Can I exchange my integrated washing machine for a free-standing one?

This is a great question from one of our clients who bought a flat with integrated appliances. Integrated appliances are beautiful to look at – so sleek, so modern – but when they break down, it’s a real pain. They’re more expensive to repair and to replace. Washing machines are one of the most common appliances to break down in a buy-to-let property, so wouldn’t it be perfect if you could just exchange an integrated model for a free-standing one?

Unfortunately, the short answer is: probably not. But why not?

1. Standard dimensions are different

The height, width and depth of integrated machines are generally smaller than free-standing machines. Having to fit in a larger sized model means it’s likely the new machine won’t fit the layout of your existing kitchen.

2. Your worktop is solid

Free-standing units add at least 2-3cm in height, which may not fit if your worktop is solid. To find out, slide your hand between the machine and the worktop. If it’s solid, you won’t be able to install a free-standing machine. And no, the machine is not meant to function with the top off. There’s a reason why they’re screwed on so tightly.

Under the worktop

3. The plinth is in the way

The plinth at the bottom that covers the integrated machine is usually cut in such a way that it fits perfectly the units to the right and left. It may even have vents, as shown below. You could get a carpenter to cut the plinth but it won’t look pretty.

If you do decide to go ahead with replacing an integrated washing machine, here are a few things to remember:

1. Be patient

If you order a standard appliance, then you can usually pick a specific time slot for the delivery, but with an integrated model, it is likely you will have to wait in all day for your delivery. This is because an integrated machine requires a specialist engineer to install it.

2. Door alignment

Decide which way the door needs to open and check the alignment of any integrated appliances alongside, e.g. fridge-freezer. In many cases, they look like they’re straight but they’re not. This will affect how you drill into the integrated door to the washing machine. Expect to have to hoover after your engineer visits as they will need to drill new holes to meet the size of the new magnet, as well as hinges for the integrated door.

3. Drilled-in feet

If you see an engineer drilling the appliance’s feet to the floor, stop them at once! They are doing

this because, during the testing, the machine was rattling too much. But the engineer may not have checked that the delivery bolts were taken out from the back of the machine. Screwed-down feet will eventually damage the appliance’s outer drum and you’ll be back to square one, having to buy a new machine that is twice the price of a free-standing model.

4. Register for the guarantee

Parts are generally guaranteed for 10 years and this is free, so don’t forget to register your new appliance. When you register, the manufacturer should also inform you that there is a 1-year guarantee on mechanical or electrical failures. Keep the authorisation code, the appliance’s delivery and purchase dates and the model number in a safe place for future reference. Call-out fees from manufacturers are usually over £100, so avoid calling them out and go for someone local instead.

No time to look after your property? We’d love to help. Call 0203 588 5115 today.