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buehl

Moving Washer & Dryer Upstairs -- Concerns

Buehl
4 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago

My parents would like to move their washer and dryer upstairs from the basement. Their house is a rancher, so that would then put the washer & dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms. However, they only have 70" of total width to work with for the proposed location -- but it must include both a 36"W refrigerator and the washer/dryer. To fit the washer & dryer, they are looking at a compact, stacked washer/dryer setup.

.

I have a few concerns that I'm hoping you can help me with -- whether to allay my fears or offer alternatives/ideas to mitigate them.

  • First, my mother is in her 80s and while she's in great shape for her age, she does suffer from periodic bouts of back problems (she does the laundry). My concern here is that the washer will be too low and the dryer will be too high for easy access and may aggravate my mother's back. She's 5'6" tall and does have full range of motion in her arms. (Note: My dad is also 5'4", so no additional height help there!)
  • She doesn't have problems reaching into her current front-load washer, but it's on a pedestal. I don't know if reaching into a front-load washer without a pedestal will be an issue.
  • My first thought was to install a pedestal under the washer to raise it to a height close to what she has today -- but that then moves the dryer up farther from the floor and I worry it will be too high for her to easily remove dried clothing, especially clothes in the back of the dyer. (I asked my DH if he could build a sturdy pedestal with a pullout step for her to use to get to the dryer, but he said it was beyond his DIY skills!)
  • With or without a pedestal, will the dryer be too high for my mother?
  • My second concern is their proposed location for the W/D -- it's right next to the refrigerator in an alcove off the Kitchen (alcove is 70" x 41.5"). How will it affect the functioning and lifetime of the refrigerator with a dryer next to it? There is no door in front of the alcove where the refrigerator and (proposed) W/D are/will be, so I think there will be sufficient air flow around the appliances, but I'm concerned that heat might still build up, especially in the back of the alcove.
  • Another concern I have is leaving the washer & dryer open when not in-use. Do you have to leave them open too wide? The location will be open to and protrude out into the Kitchen and create an obstacle to navigate around when moving around in the Kitchen. If they can just be cracked open, I don't think it will be an issue, but does the washer need to be opened more? When not in use, I open my washer fully to minimize the possibility of mold and odors, but it's out of the way and doesn't pose a navigation threat. My mother does the same for her current washer in the basement. How wide do you need to open the washer?
  • Finally, there used to be a washer and dryer (side by side) in that alcove when they first moved into the house, but I was too young to remember. That means there are hot & cold water hookups, drain, and a dryer vent already in the space. (There's a portable DW there right now that will be moved elsewhere.) But...it's on an inside wall (the basement stairwell is b/w the alcove and the back wall of the house (all-brick)). I don't know if venting from that location is really feasible given that it would be difficult to perform annual vent-cleaning. Does anyone have experience with the newer ventless dryers? I've heard some people say it takes hours for loads to dry and others say there's very little difference in drying time.

.

Any help you can give me with the above would be greatly appreciated!

Alcove:

(Refrigerator door hinge is on the other side, so the refrigerator can be moved to the right.)





Comments (27)

  • jwvideo
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Seeing that nobody else has responded, I'll offer my comments and maybe that will inspire (or provoke) other, more knowledgable responses.

    Seems to me that there may be a couple of options for that space that you may not have considered. Of course, each has trade-offs that may or may not work for you and your parents.

    One suggestion would be Speed Queen's SF7 washer-dryer stack. These are a full size front-load washer and dryer stack with an integrated control panel (for both washer and dryer) at more-or- less countertop level. You might need to fit the vented dryer with one of the "periscope" ducts to be able to connect down to the existing vent (unless it was already high for the years-ago model that was there.) The periscopes are not expensive. But the washer and dryer are. The biggest drawback to the SF7 is the cost which runs $2800 to $3k depending on which model you buy and where you buy it. Several long time members here have posted about these units and how much they like them, MizLizzie being the name that comes most readily to mind. Try searching on "MizLizzie + speed queen" to find some of the posts.

