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Ultimate Guide to Washing Machine Hoses

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Hand of a plumber holding a broken flexible drain hose of washing machine, clogged and covered with lime scale, dirt limescale and rust.

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 03/22/2024

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

We’ll break down what you need to know about washing machine hoses here, from why they leak to how to maintain them.

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Why Washing Machine Hoses Leak

Wear and tear: No matter what type of washing machine hose you select, all will undergo normal wear and tear over time 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 water pressure to the hoses after a cycle completes.
Poor water quality: Poor water quality, particularly hard water, can corrode the inside of washing machine hoses and cause sediment buildup.
Installation errors: During installation, a leak could form if the hose connector isn’t correctly fitted and tightened to the water valve or washing machine. A hose can also leak or burst if it’s twisted or bent during installation. This can be prevented by leaving at least 4 inches between the wall and the 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. This rubber washer starts to wear down and loosen over time, allowing water to seep through.

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How To Select Washing Machine Hoses

When selecting washing machine hoses, always prioritize safety and durability. Typically, washing machine hoses fall under three categories:

• Least durable option

• Prone to corrosion and cracks over time

• Not industry standard

• Generally not recommended

• Far more durable option

• Reinforced with polyester mesh or braided rayon

• Less likely to weather than simple rubber hoses

• The industry standard

• Has a rubber hose encased in a strong, flexible stainless steel braid

• Often comes with an auto-shutoff feature

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How To Install Washing Machine Hoses

These are the steps necessary to install a new washing machine hose, whether they’re steel-braided or made of reinforced rubber.

  1. Before touching the hoses, turn off your washing machine by cutting the power at the breaker box. Then, 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 the 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 you don’t see any leaks, plug in the washing machine and push it back into place, ensuring there are at least 4 inches between the unit and the wall. Before switching the power back on, make sure the hoses aren’t twisted or bent, which could hasten wear and tear.
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Preventive 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 hoses on your own, have a plumber take care of supply lines to gain peace of mind that they’re properly fitted.

FAQ About Washing Machine Hoses

How do you care for washing machine hoses?

The best ways to take care of washing machine hoses are by inspecting them frequently, by cleaning them at least once a year, and by replacing the hose every three to five years.

Can you install washing machine hoses by yourself?

Yes, you can install washing machine hoses by yourself. Remember to turn off the water supply and unplug your washer before doing so.

When should you replace a washing machine hose?

It’s best to replace washing machine hoses every three to five years. Also consider replacing them if the hoses become twisted, bent, or corroded.

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