Install A Washing Machine
More help and advice on how to install washing machines correctly
We often get asked about the installation of washing machines and we often get many calls inside the first two weeks or so of ownership that are purely installation issues and not faults. Hopefully this article will help you install, remove or move you machine correctly.
So you go and buy a new washing machine and, from most large electrical chains, it costs extra to have it installed and you can save that cost by doing it yourself.
We would like to point out here that most independent retailers include that service in the price and if you can, have the machine installed professionally, as they'll be far more experienced and know the nuances of each machine and probably do the job better and faster as well as safer. There are a great many other advantages to using the independents, but you can read those throughout the site.
Anyway, you get the machine delivered or get it home it in the back of your car or however. The first thing to remember is that you need two people to lift the machine, it's heavy, but worse it's an awkward shape to move for only one person and there is a serious risk of back injury, so be careful!
Also because the machines are awkward it's very easy to bump into other things, like doors or door frames on the way in possibly damaging the property, so again be careful. This is even more important if the machine is devoid of its packaging as the edges are then sharper and more likely to cause permanent damage if you make a mistake. This is where the professionals will either have two people or the proper truck to move the machine safely.
Talking of sharp edges, if the machine is unpacked then some machines have extremely sharp edges towards the inside especially at the bottom inner lip, be very careful as it's easy to get yourself a nasty gash and the use of work or garden gloves is strongly recommended. And just as a side note, dishwashers are even worse for sharp edges, we all have the scars to prove it!
The first thing to ensure is that the washing machine has a good solid and level bit of floor to sit on. In an ideal world this would always be a level concrete floor but in the UK suspended wood flooring is very common and this can lead to vibration and noise issues.
Placement of the machine is extremely important and will require a bit of thought to get it right, it does not follow that the machine will work satisfactorily wherever you place it.. Below is a little diagram that shows what we mean.
As you can see the machine sits between two joists under the floor, in many UK homes this means that the wood there will sag as it's very often chip based sheets that are used with not too much rigidity at the best of times.
Place a 70Kg+ appliance on that spot, then add the clothing and the weight of the water and you are looking more like the weight of a person on the floor and, that person is going to violently jump up and down. The big issue here is that the vibration can resonate through the floor and have a kind of amplification effect which will cause, in some cases, the whole kitchen to move about especially on a high spin.
Of course the quality of the appliance comes into play here and the quality of the dampening system employed and the cheaper you buy, well you can see where that's going we're sure.
One partial cure for this problem that we have found some success with is placing an additional bit of wood beneath the machine in an attempt to strengthen the area below the machine, a bit of old worktop is ideal if you have the space above to accommodate this. It won't always work and the base has to be screwed securely to the existing flooring, but it has, if not cured the problem, certainly lessened the effects of adverse vibration.
You can get various anti-vibration feet and such, we have some in the store and they do work, to an extent btu they will not cure oscilation in the flooring.
It is also worth noting that when this effect is combined with an imbalanced load in the machine, sometimes if it is really bad even without the imbalance, it can "trick" the out-of-balance sensor in the machine into thinking that it is too unstable to enter into a full spin. This can be spotted easily on test when the machine is running as it will spin up, down, tumble and repeat that process for quite a while in some cases as it tries to sort out the load into a fashion and even weight around the drum to allow the machine to spin fully. If it cannot, in the vast majority of machines, it will abort and simply do the best it can.
Unpacking Your Washing Machine
|Caught in a local newspaper from Manchester, a drain blocked by a potato!|
Be careful! Most machines are packed with card or styrene corner protectors then sealed with clear heat wrap, this is so that damage can be easily spotted and it's cheaper than boxes. Only cut the wrap at the corners where the additional packing is or you could score the machine.
Once you have that off, READ THE MANUAL!
Some machines methods of transit packing is, shall we say, a little obscure.
No two brands, sometimes even machines of the same brand, that I've ever seen are the same and if you miss taking one out then you can risk serious damage to the appliance that will not be covered by the warranty. The manufacturer does not cover installation problems in their warranty as a general rule and any errors or damage that need corrected will be charged to the end user, even if a third party installed it, it's then up to you to reclaim monies from the installer.