    A second suggestion would be something that does not use the dryer vent and could be placed on a pedestal ---- an all-in-one washer-dryer combo unit with a pedestal. I would keep the present washer and dryer in the basement for use when larger loads or faster washing and drying are needed. Put the combo on a pedestal upstairs in the alcove and your mom has everything at more or less the height she is used to plus extra space that otherwise would have been taken up by a separate dryer. You can find a pretty comprehensive list of combo models at sites like this one or this one. Also, Costco.com has some combos which could be worth considering because of Costco's no-questions-full-satisfaction-guarantee-and-return policy (meaning that the thing could be returned for a full refund if your parents hated the thing after trying it out). The best of the combos seem to be LG's models which include one model, the WM3997HWA, that is 27" wide with a 4.3 cu. ft. drum capacity (about double the capacity of most of the other all-in-ones. ) That model avoids some but not all of the issues with combo units. If you have not looked into combos before, I have found that this wirecutter blog has a good discussion of issues and drawbacks. I've found it to be a good starting place for me to send the friends who ask me about combos.

    Having said that, I'll turn to your specific questions

    >>>"[compact] washer will be too low and the dryer will be too high for easy access and may aggravate my mother's back " <<<

    Well, having just received my first class chronic old fart badge, I can tell you that I have a first hand understanding of the issue. In a compact stack, the washer is going to be the biggest issue. Compact washers are pretty low, even with pedestals. When the back is acting up, I now have to get down on my knees to reach into the back of my washer's drum for stuff that gets stuck against the back wall and I have a mid-sized washer. A compact washer will be a bit lower.

    >>>" With or without a pedestal, will the dryer be too high for my mother? "<<<

    With, yes; without, no. Were you aware that all manufacturers explicitly forbid stacking a washer and dryer on a single pedestal (or at least on the ones they sell)? Of course, you can build your own (or have one built for you) and have it built as robustly as you want and as short or tall as you want. With the stack on a site-built plinth, the biggest problem will be reaching the controls on top. Without a pedestal or stacked-on-a-plinth set-up, a dryer in the compact washer-dryer stack will be okay. Most compact washer stacks are around 5'8" tall (68"). That puts dryer controls just above your 5'6" mother's eye level and it's pretty much a straight ahead reach into the drum. Put a plinth under it and everything goes up by however tall the plinth is. Say, you make it a foot tall. How is your mother going to feel about using a dryer control panel that is a foot above her head? Hard to see and read, maybe?

    >>>building a pedestal with a pull out step and stacking the washer and dryer on top" <<< Strikes me as presenting too many problems including stability and maybe noise and vibration issues. That's a wooden-framed floor with the pedestal going in the middle of the house over a basement, right?. Are there load bearing walls or posts beneath either the alcove walls or the alcove floor? As thorough as you seem to be, I'm sure you've checked the floor and thought about any needed reinforcement to hold the weight. Beyond that, though, I would want to be sure that putting a pedestal there would not be the acoustic equivalent to putting the washer and dryer in the middle of drum. The skin (floor) may well be taut enough to hold the weight but vibration and movements may be amplified through the rest of the house. Also importantly (at least for me) would be the problem of how to move the stack off the built-in pedestal to get to the drain and faucets if and when there is a problem with the washer. Maybe you've already figured that out?

    Beyond all that, there's a stability problem. For the user, not the equipment. In my younger years, I would not have bothered with a drawer step except for when living in a boat, travel trailer or tiny house. I'd just get one of the commercial step stools on rollers that are made for libraries. (Step on them and the stand drops to the floor so the wheels can't roll). Here's an example. That said, its one thing to use that to reach up for or with a book or other single object to put on a shelf and quite another to be pulling bulky laundry from a dryer and twisting around to put it in a laundry basket to the side. Would your mom feel comfortable doing that? These days, I wouldn't -- and that's whether I was on a stool or a pull-out step.

    >>>" How will it affect the functioning and lifetime of the refrigerator with a dryer next to it? "<<<

    Likely not-at-all in your set-up. With your open set-up, ventless condenser dryers have plenty of room to vent its heat . Think of fridges in garages in summertime. An adjoining condenser dryer won't be nearly that hot and won't be putting out heat for anything like as long.

