Laundry Room Location Liabilites

In today’s American homes, the location of the laundry room has moved from the traditional basement to the first or sometimes even the second floor, or adjacent to a master suite. This change in location has created some liabilities that should be anticipated by homeowners.

Consider the water hoses running from the house’s plumbing to the washer. These hoses, made of flexible material, are actually rated for a life of only five to seven years. Over time, exposure to air can result in reduced flexibility. The hoses are constantly pressurized and a pressure surge can result if the washer stops the water abruptly. If a rupture occurs, it will likely be a small leak that will spray water away from the washer (and away from any drainage tray that you may have the washer standing in). Water in the framed part of your home at best creates a big mess, and can cause significant damage if undetected for even a short time. So, replace those hoses if they’re more than seven years old!

As the location of the dryer becomes more central in homes, venting lengths have increased. These vents may have additional elbows or bends in order to go around structural elements. All of this means that there are more opportunities for lint to clog the vent, and the dryer must work harder to push air outside.  To reduce the likelihood of clogs, keep the lint screens clean and replace torn or damaged ones. Visually inspect the dryer vent on the outside of your home to make sure it is not blocked by lint or bird/rodent nests. Be aware of reduced drying capacity or very high operating temperatures in your dryer. This can indicate reduced airflow through the dryer vent.

Once every year, disconnect a section of your metal dryer vent pipe to see how much lint has been deposited on the walls of the pipe. If the lint is more than 1/4″ thick, clean those pipes! If you have flexible dryer hose, it is more likely to clog – and more difficult to inspect. Consider cutting in a section of 4″ rigid aluminum pipe so that you can more easily inspect. If your dryer vent is not accessible, inspect each end to see if there is a buildup of lint.

While gas-fired dryers are not common in this area, reduced airflow through the dryer vent can also result in carbon monoxide pollution in the home, or it can increase the likelihood of a fire.