When you're remodeling your home and trying to figure out where to put your laundry room, there are a number of things to consider. Do you need to have access to an exterior wall to vent your dryer? And what about the drainage pipe for the washing machine? If you need help planning the perfect laundry room, you've come to the right place. We've researched whether the laundry room has to be on an outside wall to get some answers for you.
Locating the laundry room on an outside wall ultimately depends on your appliances. Gas dryers always need to be vented to the outdoors, while electric dryers have indoor venting options. Consider the proximity to the outdoor wall for simplicity of the dryer's vent installation. Washing machines have a bit more flexibility in drainage installation methods, so they do not always require positioning along an outside wall.
Gas dryers can be located far from an outside wall, but you will need to run a longer vent system which can have problems of its own. Only electric dryers can be vented both indoors and outdoors. Keep reading to learn about the different options for each machine.
Locating the Laundry Room On An Outside Wall
When choosing your washer and dryer location, you'll want to consider how to install the appliances properly. Most dryers require some type of ventilation, either indoor or outdoor, to operate safely. Washing machines typically need wastewater drainage, which you might choose to direct outdoors. Finally, you'll need to be aware of how far appliances should be from the wall to accommodate these hook-ups.
Below we'll discuss the various types of dryer ventilation, as well as delve further into whether your laundry room needs an exhaust fan. You might also be interested to learn that you can locate your laundry room in the garage or even outside --read for details!
Venting Gas Dryers
Gas dryers always need to be vented to the outside to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide build-up. Having your laundry room far from an exterior wall will require a longer, rigid metal duct system which can become a fire hazard if they're not regularly cleaned of lint. Running long duct systems through walls and floors can also be a hazard if they were to get chewed through by pests, or accidentally punctured through other means, allowing dangerous gas into your home.
Flexible Clothes Dryer Duct
This duct will work great to connect your gas dryer to an outdoor vent. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Venting Electric Dryers
Electric dryers don't carry the risk of carbon monoxide build-up. They can be vented to the outdoors, or you can purchase indoor venting kits that will catch the lint expelled by your machine. Venting electric dryers to the outdoors will direct all the humidity, lint, and a lot of the warmth created by the dryer outside of your home.
Indoor vent kits trap the lint created by your dryer, but the humidity and heat remain trapped indoors. All that humidity and heat can be hard to bear in the hot summer months. During the cold winter months, it may be a welcome additional heat source.
BetterVent Indoor Dryer Vent
This indoor dryer vent works well. Click here to see it on Amazon.
High humidity levels for prolonged amounts of time can do damage to your home by creating an environment for mold and rot to form. Consider using a dehumidifier or a fan to help reduce humidity.
Washing Machine Drainage
Washing machines are easier to accommodate. You or your contractor will need to tap into the closest existing wastewater line and carry it to the washing machine through the walls or under the floor. While there is no threat of poisonous gas with washing machines, there is the risk of flooding or water damage. Be sure to double-check your work and perform tests to ensure that there are no leaks.
EFIELD Washing Machine Outlet Box
This washing machine outlet box has an opening for your drainpipe and connections for the hot and cold water hoses. It's a great way to keep things organized in the laundry room. Click here to see it on Amazon.
How far should the washer and dryer be from a wall?
The dryer vent will typically require at least six inches of space to be installed properly. An additional inch of clearance between the vent and the wall is recommended.
Washing machine hoses are less bulky and more flexible, making them slightly less intrusive. Provide at least an inch of clearance around the perimeter of the washing machine. The hoses may require a little more room, just ensure that they have some space and will not be crushed when the machine is set to the spin cycle.
Is an exhaust fan required in a laundry room?
Exhaust fans are only required if there is no exterior window present in the room and you are using a gas dryer. This is to help remove any carbon monoxide that could escape into your home while running your gas dryer. An exhaust fan could be a bonus if you have an electric dryer as well. It would allow you to remove unwanted humidity and heat from your home during warm seasons.
Can you put a washer and dryer in the garage?
Yes, the garage can be an excellent place to keep your washer and dryer. It eliminates issues caused by unwanted lint, heat, and moisture from inside your home. The concrete floor of the garage is more resistant to washing machine leaks than interior flooring. A gas dryer in the garage will still require outdoor venting, but it reduces the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning in the living area of your home.
Can you put a washer and dryer outside?
Yes, as long as you have a covered area completely protected from the elements, locate your washer and dryer outdoors. A covered porch can be an excellent place for your washer and dryer. You could even consider buying or building a shed to transform into a detached laundry room, giving you easy access to clotheslines. You will just need to have plumbing and electricity run to the new location. Make sure to check with your local building codes department to make sure there aren't any issues with your plan.
Best Barns Northwood Wood Shed
This shed would make a great detached laundry room. You can even incorporate windows if you have a gas dryer. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Can You Use a Washer and Dryer Without Hookups?
Yes, if your home doesn't have traditional washer and dryer hookups, or if you don't have room to add them, consider a portable washer and dryer set. Portable washing machines hook up to your sink with a special hose attachment. They work the same as conventional washers, just on a smaller scale. Portable dryers plug into standard 110-volt outlets, so you can use them almost anywhere. Some portable dryers require indoor venting; other models don't require any venting at all.
Giantex Portable Washing Machine
This portable washing machine hooks up to your sink, so you don't have to worry about plumbing. Click here to see it on Amazon.
Hand-Operated Washing Machines
If a portable washer and dryer set is still a little too big for your current situation, consider using hand-operated or countertop washing machines. You can hang or line-dry your clothing instead of using a dryer, which is easier on your wallet and the environment. Clotheslines or drying racks are great options for drying your clothes, but you can hang them on shower rods and hangers too.
SUPER DEAL Mini Electric Washing Machine
This mini washing machine is another option that will hook up to your sink. Its compact size allows you to place it on the countertop when in use, and tuck it somewhere out of the way when you're done. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
Wash Your Worries Away
There are plenty of viable solutions to create the laundry room of your dreams. Now that you know all the different ways to keep your laundry room safe and functional, you're ready to start planning. Always reference your local building codes and get the proper permits before starting improvements to keep your family safe and healthy.
If you are planning the layout of your new laundry room, check out our article "10 Great Laundry Room Lighting Fixture Ideas" for inspiration.
After you plan out your new laundry room, you'll need to figure out how you want to decorate. Take a look at our article "21 Awesome Laundry Room Decor Ideas" to help you choose the perfect look.