    >>>" Another concern I have is leaving the washer & dryer open when not in-use. Do you have to leave them open too wide? " No. Just drape a dish towel over the bottom of the opening and that should hold the door open wide enough to not be in the way as folks are walking past on their way to and from the fridge. IIRC, some models (LG?) have a catch that holds the door open a bit.

    >>> "Does anyone have experience with the newer ventless dryers? I've heard some people say it takes hours for loads to dry and others say there's very little difference in drying times."<<<

    Paradoxically, both seem to be true. It seems to depend on the size of the load relative to the dryer's capacity as well as the density of the material being dried and how well the washer has spun on the spin cycle plus, and finally whether you are using a timed dry cycle or one of the microprocessor controlled sensor dry cycles. Off the top of my head, Rococogurl (a/k/a JaneF of AtticMag) has posts which discuss the Bosch models and there are a numbers of threads about the new Miele T-1 heat pump dryers such as this one. If you use the search box the top of the page, you can find a lot of prior discussions. One search tip is, when you get a search list, to click on the "Latest" option to sort out the list for the threads with the most recent posts.

    Buehl thanked jwvideo
  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    It says I have a comment, but I don't see it... Is there a(nother) problem with Houzz???


    It said 1 comment b/f I posted this comment. after I posted, it still said 1 comment.

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  • Tina
    4 years ago

    I have stacked washer and dryer and I find I have to bend down to get the clothes in & out of the washer. I sometimes need to stand on stool to get clothes out of the dryer. I would not recommend stacked for your aging parents.

    Buehl thanked Tina
  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thanks to those who have responded!

    My parents have only 3 small bedrooms in their home and the two "spare" are setup for visitors - one with a queen (a very tight fit!) and one with a set of bunk beds.. Most of my siblings (including me) live out of town and there would be nowhere for us to sleep, so my parents aren't willing to give up a bedroom. It's a small home -- it was cramped when we were growing up (6 kids + 2 parents)!

    I've told them to go somewhere (Lowes or Home Depot, most likely) to see them stacked and try them out.

    I don't think they have any other space to put the washer & dryer (the only bathroom is also small -- it just fits a tub, sink, and toilet (all in a row).

    I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with alternatives! (The garage won't work b/c they live in the north with very cold and snowy winters.)

  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Jwvideo's response just showed up -- from 4 hours ago!

  • SEA SEA
    4 years ago

    My daughter is renting a house with a laundry center similar to this one https://www.lowes.com/pd/Whirlpool-Electric-Stacked-Laundry-Center-with-1-6-cu-ft-Washer-and-3-4-cu-ft-Dryer-White/1000373915. It is fitting into a very tight space and really, I've been pretty impressed with this machine's performance. It's not going to wash comforters, but it does a sheet set very well.

    I have spent a bit of time with this console machine. The capacity is smaller than a regular sized top load washer and same for the dryer capacity, but it's waist high for loading and unloading the washing machine which would probably be best for your aging mother. I'm 5'2" and I can reach all the way to the bottom of the washer and I can also easily reach into the dryer to get those articles that like to hide out in the rear of the dryer.

    A quick peek on Lowe's website shows they have similar console units with larger capacity, but I would want to check those in person to make sure your mother could still reach into the dryer without having to use a step stool. That would be a situation you probably don't want her to have to be in.


    Buehl thanked SEA SEA
  • roccouple
    4 years ago

    An older relative has a 24” stacked combo unit. She’s 4’9 or so and mobility impaired. I thought the dryer would surely be too high but it’s working for her And she’s happy. I think she has a ge space maker

    Buehl thanked roccouple
  • mainenell
    4 years ago

    There is a Bosch set that is considerably smaller that looks pretty good. Be sure to get all the parts needed to stack them - there are several that are not common to other brands.

    The LG does have an open position that is hardly noticeable.

