How to Disconnect Washing Machine Hoses & Install a New Water Heater

Updated February 21, 2017

Utility rooms are handy places to have your home appliances that sometimes generate heat, such as washing machines, dryers and water heaters. These rooms are also sometimes hooked up to the house plumbing through a floor drain in case of leaks. If you've decided to upgrade your water heater and need some extra room, you may need disconnect your washing machine hoses so the washing machine can be moved out of the way before installing a new water heater.

Unplug the washing machine from the socket.

Turn off the hot and cold water supply valves located behind the washing machine by turning the knobs all the way to the right.

Unscrew the couplings on the water supply hoses from the back of the washing machines. Use a pair of pliers if you cannot turn the couplings by hand.

Unscrew the couplings on the water supply valves for both the hot and cold water hoses.

Turn off the main water supply for your house. This is usually found in a utility box in the yard of your house, or mounted along one of the walls. Rotate the supply knob, using pliers if necessary, until the water is shut off.

Move the water heater to the installation location. Have an assistant help you if this is a large heater.

Measure the distance between the incoming water supply valve and the water heater with measuring tape. Use this as a gauge to cut the plumbing to the right size, adding any elbow joints or other turns if needed. Cut copper pipes with a plumber's saw or pipe cutter. Sand down the edges with sandpaper. Dry-fit the pieces together without soldering to make sure they fit.

Apply flux to the pipe pieces, fit together and then apply solder with a plumber's torch until you've run the pipe from the incoming water supply to the water heater.

Connect the outlet on the water heater to the hot water supply for the house in the same manner as the incoming water supply.

Turn off the power for the circuit where you will be connecting the water heater at the main circuit breaker. Test the ends of the heater wires with a voltmeter before touching them to ensure that the power has been turned off correctly.

Remove the electrical panel cover on the water heater with a screwdriver. Thread the wiring through the panel opening.

Strip off the last inch of the wires with a pair of wire strippers. Loosen the terminals on the water heater with a screwdriver. Clamp the white wire around the terminal marked "Neutral" and the black wire around the terminal marked "Hot." Connect the bare copper wire to the green ground screw on the terminal. Tighten the terminal screws. Replace the electrical panel cover.

Restore the water supply for the house. Open up the water supply valve for the tank and allow the hot water heater tank to fill.

Turn on the power for the hot water heater.


Some cities or municipalities require that you obtain a permit before installing a water heater. Check with your local government to see what the rules are before installing. Installation steps for your hot water heater may differ. Always follow manufacturer's instructions.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Copper plumbing pipes
  • Pipe cutter
  • Sandpaper
  • Plumber's torch
  • Flux
  • Solder
  • Screwdriver
  • Voltmeter
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About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.