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#1
Old 07-03-2014, 01:47 AM
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Feasibility of relocating the washer and dryer

I'm considering buying a house that has everything I want, except that the washer and dryer connections are on the second floor, which is a dealbreaker. Not only will that make it a lot harder to get the washer and dryer up a steep flight of stairs that changes direction three times, but it would cause a lot more damage if a hose broke or something.

But the house is perfect for me otherwise, so I wonder if I could add connections for a washer and dryer on the ground floor. The bathroom sink on that floor shares a wall with a spare bedroom, so I would think it would be easy to cut a hole in the sheetrock and tap into the pipes, and put the washer and dryer in that bedroom. And the breaker box is on that floor.

Except I have no idea how hard that is to do, or how much it would cost. Can a plumber just cut a pipe, put a tee on it, and then add a new pipe along with the original, on the hot and cold water pipes to the sink? Can an electrician just use the existing dryer breaker for a new wire to the new location after disconnecting the old wire?

How much is this likely to cost me?

Any help greatly appreciated, and I kind of need answer fast. Thanks.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 07-03-2014 at 01:48 AM.
#2
Old 07-03-2014, 08:41 AM
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Since no one else has responded and you need a fast answer, I'll just suggest that what you want can certainly be done. I'd be very surprised if it wasn't under $1000, and I'd expect it to be under $500. It probably depends on how far from existing water/sewer the new location would be, in case you decide there's a better place than in a bedroom.

People often do the reverse, moving first floor washer/dryers to the second floor, to avoid going up and down the stairs when doing laundry. Possibly your house originally had them on the first floor (or in the basement). Have you checked to see if there are old first floor hookups you could use?

For the concern about a hose breaking, you could have a catch basin installed under the washer/dryer on the second floor, with a drain, so if a hose does break the water just flows down the drain. (And let the movers worry about getting them up the stairs.) Also, buy burst-proof hoses.

But the short answer is it can be fixed one way or another, and I wouldn't let that be a deal-breaker.

Last edited by ZenBeam; 07-03-2014 at 08:44 AM.
#3
Old 07-03-2014, 08:50 AM
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Does the toilet back up against the wall to the spare bedroom, or is it against a different wall?
Is the first floor on a concrete slab or is it a raised foundation?
What material are the drain lines made of?
Bottom line is, it is almost always doable, but the cost may be impressive.
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#4
Old 07-03-2014, 09:36 AM
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You also need to consider how far it is to the outside wall for venting, if it's a gas dryer. (Some electric dryers can be ventless, but at the expense of dumping a lot of hot steam into your basement.)

But it shouldn't be too hard for a qualified plumber to do. Moving washer/dryer hookups is pretty routine, and as ZenBeam notes there may be the remnants of an older hookup elsewhere.
#5
Old 07-03-2014, 09:43 AM
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You're correct. Tapping into the water supply pipes will be quite easy. The sewage pipe will be a bit harder. It depends on whether the sewage stack is in the wall. If it is, then it can be tapped into. Otherwise, they'll have to dig into the floor to reach it.

think about the floorplan. Are the kitchen and bathrooms stacked above each other? If they are then you should have a waste stack like this. Kitchen on the first floor. The laundry in the basement and bathroom 2nd floor. The pipe of couse is hidden in the wall.

http://sweethaven02.com/BldgConst/en5112a0065.gif
http://hometips.com/wp-content/u...ng-diagram.gif

Quote:
But the house is perfect for me otherwise, so I wonder if I could add connections for a washer and dryer on the ground floor. The bathroom sink on that floor shares a wall with a spare bedroom, so I would think it would be easy to cut a hole in the sheetrock and tap into the pipes, and put the washer and dryer in that bedroom. And the breaker box is on that floor.

Last edited by aceplace57; 07-03-2014 at 09:45 AM.
#6
Old 07-03-2014, 10:01 AM
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If you buy the house, be sure to have some money set aside for some small reno projects. You'll easily spend three or four hundred on paint, rollers, brushes, drop cloths and other supplies. I'd strongly recommend getting the carpets shampooed before moving in. Its so much easier and cheaper in an empty house.

