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DIY Versus Professional Washer Installation
Installing a new washing machine might not seem like it would be that difficult to do as a DIY project. However, before you get started, we recommend reviewing our washer installation guide. This will help you determine if this is a task you can do yourself or if it would better to schedule a plumbing service to have the new machine installed.
Step 1: Prepare the area where the washer will be installed.
The first thing you need to do is prepare the location where you want to install your new washing machine. Most likely, you already have an existing machine and will be swapping them out. However, there are several things you will need to do beyond just swapping the machines.
You need to verify that the electrical outlet on the new machine is the same as the current one. Some newer models use the four-prong cords found on dryers, so you might need to have your electrical outlet upgraded. This type of configuration is more common on the newer “all-in-one” washer and dryer models.
The next thing to do is to measure the existing space to verify the new machine will fit. Your new machine may be slightly bigger, especially if you upgraded to a high-capacity washer from a standard-capacity model.
The two most important measurements are the width and depth of the new machine. These will let you know if the washer will fit easily into the existing space.
Step 2: Remove the old washing machine.
Before the new washer installation, you will need to remove the existing one. There will be water left inside the bottom of the machine that will need to be drained. Otherwise, it can run out of the drainpipe and onto the floor.
To start with, shut off the electricity to the outlet at the breaker box. This is done as a precaution since you will be working around water. The last thing you want to do is get electrocuted or cause an electrical surge that blows up your new machine!
Next, you will need to shut off the water supply lines. There might be shut off valves where the existing water lines connect to the water supply lines. If there is not, then you will need to shut off the water main to the home. Once the water is turned off, turn on a kitchen sink or bathroom sink nearest the washing machine to remove pressure from the water lines.
Now you are ready to remove the old washer. Unplug it from the electrical outlet. If you have space, pull the washer out and away from the wall. This will make it easier to access areas behind the machine. Carefully loosen and disconnect the washer hoses from the water supply lines. It is a good idea to keep a bucket nearby to drain any water out of the washer hoses.
Then you will want to take the water discharge drain hose and disconnect it from the drain line. You will need to lower it to ground level and drain excess water into a bucket. You don’t have to remove the washer hoses or drain hose from the machine if you have sufficient room to move it out of the laundry area.
However, if your laundry room door is not wide enough, you may have to remove these first. If you do remove the hoses, place them inside the machine so they are out of your way.
Step 3: Clean the discharge drain line.
Before starting on the new washer installation, you need to clean the drain line to remove any excess soap scum, hair, and other deposits. Skipping this step could eventually lead to a clog or slow-draining drain. Both of these could result in drain plumbing problems where water backflows into the washing machine and/or overflows from the drainpipe out onto the floor.
DO NOT pour chemical drain cleaners down the drain line. These can do more damage than good. Instead, you need to use a plumbing snake and feed it down the line to remove any built-on deposits.
Since most of us do not have a plumbing snake long enough sitting around, this step is one you should have your local plumbing service do, even if you do the rest of the installation yourself. While your plumber is there, he or she can also clean all of your other drain lines in your home.
Step 4: Install the new washing machine.
Place the new washing machine in the laundry area but do not push it all the way up to the wall. You will need to connect the discharge drain hose and hot and cold water washer hoses to the back of the machine. On some models, you may also have to install the electrical cord if it did not arrive already connected.
Make sure to reference the installation instructions that came with your new washer. Read through these at least once. Make note of any tools you will need to do the installation. Common tools required could include:
- Philips Screwdriver
- Plumbers Wrench
- Plumbers Tape
- “U” Connect for the Discharge Drain Hose
- Plumbing Washers (if Not Included) for the Washer Hoses
- Adjustable Wrench
Once you have reviewed the installation instructions and gathered all the necessary tools, you will want to start by connecting the discharge drain hose and hot and cold water hoses to the back of the machine.
Some hoses have a red line and blue line on them so you can tell the difference. If not, use a sharpie and make a notation on each end using the letter “H” for hot water and “C” for cold water. It is important to make sure you connect the hoses on the back to the right water intake connections.
If necessary, install the electrical cord to the back of the machine as well. Next, connect the hot and cold water hoses to the appropriate water supply lines. Connect the discharge drain hose to the drain line.
Before doing anything else, turn on the water supply lines and check for leaks. If you discover any leaks, shut off the water supply and fix those. One common cause for leaks is forgetting to put the plumbing washers inside the hot and cold water washer hoses before connecting them to the back of the machine and water supply lines.
Now level the machine. You want the machine level from front-to-back and side-to-side. If the machine is not leveled, it can place strain on the washer drum and cause unbalanced wash load issues. Some models are “self-leveling” and others require manual leveling. Refer to your installation instructions.
After the machine is leveled, plug it in and run a test load. You don’t have to put laundry into the machine. The purpose of the test load is to make sure there are no leaks and that water drains out of the machine correctly. An “express load” is sufficient for this test.
If you discover any leaks, stop the wash cycle and determine the cause of the leaks. Once these are fixed, dry up any excess water from the floor. Restart the test load and let it finish.
Last, slide the machine into place up against the wall. Recheck to verify the machine is still level. If it is not, re-level it before doing any laundry.
Benefits of Professional Washer Installation Plumbing Service
While installing a new washer might not seem that difficult, there are many steps to follow to ensure the washer is installed correctly. You also have to have access to the right tools. With professional washer installation, your plumber is already experienced with numerous makes and models of machines.
They arrive at your home with all the necessary tools. Plus, if you need longer washer hoses or a longer discharge drain hose or other parts that weren’t included, they will have these with them as well.
Additionally, some washer hookups can be a bit more complex than just connecting it to the “box” in the wall. For example, some homes have the water supply lines connected to the same water supply lines as their utility sink in their laundry room. This type of installation is different since it involves connecting the hoses to the sink’s water supply lines. The discharge drain hose is typically hung on the side of the sink rather than connected to a drain line.
Not to mention, you can avoid any potential issues or problems during the installation like finding the source of water leaks or forgetting to level the machine a second time after pushing it into place. Plus, your plumber will take care of cleaning the drain line while installing your new washing machine.