How to Install a Washing Machine

close up of washing machine

Serdar Acar / EyeEm / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

With existing hookups, installing a washing machine is quick and easy. The hardest part of the whole process is moving the heavy washing machine into position. If you are buying a new machine and having it delivered, many appliance stores will include the service of installing the washing machine and removing the old one for free. If you'd rather handle it on your own, the use of a dolly and a partner can help you get it into place and make the work much easier.

Before You Begin

Begin by measuring the space where you will be installing the washer to determine how long the washing machine hoses need to be. It is best to buy longer hoses than to try and make shorter hoses fit. Consider the various options for washing machine hoses and select ones to fit your needs.

Before you begin the installation make sure the washing machine will sit close enough to hook up the water lines, drain line, and power cord. When the machine is in place, there should be about 3 to 4 inches of space between the machine and the wall.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pliers
  • Dolly (for moving the washer)
  • Marker (if needed)

Materials

  • Washing machine
  • 2 New washing machine hoses
  • Hose clamp (if needed)
  • Masking tape (if needed)

Instructions

  1. Place the Machine

    Using a dolly or a strong helper, carefully position the washing machine very close to the wall with the drain, hose outlets, and power outlet. You want enough just enough space to work on the installation.

  2. Connect the Water Hoses

    Connect the washing machine hoses to the water outlets behind the washing machine. Note that the outlets on the machine are "hot" and "cold." Keep track of the hoses so you can remember to hook them into the appropriate hot and cold valves. Some hoses come in blue and red, so it is even easier to keep track. If the hoses are not marked, attach a piece of tape with "HOT" written on it to the hot hose to help keep track of which is which.

    If the space for installing the washing machine is limited, you may need to hook up the hot and cold water hoses to the machine, push the washer into position, then finish hooking up the hoses to the valves. Be careful not to over-tighten the connections, and use pliers to tighten just a bit more than hand-tight.

    Tip

    When installing a new washing machine, it is always a good idea to install new washing machine hoses. Though the old ones might look just fine, they do start to fray and fail over time. New hoses can help ensure you've got the best protection against leaks.

  3. Hook Up the Drain Line

    Depending upon your machine, you might have to hook up the drain connection to the back of the machine with a hose clamp. Sometimes, the drain connection is already installed. If yours is the latter, simply push the drain line into the drain line standpipe and you are good to go.

    Tip

    The drain line may have a barbed end on it to make sure it does not easily come out of the standpipe or just a sharp hook shape that fits into the drain.

  4. Plug In and Test the Machine

    Plug in the electric cord before you push the washer into position. Turn on the water lines. Begin a test load to ensure the washer is working properly.

    When you begin the test load, check the water lines at all four connections for signs of a leak. Allow the machine to go through the full process so you can watch for proper drainage as well. Watching the machine carefully this first time can save you from a flood or maybe even a small leak that you may not catch right away.

Troubleshooting Your Washing Machine

You might notice some issues on that first test run. Here's what to do.

The machine has poor drainage: If the washing machine will not drain or water spills out of the drain standpipe it may indicate a blockage. Clear the washing machine drain with a drain snake even if it is only partially blocked.

The washing machine valves leak: If the water valves leak when turned on it could be as easy as tightening the packing (the nut just below the handle). If this doesn’t stop the leak, the valves may need to be replaced.

The machine rocks: Unstable machines can jump or rock with a heavy load, and you'll need to level the machine to avoid this. Screw in or out the feet on the bottom of the machine to make it level—typically, changing only the feet on the front of the machine is enough, as the back feet will self-level to match.

Washing machine leak troubleshooting
Aaron Stickley