When you buy a new washing machine, it’s usually worth paying to get it delivered and fitted. If you take your washing machine with you when you move house, that might be the first and only time you’ve ever had to transport a washing machine … and if you know any seasoned house mover or removals expert, you might have heard that there’s a knack to moving washing machines.
But how difficult can it be to move a washing machine? Are you being fed a line encouraging you to hire a specialist removals firm, or is it genuinely more complicated than it looks?
Well, moving a washing machine is something you could do yourself if you’re physically capable of handling the weight, but there are a few steps you’ll need to take to move your washing machine successfully.
Step-by-step instructions on DIY washing machine removals
Don’t be tempted to skip any of these steps, or your washing machine could easily turn into a heavy, useless cube that needs to be taken to the tip.
1. Understand why the machine is so heavy
Washing machines look hollow. They’re just a huge empty drum and some wires, surely? They have breezeblocks inside. Yes, breezeblocks. Enormous, heavy blocks of stone. Washing machines weigh somewhere between 10 and 17 stones (approximately 63.5 - 108kg).
Do not try to move your washing machine on your own. If you can, borrow a hand truck/sack barrow rather than trying to lift it by hand. You could rent a trolley from the same place you rent your removals van if you’re moving house without a removals firm.
People sometimes need to use self storage units to keep their house contents safe during a move
(if there’s a gap between selling their old house and moving into their new home, for instance), and we have trolleys available for use if you decide to do this, to make it easier to load or unload your washing machine into your unit/van.
2. Find or acquire transit bolts
These are sometimes known as washer locks or shipping bolts. When your washing machine was delivered to you when it was new, these bolts would have been removed when it was installed (otherwise your washing machine wouldn’t have been able to spin!).
Do you remember where they were put? If not, you might need to nip to your local DIY shop and buy some; they cost around £10 for a set. Take note of your washing machine make and model to ensure you buy the right size and type of transit bolt.
These bolts slip into slots at the back of the washing machine, stopping the drum from moving around (and breaking) during transit. However, the drum is suspended inside the machine, and if it’s not secured, the vibrations and any violent movement can damage the suspension mechanism.
3. Double-check the instruction manual
If you still have the manual (check in that drawer in the kitchen), review any recommendations the manufacturer might have mentioned about moving your washing machine. If you can’t find the manual, look online for the make and model of the washing machine and see if there’s anything specific in the online manual.
4. Disconnect the machine
This might be obvious, but make sure you drain your machine before you move it. There will be water in the bottom - put towels down to keep the floor dry, and open the filter and drain it as you normally would as part of routine maintenance. (If this is news to you, you should drain your machine to clean the filter every so often, perhaps every 2 or 3 months - search for your make and model of washing machine online to see how to do this.)
Once it has been drained of as much water as you can (beware that there will undoubtedly be some water left inside, and you will end up getting wet to some degree):
4.1 If the machine is built into your kitchen units, pull it out so you can access the pipes and plug at the back (the easiest way is to open the washing machine door and grip the edge of the door).
4.2 Unplug the washing machine.
4.3 There are two pipes at the back of the machine - a thin one that clean water comes into the machine and a thick hose that takes dirty water out. At the end of the thin pipe, which is connected to the water pipes in your home, there should be a valve to turn. Turn it! This will stop water from going to your machine and allow you to disconnect the pipes without water going everywhere.
4.4 There will still be water inside the pipes. Put a bucket underneath the thin pipe and disconnect it from the back of the machine - there’ll be a screw you can turn by hand (it’s usually blue). Move the bucket to the other end of the thin pipe and disconnect it from your water pipes. Put the hose into the drum for safekeeping.
4.5 Move the bucket to catch any water in the thick pipe when you disconnect it from the water pipes in your house (it doesn’t need to be disconnected from the washing machine).
5. Fit the transit bolts!
Your manual should show you how to do this, but if you can’t find the manual, look online for your washing machine’s make and model and instructions on how to fit the transit bolts.
6. Tape up the electrical wire/plug, and the thick wastewater pipe
This is so that they don’t dangle and trip you up or get damaged.
7. Use blankets or towels to wrap your washing machine to protect it from damage.
8. Load it into your van
Ideally, use a trolley and a ramp to get it into your moving van. Otherwise, enlist the help of friends and family to carry it as a group, taking care to lift with your knees, not your backs! Keep the washing machine upright to prevent damage.
9. Install your washing machine in your new home!
Do the reverse of what you did with your pipes, water supply and electrical supply as you did to disconnect it. REMEMBER to remove the transit bolts before you use it!
Moving a washing machine is physically strenuous, but as long as you follow these instructions, you can do it yourself rather than hire a specialist.