Today, laundromats are synonymous with cumbersome bags of quarters and long waiting times. It’s no wonder that with the economical prices of washers and dryers, most families have a set already installed in their home. If your home didn’t come with these appliances, you can install them with a few simple steps.
Before Installing Your Machines
Step 1 – Purchase a Washer and Dryer
First, choose the right washer and dryer for you or your family. Most major appliance stores deliver their sold merchandise, so you don’t have to worry about renting a truck and hiring workers to bring it home. In addition, if you have the money, you can often pay these workers to install the washer and dryer for you. Or, you can continue with the steps below to install it yourself.
Step 2 – Run Hot- and Cold-Water Lines, if Needed
If you are installing the washer and dryer in a new area of the home, you may need to run hot- and cold-water lines to the appliances and terminate them with shut-off valves.
If applicable, install a water hammer arrester between the shut-off valve and the incoming water supply to control water-pressure shock. The water hammer arrester will eliminate the banging and thumping in pipes. Your home’s water pressure should stay around 60 pounds per square inch. If you’re unsure, you can check it with a water pressure gauge.
Step 3 – Place Your Machines
When positioning the washer and dryer, it's a good idea to get some help so that you don’t hurt yourself. Make sure the place you choose is completely flat by using a level, or the washer could “walk” across your laundry room during the spin cycle. In addition, you can adjust the washer’s “feet” to ensure it stays level.
Be sure that all hose connections and cords can safely reach their sources. Never use an extension cord, especially on a dryer. Hoses and vents should reach their source without straining or restricting water or airflow.
Step 4 – Cut off the Power
Before installing, cut off the power to the area you will be installing the machines through the appropriate circuit breakers, the 110V breaker to the washer and the 220V breaker to the dryer if you're not installing for gas setup. Do not skip this step, or you could be electrically shocked during installation.
Installing a Washer
Step 1 – Attach the Hoses
Attach the hoses to their proper outlet valves, observing hot and cold connections. Use silicone tape to secure. In addition, some modern washing machines have a water-suppression valve. Be sure to connect this according to the directions in the owner's manual.
Step 2 – Set up the Pipes
If you have an existing laundry sink, you can hook the washer's drainpipe over the edge to allow for drainage. If not, you must use a standpipe — a 2-inch polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, pipe that attaches to an existing drain system. You can purchase these standpipes from your nearest plumbing outlet, or you can build them from scratch.
Step 3 – Install a Trap, if Needed
You will also need to install a trap if you need to use a standpipe. The standpipe should be 18-30 inches above the trap, with the trap being 6-8 inches above floor level.
Step 4 – Turn on the Washer
Plug the washer in, turn on the circuit breaker to the washer, and ensure the water valves are on. Then, turn on the machine to begin filling the washer. Check for any leaks. If you can’t find any, you have successfully installed the washing machine.
Installing a Gas Dryer
Warning: If you are not comfortable or familiar with working with gas, call a professional. Working with gas can be dangerous, especially if you do not know how to detect and fix any leaks.
Your dryer's installation method will depend on whether you have a gas or electric appliance. A gas dryer is more energy-efficient than an electrical one, as the gas dryer uses a 120-volt plug instead of a 240-volt one. But, you might want to install an electric dryer if you don’t already have the proper gas supply and vent in your laundry room.
Step 1 – Connect the Gas Supply
With everything shut off, including the breakers and gas valve, connect the gas supply to the shut-off valve. Use silicone tape manufactured for gas installations for extra security. Then, connect the flexible gas supply line to the dryer.
Step 2 – Check for Gas Leaks
Check the gas fitting for leaks by brushing a 50-to-50 ratio of liquid detergent and water. Turn the gas at the main gas shut-off valve. If you see bubbles around any gas connection, ensure the fitting is tight and no bubbles arise. When you're finished, turn off the gas again.
Step 3 – Vent the Dryer
Vent the dryer by attaching a metal-ducting pipe. Use the appropriate lengths to reach the outlet. Then, use sheet-metal screws to attach all elbows and fittings, and wrap the connections with duct tape. Never vent a dryer to a crawl space or attic. Doing so could cause mold and mildew to develop.
Step 4 – Attach the Power Cord
If the power cord is not already installed, attach one now by following the same directions found in "Installing an Electric Dryer," below. Then, you can plug your power cord in, turn on the gas and electric, and test your dryer out.
Installing an Electric Dryer
If you’ve chosen to use an electric dryer because you don’t have a gas supply, install one using the steps below.
Warning: If you are not comfortable or familiar with working with electricity, call a professional. Though the project isn’t difficult, you will be working with high-voltage electricity.
Step 1 – Purchase the Right Power Cord
Some dryers don’t come with a power cord because older homes often use three-prong 220-volt receptacles, while newer ones use four-prong 200-volt receptacles. Determine which outlet your laundry room has, and purchase the appropriate cord.
Step 2 – Make Sure the Power Is Off
Before installing the dyer, make sure the power to the dryer’s outlet is off.
Step 3 – Install a Four-Prong Cord
If you have a three-prong cord, move on to the next step. To install a four-prong cord, connect the white, black, and red cord wires to the ones that correspond on the dryer. Make sure you attach the green ground wire to the dryer’s green ground screw. Remove any copper strap or green wire running from the ground screw to the white dryer wire.
Step 4 – Install a Three-Prong Cord
With a three-prong cord, connect the dryer’s red wire to either of the outside wires. Connect the other outside wire to the black wire, and then connect the center wire to the white dryer wire and the ground strap that’s attached to the ground screw.
Step 5 – Attach the Vent Hose
Using hose clamps, attach the vent hose to the vent duct and the dryer’s port.
Step 6 – Test the Dryer
When you’re done, you can plug the dryer in and turn the power back on. Test the electric dryer to make sure it works.