    The idea of the combo washer and dryer is a great one for this application. As others have suggested leaving the current ones in the basement for larger loads would be a great back up. Especially if family were visiting.

    4 kids and 2 adults in 1000 sf with 1 bathroom used to be a common thing. And everyone survived! Imagine that.

    Buehl thanked mainenell
  • MizLizzie
    4 years ago

    Yes, I had the previous model of the unitized SQ stack — sadly, just sold it with the house — and I absolutely loved it. But at 5’4” I did occasionally use a step stool to fish small things out of the back, and bend to load the washer. Look at mfg diagrams, but I think the Bosch pair would size out similarly for bending and reaching. (FWIW, my SQ vented through the roof via the attic, and I did have a FanTech booster on it to pull the heat. The surrounding area stayed totally cool.)

    My elderly mother has a Whirlpool laundry center and LOVES it. It is at least ten years old, however, and like most washers, superior to what is on the market today. That said, I have used newer ones in vacation homes, and I would prefer them, I think, to the all-in-one machines. I would be happy with a laundry center for routine laundry.

    In your mom’s situation, I would be willing to try an LG all-in-one machine, but I like jwvideo’s notion of going through Costco for that sort of purchase, just in case. Having often used them in the EU, I can attest they are verrry sloooow.

    Last I looked, GE had a 24” stacking set that came with a vented dryer option. But again, some bending involved.

    I think a good old laundry center would take care of all your mother’s issues, honestly, require the shortest learning curve for her, and do a decent job of laundry. I don’t expect they play weekend rugby, or have any other intense laundry needs?


    Buehl thanked MizLizzie
  • jwvideo
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    >>>" Jwvideo's response just showed up -- from 4 hours ago! "<<<

    Well, this is interesting. I just checked back and cannot see my long response from yesterday morning even though the OP and MizLizzie apparently either can see it or at least have seen it. No idea what is going on with Houzz. Wonder if I am maybe being banned?

    Buehl thanked jwvideo
  • enduring
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    With a ventless dryer, there would never be need for cleaning the vent. the ventless would be hooked up to the drain to empty the water, and I believe there is a screen to clean for the lint. Some have preferred the ventless for clothing, as they think it is gentler on the fibers. I have a Miele set and stack them. I'm now closer to the 5'6" mark on height and never have an issue with reaching the dryer controls. The washer is low, but you mother could sit and take the clothing out and into a basket. What I love about these smaller sets is the load size. And Miele is robust, you can fill them up. I've heard that some front loaders can't take all the laundry that the drum size would suggest. With the Miele that is not an issue.

    Is the set over a load bearing wall in the basement? the Miele instructions suggest that the washer be set against a load bearing wall for stability.

    I don't think the location will be a problem. Have the shut off valve handy for shut off when not in use, this eliminates disasters. My machine on my main floor has the shut off valve in the cabinet beyond an open back area. I can access the dryer vent and electrical though this false back cabinet.

    Set that's in my renovated bathroom. I can do queen sized bedding. One medium thick comforter will fit, though stuffed. This set is in front of a load bearing wall, so its at the end of the joist. The energy from the spin is not an issue. I have heard that some will bounce like a trampoline, if placed in the center of a joist span:

    Basement friends. These do the farm clothes. I got these all second hand and @linnus2001 helped me with a few minor repairs. One is drained at the wall area, the other drains into the shower to the left through a hole in the shower wall that was there for the dehumidifier years ago:

    Buehl thanked enduring
  • SEA SEA
    4 years ago

    I see your long, well thought out and helpful post JWvideo. The Houzz platform hits the wack button more often than you would be banned ;)

  • jwvideo
    4 years ago

    Definitely seems to be a hidden wack button someplace. At least, my post is visible to my browser again.

    @SeaSea -- I think your basement rig is impressive, especially being able to drain the second unit into the shower.

  • SEA SEA
    4 years ago

    Thanks, but that's enduring's basement set up. She's amazing with what's she's done setting all that up.

  • jwvideo
    4 years ago

    Ooops. Sorry.

