Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or making some upgrades to a rental property, you shouldn’t be afraid of trying to install kitchen appliances yourself. You might learn something new, and you’ll potentially save a little cash.
I recently replaced our built-in oven, microwave, and range top. The process wasn’t that difficult as you’ll see below. According to Lowes, the install of all three would have totaled around $500, so I’m glad I opted to do it myself.
Sizing and Ordering
If you have built-in appliances like I did, your first concern and only potential hangup should be sizing. Measure your current appliances and measure the size of the wall/cabinet/counter-top openings before heading to the store or shopping online.
You’ll want to use these measurements as a guide in helping you make your selection, as having to make additional cuts (in granite especially) to your cabinets and walls could prove to be tricky and costly.
We simply replaced our appliances with the newer version of the same line: GE Profile. With the exception of the microwave, everything fit nice and snug in the old cutouts. Only small cuts to the microwave opening were needed.
When you are doing your shopping don’t be afraid to look for free installation or rebates on installation. Had Lowes offered to install it all for free I would have taken them up on it. But they only offered a free install on the dishwasher, which we did take advantage of.
Another thing I should note here is that Lowes delivery was free either way (installed or not). So attempting this project was a no-brainer. I could always bail out and have Lowes come out to do the install if I got in over my head.
Removing the Old Appliances
Once your appliances have been delivered and you’re ready to start the install, throw the electrical breakers to shut off electricity to the old appliances. There should be a breaker for each appliance.
Also, use caution when removing the old appliances: wear gloves, pad your kitchen flooring to prevent damage, and generally use common sense to prevent any injuries or damage.
Pay attention to electrical connections before disconnecting. In most cases, your electrical appliances will be standard four wires: red, white, black, and ground (sometimes green). In my case, the oven and range were both four wires and the microwave oven actually had a simple three-prong plug and wall socket connection.
In most cases, the appliances will come with the electrical conduit and wires running from the appliance already. So you will need to removed the old appliances’ electrical at the wall. This typically involves removing a clamp and/or electrical box cover and disconnecting the wires using needle-nose pliers.
Removing the range top also involved disconnecting the exhaust duct from the old range’s exhaust system. Unfortunately my new oven came with a rectangle exhaust system and I need to go buy a rectangle to round connector to complete this part of the project.
Once you have everything disconnected you are ready to remove the old appliances. The range and microwave weren’t difficult for me alone. But the oven is heavy and is a two-man job. I recommend asking a friend or family member to help with that.
Install Kitchen Appliances
Before you start the install, take a moment to clean the openings and remove any old sealants, dust, dirt, etc. You’ll want fresh, clean surfaces for your new appliances. Plus, this is the only time you can get into some of these spaces. So clean them while you can.
Putting the new appliances in place is even easier than removing them. The only really tricky part that I ran into was the electrical wiring. The new wires were much more maleable than the wiring in the house.
If you’ve ever connected two wires with different gauges you know what I’m talking about. If you have good gloves and pliers then you should be good to go.
If you’re dealing with a built-in microwave then you will likely have some mounting bracket pieces to deal with. Once you have those in place just slide the microwave in and attach the trim pieces.
In my case, the new oven and microwave oven trim pieces didn’t cover the same amount of cabinet facing, so we have some painting to do. I’m kicking myself for not insisting that the painters remove the appliances when they painted the cabinets last year.
In total, the appliance install took about 2.5 hours. Here’s how the numbers worked out for those interested.
We purchased the appliances (total cost, including dishwasher – $6,327.27) using a combination of cash back credit cards ($5,327.27) and Lowes gift cards ($1,000).
Lowes Gift Cards – The $1,000 in Lowes gift cards were purchased from Kroger using my Citi American Airlines card, which gave me 1,000 miles. Plus it allowed me to hit my spending bonus of 30,000 miles. Kroger was running a gift card promotion, giving us four times the fuel points. With the 4,000 fuel points, we were able to do five fill-ups for $1 off. That equalled roughly $85 in savings on fuel. As an alternative, you can buy discounted gift cards through a service like Plastic Jungle.
More Credit Card Points – We purchased the rest using two credit cards: 4,211.12 to our new Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express and 1,116.55 on our new Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Splitting it up like this allowed us to reach out bonus spending requirements and it also allowed us to qualify for more rebates (see below). In total, the purchases gave us over 5,000 in reward points and helped us meet a big percentage of spending requirements for bonuses of 25,000 and 40,000. See more on this in my recent credit card app party results post.
Lowes Rebates – Lowes was running a gift card rebate on appliance purchases. By splitting the purchase in two, we qualified for more in rebates. We will be receiving a $600 rebate for the 4,211.12 purchase, and a $80 rebate for the 1,116.55 purchase. Had we purchased it all together, we would have only qualified for the $600 rebate. In addition to these gift card rebates, we also qualified for a $100 rebate from GE. This $780 in gift cards will come in handy when I purchase a grill, patio furniture, and/or shrubs and flowers for landscaping.
Selling Old Appliances – I listed the old appliance on craigslist for $100 and sold them within a couple of days to a landlord who needed them for a rental unit.
- Appliances – $6,327.27
- Rebates and Rewards – ($865)
- Old Appliances – ($100)
- Net Total – $5,362.27
So those are some of the things we did to make the big appliance purchase more affordable. One thing I neglected to do was to use a Lowes 10% off coupon. I may see if I can go back and get that credited to me after the fact.
It pains me to spend that much on appliances, but I know Mrs. PT and I will do a lot of good cooking with them and they will help with the value of the home if and when we decide to resell.
Have you ever installed appliances? Did you run into any major issues when trying to do it yourself? What other tips do you have for making big purchases from Lowes or other stores?