Which types and sizes to choose for the built-in dishwasher?
Depending on the external appearance, built- in dishwashers can be fully integrated, partially integrated or with visible appearance.
In the first case they have the external panel, hooked to the white structure, the same as the rest of the composition and placed so as to cover the appliance completely.
The controls are on the upper part of the door, they are visible when opened and start up directly when the door is closed.
The partial integrated dishwashers have the external dashboard visible and the aesthetic panel on the rest of the door. The controls in this case are easily operated from the outside.
Dishwashers with a visual appearance normally follow the style of the oven and almost always have a stainless steel panel with a satin or mirror finish while the controls are external.
And the measures? For free-standing dishwashers, sizes can be varied and also linked to external aesthetics, as in the case of retro-style models that are a little convex.
Built-in dishwashers have the strictest constraints, having to deal with the heights and depths of the bases that make up the kitchen.
Even the latest additions, built-in dishwashers in columns, must have certain depth and height measurements, to align themselves with the rest of the bases or to have an effectively ergonomic correct position, as in the case of those in the column above the top.
As for the width measurements, the dishwashers can be 45 or 60 cm wide if they are under mounted, while the height is normally around 82/87 cm including the adjustable feet.
They can also be 90 cm wide if they are recessed in a column, at the level under the top or in the middle, or above the top or intermediate.
Built-in dishwasher: How to position them
For obvious reasons of functionality of the water systems as well as of ergonomics, the dishwasher should be placed as close as possible to the sink in order to be able to exploit the drains with multi-coupling pipes, usually already supplied by the sink manufacturer.
The proximity to the sink also makes it more convenient to insert the lightly rinsed dishes since there is not too much space to go with respect to the tubs.
One of the most correct positions is the one that foresees the built-in dishwasher under the drip of the sink. In any case it would be better not to go further for more than one base, to avoid that the pipes have an excessive length, with the risk of being crushed when positioning the intermediate base, causing a malfunction or problems with water loading and unloading.
Unlike the built-in oven, the dishwasher does not have a real base in which to be built-in. In fact, all kitchen furniture companies have in the catalogs the door leaf for dishwashers, not a dishwasher base, for this reason.
When the positioning of this appliance is to be foreseen, the size of the space to be left free is the same as that of the chosen article, precisely because there are no sides to calculate in the distances between the other bases.
Attention, then: if the total built-in dishwasher is placed at the beginning or end of the composition and there is no support wall, there is to add a final finishing side whose thickness is to be calculated in the total measure of the floor length on that side. The same side will be visible in the front, since the door has the same width as the dishwasher so it does not even cover the panel and it is good to take this into account for the final aesthetics.
Exhaust system for the built-in dishwasher
Once in place, the dishwasher must be installed by a qualified technician.
For the preparation of the drains in the restructuring phase, there are no pipes to add but those for the sink are exploited.
We have in fact already mentioned that the proximity to the sink is an essential prerogative for the insertion of the dishwasher in a kitchen composition, either modular for industrial production or custom-made.
The under- sink is in fact a piece of furniture conceived without a back to allow the connection of the water and gas loading and unloading pipes and for easy inspection and maintenance of the same.
As you can see from the pictures about the layout of a Hotpoint Ariston built-in dishwasher, the flexible drain hose can be connected directly to the sink drain and the connection will be at a height between 40 cm from the floor or 80 cm from the surface of the built-in dishwasher.
It is obviously necessary to avoid using exhaust pipes that are too long or with folds, as this may cause the stagnation of dirty water with consequent bad smells.
Built-in dishwasher: A do-it-yourself kitchen restyling
In this regard, I propose a small case history that briefly illustrates a restyling that has seen a low column-oven transform into a high column with oven and dishwasher together.
It often happens when you change your home from a kitchen with large spaces to a much smaller one, where you can concentrate the entire cooking and washing area on a single wall, with the drains already positioned and binding for the new composition.
Wanting to exploit the old furniture adapting it to the new situation, in this case we started from the location of the cooking-washing block, of 180 cm size, with single top in stainless steel with hob and integrated tanks.
In the previous corner kitchen, the dishwasher was positioned to the right of the block, next to the sink, so as to be close to the drains. At the end of the composition, the low column was provided with a built-in oven above the top, with a simple base with shelves and door underneath.
The built-in dishwasher must now necessarily be placed to the left of the block, since the systems are all on the right, too close to the corner with the window wall. How to proceed, exploiting all the elements already in possession?
First of all, a piece of the old worktop was cut, no longer usable, to position it on the sides that enclose the appliance, so that the weight of the structure above containing the oven does not drain onto the dishwasher.
The reference measure was the width of the dishwasher itself plus the thickness of the two side panels inserted to finish it.
At this point, having removed the feet from the oven column, the cabinet was turned upside down and placed on the top of the dishwasher, keeping everything flush on the left. The built-in oven has a door with reversible opening, so there were no problems. The low oven column has become high column for oven and dishwasher.