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Installing Kitchen Appliances

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 27 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Fitted Kitchenskitchen Kitchen

These days kitchen appliances are often designed to go straight into fitted kitchens but kitchen design must still take into account the installation limitations of the various different appliances. And in a modern household, fitted kitchen design needs to take care of a number of different appliances such as:

  • Hob, grill and oven, either separate or in combinations
  • Fridge and freezer, or a fridge-freezer
  • Washing machine and tumble-dryer, or one that does both
  • Dishwasher

Built-in to Fitted Kitchen Units or Separate?

There are basically two different types of appliance for fitted kitchens, ones that are designed to fit into the various different carcasses and those that take the place of a base unit instead.

There is also a hybrid option; appliances that take the place of a carcass but are able to accept a panel on the front that will match the rest of the fitted kitchen. These are scarce though as there's not much standardisation in fitted kitchen panel design, so only certain makes of kitchen will fit the appliance.

What Services Do Kitchen Appliances Need?

Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers are the trickiest to install as they need to deal with water. They sometimes require both hot and cold water to come in, and have waste water outlets too, as well as electrical connections.

Separate tumble dryers only need electricity but some need a large hole in an outside wall for the tube that carries moisture away. There are others that condense the water vapour and drop it into a water reservoir that can be emptied periodically, or it can be piped into a waste outlet like a washing machine.

Gas cookers and hobs obviously need gas and often electricity as well, and fridges, freezers and electric cooking devices only need an electric point.

Fitting Washing Appliances

These different demands obviously impact on the kitchen design. Without tortuous plumbing that will be prone to airlocks, leaks and other problems, it really only makes sense to install washing machines and dishwashers on outside walls and close to the sink.

The sink will already have the water inlet connections for the taps and a waste water outlet that the new appliances can tap into. There are various off the shelf connectors that can be obtained from DIY shops to make these connections.

Implications of Gas Appliance Installations

Gas cooking devices can only be connected to the gas by householders if there is a bayonet fitting to an approved gas outlet. If any other work is required it must be done by a CORGI approved gas fitter.

The electrical connection, which usually powers an ignition system and perhaps a clock and auto-timer, can go into an ordinary thirteen amp socket. With the gas restrictions in mind it's really only worth considering moving a gas cooking appliance if there's really going to be a big benefit from it.

Fitting Electric Cooking Appliances

In contrast, electric cookers are a lot easier. They take a lot of power and the relevant building regulations stipulate that they should be on a separate 30 amp circuit from the fuse box. Also they must not be connected with a plug but hard-wired in to a wall plate with a clearly marked and accessible red switch.

Fitted Kitchen Design and Cooking Appliances

When considering a fitted kitchen design you might want to split the cooking elements into separate units to make better use of space and make it easier to cook. Consider a grill or combined grill and oven in a tall wall unit. They can be mounted higher up so they will be closer to eye level when checking how things are doing, and you don’t have to bend down to put food in and take it out.

If you take this option the space above and below the cooking appliance can be used for drawers or shelf units. A hob can be mounted on the kitchen worktop wherever is convenient and because they are not very deep, there can still be drawers or cupboards below them.

Fridges and Freezers are Easier to Fit into a Fitted Kitchen

You can take a similar approach to fridges and freezers. A combined unit, or separate ones mounted in a tall cupboard unit, can make best use of the space available. Or you can have separate low level units side by side. As long as there's a power point within reach and you can open the doors, fridges and freezers can be installed anywhere.

Base Your Kitchen Design Around the Appliances

There's so much to consider regarding the location of the appliances in a fitted kitchen that it's usually wise to start the kitchen design process by juggling the appliance locations first. Then when you are happy that everything will work, design the rest of the fitted kitchen around it.

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