Note: This project was actually completed in 2013 but I have had several inquiries about it lately so decided to write up a detailed description of the installation.
Dishwasher or no dishwasher?
Among full time RV’ers and live aboard boaters that’s one of those oft debated but never resolved discussions. Some wouldn’t be without, others can’t fathom the need for it, many are somewhere in between. It comes down to being just a matter of personal choice. And as with most things RV and boat, it’s also a matter of compromises.
For us, the choice was clear, the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages. The compromise to installing one was the loss of some nice storage space in the galley. But on the plus side we could wash an entire day or two worth of dinnerware with just 2 gallons of water! Try doing that by hand. Most faucets run at about 1 or 2 gallons per minute – could you thoroughly scrub, rinse and sanitize a full load of dinnerware in just 1-2 minutes of faucet run time? We can’t.
And then of course there is the convenience factor, we can go to bed and let our little helper do its thing while we get some shuteye. Do we miss the lost storage space? Well, one can always make use of more storage space in our square foot deficient rolling homes, but no, not really. We have plenty of other places to put our stuff.
So which brand/model is best for an RV or boat?
Well in my book there is really only one choice, the Fisher-Paykel DishDrawer. With a drawer design the entire wash tub pulls out making it easy to load from the top, it fits in the small spaces available on an RV or boat (23-5/8″ wide x 16-1/4″ high and 22-1/16″ deep), it’s very functional and well designed, easily holds a day or two worth of dinnerware and is incredibly quiet during operation.
We had a Vesta dishwasher that I installed on our previous 2006 Fleetwood Discovery and while that worked, it is very much outclassed in all regards by the Fisher-Paykel. It’s performance was fair and in our experience it couldn’t hold even half the amount of dinnerware. Larger items that we regularly wash in the Fisher-Paykel would not fit at all. Compared to the top loading drawer on the Fisher-Paykel it was difficult to use with it’s flip down door and a roll out rack that wasn’t very stable or spacious. Both have similar sized exterior dimensions, but the interior of the Fisher-Paykel is much larger and easier to load. As of the date of this post, the DWV335BBS Vesta costs about $450 in stainless (including the trim and hose kits) and the DD24SCTX7 Fisher-Paykel costs about $650 complete. Trust me, I’ve installed and used both, the Fisher-Paykel is well worth the extra money and is easier to install.
The Fisher-Paykel comes in a variety of versions. The smallest is the DD24SCX7 and is the unit we installed. If you have the vertical space you might want to go for the taller version DD24SCTX7 that has a bit extra headroom and can handle 13″ plates. I recommend the “Classic” models which have a stainless front but you can also get “Integrated” versions that accept a custom panel to match you cabinetry. The Classic is handsome looking with no protruding handles and is less complex to install than the integrated models, plus the digital display and self-locking configuration option are a big benefit on homes that roll or float. The Integrated models have no display and must be operated with a remote and can’t be configured to self-lock. Not to mention the extra cost of fabricating a face panel that matches your woodwork.
There are also models with a built in water softener, models with two drawers and 36″ wide models.
Entegra Aspire Installation:
Until 2016 a dishwasher was not an available option on the Entegra Aspire, so our 2013 model did not have one, but we knew the floorplan was identical to its fancier brothers the Anthem and Cornerstone that do have a dishwasher as standard. That would make for a fairly straightforward retrofit since there would be minimal cabinet modifications required.
In our case it basically involved removing the two swing out doors and pull out storage bin under the cooktop.
That left an opening with a vertical height that was just about perfect to fit the DD24SXC7. However, the dishwasher is 23-1/2″ wide and our cabinet opening with the doors removed was 24-1/2″, so filler strips would be necessary. The hardest part of this project turned out to be making those filler pieces (7/16″ strip on each side) and finishing them so they matched the rest of the woodwork, but they came out nice and no one can tell they are homemade.
The next photo has a bit better view of the installed filler strips on the sides of the opening. But also note the side bracing inside the cabinet that was required to fasten the dishwasher shell. The dishwasher will fit euro style cabinets that don’t have a face frame, so when a face frame is involved the inner sides of the cabinet have to be built out to be flush or near flush with the edges of the opening.
The photo below shows the outer shell of the dishwasher getting ready to install. Note the cardboard protecting the lower cabinet – the back edge of the machine has sharp metal parts and on the first installation pass I scratched up the lower rail of the woodwork.
The water supply hose, power cord and drain hose have been routed thru the left side of the cabinet to the under sink area where all those hookups will be made. Also note the shims on the floor of the cabinet used to raise the unit to the proper height.
The photo left shows the outer shell installed and fastened in place. The rest of the unit sitting on the box is the drawer and is tethered to the shell with hoses and wires. At this point it just needs to be mounted on its slides.
Next comes the hookups. Power, hot water supply and drain. For the hot water supply hookup I used the pictured 1/2″x3/8″x1/2″ Add-A-T (bought at Lowes) which directly mated to the plumbing for the sink water supply and simplified things considerably. Note: depending on your faucet supply lines you may need a different size. I also added a 1/4 turn shutoff valve should we ever have any leaks.
Fisher-Pakel claims the dishwasher is triple protected against a leak ever occurring, but having the valve there just makes me feel better.
The photo left shows the installed ADD-A-T which simply connects in-line to the sink faucet hot water supply fittings and then provides a “T” tap to hookup the dishwasher. The dishwasher hot water supply line is the clear poly piping shown connected to the chrome handled shut off valve.
Next the drain line was connected. To do this properly I purchased a new sink drain assembly which had an integrated dishwasher tailpiece. You can see this part sitting on top of the dishwasher in the third photo down from the beginning of this post.
I bought the part from Entegra but it is a standard item and should be available from most RV plumbing suppliers. In this case it is made of ABS plastic (black) to match the other plumbing. ABS is more impact resistant and has a wider temperature tolerance than PVC hence its popularity for RV applications.
The next photo shows the new sink drain parts installed and the dishwasher drain hose connected. The drain parts simply unscrewed from the sink tailpiece and trap and made for an easy retrofit with no cutting or gluing needed.
Also note that the gray dishwasher drain hose loops up as high as possible before connecting to the drain. This is to prevent siphoning.
The power hookup is a standard 120 volt three prong electrical cord. In our case we had a 20 Amp refrigerator outlet under the sink so we simply plugged into that circuit.
So that’s about it! In summary we chose the stainless finish standard height Fisher Paykel DD24SCX7 DishDrawer because it saved the cost of buying a matching wood panel, plus the vent does not need to be separately installed and there is no need for a remote for the controls.
The control panel was re-configured as explained in the owners manual so one press on the power button unlocks the door – it automatically re-locks 30 seconds later so we never need to remember to lock it before hitting the road. The user guides and installation manual can be found here (scroll down.)
The chart below describes the various wash cycle options including a number of parameters such as water consumption and final rinse temperature. Note that the water consumption is listed in Liters – 7.6 liters is equal to 2 gallons.
We are very happy with the installation and usefulness of the machine. Also it is the quietest dishwasher we have ever owned!