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Ultimate Guide to Washing Machine Hoses

Before installing new washing machine hoses, it’s important to know your options, how to install the lines, and preventive maintenance measures you can take. Read on for the ultimate guide to washing machine hoses.

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Washing machine hoses connect your top or front load washing machine with the valve that supplies water to each wash cycle. While necessary for your washing machine, the two water supply lines aren’t burst-proof and are one of the most common causes of water damage in the home. For this reason, washer hoses need to be properly installed and maintained to stay intact and functional.

Why Washing Machine Hoses Leak

  • Wear and tear—No matter what type of washing machine hose you select for your home, all will undergo normal wear and tear as they age and eventually need replacement. This wear and tear on the hoses is caused by high water pressure and a hydraulic shock known as a water hammer, which increases the water pressure to the hoses after a cycle completes.
  • Poor water quality—Poor water quality, particularly hard water, can corrode the inside of the washing machine hoses and cause sediment build-up.
  • Installation errors—During installation, if a hose connector isn’t correctly fitted and tightened to the water valve or washing machine, a leak could form. A hose can also leak or burst if it’s twisted or bent during installation. This can be prevented by leaving at least four inches between the wall and washing machine.
  • Worn rubber washer—A rubber washer sits at the end of the hose, sealing the supply valve and preventing water from leaking out of the hose. Over time, this rubber washer starts to wear down and loosen, allowing water to seep through.

How to Select Your Washing Machine Hoses

When selecting washing machine hoses, safety and durability should be considered. Typically, washing machines hoses fall under three categories:

  1. Rubber—Rubber hoses are the least durable and lose much of their flexibility and strength over time, resulting in corrosion and cracks that lead to leaks or busted hoses. Rubber supply lines aren’t industry standard and are generally not recommended.
  2. Reinforced rubber—Reinforced rubber hoses were created to help strengthen the hose. These supply lines are reinforced with either polyester mesh or braided rayon that helps protect the rubber from withering.
  3. Braided stainless steel—This type of washing machine hose is the industry standard, utilizing a rubber hose encased in a strong, flexible stainless steel braid that protects the hose from damages incurred from twists and bends. Some stainless steel washing machine hoses come with an auto shutoff feature that can detect the increase in pressure caused by a hose burst. Once detected, the connector at the end of the hose prevents water from pouring out of the valve, minimizing the damage incurred by a broken hose.

How to Install Washing Machine Hoses

Whether installing reinforced rubber or steel braided washing machine hoses, these are the steps necessary to install your new washing machine hoses.

  1. Before touching the hoses, turn off your washing machine by cutting the power at the breaker box. After, unplug the machine’s electrical cord from the outlet.
  2. Carefully move the washing machine away from the wall, giving yourself enough space to access the water valves, hoses, and back of the washing machine.
  3. Turn off the water supply at the valves located on the wall behind your washing machine.
  4. Grab an empty bucket and some old towels. Remove one hose at a time from the back of the washing machine, using the bucket to drain excess water from the line. After draining each line and cleaning up any spills, remove each hose from its water supply valve. Remember to turn the hose’s fittings clockwise, using pliers when necessary.
  5. Connect the new hoses to the water supply valves, first hand tightening before using pliers to secure. Using the same method, connect the hose to washing machine fittings. The hoses are color coded to match the hot and cold water valves, with red for hot and blue for cold.
  6. Turn the water supply valves back on and thoroughly check for any leaks.
  7. If no leaks are spotted, plug in the washing machine and push it back into place, ensuring there’s at least four inches between the unit and wall. Before switching the power back to the washing machine, make sure the hoses aren’t twisted or bent, which can hasten wear and tear.

Preventative Care Tips

To help maintain your washing machine hoses, follow these simple tips:

  • Inspect your washing machine hoses frequently, checking that they’re not twisted, bent, or corroding.
  • Replace your washing machine hoses every three to five years.
  • Install a water hammer arrestor, which helps absorb the shock of water that increases pressure within the hose after the washing machine cycle ends.
  • Turn off the water supply to washing machines when they aren’t in use. This will minimize the amount of water pressure the hoses are exposed to over time.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable installing your own hoses, have a plumber install the supply lines for you so that you have peace of mind that they’re properly fitted.

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