How to Install a Washing Machine

Installing a washing machine may seem intimidating, but with proper planning and by following safety precautions, it can be a straightforward DIY project. Here is a step-by-step guide to installing a washing machine, including preparing the space, hooking up hoses and electrical connections, leveling, and testing the washer.

Choose an Appropriate Location

When deciding where to locate your washing machine, there are several factors to consider:

  • Accessibility – Pick a spot that allows easy access for loading and unloading laundry. Make sure there is enough clearance around the washer to fully open the door.
  • Ventilation – Washing machines require good airflow to vent moisture. Allow at least 6 inches of clearance on all sides.
  • Drainage – You’ll need access to a drain pipe. Laundry tubs and standpipes are common drainage connections.
  • Electrical and water supply – Machines are powered and require hot/cold water hookups. Consider proximity to electrical outlets and water supply lines.
  • Flooring – Choose a sturdy, water-resistant floor. Concrete is ideal but linoleum or wood can also work.
  • Hardware – Verify you have all needed supplies: hoses, pipes, valves, fittings, wire nuts, outlet box, etc.

Prepare the Area

Once you’ve selected an installation location, prep the space:

  • Remove baseboards or trim to simplify installation.
  • Mark the precise position for supply lines and wiring.
  • Turn off water supply valves before beginning.
  • Read the installation manual thoroughly before starting.

Hook Up the Drain Line

Connecting the drain line is one of the first steps:

  • Standpipe: Use 1 1/2″ plastic pipe. Secure fittings with pipe clamps.
  • Laundry tub: Insert rubber adapter and hose into overflow opening.
  • Floor drain: Measure distance and cut segment of drain hose to size. Attach adaptor fitting.
  • Sewer hookup: Often requires a licensed plumber.

Ensure there are no kinks and the drain hose runs downhill. Use cable ties to secure hose in place.

Connect Inlet Hoses

There will be two inlet hoses, one hot and one cold:

  • Check washers are pre-installed in female hose fittings. Apply tape to male threads.
  • Attach hot water line to hot valve on washer. Repeat for cold water supply.
  • Slowly turn on supply valves. Verify no leaks before continuing.
  • Consider installing flood preventer hoses for burst protection.

Hook Up Electrical Supply

Modern washers use 120-volt circuits:

  • Ensure electrical outlet box is properly grounded with faceplate removed.
  • Feed wire from washer through strain relief and attach matching colors.
  • Secure ground wire and apply wire nuts. Use electrical tape.
  • Install outlet box cover. Plug in washer and test for power.

Check your manual for the exact steps. Hire an electrician if unsure.

Level the Washing Machine

Leveling is crucial for proper operation:

  • Gently slide washer into position, placing shims underneath if needed.
  • Check level on top and front. Place level on door rim and cabinet top.
  • Adjust leveling feet by twisting counter-clockwise to raise position.
  • Use locking pliers and wrench to adjust leveling feet if necessary.
  • Verify it doesn’t rock and all 4 feet make solid contact with floor.

Tip: Adjust Level Periodically

Over time, vibrations may cause a washer to settle out of level. Periodically verify – adjusting the feet again if needed.

Connect Washer to Water Supply

After leveled, complete the water supply:

  • Turn hot and cold hoses on slowly to check for leaks.
  • Ensure rubber washers are snug inside female fittings at both ends.
  • Gradually increase water pressure all the way. Verify no leaks.
  • Run washer through a rinse cycle and check for smooth operation.

Install Accessories

Some final steps for a complete installation:

  • Adhere rubber padding to floor under washer if needed.
  • Slide washer into final position and re-install base trim.
  • Consider attaching child-proof straps for safety.
  • Plug into dedicated outlet. Do not use extension cord.

Safety Tips

Follow these precautions when installing your washing machine:

  • Unplug the power cord before installation.
  • Wear protective eyewear when handling hoses and pipes.
  • Utilize angle grinder properly if cutting plumbing pipes.
  • Get assistance moving washing machine into place.
  • Keep fingers clear of hose connections when tightening by hand.

FAQs About Installing a Washer

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about washer installation:

Do I need to hire a plumber to install washing machine hoses?

In most standard installations, you do not need a professional plumber. The hookups for the hot and cold inlet hoses, along with the discharge drain hose, can be handled by a DIYer with some plumbing experience. Make sure to confirm your supply lines match the expected connections.

How difficult is it to connect a washing machine to a sink drain pipe?

Hooking the drain hose up to a laundry tub or sink overflow opening is relatively straightforward. You’ll need a hose clamp and adapter fitting to secure the connection. Run the hose into the standpipe or overflow port and tighten the clamp. Make sure the hose routing allows constant downward drainage.

Should I use steel braided hoses?

Yes, steel braided hoses provide maximum burst resistance if water pressure spikes. The steel mesh resists expanding under pressure. Always ensure rubber washers are firmly sealed inside female hose connections. Periodically inspect hoses for wear and replace older hoses.

What amp circuit does a washing machine require?

Most conventional washing machines are designed for a 120-volt, 20-amp circuit. Always verify the appliance electrical requirements before installing. Some larger units may need a 240-volt circuit. If uncertain, hiring an electrician is recommended to ensure proper supply capacity.

How do I adjust washing machine feet if it’s unlevel?

Start by placing a level on the upper cabinet surface and check side-to-side and front-to-back orientation. Locate the threaded leveling feet under the corners. Turn counter-clockwise to raise a corner and clockwise to lower it. Adjust each foot incrementally until the washer is perfectly plumb and level.

Can I plug my washing machine into a GFCI outlet?

Yes, washing machines can be used with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. Choose a 20-amp GFCI outlet if possible, as it reduces nuisance tripping. Always ensure the GFCI outlet is properly grounded before connecting major appliances. Test the GFCI protection monthly.


Installing a washing machine is a project most homeowners can tackle successfully themselves. With some planning and preparation, the process involves connecting inlet hoses, discharge drain line, electrical supply, leveling, and testing. Safety precautions such as wearing eyewear, unplugging the power cord, and getting help lifting are also advised. Following manufacturer instructions and seeking assistance if needed will ensure your washer operates smoothly for years to come.