Moving the laundry will easily cost $500. Maybe $800. Don't forget to get the old 2nd floor connections capped off. You'll have a nice closet too.
#7
Old 07-03-2014, 10:18 AM
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you can get automatic washing machine values that only turn on when the washer is running, otherwise they stay off.

you need to vent the dryer exhaust air. if the dryer is gas then venting and supply for that.

washer drain and venting need to be adequate.

since what actually needs to be done will vary on your actual house, e.g. a supporting structural might mean things like pipes need to be rerouted. call both a bunch of plumbers and electricians to give estimates. costs might vary on your location due to local codes and costs in your area.
#8
Old 07-03-2014, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
You also need to consider how far it is to the outside wall for venting, if it's a gas dryer. (Some electric dryers can be ventless, but at the expense of dumping a lot of hot steam into your basement.)

Option: get a condensing dryer. No venting needed and it's extremely energy efficient. Disadvantage: it takes 3-4 hours to dry a load. I used to have a combo washer + condensing dryer. It was great dropping a load in and not having to do anything until it was dry four hours later.
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#9
Old 07-03-2014, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
you can get automatic washing machine values that only turn on when the washer is running, otherwise they stay off.
That's what I'd recommend. It eliminates most of the risk of a hose break. And you can also get a drain pan that sits under the washing machine and contains a small spill. Some of them have a hose that you can connect to the drain line.
#10
Old 07-03-2014, 10:55 AM
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You didn't say if the dryer is gas or not. If it is you'll also have to run a gas line to it. If not then you'll need a 240V outlet in that room.,
#11
Old 07-03-2014, 11:15 AM
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I relocated my washer/dryer from a carport closet to a bedroom closet. I hated lugging baskets of clothes outside to use my laundry.

I got lucky. The lazy electrician had not stapled my 220 wire to my floor joists. It was just lying on the ground in the crawl space. I turned off the power, disconnected the receptacle, drilled a hole where I needed the outlet, and crawled under my house. Took me about 30 minutes to drag the wire and reroute it. I had maybe 15 ft of extra wire that I cut off. I left three or four feet of slack in the crawlspace. I reused the box and receptacle. The box just lays on the floor behind the dryer. Total cost? Zero dollars.

A year or so later I did get back under there to tack the wire up to the floor joists. Just to satisfy code. A box of wire staples was three bucks.

Last edited by aceplace57; 07-03-2014 at 11:18 AM.
#12
Old 07-03-2014, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
I'm considering buying a house that has everything I want, except that the washer and dryer connections are on the second floor, which is a dealbreaker. Not only will that make it a lot harder to get the washer and dryer up a steep flight of stairs that changes direction three times, but it would cause a lot more damage if a hose broke or something.
You seem to know what you want, and have asked a legitimate question. I'm just chiming in to suggest you consider keeping the washer and dryer on the second floor. We moved our primary washer and dryer upstairs (level of most of the bedrooms, including master) and are very happy with it. Laundry seems much less of a chore. Your two objections (the stairs and the possibility of a broken hose) don't seem like they would be "deal breakers." It's cheaper to hire experienced movers to get the washer and dryer upstairs than to replumb your house. A broken hose is a problem on either floor, but a very remote risk. I'm 52 years old and have never had a washer leak, nor have I ever heard of it happening to a friend or family member.
#13
Old 07-03-2014, 11:19 AM
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Having the W/D on the second floor is generally considered a premium convenience feature of a house.

I would suggest spending your money on automatic shutoffs that protect from spills, rather than spend 2-5x as much to move the W/D to a less convenient location.
#14
Old 07-03-2014, 11:21 AM
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I found that venting a (plain electric) dryer in the house, even with a good filter, created a lot of fine lint. Vent outside.

the key as mentioned is the vent for the drain. It needs to meet the stack above any 2nd floor drains unless you are allowed a "wet stack" where the venting for the lower level is the drain for the upper level. however, you usually can run about 4 feet (6 feet?) from the vent to the water drain, so you could likely just splice into the sink drain and the vent is already there.

As for wiring, etc - if the basement is relatively unfinished, you can run power through he basement, drill up into the wall where the outlet needs to be. So - electrician work too.

