Getting to be time for some new kitchen appliances? One way to save some money along the way is to do the installation yourself, which is not as hard as you might think.
Most appliances come in several standard sizes, so if you can find a replacement that’s the same size as the old one, the installation is considerably easier. New appliances that are larger then the old ones will require that you enlarge the cabinet or countertop opening, which can sometimes be a tough chore. New appliances that are smaller will require that you reduce the size of the opening, and that can definitely lead to a number of problems.
SOME GENERAL PRECAUTIONS
1. Always shut the electricity and gas supplies to the appliance before removal and reinstallation. Do not reactivate either one until you are sure all the installation steps have been completed, and all of the tape and other packaging materials have been removed. If you have any questions or concerns about the gas or electrical supply or connections, or any other installation step, always consult a licensed professional before proceeding.
2. Appliances are very heavy and require two people for installation. Do not try to do this all by yourself — you risk damage to the appliance, the cabinets, the floor, and, most importantly, you!
3. Place a piece of plywood, heavy cardboard, packing blankets or other protective material over your kitchen floor to prevent damage to the flooring during the removal and installation steps.
Ranges are found in three basic configurations. These include freestanding, which sit on the floor and fit between the counter on either side of it; slide-in, which sit on the floor but also overlap the counters for a cleaner, more custom look; and drop-in, which rest on both the counter and the lower part of the cabinet, and do not go all the way to the floor.
Freestanding ranges are very easy to install. Remove the old one by sliding it forward enough to reach and unplug the electrical cord or disconnect the gas line, then remove it completely from the opening. Install a new electrical pigtail (power cord) or gas line on the new range following the manufacturer’s instructions, slide the new range into the opening, plug in the cord or connect the gas line, and adjust the leveling feet as needed. Slide-in ranges are installed in the same manner, but the countertop cutout might need to be adjusted slightly prior to installation — check the manufacturer’s template for exact sizes.
A drop-in range is typically hard-wired instead of just plugging in. Slide the range out far enough to access the electrical junction box and then disconnect the wires (or disconnect the gas line), then remove the old range by lifting it out of the opening. Consult the manufacturer’s templates and make any adjustments to the cabinet and counter openings that might be required. Carefully lift the new range into position, reconnect the wires or gas line, and then slide the range completely into place. If required, finish the installation by installing any fastening screws provided by the manufacturer.
A cooktop drops into an opening in the countertop, so here again it is best to have a replacement unit that fits directly into the old opening. To remove the old cooktop, disconnect the wires inside the junction box or disconnect the gas line, both of which should be located inside the lower cabinet. Lying on your back reach up inside the cabinet and undo the fasteners that hold the cooktop against the countertop — usually screws, small bolts or thumbscrews. Lift the old cooktop out of the opening.
Check and adjust the countertop openings as needed, then drop the new unit into the counter. Following the manufacturers instructions, install the fasteners that hold the cooktop to the counter. Finally, reconnect the electrical or gas lines.
First, remove the old oven door. This will give you access to the fasteners, and will also make the oven lighter and easier to remove. Unscrew the attachment screws that hold the oven to the cabinet, then slide the oven partly out of the opening. Rest the oven on a bucket, box or other support, and disconnect the electrical wiring or gas line, then remove the oven completely.
Check the cabinet opening to be sure the new oven will fit properly, and adjust as needed. Remove the oven door, following the manufacturer’s instructions, then carefully lift the oven partly into the opening and support it as before. Reconnect the electrical or gas lines, and slide the oven all the way into the cabinet. Check the fit, and then secure the oven in place by installing the new attachment screws. For hardwood cabinets, be sure you predrill the cabinet before attempting to install the screws.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.