Part of our regular "How to" series, this article tells you how to disconnect and reconnect a washing machine.
Disconnect and reconnect an Automatic Washing Machine
You will need:
A few cloths or towel
Pipe pliers (very large grips)
Adjustable spanner (some machine manufactures provide a spanner)
Knife or scissors
Kitchen bucket or bowl
This How To involves 5 steps.
1) Disconnect old machine
3) Unpack new appliance
4) Connect new machine
Every domestic automatic washing machine has 3 or 4 connections, electricity plug, waste and cold and/or hot water pipe(s).
As we all know, electricity and water do not mix well and this is why wherever possible we should disconnect the electricity first and reconnect it last; keeping all electrical connections dry.
If you are replacing your old machine, the first step is to locate the connections to your appliance. The electricity plug, waste and pipes may be connected behind it or adjacent to the machine underneath a kitchen sink ,or a combination of both. If your machine is underneath a worktop, it is often possible to pull it out far enough to expose the connections at the rear of the machine. Follow the hoses from the back of your machine (don’t worry about which is which for now) and if any of the hoses seem to disappear under your sink clear out that clutter we all seem to collect under there!
Usually the electrical plug will simply pull out of its socket, no matter where its location. That's a really difficult one!
The waste coming out of your machine will be a flexible grey ribbed hose usually near the bottom. If you are lucky, the other end will just be inserted into a plastic pipe and can be pulled out to disconnect. Care should be taken with this pipe as a small amount of water may drain out and this can be emptied into a bucket or bowl. Often a machine may have a plastic clip on the rear to hold the end of the waste up off the floor but this is not essential. Skip the next paragraph if your waste is now disconnected.
If the end of the waste disappears underneath your sink it may well be connected directly to a nozzle on your plastic sink trap (white U-bend). With care the waste can be disconnected using a firm pulling and twisting action but may require the screwdriver to remove a metal hose clip first. Then withdraw the waste pipe from underneath your worktop towards the machine and drain and secure as described in the previous paragraph.
The vast majority of modern automatic washing machines are “cold fill only” meaning they require only cold water to fill and heat the water internally. The blue (cold) and/or red (hot) water pipes connect at the top of your machine. They will have a plastic hand tightened nut at the other end screwed directly on to an isolating tap.
Isolate the machine by turning the tap(s) quarter of a turn. Then with a cloth or towel under the tap see if you can just loosen this nut by turning it anticlockwise a bit. Remember connections turn “lefty loosey righty tighty”. Often the nuts have become stuck with time and may need to be loosened first with your pliers or gripping the nut with a cloth. Be careful not to turn the whole tap.
Once water starts to drip out of this nut wait until it stops. In most cases the water should have just about stopped dripping in less than a minute and you can continue to unscrew the pipe completely. Repeat this step with the other pipe if your machine has both hot and cold supplies. Then move your old machine out of the way as much has possible.
That’s the old one out…and if you’re not up to your knees in water by now give yourself a pat on the back! Apart from unpacking and levelling, installing your new machine can be achieved by reversing the steps above. Connecting a machine without an old one to disconnect is also the same once you have located the connection points. Cut carefully and remove all the outer packaging from your new appliance. Inside the drum you should find a new cold pipe (usually grey or blue), a set of instructions and a few other bits and bobs. Unpack these items and lay them out on your worktop.
New machines have transit bolts at the back which need to be removed using a spanner. If the bits and bobs included a spanner use this one and follow the instructions included to remove them. We did remember lefty loosey… yes? Some appliances have packaging inside and this needs to be removed from underneath. Again, follow the manufactures instructions.
Before connecting the new cold pipe, ensure that it is long enough or you may have to re-use your old pipe. Check that there are rubber seals in both ends and if your machine has both cold and hot be sure to connect the cold to the “C” and hot to the “H” on the rear. Another essential step is to turn the isolating tap back on before moving the appliance under your worktop and check your connections for drips. No leaks…super!
Once you have made all the connections and fitted your new machine in its home. The instructions will describe how to level the feet at the front to stop movement. Then run the test cycle and check all connections. Installing a free-standing dishwasher is almost the same except they do not employ transit bolts.