Wife and I looked at houses with upstairs and ground floor washing machines. I agree, new front-load stuff is monstrous and HEAVY compared to old washers, but nicer-looking and more efficient. However, that weight on the front-loader is heavy metal lumps attached to the tub with assorted springs to prevent harmonics and damp the tub vibrations during spin cycle. My homebuilder's agent warned that in a two-story wood box, putting the washer on the second floor risked having the whole house sway during a vigorous spin cycle. Best location is ground floor near a concrete wall, or basement.

Another option, is to tile and drain the floor like a shower, so any leaks etc. went down the drain not into the ceiling. My hot water tank, for example, is sitting in a metal pan with a drain because of my wood floor.

And as others point out, avoiding climbing with laundry is a benefit. When you go to sell the house, how easy is it to make that back into a bedroom? there are tap-and-vent units for laundry now that fit right inside the 2x4 wall so the whole could be capped and covered over later.

Last edited by md2000; 07-03-2014 at 11:25 AM.
#15
Old 07-03-2014, 11:39 AM
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Should be fairly straightforward. When I remodelled my kitchen three years ago, I moved the washer and dryer into the garage. The plumber teed off the pipe to an existing cold-water tap in the garage.

The drainage was the tricky part. The plumber thought he would be able to connect to the existing soil stack, which passes right next to the washer location in the garage, but it is an old cast-iron pipe and he couldn't cut into it without fear of shattering the whole thing. People with modern plastic soil stacks won't have this trouble.

So I just drilled through the external wall and ran a waste pipe into the existing gully drain outside. (The waste-water one, NOT the rainwater one, of course!)
#16
Old 07-03-2014, 11:46 AM
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It will also cost something to fix up the space upstairs where you're moving them from, unless any protruding connections up there are something you can hide or live with. I assume there's no utility sink up there.

And bear in mind that if you ever look to sell this place, many buyers may view the placement of the W/D in a spare bedroom as suboptimal.
#17
Old 07-03-2014, 01:05 PM
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Concur with those who suggest that such a relocation might not be a great idea and it's really convenient having the laundry room on the same upstairs level as the bedrooms. My present house is the first one I've had with such an arrangement and I love it. Really makes laundry much less of a chore.

As already said, there are various solutions to mitigate flooding risk. I just use armored hoses and haven't worried about it. Never heard of valves that only operate when the washer is running but those sound like a great idea, too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
My homebuilder's agent warned that in a two-story wood box, putting the washer on the second floor risked having the whole house sway during a vigorous spin cycle. Best location is ground floor near a concrete wall, or basement. .
Especially true for a front loader because those things can spin like a jet engine on the spin cycle. However I have a front loader in the upstairs laundry room. It's supposed to have some form of anti-vibration technology, but it can still noticeably vibrate the floor with certain loads. Just enough that you can hear it and feel it close by, not enough to be any kind of problem.
#18
Old 07-03-2014, 04:13 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. The dryer will be electric, and I had planned to just use a flexible duct to vent it out the window when in use, which for me is only once every couple of weeks.

Leaving things in place will not make it any more convenient, because the washer dryer hookups are now on the floor above the main living space.

I forgot all about the drain pipe, but the toilet, sink, and bathtub drains are all next to the wall of the spare bedroom, so I assume they can be accessed from there.

And congratulations to everybody who's never had a laundry room accident, but I've had a couple, and a shallow pan under the washer wouldn't have helped. I realize that not everybody is as klutzy as I am, but that's the whole point.
#19
Old 07-03-2014, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
I'm considering buying a house that has everything I want, except that the washer and dryer connections are on the second floor, which is a dealbreaker. Not only will that make it a lot harder to get the washer and dryer up a steep flight of stairs that changes direction three times, but it would cause a lot more damage if a hose broke or something.
So...you want to spend the next umpteen years carting laundry up and down "a steep flight of stairs that changes direction three times"? Are you sure you don't want to re-think that?