And, service engineers and manufacturers aren't stupid, we've seen all the dodges before.
If its incorrect installation or damage arising from the installation and/or unpacking, we'll know so it is very important that, if you are choosing to install yourself, you do it correctly.
Washing Machine Transit Packing
Transit packaging is there to prevent the appliance getting damage in transit. It is designed to "lock" the tub unit into place so that it does not move (as it has to in normal operation) and cause damage to any other components as well as the outer shell of the machine. This will normally consist of several bolts at the back through the outer shell, or cabinet, which fasten onto the back of the tub and, in many cases, styrene blocks inserted at the front underneath the machine to prevent any movement.
Essentially these have to be removed before the machine is used or you will risk excessive vibration (as there's no damping at all) or, at worst, extreme damage to the tub unit which could be very costly to put right should the transit bolts shear. So it is very important that you read the manual and do it correctly.
If you intend to move the machine in the future retain the rear transit bolts, for a normal house moving exercise these are perfectly adequate to prevent damage to the machine. It is advisable to move a machine with extreme care if these are not available as damage is easily caused if they are not in place.
Connecting Up Your Washing Machine
When you connect to that water please, please do not use tools to tighten the water inlet hoses. It's not needed as they need only be hand-tight. This causes problems where people over-tighten them, sometimes breaking them in the process, or it just makes it really hard to get them back off. If you really must use grips or similar to tighten them then please, a quarter turn past hand tight should be all that's required or you run the risk of breaking the hose or stripping the threads of the inlet hose.
Waste Water Outlet Hose
It is very common these days, because it appears that plumbers are either lazy, cheap or just not beig aware that to connect into the existing drain under the sink rather then the time honoured tradition of having a washing machine (or even a dishwasher) installed on its own separate standpipe can be an issue.
In a simplistic diagram below you can see why.
As you can see, when the sink is full of water and the plug is pulled the water is forced downwards by gravity as it should, but because the spigot off to the washing machine (the same applies in the case of a dishwasher) is lower than the body of water in the sink water will run off down the drain hose and into the washing machine. In effect this means that your washing machine is filling with dirty water from the sink and, yes, it will smell pretty bad after a day or two.
This is what we refer to as an effect known as backfilling.
We see this a lot and, more often than not, the washer is blamed for filling itself with smelly water, which is of course not possible as the only water inlet is from the fresh supply you fastened earlier. So if you get this happening you'll most likely know what it is and what to watch out for when you install.
Level The Washing Machine With The Feet
The feet at the front of any washing machine we have ever seen are adjustable, usually with rubberised or hexagonal feet to allow you to adjust their height easily. In addition there is usually some form of locking mechanism, for Zanussi machines it was a sort of plastic spinner but on many it's simply a 13mm nut on the threaded section of the foot. This has to be tightened up once the foot is adjusted to level the machine to lock the foot into place. On some machines this is absolutely vital to prevent vibration and on others it's not so critical, but it's best just to do it anyway.
Of course whilst making sure that the machine is level your best friend is a spirit level placed on the lid as you adjust the feet.
Take your time and get it right as, done incorrectly, this can also lead to vibration.
Testing Your New Washing Machine Or Dishwasher
Once you've done all that it's time to test. Run the machine through a rinse cycle (best as it uses more water on rinse) and ensure that there's no leaks or adverse vibration.
When you're happy that all is well it's time to put a load in and see how it goes, if you've done everything correctly and tried to minimise any issues pointed out in this article your machine should run trouble free.
As you can see installing a washing machine properly is not a two-minute job and experience helps massively when you do it. Do it wrong and it can lead to all sorts of issues and problems that you really do not want to have.
This is why we do recommend that unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing that you have the machine professionally installed.
Things get complicated still further when you try to install an integrated washing machine or washer dryer as you often have to then cope with four adjustable feet, furniture doors and often extra trims and such that have to be fitted. It's not just a case of whacking the machine into place and it will just work as it should.