How to Relocate the Washer & Dryer Plumbing

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To relocate washer and dryer plumbing it helps to be completely prepared and expect the unexpected. While moving the pipes sounds easy, a few roadblocks can hinder the progression of the project. You may find yourself drilling holes through floors and ceilings to relocate pipes to a room on another floor or tearing up drywall to tap into pipes behind the walls, specifically if you still have to provide water to other locations. Expect some layouts to require more effort than others and have enough spare plumbing pieces in case of leaks or incorrect fittings. Proper preparation will deter many difficulties and help you reach your goal efficiently.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand cart or utility cart
  • Pen and paper
  • Tape measure
  • Bucket
  • Clean rag
  • Pipe cutters or hacksaw
  • Plumbing pipes
  • Plumbing couplings, shut-off valves, adaptors, cap and connectors
  • Utility knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Lead-free plumbing flux and applicator brushes
  • Plumbing solder
  • Plastic primer
  • Plastic glue or cement
  • Plumber's tape
  • Pipe wrench

Plan the Move

  • Consider where you wish to move the washer and dryer. Allow enough space to work in the area comfortably and provide enough room for plumbing or appliance repair.

  • Draw a blueprint of where the plumbing will run. Take measurements for distances as you go. Include locations at major appliances and fixtures that require shut-off valves. Mark locations where plumbing will change direction via elbows and T-shaped couplings.

  • Shut off the power and water supplies to the washer and dryer. Open faucets to allow water to drain away from the lines. Use a utility cart to move the appliances to the new location.

Remove the Old Plumbing

  • Place a bucket under the pipes to catch dripping water while you cut. Use a clean rag to wipe the excess water from the pipes.

  • Use pipe cutters or hacksaw to cut off the old plumbing pipes. If there is a closer water source to your new laundry area, you may wish to cut these low to the ground and cap them off. If not, cut the plumbing high enough to attach new couplings to the pipes.

  • Save the adaptor and connectors to the washer/dryer hookups to take with you to match sizes and connector styles. Discard the rest of the old pipe.

  • Clean the pipes before attaching any couplings. You must sand copper pipes to a shiny finish to remove any shavings. For plastic pipes, use a utility knife to remove any shavings.

Install the New Plumbing

  • Attach a coupling to the existing pipe. For copper, sand the inside of the coupling. Coat both the inside of the coupling and the pipe exterior with flux. Slip the coupling onto the prepped pipe. Heat the pipes with a propane torch until the flux sputters, then touch the joint with solder. When the pipe is hot enough, the solder sucks into the seams to seal them. For plastic pipes, coat the inside of the coupling and the outside of the pipe with plastic primer. With the primer wet, brush on a layer of plastic glue and slide the coupling onto the pipe with a twisting motion.

  • Continue using this process to attach additional pipes and couplings until you have reached the washer/dryer's new location. Here you will follow the same directions to install an elbow that runs the plumbing lines up to the washer's water hook-ups. If you need to supply water to a fixture after the washer and dryer, install a T coupling and be sure to connect the water to the next fixture.

  • Run a pipe long enough to reach the threaded couplings on the washer. Attach a male threaded coupling that fits your washer's fill hoses.

  • Wrap the threaded coupling with plumber's tape. Twist on the fill hose using a pipe wrench. Do not overtighten, because this will compress the rubber ring and cause leaks.

  • Wait at least an hour before turning the water on.

Tips & Warnings

  • If natural gas pipes power your appliances, consider hiring a professional plumber who can help relocate the plumbing. You may find helpful information to run new gas lines at your local home improvement store. Since gas companies must pressure-check the lines, you may have to purchase specialized torque wrenches to ensure correct pressure on fittings.
  • The instructions here describe the process for installing water supply pipes but may also be used for PVC or black ABS plastic drainpipes as well. When using these types of plastic plumbing, note each one has a specific primer and glue that must be used.
  • Take samples of your pipes and fittings with you when you shop for new supplies. This ensures a proper fit for pipes and correct fittings.
  • You may wish to save pipes that are in good condition and reuse them to cut down on costs. These pieces, if kept in good condition, can be stored for emergency repairs.
  • Purchase a small piece of project drywall board, screws, tape, and putty if you are tapping into plumbing behind the drywall.
  • Check with local building codes to ensure your new washer and dryer location is acceptable. Building codes will also help you determine what types of plumbing to use for water supply and drainage.
  • When using a propane torch, watch for low-hanging wires or objects to prevent a fire. Wear gloves when handling hot copper fixtures to prevent burns.
  • Wear gloves when tapping into drainpipes, because these pipes contain harmful bacteria.

References

  • Photo Credit washer drain pump image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com
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