Washer Hoses: Everything You Need to Know

Washer Hoses

The washer hoses that supply your clothes washer with hot and cold water are out of view as they quietly perform their duty. In fact, as you start a new load of laundry, you likely don't even think about how the water enters your washer. But that all changes the minute one of these hoses breaks. That quiet reliable hose can quickly turn into an attention grabbing nightmare!

The amount of water damage caused by a defective washing machine hose can be extensive. In fact, in the US a broken washer hose is among the leading cause of insurance claims!​ Since insurance company's deal with water damage differently and separate damage from leakage into 2 categories: Sudden vs. Chronic, it's in your best interest to check these hoses periodically to make sure they are in good repair. 

How to Inspect Your Washer Hoses

Inspecting your washer hoses on a regular basis can not only help prevent an expensive mess, but it can also play a contributing part in working with your insurance company should one burst. Even the most rigorous home maintenance plan isn't full proof, and when water is under pressure a simple weakness in the hose can develop into a major problem. But performing regular inspections of your washer hoses will reduce the odds of a hose developing a major leak.

We recommend finding a routine that works for you. A best practice is checking your washer hoses on the first day of Spring and then again on the first day of Fall. Whatever your system, the most important thing is that you check them regularly.

What Causes Washer Hoses to Burst?

There are a number of reasons why a washing machine hose will fail, however, one of the top reasons is age.

Age - If a hose has been in service for over 5 years there's a good chance that it will begin to show signs of wear, which can eventually lead to bursting.  Replacing your washer hoses every 3 to 5 years is a best practice and is frequently recommended by insurance companies. 

Poor water quality can play havoc within a hose. It can cause the inside of the hose will break down and deteriorate at an accelerated pace. As the inside breaks down, more pressure is placed on the connection points and the outer casing.  Eventually the hose gives way and you're left with a flood. If you live in an area where water quality is an issue you should purchase the best quality hose possible and check the condition frequently. 

Incorrectly Installed - There are a variety of things that can go wrong when installing your hoses. The most common is the rubber gasket. But also if the hose was twisted or kinked during installation a weak point may have developed. See below for step-by-step directions on how to install washer hoses. 

Defective Hose - Sometimes a hose is just defective . . . even if it's new. There's little worse than installing new hoses only to discover that one of them is leaking! But it happens, so be sure to carefully inspect your new hoses to look for leaks or other defects after you have them in place. Unfortunately, sometimes a new hose will work fine and fail months or years later due to a weak area. Nothing is full proof.

What to Look for When Inspecting Washer Hoses

  • Check the hose connections first. They should be secure and not show signs of wear, rust or leakage.
  • Check the condition of the hoses. Look for bulges, cracks or excessive wear.
  • Check for kinks in the hose. Frequently a washer will move, either during a washing cycle or inadvertently during cleaning. If you allow 4" between the back of the washer and the wall water connection you can help prevent kinks. Consider placing a spacer such as a piece of wood that is 4" between the wall and the washer to prevent the washer from drifting back towards the wall. 

If you notice any moisture on the connections or the hoses you most likely have a small leak. It's critical to take care of a small leak as soon as possible, because it'll become a large leak sooner than you think.

Washer hoses are inexpensive and easy to replace. Failing to act in a timely manner can cost you thousands of dollars in damage and hours of clean-up time. Not to mention the headache and disruption to your life.​

Installing a water hammer arrestor (Amazon) ​for your washing machine will absorb the pressure from the water flow after the washer's valve closes. When the flow of water is shut off, the water doesn't have anywhere to go, so it attempts to return in the direction it came. This is called water hammer and it can add a lot of stress to your hoses. 

  • When you change a washer hose, mark the date either with a Sharpie pen on the hose itself or on a 3x5 card that you can keep on the back of the washer. This will help you track the service life of each hose.

How to Select the Right Washing Machine Hose

Washing machine hoses are inexpensive and available online and at home improvement stores. You may want to consider keeping an extra hose on-hand just in case. 

If space is an issue with your washing machine and you need it to fit closer to the back wall, there are hoses available to help solve this problem. These hoses have elbow connectors at a right-angle​ (Amazon) which will allow the washer to sit closer to the back wall, without placing stress on the hose.

Types of Washer Hoses

Rubber

Rubber hoses (Amazon) have been around a long time. If you're looking for an inexpensive hose a rubber hose is a good choice. Below are a few things you should know:

  • ​They are the less expensive choice.
  • They are reinforced with a polyester mesh or a braided rayon to increase their strength.
  • Be careful to only purchase this type of hose if the package states that they are "reinforced". If the price looks too good to be true, the hoses are likely not reinforced or of poor quality.
Stainless Steel​

Stainless Steel hoses (Amazon) have gained in popularity over the years, although they are a bit more expensive. But the price is generally offset by their extended service life as they are designed to endure significantly more stress. Many hoses are advertised as "burst proof" however, when you have water under pressure, nothing is really burst proof. Here are a few things to know:

  • ​They frequently come with a warranty (usually 5 years). 
  • They are built with a flexible plastic hose which is encased in a stainless steel wire mesh.
  • They are durable and designed to take more abuse, such as twisting and cutting than rubber hoses.

How to Install Washing Machine Hoses

To get the longest service life from your washing machine hoses it's important that you follow a few easy steps. Following the steps below will not only keep the job easy, but it will also prevent unnecessary water from seeping. But be prepared with a bucket and a few old towels as there will still be some water seepage.

Hose Removal

  1. Turn OFF the water supply.
  2. Turn the control knob to a washing cycle and start the washer.
  3. Allow the washer to run for 3 to 5 seconds and then turn it OFF. The pressure within the hoses will be relieved and the amount of water leakage as you remove the hoses will be greatly reduced.
  4. Disconnect the power from the washer.
  5. Move the washer away from the wall to allow you access to the back panel. The large hose is a drain hose. If you need to remove the drain hose, be prepared with a bucket and towel as it will likely be full of water. 
  6. Disconnect the hoses. You may prefer to cut the hose in order to make it easier to remove. Either way, they will have water inside, so have your towel and bucket ready.
  7. If you have difficulty removing the hose connectors due to rust or corrosion, spray with WD-40 (Amazon) and wait about 15 minutes. Then try again using pliers or a pipe wrench.

Hose Installation

  1. Wipe down the threads of the water faucet with a rag, then cover the threads with a light layer of silicone grease (Amazon).
  2. Next, cover the threads on the hose with silicone grease, as well as the rubber washer within the connector.
  3. Double check that the rubber washer is fully seated within the connector before threading the connector onto the faucet.
  4. Hand tighten the connector, then use pliers to tighten until you feel a strong resistance.
  5. Repeat the procedure with each connector until the hoses are connected. 
  6. Turn on the hot and cold water faucets slowly. Then, look for leaks. Tighten the connectors as needed. 
  • ​Use caution that the hose does not kink when the washer is back in place.
  • Never twist the hose when installing.