Installing a washing machine or dishwasher in basement

Plumbing-washer If you want to install a washing machine or dishwasher in the basement (or cellar) and all of the drains are up at ground floor level you would need to install some sort of booster pump. Washing machine pumps just aren’t powerful enough to pump water that high.

Can a washing machine (or dishwasher) pump from a basement up to the grate?

I have seen it done, but not in any way I would describe as successfully. In the past some people did get away with installing a washing machine in a basement by simply extending the drain hose and running it up to the ground floor and to the outside grate. Those washing machines routinely failed to spin because they couldn’t drain the water out fast enough.

People got around it by putting the machine back onto spin for a second time, which worked because half of the water had already been drained out. You can imagine how unsatisfactory that is. Even if you were lucky enough for it to manage to pump water up that high, it would be at reduced rinsing efficiency.

Raise the washing machine?

Another approach is to raise the height of the washing machine by standing it on a high mounting. I’ve seen some mounted so high that I had to stand on a chair to take the lid off. This helps, but it’s not always practical for the following reasons.

Firstly it makes the washing machine dispenser drawer and drum too high for many people to access. And secondly, the washing machine would need to be very securely fitted so that it did not fall off its stand, which would be disastrous.

If you need to raise the washing machine just a little bit you can buy a special base to do so here Raise a washing machine off the floor. However, it only raises it about a foot, and it’s expensive. Using this method may only be appropriate if the washing machine is expected to pump more than a couple of feet higher than normal.

Things have changed

The big problem these days is that most washing machines are controlled by software which constantly monitors all processes including how long it takes to drain the water out.

Most washing machines (if not all) will now abort the programme with an error if they don’t pump out enough water within a programmed set time. This issue also affects filling times and is covered here – Low water pressure and washing machines).

Installing appliance into a basement properly

Don’t install a washing machine or dishwasher into a basement or cellar unless it has been made into a proper room. In other words – no damp cellars. After that, you would need to install a specialist pump booster system designed for appliances in a basement because a basement is below the grate.

Essentially this second pump relays the water to the greater height. The main ones that I’m aware of are made by a company called Saniflo.

It is likely to be expensive having one fitted, especially if you need to get a tradesman to do it. It might even be difficult to find a tradesman who has fitted one before. So, it can be done, you just need to think carefully about whether it is worth all the effort.

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6 thoughts on “Installing a washing machine or dishwasher in basement”

  1. I agree. Newer washer models need high water pressure for them to work perfectly. If there is a low water pressure in your basement, it might not fill up the washer drum in time. The washer will automatically abort the washing cycle if it does not detect enough water. One solution to this problem is using pressure gauge. These are a little costly, though.

  2. Saniflo Problems

    If installing a washing machine in a basement you should use a Sanivite not a long hose as a washing machine is not powerful enough to pump the water away. If you use a Saniflo in a basement and would like a toilet as well, use a Sanibest as it can cope with hot water. One more tip, use a 32mm waste pipe out of the Saniflo as a minimum as a 22mm pipe cannot cope with a large drum washing machine not following this tip will cause Saniflo Problems.

  3. Gloria McLaughlin

    I have a sump pump in the basement for the toilet, I want to make a kitchenette in basement too. Can I install a dishwasher to the sump pump. Do I need a sink?

  4. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Gloria. I don’t know to be honest. I suspect you need a separate pump but ask the guys on the link in the last comment as they are experts on the subject.

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