How to set up your washing machine (and what plumbing is required)

How to set up your washing machine (and what plumbing is required)



Imagine finally finding your dream home and closing the deal on it only to realize there’s no washer or dryer anywhere in the house. Or there might be a broken washing machine that you need to replace. 

As a homeowner, what do you do? 

You splurge on a washer and dryer, but should you hire someone and pay hundreds of dollars to set up the machines? Or is this a task you can tackle on your own? After all, you successfully built that IKEA bed last year, so how hard can it be? 

Well, there is good news. 

Installing these machines can be pretty straightforward if there’s already a designated space for a washer and dryer in your home. This is because if a washer or dryer existed in that spot, the necessary plumbing is probably already in place, and you only have to level the washer, connect the water-supply lines, and plug it in. 

In this article, we teach you how to hook up a new washer to an existing washing machine plumbing system or sink and explain when it’s time to hire a plumber for help.



Plumbing required to install a washing machine

Setting up your washing machine might be a little more complicated if there’s no designated laundry room in your home. 

For starters, you can’t just place your washing machine anywhere in your home, plug it into an electrical socket, and expect it to work. You need a spot that has access to a hot and cold water supply, a drain, and an electrical outlet that can support the load of your washer and dryer.

You also need to find a level, hard-floored spot for your washing machine and ensure it’s far from high-heat places like your furnace, fireplace, water heater or radiator.

Luckily, most houses already have a designated laundry room. If yours does, you’re all set to start installing your washing machine and dryer. Simply connect the water-supply lines and drain lines — we’ll guide you through the steps.



How to install a washing machine

Installing a new washing machine is easy if your house has an area designated for it. Let’s dive into the steps to do this.

1. Prepare the new washing machine

Before installing your new washer, you must prep the space.

If you’re a homeowner replacing an old washing machine as part of your home improvement project, disconnect the old washing machine’s plumbing before setting up the new one. 

To do this:

  • Empty your washer.
  • Unplug the washing machine and move it slightly forward to access its water-supply lines. Turn off the hot and cold supply valves, and use a wrench to loosen and remove the water hoses. 
  • Disconnect the drainage pipe by pulling it out of its entry spot in the wall or floor.
  • Your old washing machine might also have carriage bolts attached to prevent the device from moving; use a wrench or pair of pliers to unscrew these bolts.

Remember that your washing machine might be tough to move or carry by yourself, so call a friend or a family member to help. 

Once you’ve removed the old appliance, measure the dimensions of your new washing machine and the space where you intend to place it to ensure a snug fit. Remember to measure the door of your washer (whether its front load or top load) to ensure it has enough space to open fully.

Before moving your washer into the space, check that the floor is sturdy, level and clean. Also, ensure that the area has access to hot and cold water connections, appropriate drainage, and an electric outlet that can bear the load of your washer and dryer units.

2. Connect water-supply and drain hoses

Once you’ve prepped the space, it’s time to get your new washer into motion. 

Push or lift your new washer into place and start connecting the water-supply hoses and drainage systems. This connection will require a couple of parts, which you can usually find stored in the machine’s drum. Take them out and lay them next to you for easy reach.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Supply hoses
  • Supply valves
  • Washing drain hose
  • Pliers
  • P-trap to connect to the house drain

Follow these steps to connect the washing machine to the water lines:

  1. Screw the water-supply hoses to the connections behind the machine. 
  2. Look for indicators that show which hoses connect to the hot and cold water.
  3. Connect the other end of each hose on the machine to the appropriate supply valves in the wall or floor (connect hot to hot and cold to cold).
  4. Screw the supply hoses in by hand or use mole grips. Be careful not to overtighten the connection.
  5. If any hoses are too short to reach their wall connection, avoid tugging or stretching them, as this may cause damage or a leak. Instead, replace the hose with a longer one.
  6. Usually, a rubber washer on most hoses creates a tight seal and helps prevent water leakage, so there’s no need to wrap plumber’s tape to keep the connection tight.

Then connect the washing machine to the drain line or a nearby kitchen sink, utility sink or standpipe. Use the following steps: 

  1. Identify the standpipe, which should be close to the water-supply valves. It might look like a hole in the wall or a long pipe that connects your washer to the drainage.
  2. Install the end of your drain hose into the standpipe.
  3. If you want to set up your washing machine drainage using a sink, connect a plastic hose guide to the machine and keep the hose bent downward into the sink. Avoid creating sharp kinks in your pipe.
  4. Your new washing machine should come with a hose guide, but you can also purchase one separately.
  5. If your drain hose doesn’t reach your sink or drainpipe, you might have to purchase and connect an extension hose.
  6. Check for a loose connection or leak by turning on the water-supply valves and observing the connection. If you see a leak, tighten the valves slightly. 

