Perhaps you’ve just purchased a brand new washing machine and you haven’t even removed it from the box yet, or maybe you’ve moved into a new home and you’ve brought your old washer with you. How can you properly install the appliance? Since washing machines can differ from model to model, following the owner’s manual, or the installation instructions, that came with the washer is always recommended. But if those instructions have been misplaced or discarded over time, here are some general directions you can follow to get your top-load or front-load washer hooked up and ready for that first wash load.
What you need before installing the washer
- In order to use the hot water setting on your washer, your home must have a water heater. It is generally recommended that the water heater temperature be set to around 120° Fahrenheit or 49° Celsius for optimum washer operation.
- A grounded electrical outlet will need to located within six feet of the power cord on the back of the washer. The outlet should provide 120 volts of alternating current at 60 hertz, and a dedicated circuit is recommended to avoid tripping the circuit or blowing a fuse if another appliance is being used at the same time as the washer.
- Hot and cold water faucets should be located within four feet of the washer fill valves on the back of the washer. In order for the tub to be filled properly during the fill cycle, the water pressure should be between 20 and 100 pounds per square inch.
- The washer’s drain system will require a wall standpipe, a floor standpipe positioned above a floor drain, or a laundry tub. Be aware that the top of the standpipe or laundry tub should be at least 30 inches from the floor but no higher than 90 inches from the bottom of the washer.
If you intend to install the washing machine in a cabinet or closet, be sure to allow for at least one inch of space on the sides and top of the appliance. Additionally, if a closet door is used, the door should be louvered, or space left at the top and bottom of the door, to ensure adequate air flow.
Getting the washer ready for installation
If you’re installing a brand new washer still in its shipping box, you should use a boxcutter to cut around the box near the bottom. This way the box can be lifted upward to remove, leaving the washer resting on the cardboard base. If you’re reinstalling an older washer, place a piece of cardboard under the appliance so the flooring won’t be damaged when the washer is moved.
Front-load washers will normally have four shipping bolts inserted through the rear panel to prevent the tub from shifting during transportation. You will need to unthread these bolts before you install the washer. Usually, plugs are provided that can be inserted into the shipping bolt holes after the bolts have been removed.
Directions for installing the washer
- Confirm the washer power cord is accessible and drape it over the top of the washer so it’s not hanging down behind the appliance.
- Slide the washer close to its final location.
- Attach the drain hose to the drain port on the back of the washer using a spring clamp or screw clamp.
- The hot and cold water inlet hoses should have new flat washers inserted into both ends.
- Thread the hose couplings onto the water faucet ports by hand until snug, then use pliers to tighten the couplings an additional two-thirds turn. Avoid overtightening.
- Run water through the hoses for a few seconds to clear the lines.
- Hand-thread the hose connected to the hot water faucet onto the hot water inlet valve port on the back of the washer, and the hose connected to the cold water faucet onto the cold water inlet valve port.
- Use pliers to tighten the couplings an additional two-thirds turn, being careful not to overtighten.
- Slowly open both faucets and check for leaks.
- Use a cable tie to secure the drain hose to the laundry tub leg, the standpipe, or, if applicable, to the inlet hoses.
- Remove the cardboard or shipping box base from under the washer.
- Confirm the washer is level from side-to-side and front-to-back.
- If the washer is not level, prop up the appliance so you can rotate the appropriate leg or legs clockwise to lower the washer or counter-clockwise to raise the washer. Depending on the model, you may need loosen locking nuts before you can rotate the legs.
- Some models has self-adjusting rear legs. With the front legs leveled, tip the appliance forward then back down to set the rear legs.
- Confirm the washer is level and all four feet are in contact with the floor. Tighten the locking nuts if required.
- Plug the power cord into the electrical outlet and confirm the hot and cold water faucets are fully open.
- Fully position the appliance, keeping the rear panel four or five inches from the wall, and the washer should be ready for use.
Additional washer care tips
- For better durability, reinforced braided inlet hoses should be used instead of rubber hoses.
- To reduce the risk of hose failure, the inlet hoses should be replaced with new ones every five years.
- Leave the washer door ajar or the lid propped open after use to help dry out remaining moisture and reduce odors.
- Consider using a washer tub cleaning product like Affresh once a month to help eliminate mold and mildew.
Find the right washing machine parts with Repair Clinic
Repair Clinic carries all the parts you need to install or reinstall your washing machine: water supply hoses, drain hoses, leveling legs, power cords, even shipping bolts. Just enter the full model number of your washer in the Repair Clinic search bar. The left-side navigation filters will allow you to narrow your search down to just the part or parts you want. Repair Clinic stocks parts for all the major brands of washers including Whirlpool, Kenmore, Maytag, Samsung, GE, and LG, but you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing the part that is a direct fit for your model.