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How to Maintain a Washing Machine

Ask This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey gives some general advice on maintaining a washing machine.

Steps for Maintaining a Washing Machine:

  1. Ensure that the washing machine is level so it doesn’t bounce around during cycles. Most have adjustable feet that can be tightened or loosened to reach the appropriate height.
  2. There are filters at the end of the washing machines hoses at the back of the washer. If there’s ever a decrease in water pressure in the machine, he suggests shutting off the water and unscrewing those hoses to check the filters to see if they’re clogged.
  3. Since rubber hoses are prone to bursting, Richard recommends using a stainless steel braided washing machine hose.
  4. Richard also highly recommends taking advantage of a washing machine valve, which can be installed near the water supply for the washing machine and can control water flow to the machine. That way, if the hoses were ever to fail, they wouldn’t be under full water pressure and there would be an easy control point to diagnose any issues.


Braided stainless steel washing machine hoses can be found at home centers.

The timed washing machine valve that only keeps pressure on the hoses for a set period of time is the Time Out Automatic Shutoff Valve, manufactured by Keeney Manufacturing Company.
The washing machine valve that only operates when it senses a current draw from the washer is the IntelliFlow, manufactured by Watts.

Both of these valves can be ordered online or from a specialty plumbing supplier.

Shopping List:

Washing machine hoses
Washing machine valve