What's the best way to move a washer and dryer?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 22, 2014 ~ No Comments » | Respond to this question

If I wanted to relocate my washer and dryer to a newly constructed out building to save a little room in my house, how would I handle the drainage? Also, if I created a rain garden next to the out building, can I drain it into the rain garden?

Jeffrey Anderson

John, the first thing I would ask is where you do you live? If it's a locale where the temperatures can dip below freezing in the winter, then the first concern would be with the water supply lines freezing before drainage would ever become an issue. In most areas where the temperatures drop that far, outside water lines are drained for the winter. A supply line buried deep enough might be okay, but once it reaches your outbuilding, there will need to be heat inside to keep the water from freezing. There should also be insulation in the building to prevent the heat from leaving.

However, you may live far enough south that freezing isn't an issue. If that is the case, then depending on your local health department, you may be able to use the water that drains from your washer for your rain garden. Water that drains from sinks, tubs, showers, and washing machines is classified as "grey water" that some jurisdictions allow to be used for irrigation purposes. If you are on a septic field, your health department can also tell you how best to drain the washer into it along with the rest of the excess water from your home. You will almost surely need to get an excavation contractor involved in the project.

If your home is on a municipal sewage system, things could be a bit more complicated. This would mean that the drainage from your washer would need to be tied into your home's drainage lines. The problem is that a certain amount of "fall" or slope must be on the washer drain line as gravity moves the water through the line. Depending on the out building's location, the washer line may hit your home way below its main sewer line. If the municipality allows grey water to be used for irrigation, that could be the perfect solution for the dilemma. However, if not, the best option might be to get a plumbing contractor involved in the project before getting too far along.

There are companies that specialize in grey water drainage systems. If your area permits this usage of drain water, there should be at least several of these types of contractors in your local phone book. A system can often be installed that uses valves to direct where the drainage goes. If you don't really need any water for irrigation at the moment but want to wash a load of clothes, a valve can be turned so that the drainage goes into the sewer or septic system rather than into an irrigation reservoir.

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