How to Plumb a Washing Machine

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What You Need to Know

  1. Getting a washing machine fitted can be relatively expensive, so try and learn a few DIY skills and plumb it yourself.
  2. Before you get started, make sure you check all your equipment: are all the hoses in good order? It’s best to check now than learn of any loose connections later.
  3. For the majority of machines, the grey hose takes waste water away, with blue and red pipes supplying cold and hot water.
  4. Many modern machines only need cold water input, with the machine itself heating the water up. For these, you only need to connect the blue hose and make sure the red valve on your machine is tightly shut.
  5. Due to general wear and tear, using the hoses from your old washing machine can be a bad idea. Instead, fit new hoses for your new machine.
  6. Once you have fitted your machine, run a test cycle to make sure there are no loose fittings of leaks.
  7. If you experience any major problems, call in a professional rather than attempt to carry out major plumbing work by yourself.

Plumbing in a washing machine is a job most people will have to do at some point in their lives. Delivery men will arrive with your new machine, but there will almost certainly be a charge of at least £30 to connect it.

Wickes is a great resource for the materials needed to get going.

With a bit of know-how, you can do it yourself, avoid calling in tradesmen, and save some cash. Here’s how:

Do Your Homework

First, check your hoses. Coming out of the back of the washing machine you should see the electrical flex and three pipes. The pipes are colour-coded. The grey pipe is usually a waste outlet for the dirty water and needs to be attached to a drain. The blue pipe is the cold water supply and will need to be attached to the mains, and the red is the hot water supply and will be connected to the hot water system, though some machines only need the cold water pipe. Double-check to see that all of these are in good order, as you don’t want to go through the process of plumbing your washing machine only to find out there’s a loose connection or leak.

Connecting your Machine

The grey pipe is often hooked and is attached to the rear of the machine by support clips. It can be routed to the right or left as required. It is normally placed in a stand pipe, or it can be positioned over a sink.

Second, attach the hot and cold feeds to the connectors, or tails, on your domestic pipes. The tails are just valves that can be turned to let the water flow through. The valves should be colour co-ordinated so it's easy to see which pipe goes into which valve. These valves also make disconnecting the machine easy if you move house.

When attaching your hot and cold pipes, make sure that you also attach any washers that come with your machine to ensure that you have watertight joints.

There is no need to tighten the connections using tools. Hand tight is sufficient to stop leaks.

Plumbing a Cold-fill Only Washing Machine

Increasing numbers of new washing machines work as cold-fill machines only. This means that the machine heats up the water to the required temperature. If so, you need only connect the blue hose to your machine. It is important to turn the red valve to the vertical position so that it is turned off.

Old hoses may still be in place from a previous washing machine. While these will work with your new machine, it is better to replace the old ones. Some hoses supplied with a new washing machine may have filters built into the ends. The hoses do eventually degrade and leaks are more likely with older hoses, so always use the new ones supplied.

Final steps

The washing machine must be level and all four feet should be in firm contact with the floor. Each foot is adjustable but normally it is only necessary to adjust one of the front feet to make it level. Failure to make the washing machine level may affect stability and vibration. Use a spirit level sitting on top of the machine to check the level before use.

It might sound obvious, but do remember to plug your machine in.

Test out Your Handiwork

Once your washing machine has been fitted, you should run a test cycle so as to make sure there are no problems. Look out for any leaks out of all of the pipes and double-check the quality of the wash as it may be the case that hot water is not coming through or waste water being taken away properly. If all else fails call a plumber rather than carry out overly-ambitious DIY work on your own.

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