Once you’ve confirmed there are no leaks, your water-supply lines are ready and your plumbing connections are complete. Let’s move on to the final step: leveling your washing machine.

3. Level the washing machine

This might be the easiest step because today’s washing machines are typically self-leveling. Grab the machine by the top rear and pull to tilt it slightly forward, then let it drop gently back on all four feet — the machine should level itself. All you have to do is check if the front wheels are aligned and see that your machine isn’t moving in any direction.

Leveling the unit is essential for preventing your machine from moving around while running a load of laundry. 

Here’s what to do if your washer isn’t self-leveling:

  1. Get a leveling tool and place it on top of the washer.
  2. Adjust the washer legs as needed and secure the machine’s locknuts against the frame in the wall.
  3. Check the leveling tool on top of the washer to ensure it’s leveled on the left, right, front and back.

Once your washing machine is level, you’re ready to plug in your unit and start your first load of laundry.

If this process seems a little complicated, it’s OK to skip the DIY and hire a professional. Your washing machine is expensive, and it’s important to maintain it so it lasts for years. 



Washing machine FAQ

Washing machine installation is reasonably straightforward, but it can be slightly more complex without the proper setup. We answer some commonly asked questions about washing machine installation to help you choose whether to hire someone or do it yourself.

What if I don’t have a designated space for a washer and dryer in my home?

If your house doesn’t have existing plumbing or a nearby sink, you’ll have to install the appropriate plumbing or hire a professional to do it for you. 

While connecting your washing machine to an existing plumbing system is a task you can do, we recommend hiring a professional to set up a plumbing system if your house doesn’t have one ready.

These machines use 19 to 20 gallons of water each run, and a small plumbing mistake can cause leaks or other damage.

Is it better to repair or replace a broken washing machine?

If your washing machine has a minor problem, such as a broken lock on the door or a small leak, it’s smart to repair it rather than replace it. 

But you might consider replacing your washing machine if it has a significant issue or massive leak. 

As a rule of thumb, we recommend replacing a machine if it is more than 10 years old or if the repair cost is 50% or more of the price of a new machine.

How much does hiring someone to install a washing machine cost?

Washing machine installation isn’t rocket science, but it’s also not child’s play. This is because even a tiny installation problem can cause damage to your machine and your home, which might increase your expenses beyond what it would cost to hire an installation professional.

On average, it can cost anywhere from $50 to $2,000 to have a professional install your washing machine, depending on whether your home has existing hookups. But if you don’t mind the installation cost, peace of mind could be worth it.

How long do washing machines typically last?

A good washing machine can last five to 15 years. Top-load washers have a slightly longer life span than front-load washers, but remember that each brand and model will have different usage times before needing a replacement.

If you want to maintain your washing machine to make the appliance last longer, avoid mistakes like overloading your washer or allowing debris to build up. At least once a month, inspect the pipes, door hinges and other parts for grime and dirt buildup, and clean them thoroughly.

Remove laundry from the washer shortly after finishing each load, rather than leaving it in there for hours. It’s also important to leave the machine door open until the inside is dry.

During your monthly washer inspections, check that the hot water, cold water and washing machine drain-hose fittings are properly sealed and there are no leaks, tears or damage.

Can you repair a washing machine yourself?

Installing a washing machine might be easy, but repairs require a plumber’s expertise. 

A common mistake is calling an electrician instead of a plumber to repair the machine; the electrician can only help if there’s an issue with your plug or socket. Any other washing machine repairs require a plumber, and you should avoid attempting to fix them yourself.

A few reasons for calling a plumber include: 

  • Complicated plumbing: Unless you completely understand how washing machine plumbing works, don’t attempt to repair it. Your home’s plumbing systems are interconnected and complicated, and a small mistake can cause extensive damage.
  • Leaks: If not handled properly, leaking pipes can burst and cause damage to your house walls. So, it’s best to call a plumber if you have any suspected leaks.
  • Positioning of the pipes: The washing machine pipes must be positioned in a certain way to avoid undue strain and damage. It’s best to call a professional for your repairs instead of making mistakes that can cost you in the future.
  • Complex problems: A professional can better detect problems with water pressure, PEX pipe, studs or a water hammer.



Cinch home protection plans cover washing machine repairs

Appliance warranties are a great way to increase the life span of covered major appliances and make your life easier. 

With the Appliances plan from Cinch Home Services, you can get peace of mind knowing that repairs and replacements due to normal wear and tear are covered and won’t break the bank. 

Simply request service when something breaks (like your washing machine), and we’ll send a vetted and verified service professional to repair or replace it. You can then go back to enjoying your home.

Get an instant quote for your home today.



Want to learn how to set up a new washing machine or replace an old one in a DIY fashion? Use our guide on washing machine installation.

Your home protection is ready and waiting!