How to Disconnect and Move a Clothes Washer

Technician checking washing machine with digital multimeter

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One of the first things that many people do after getting settled in a new home is to wash clothes, especially all the sweaty ones worn during the hauling and unpacking. Hopefully, your washer survived the trip in one piece and is ready to hook up in your new place.

How to Disconnect and Move a Clothes Washer

Disconnecting and moving any type of clothes washer—top load or front load—is simple if you follow a few easy steps. You'll need the following things: a small bucket, old rags to absorb water, an appliance dolly, some duct tape, ropes or bungee cords, and hopefully a couple of willing helpers. The helpers are especially important if you have stairs to maneuver.

  1. To begin, turn off the water outlets leading into the washer. Be sure that both the hot and cold water valves are completely shut.
  2. Set the washer to warm wash and turn it on for 30 seconds to allow the water in the hoses to drain into the washer tub. Move the setting to spin to allow the water to drain out of the machine. Turn off the washer.
  3. If there is no electricity available because it has already been turned off or if the washer isn't working, you will need to have the bucket available to catch the water in the water and drain hoses.
  4. Unplug the electrical cord. Secure the cord to the back of the machine using duct tape.
  5. Unhook the drain hose from the drain pipe. Have the bucket or the old rags at the ready to catch the water remaining in the hose. The hose can be disconnected from the washer and stored in the washer tub. Alternatively, you can secure it to the back of the washer with duct tape.
  6. Get the bucket and/or rags ready again and remove the water hoses from their water line connections. They will also need to be removed from the back of the washer. Store the hoses inside the tub of the washer during transport.
  7. Use a strip of duct tape to tape the washer lid or door closed to prevent damage during loading and unloading.
  8. Carefully slide the washer onto the dolly and center it for equal weight distribution. Secure the washer with bungee cords or ropes for extra support especially if moving up or downstairs.

How to Connect a Clothes Washer After a Move

  1. If you paid attention when you disconnected the washer, connecting it is pretty simple with a couple of extra details.
  2. Remove the duct tape holding things in place, and pull the stored hoses from the washer tub.
  3. Leave enough room for you to work behind the washer as you connect the hoses.
  4. Inspect your washer fill hoses for any wear and abrasions and the connectors for rust. If they are more than three years old, replace them with new ones. The best choice is a stainless steel fill line as insurance against burst hoses. Be sure that the rubber washers are in place in the connectors.
  5. Check that the washer hoses are long enough for the new location. If not, you can purchase an extender or buy new hoses in a longer length.
  6. Connect the fill hoses to the water inputs on the back of the washer by hand or with pipe pliers. Do not overtighten because it can cut the rubber washer and cause leaks.
  7. Keeping the hoses unkinked and making sure that the correct lines go to the hot and cold water outlets, connect those to the wall water lines. Turn on the water valves and check for leaks. Use a paper towel or be sure your hands are dry and run them along the hoses to check for leaks.
  8. If you disconnected the drain hose during the move, connect it again securely (there is usually a clamp) to the washer. Insert the washer drain hose into the wall drain pipe. Check that the wall pipe is standing up straight and that the drain hose isn't pushed too far down the wastewater drain pipe. New washer drain hoses have a plastic hook on the end that the drain hose clips into. This prevents you from pushing it in too far. If you end up with water constantly filling and emptying the washer, the drain hose is pushed too far down the pipe.
  9. If the drain hose isn't long enough for the new location, you can extend it with a special connector and additional hose.
  10. Slide the washer into place making sure that none of the hoses or drains become kinked or compresses.
  11. Be sure that the washer is level. You can test with a level (your smartphone may have an app) and correct it by adjusting the feet under the washer. Leveling the washer reduces vibrations and helps prevent leaks. If your washer is older and doesn't have adjustable feet, use wood shims or heavy cardboard to balance.
  12. Plug in the electrical cord and give the washer a test. Watch it carefully for a couple of loads to make sure that no leaks appear.