When I remodeled, I moved my washer and dryer up to a second floor bedroom and I consider it to have been an excellent decision. Because I was remodeling, I had much of the drywall removed and visible already. I actually had plumbers come in to install the actual fittings and that, with a bunch of other changes they did to get stuff up to code was about $1000.00. This included installing the spill basin with an overflow pipe that empties into the basement and a (manually) controlled valve that I keep turned off unless the washer is actually in use.
#20
Old 07-03-2014, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Finagle View Post
So...you want to spend the next umpteen years carting laundry up and down "a steep flight of stairs that changes direction three times"? Are you sure you don't want to re-think that?
I keep re-reading my OP, looking for whatever it was that makes everybody think the second floor is the main floor, but I'm damned if I can find it. The washer and dryer will be MUCH more conveniently located on the ground floor.
#21
Old 07-03-2014, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
And congratulations to everybody who's never had a laundry room accident, but I've had a couple, and a shallow pan under the washer wouldn't have helped. I realize that not everybody is as klutzy as I am, but that's the whole point.
FWIW, I have. It was many decades ago, with a washer in the basement. The hose just burst, and by the time I was aware of the problem, the basement was a swimming pool with a foot or two of water in it, and all kinds of things floating around, despite the nearby drain (so long ago I can't remember why the drain didn't do the job it was supposed to do, but those things happen). Nothing really horrible ensued except that I had to throw out a lot of stuff including a valued carpet that was being stored down there.

I still have no issues at all with my laundry room on the second floor bedroom level and the armored hoses I have installed. And, as mentioned, there are other precautions one can take, like the special valves. But perhaps we're not understanding the layout of your new house. All I can say is that having the laundry room on the same level as the bedrooms is a real blessing.
#22
Old 07-03-2014, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
You seem to know what you want, and have asked a legitimate question. I'm just chiming in to suggest you consider keeping the washer and dryer on the second floor. ...<snip>
Ditto this.

In my previous house, the washer & dryer were right next to the bedroom and it was soooo convenient. Consider that just about everything you wash is on the second floor. All of your clothes are there, as well as towels and bed linens. I could leave my top sheet in the dryer whirling around while I put the fitted sheet on the bed and then whisk out the top sheet with nary a wrinkle. The only thing wrong with my current (otherwise perfect) house is that the laundry is in a laundry room far away from where I keep the stuff that I wash.

I'll bet the people who build this house had their laundry on the first floor in their previous residence and considered the second-floor laundry an improvement.
#23
Old 07-03-2014, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
I keep re-reading my OP, looking for whatever it was that makes everybody think the second floor is the main floor, but I'm damned if I can find it. The washer and dryer will be MUCH more conveniently located on the ground floor.
Many two-story homes have the living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room and so forth on the first floor and the bedrooms and private bathrooms on the second floor. The bedrooms are where most of the dirty laundry ends up (as you undress at the end of the day) and where the clean laundry goes (to the closet or dresser). So for people living in these houses, having the laundry facilities on the second floor is convenient. Perhaps your situation is different.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 07-03-2014 at 06:09 PM.
#24
Old 07-05-2014, 06:25 PM
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Question is answered, but I want to add a few things from a builder's perspective. As mentioned, upper floor laundry facilities are a normal feature in many new homes. Plumbing code (and common sense) requires a drain that directs any flood water down to the main drain in the basement. This really reduces the potential flood damage.

We use to put full facilities both near the bedrooms and in the basement, and that seemed to be popular with buyers. Quite often with upper floor facilities there are still standard laundry hook-ups near the mechanical room. Even if there isn't it is usually trivial to add them. The hardest part is likely adding a dryer exhaust vent.
#25
Old 07-06-2014, 12:41 PM
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Due to experience, two things that I will not have in my house's living space hot water heater and washer. I never have had a hose burst. But have had seals go out on several washers and normally that is how I find out it is time to replace the water heater. I do not want a possible major problem in the house, not major if they are in the garage.
#26
Old 07-06-2014, 04:33 PM
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Here in Michigan, even attached garages can get below freezing in the winter. Add in the possibility of accidentally leaving the garage door open for a few hours, and putting the washer and water heater in the garage would just be asking for trouble.
#27
Old 07-06-2014, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonySinclair View Post
I keep re-reading my OP, looking for whatever it was that makes everybody think the second floor is the main floor, but I'm damned if I can find it. The washer and dryer will be MUCH more conveniently located on the ground floor.
I think most people are assuming that all of the bedrooms are on the second floor of a two-story house.
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