Washing Machine Drain Hose Too Long? (We Have A Fix)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall
It is a major inconvenience when your washing machine drain hose is too long, and it can cause backflow. Overly long drain hoses are susceptible to kinks and clogs, and the best solution is to replace them with a smaller drain hose. Whether you want to buy a new drain hose or shorten it on your own at home, several factors can make the project easier.

The positioning of your washing machine’s drain hose (or discharge hose) plays a significant role in how your machine functions. Plus, it also has a big impact on how your laundry room smells. If a drain hose isn’t the right length or poorly placed, it can lead to a host of problems.

A drain hose that is too long can lead to backflow and standing water in the line. This results in foul odors; plus, an overly long drain hose can end up causing the drain to overflow. Likewise, hoses that are too long have an increased risk of kinking, which leads to clogs and other issues.

Of course, you might assume if your washing machine drain hose is too long, you’ll just cut it. But, there’s a little bit more to it than that, as you don’t want to make it too short. Plus, you need to pay attention to where you cut the hose, so you don’t cut the wrong end.

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How Long Should a Washing Machine Drain Hose Be?

The drain hose for a washing machine doesn’t necessarily have one specific ideal length in terms of a number. You can find drain hoses in various sizes, including 4-feet, 6-feet, 8-feet, 10-feet, and longer.

Instead, the proper length is more about what the drain hose needs to do (and what it shouldn’t do). Basically, a washing machine drain hose should come from the bottom of the machine and be able to reach upward.

Then, one option is to drain the washing machine to the outside of your house. Alternatively, you loop the drain hose over the edge of a laundry tub or a standpipe (more typical). This is where the water drains through a p-trap into the drain and enters your home’s wastewater system. The hose also needs to bend into the standpipe above the height of the washtub.

Therefore, to determine the correct length for your drain hose, consider two things. You need to think about the height of your standpipe and the location of your washing machine.

Standpipe Height and Considerations

Ideally, the drain should be at least 30 inches from the floor. However, many washing machines require a standpipe height of at least 36 inches and a maximum of 96 inches.

Some washers even require a minimum height of 39 inches for the standpipe. If your drainpipe is lower than necessary, you can use an anti-siphon clip. Many washers now include this device as a “just-in-case” measure. You attach it to the hose and the back of the washing machine to raise the hose’s height.

If your standpipe is too low, it can lead to overflow issues. Conversely, if it’s too high, you could end up with water flowing back into the machine. Backflow problems can cause your machine to work overtime to pump out water.

Where and How Does the Drain Hose Go Into the Standpipe?

When you place the drain hose into the standpipe, it should reach down about 4 to 6 inches. You simply place it over the side of the standpipe and down enough, so it doesn’t fall out. You can also use a 180-degree pipe hook to help keep it in place.

You don’t seal the pipe to the standpipe, nor do you put too much hose into the standpipe. This is because there needs to be an air gap to prevent siphoning water from the machine as it fills. If you cram too much hose into the standpipe, you risk losing that critical air space.

Therefore, position the hose properly, then secure it in place around the standpipe with a cable tie or clamp. Then you won’t have to worry about the hose shifting, or worse, falling out and getting water everywhere.

Washing Machine Location

Another factor when it comes to the length of your drain hose is the location of the washing machine. Ideally, your washing machine should be as close to the drainage pipe as possible to avoid potential issues.

For example, if you end up with too many feet of horizontal hose laying on the ground, this isn’t good. Inevitably, you end up with standing water in the hose, leading to foul odors and other unpleasantries. Keep in mind, the water draining from your machine contains things that were on your dirty laundry.

These elements can include food debris, fecal matter, sweat, and other organic matter that can create some undesirable effects. Also, the longer your hose, the more risk of it having kinks or twists. A damaged drain hose can lead to clogging issues, backflow, and other drainage problems.

What If My Washing Machine Is Far from the Standpipe?

Obviously, if your machine is a good way away from the drain, you’ll need a longer hose. However, simply letting it coil upon itself or run along the floor isn’t ideal.

Instead, you need to elevate the hose at the back of the machine, above the height of the standpipe. Then, it’s vital to create a slight downward slope along the horizontal run of the hose. This way, when your washing machine’s pump goes off, gravity will keep sending water to the drain.

However, the downfall of this is the hose would end up running along the wall at a noticeable height. Aside from being unattractive, it takes multiple supports to keep the hose from sagging along the line.

What Are My Options If My Washing Machine Drain Hose Is Too Long?

If your drain hose ends up too long with everything in its proper position, you’ll need to make adjustments. Remember, you don’t want too much hose crammed into the standpipe, piled up on the floor, or crushed behind your machine.

Any one of these instances would require a shorter hose. So what can you do? Well, you can either purchase a shorter hose, certainly the easiest option, or cut your existing one.

Purchase a Shorter Discharge Hose

You can get a drain hose direct from the manufacturer of your washing machine. Conversely, you can purchase a hose with the proper specifications for your machine from a home improvement store or online. New washing machine drain hoses only cost about $12 to $30, depending on the size and material.

Shorten Your Existing Drain Hose

Most drain hoses are relatively easy to cut, especially if you have a rubber hose. Also, many corrugated hoses boast the ability to cut them to any length.

Therefore, if your hose is too long, use a utility knife or hacksaw to cut the hose at the desired length. Note: Cut the end that will go into the standpipe, not the end that connects to the outlet on your machine.

Place the end into a 180-degree pipe hook, or holder, to help keep it in place in the standpipe. Don’t forget to secure the hose back into place with a zip tie or clamp.

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Related Questions

What if the drain hose for the washing machine is too short?

Having a drain hose that’s too long is one thing, but you can also end up with one that’s too short. If you can’t get the hose to reach the necessary height and into the standpipe, you need a longer hose. Alternatively, you can use an extension kit. However, many appliance manufacturers don’t recommend using more than a 4-foot extension.  An extension kit allows you to add a coupler to the end of your existing hose. Then you attach an extension hose to the other side. The kits usually also include clamps to help keep the attachment piece in place. You can purchase extension kits at home improvement stores or online for between $25 and $35. 

How can you fix a leaking washing machine drain hose?

If your drain hose is leaking, power off your machine, unplug it, and switch off the breaker. Then, disconnect the hose from the back of the machine. You might want to go ahead and replace rubber washers, just in case. Use soapy water to test for leaks. Push the hose through the water a little at a time, squeezing it. If you see bubbles forming, then you’ve found the likely source of the leak. It could be a pinhole or a small crack, etc., pushing air up through the gap and creating the bubble. If you do find a hole, you can temporarily seal it with waterproof duct tape or even hot glue. However, this will only last you for so long, and you really should purchase a new hose.

What is the best material for a washing machine drain hose?

Typically, new washing machines come with a drain hose. However, it’s not always the best quality. Often, depending on the brand, you’ll end up with a plastic hose that won’t last very long. Therefore, it might be worth your time and money to purchase a separate drain hose for your machine. You can find corrugated hoses that don’t kink as easily. There are also flexible PVC hoses with polyester braiding or reinforced rubber hoses. Read the prep instructions carefully to choose the material right for you. For example, many rubber hoses require no prep work. On the other hand, some of the PVC varieties need soaking to make them more flexible before use. 

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Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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