    @enduring, I think your basement rig is impressive, especially being able to drain the second unit into the shower.

  • enduring
    4 years ago

    Thanks you guys :) the basement set up is a work in progress actually. There is a stainless steel laundry sink that needs to go into the spot to the right of the set up, but I have to put lumber up to act as a mounting structure to hold the stainless steal backsplash. The the left washer will then be redirected to drain into the laundry sink. Maybe in the future I will install a new shower stall to cleanse the dirty farmer.

  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Sorry I've been MIA...I was out of town and trying to reply on a phone is an exercise in frustration (for some reason, when I hit the space bar, it deletes the previous word -- only on Houzz, nowhere else!)

    .

    Anyway....back to my mother's dilemma.

    First, thanks again everyone! I appreciate the posts even when I couldn't respond!

    .

    Bosch -- My mother initially had decided on the Bosch, but then she found out there is no bleach dispenser. I looked at the user guide, and it explicitly states in several places that neither chlorine nor color-safe bleach can be used in their machines. When I called Bosch about it, they told me that both types of bleaches will damage the washer parts. I asked why the bleaches don't damage other brands, but the CS rep had no answer. This is a deal-breaker for my mother as she bleaches her whites (whether you agree with her doing that or not is immaterial as it is her choice and she isn't budging on it.)

    .

    Miele -- They're too expensive.

    .

    Ventless -- she's been looking at that as we think that's the best option for her. However, there aren't that many compact and stackable that are ventless.

    .

    My mom is a bit frustrated right now...

    • She likes the Samsung and did find a dealer that is certified to repair them, but (1) Samsung doesn't have ventless and (2) the dealer admitted that Samsung does not keep a warehouse of parts in the US, they have to get them from Korea if you need a part, and that can take 6 weeks or more.
    • She's now debating LG vs Kenmore, but they also are not ventless. She was told by someone at Lowes that they sell something that allows you to jury rig a vented dryer to make it ventless; something about draining into a bucket...but that sounds strange and very questionable! Has anyone else heard of this??
    • About keeping the washer & dryer in the basement (for backup) -- the washer has actually just died and they don't want to pay to have it repaired as it's over 11 years old. That's what prompted all this. We've been telling them for a couple of years now that the laundry needs to come upstairs, but they weren't interested as long as their current washer & dryer were working.

    ========================

    • Sea Sea -- I'll send your link and comments to my mother to see if she's interested. She is concerned that Whirlpool was the lowest rated compact on Consumer Reports.
    • MizLizzie -- I'll send her your comments as well about Whirlpool.
    • Roccouple -- I'll mention the GE to my mother
    • Jwvideo -- B/c your reply was pulling the occasional vanishing act, I actually copied and saved it to a Word document so I wouldn't lose it!
    • -- Regarding SQ, my initial searches have not come up with compact (24" or less) and stackable. In addition, cost may be a factor since they do appear to be priced on the high end.
    • -- All-in-one washer/dryer -- My mom has heard that it takes hours to do a load and while she doesn't do a ton of laundry any more, she doesn't want something that will take an inordinately long time. I'll do some more research
    • -- No, I didn't know they couldn't be on pedestals. Good to know.
    • -- Heat-pump...she's looking into it now, but there don't seem to be very many out there.
  • hcbm
    4 years ago

    GE makes a compact 24 inch machine but I think the dryer is vented. I live in a multi family building and every apartment has compact machines. I believe recently the only vented machine available is GE all others are ventless. If looking for a compact machine check AJ Madison or Grinder (NYC) based just to get names and model numbers. In NYC that is about all that fits in homes. I would never use the rig for capturing the moisture from a vented dryer. It is really sub optimal. Good luck.

    Buehl thanked hcbm
  • hcbm
    4 years ago

    Ugh auto spell not Grinder the name is Gringer.

  • jwvideo
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Re: Speed Queen -- they do not offer a compact washer stack so you haven't overlooked anything in your research in that department.

    One point of clarification -- in case it is not clear to others reading this later, my point about pedestals was only that manufacturers' pedestals are only designed to hold a single appliance, not a stack.

