How to Install a Washing Machine

close up of washing machine

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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 a washing machine and removing the old one for free. The following are the steps to installing a washing machine yourself.

How to Install a Washing Machine

  1. Measure for Hoses

    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 is close enough to hook up the water lines, drain line, and power cord. When the machine is in place, there should be about three to four inches of space between the machine and the wall.

    Measure space for washing machine
    Aaron Stickley
  2. Connect the Water

    When installing a new washing machine, it is always a good idea to install new washing machine hoses. Connect the washing machine hoses to the water outlets behind the washing machine. Note that they will be marked hot and cold on the machine somewhere and you will need to keep track of the hoses so you can remember to hook them into the appropriate hot and cold valves. Some hoses now come in blue and red, so it is even easier to keep track of. 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 the 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.

    Connect the washing machine hoses
    Aaron Stickley
  3. Hook up the Drain Line

    The next step to installing a washing machine is to hook up the drain line. Sometimes you will have to hook up the drain connection on the back of the machine with a hose clamp and other times they are already installed. If yours is ready to push it into the drain line standpipe and you are good to go. 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.

    Washing machine drain hose
    Aaron Stickley
  4. Connect Electric Cord

    Plug in the electric cord before you push the washer into position. Also, before pushing the washing machine back into position, it is always a good idea to turn on the water lines and do a test load to make sure the washing machine is working properly.

    First, check the water lines at all four connections for signs of a leak. Now turn on the washing machine and allow it to go through at least one large drain load. Before pushing the machine back towards the wall, and forgetting it, check that water isn’t leaking anywhere. When you run a test load, you can catch any problems before everything is back into position and out of sight. This can save you from a flood or maybe even a small leak that you may not catch right away.

    Men pushing in washer after it's plugged in
    JodiJacobson / Getty Images


  • Water from the drain line: If the washing machine will not drain or water spills out of the drain standpipe it may indicate a blockage. It is a good idea to 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