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Washing Maching Hoses
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How to Replace your Washing Machine Hoses

Turn off the water supply to the washer. Set the machine to the filling cycle, and turn it on for a few seconds. This will relieve the pressure in the hoses and reassure you that the water is indeed off! Unplug the washer and pull it away from the wall a foot or so and look behind it. Don't gag... you can clean up the crud on the wall and the floor later... call it a fringe benefit! At this point, you will see three hoses... a fat drain hose, and two thinner water hoses, one for the hot and one for the cold. If you have lots of slack on the hoses, you can continue to pull out the machine until you have space behind it to work. Sometimes, disconnecting the drain hose is helpful, since it is normally the shortest of the hoses. Don't allow the drain hose to drop to the floor... keep it raised up, using your creative abilities, because it will have water in it!

At this point, you have to face your own limitations of agility and flexibility, and the type of installation you are dealing with. If you are in a spacious basement, access probably won't be much of a problem. If you are working in a laundry closet, you may have very little space to work with. If your clothes dryer shares the same closet, you might consider disconnecting the dryer and pulling it entirely out of the closet to allow better access to the hoses. Then again, this might involve removing the closet doors or other unpleasantness. In some of these jobs, I have had to use a stepladder and literally climb over the top of the washer to get behind it! Try to figure out what is easiest or works best in your situation... not always the same thing, unfortunately!

Now that you have access, get a bucket and put it beneath the hoses. Slash the hoses somewhere near their centers and allow them to drain the bucket. Then, cut them rubber hose off of the connectors. I've found it easier to get the rubber out of the way while fighting with the connectors.

Look at the general condition of the metal threaded connectors on the end of the hoses. If they are rusted, then you may have your work cut out for you. The rust can virtually weld the connector to the If they are rust-free, they should be easily removable. Some plumbers like to spray a little WD-40 or other penetrating lubricant on the connections, and go outside to have a smoke while it soaks in. NOTE: Normally, the threaded hose inlet on the washing machine is plastic, so removal of even a rusted hose connector should be fairly easy.

Finished with your smoke? Now comes the fun part... will they come off or won't they? My usual routine is to try first to slightly tighten the connections first. An old friend who was a pipe fitter for steam pipes once told me that the process of tightening causes certain changes in the rubbing surfaces of the metals. It's like the metal remembers the direction it was turned in, and wants to go only that way! The result is that, by slightly tightening the connection first, it will be easier to loosen. I'm not so sure that this really applies here, since the rubber washer inside the connector actually does the sealing , not just the threads. You can try it if you'd like to!

The best tool for this job is a good old fashioned pipe or "monkey" wrench (also known as a Stillson wrench for you purists out there). Most hose ends are knurled, so your choice of tools is limited to either a pliers or a pipe wrench. The downside of any pliers is that you must exert a squeezing force on the fairly thin-walled connector to remove it... this force also resists you removal efforts. The pipe wrench, on the other hand, only exerts its grip on a small area of the connector, and by its design grips more securely. If you do not have adequate room to use the pipe wrench, you may use pliers with curved jaws or a Vice Grip.

I can't tell you how hard to turn the connector before you resort to cutting. If you feel the pipes are beginning to move or flex excessively, and you can't grip the faucet firmly enough to resist the twisting, you may have no alternative but surgery!

The surgery is simple if you understand the principle involved. Since the seal, as I mentioned earlier, is between the connector and the faucet via a rubber washer, slightly cutting the threads on the faucet will not diminish the seal. Therefore, what you want to do is cut a diagonal slash in the side of the connector using a hacksaw. This will invariably cut into the faucet's threads, but this is really inconsequential. Now, of course, if you get too aggressive and cut completely through the threaded area of the faucet, then you will have to replace the faucet. All you are trying to do is to cut the minimum you have to to penetrate the connector.

Pry back the cut area of the connector using a screwdriver just until you can get a pliers on it. Use the pliers to roll this flap back further, until the faucet threads underneath are exposed. This is enough in most cases to release the virtual weld between the connector and the faucet, and you will be able to unscrew it. If the connection is still solid, you can either make another similar cut, or spray on more WD-40 and have some ice tea!