    For 24" wide stackable washer and ventless dryer, have you looked at the Electrolux EFLS210 and matching EFDE210 condenser dryer? Those Kenmore compact models that your mom is considering were made by Electrolux and will be the same as the current "Electrolux 210" but -- Sears being in clearance mode --- might be the prior ones which were rebadged versions of the virtually identical predecessor, the EIFLS20Q. These washers are set up to handle both chlorine and oxy bleaches, have had pretty good reports here from owners and (usually) are less expensive than Bosch while having more capacity. The Yale Appliance Blog reported the Electrolux compacts as the compacts least likely to have any warranty calls (unlike Electrolux's full size models which, for a while, were sufficiently problem prone that Yale dropped the line). The most detailed user discussions here have started with that virtually identical predecessor model, the EIFLS20Q as seen in this older thread from here. You also might find it helpful to check out this thread on automatic washer org site to find practigal's very detailed report on hers. Seems to negate some reports by product evaluators' (like Consumer Reports) about unduly long cycle times. AFAIK, most of the "100 minute cycle time" reports are estimated times for the "most aggressive" cycles for the dirtiest and most stained laundry loads rather than the cycles most of us would use in day-to-day laundry.

    There's also a detailed discussion of compact washers and ventless dryers at Wirecutter. Although that report is mostly a compilation of other reviews and reports, they seem to have done a pretty good job of aggregating info. At least, they give you a pretty good overview of what is on the market now. Might be helpful if you have not already seen it.

    Buehl thanked jwvideo
  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thank you so much everyone!

    Last night, my mom told me she's narrowed her top criteria (other than it must fit) to noise and vibration. She relies heavily on Consumer Reports (for good or ill), so goes by their assessment. The next is a preference for ventless after much discussion.

    I'll talk to her more tonight, after I look at the links JWVideo provided.

    [I talked to her about the fact that since it's just the two of them, she doesn't need a workhorse set like she did when all 6 of us (their kids) were growing up! She's come around to understanding that, hence, I think, her focusing on noise and vibration now.]

  • bpath
    4 years ago

    I've got to take a different tack with this. Is it in the kitchen? It doesn't look like it from your images, but in a rancher often the basement door and outside door are in the kitchen.

    So, if it isn't in the kitchen, do they need the refrigerator? Or that big a one?

    Buehl thanked bpath
  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Yes, this is in the Kitchen. It's their only refrigerator, which is fully used.

  • jwvideo
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    One additional comment. The Bosch customer support rep may have been confused or misinformed about Bosch completely barring use of every kind of bleach. The Use and Care Manual/Operating Instructions for the current Bosch washers all say the following:

    "NOTICE: Do not use Chlorine based or color safe bleaches as these could damage the washer.Detergents and/or solid bleaching agents based on Oxygen (like Sodium Percarbonate) are safe to use

    Of course, this nuance won't matter to the extent your mother prefers chlorine bleaches.

    Buehl thanked jwvideo
  • Buehl
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Update: My mom is now seriously considering the least expensive Mieles:

    Washer: WWB020WCS

    Dryer: TWB120WP

    The two + stacking kit are MIWADREW203 on AJ Madison, listed as $2,487 as of today: https://www.ajmadison.com/cgi-bin/ajmadison/MIWADREW203.html

    She has some money from Mother's Day and her Birthday (~$500) that she has decided to put toward them...that brings her outlay down to around $2,000 - close to what others were going to cost.

    However, she wants to check a local dealer tomorrow b/f buying from AJ Madison -- she's a strong believer in purchasing local whenever possible.

  • jwvideo
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    The Mieles are impressive washers, but the standard advice here has been to verify that either Miele factory service or a "professional service partner" covers her area. That means that, if there is a problem with the washer or dryer, the tech will show up with a "MDU" laptop (Miele Diagnostic Unit). This device is critical for properly diagnosing faults and making repairs or securing replacements. Best to call Miele Customer Service to ask about that as the web site's servicer listings can be innacurate or out of date.

    Buehl thanked jwvideo