DIY Washing Machine Drain

Written by michael logan
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DIY Washing Machine Drain
Washing machines need a drain for the dirty water. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Not every laundry room has space for a tub or sink, and some newer laundry rooms have smaller sinks unsuitable for draining the washing machine. The solution is a washing-machine drain, which has three requirements: a 2-inch diameter vertical pipe at least 24 inches tall, a P-trap at the bottom of the pipe and a vent pipe within 5 feet of the trap.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-inch PVC pipe
  • Saw
  • 2-inch PVC trap with clean-out
  • Pipe-joint compound
  • Slip-joint pliers
  • Torpedo level
  • PVC fittings

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  1. 1

    Measure and cut the pieces of pipe individually as you work and fit them together using the pipe fittings. Fit all the pieces together first before you begin cementing them. Measure and cut the vertical drain pipe for the washing-machine drain first. Cut the drain pipe so the open top extends 4 to 6 inches above the top of the washing machine.

  2. 2

    Remove the threaded clean-out plug from the P-trap and coat the threads with pipe joint compound. Thread the plug back into the clean-out and snugly tighten it with a slip-joint pliers. Fit the P-trap onto the bottom of the drain pipe with the clean-out plug pointing down.

  3. 3

    Cut a piece of pipe to fit between the P-trap and the Tee fitting for the vent pipe. Fit the pipe into the P-trap and put the Tee fitting over the opposite end. Use the torpedo level to set the slope of the pipe -- called the fall -- to 1/4 inch for every 12 inches of horizontal travel. The pipe "falls" towards the sewer stack.

  4. 4

    Measure and cut additional pipe to complete the run to the main sewer stack. Use fittings as required to join pipe and navigate corners. Set each section of pipe for the proper fall with the level.

  5. 5

    Mark the location on the main sewer stack for the Tee fitting that connects the drain to the stack. Cut out a section of stack pipe, fit the Tee into the opening and connect the drain pipe into the Tee.

  6. 6

    Fit the vent pipes the same way as the drain pipes. Make the vertical run from the Tee on the drain pipe to extend at least 1 foot above the top of the washing-machine drain opening. Cut another section out of the main sewer stack and fit a second Tee in place. Connect the vent pipe to the Tee.

  7. 7

    Mark each fitting and pipe with a permanent marker to show how the pieces align on the drain and vent pipe runs. This is especially important with the Tee fittings on the sewer stack.

  8. 8

    Remove the Tee fitting for the drain from the sewer stack. Dip the primer brush into the primer and wipe primer on the inside of the fitting hubs and on the outside of the pipe ends. Let the primer dry one minute.

  9. 9

    Dip the cement brush into the cement and thoroughly coat the inside of the fitting hubs -- but not the hub for the drain -- and the outside of the sewer stack pipe ends. Fit the Tee onto the sewer stack as you rotate it 1/4 turn and line up the alignment marks.

  10. 10

    Fit each section of pipe together with primer and cement. Turn the fittings 1/4-turn as you align the marks on the fittings with those on the pipe. This ensures good cement coverage and prevents leaks.

  11. 11

    Support the pipe with J-hooks every four feet. J-hooks fit around the pipe and nail to a stud or joist. Continually check the fall with a level as you work.

  12. 12

    Repeat the process to cement the vent pipe together, beginning with the Tee at the sewer stack and ending at the Tee in the drain pipe.

Tips and warnings

  • The main sewer stack is the large pipe that runs vertically from the lowest floor out through the roof.
  • If a horizontal vent run is between two vertical sections, the fall on the pipe must drain the vent so water cannot collect between the vertical runs.
  • Fitting hubs are the parts of the fitting that the pipe fits into. Cut pipes so they fit completely into the hubs.
  • Provide ventilation as you work with the primer and cement. If you get a headache or become dizzy, move to an area with fresh air. Open the primer and cement cans long enough to cement a fitting, then close them.

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