New washer and dryer odyssey …

For over a decade, Teresa and I (mostly Teresa) survived life dryer-less. That sounds shocking to a lot of people, but we just never bought a dryer.

When we were just starting out, we spent $800 on a Maytag washer, and there wasn’t any cash left over – or at least none that we really wanted to part with – for a dryer. Air-drying’s better anyways, we said.

And over the past few years, what was the point? We couldn’t get a matching one now, after all.

Well, finally Teresa got tired of hanging laundry to dry, and a couple of weeks ago we bought a Frigidaire front-loading washer-dryer set.


But getting the set and getting it set up were two different things.

The first set that came was not good. The installers – three Russian men who barely spoke a word of English – took the appliances out of their packaging outside in the pouring rain, and brought them in muddy and wet. (They didn’t take their boots off, either, which made the carpet on the stairs muddy too.)

They were also rough with them, and damaged them – banging the washer on our railing on the way down the stairs to the basement.

One of them was particularly grungy-looking and, according to Teresa, seemed to be casing the joint for a future job – this one done at night.

So we had that set returned, and a new set brought. This time, the installers were good, and brought them downstairs without damaging them. But they refused to hook up the dryer, saying the exhaust run was too long.

At that point, we didn’t know what to do. We almost returned them again. But I hooked it up myself after getting a hook-up kit from Home Depot. We happily started our first load, and I went outside to feel the air pressure from the exhaust vent.

Problem! There was none. I had to shut down the dryer.

The next day I took a flashlight, and standing on the top rung of my little ladder, took off the dryer vent and peered in.

Big problem! The hose was not connected. I could see it lying back there between the joists – about 5 feet away from the exterior wall.

Teresa and I saw big dollar signs them, and re-considered taking them back. After all, it would probably take at least $1500 in work to open up the ceiling, install a new pipe, and get us up and running. Then Teresa had a brainstorm.

If we could swap the position of the dryer and vent it out the other side of the house (also fairly near) through the basement utility closet, we’d have an easy solution. After I mentioned that most dryers can vent right out the site, we were both convinced.

A call to our favorite plumbing/heating guy, Hugh, and $300 later, and we were in business. Here’s the pipe that comes out of the side of the dryer going into the utility closet:


Then a little jog to the left to avoid the built-in vaccuum cleaner:


Getting a little height:


Now finally starting to the exterior wall:


And continuing on through a wall into our spare room, which (conveniently) is the only room in our house with a hung ceiling:


And at last reaching the exterior wall …


And the view from the outside:


Teresa turned it on that night, running our first load in a couple of weeks. I went outside with a flashlight (it was dark) and was rewarded with the sight of a billowing cloud of steam coming out of our house – very strong air pressure.

It turned out to be a run of about 23 feet, which is close to the maximum, but it’s with the sheet metal pipe, not the accordion-style hose. Sheet-metal is smoother and will not kink, so the air flow is not impeded.

All in all – we’re happy. Especially Teresa, who can now wash, open two doors, transfer, and dry.