Can You Keep a Tumble Dryer or Freezer Under the Stairs?

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Space-saving freezer and tumble dryer options may lead you to wonder whether you may install these appliances in the often-unused triangular space under the stairs. We reviewed appliance manufacturer guidelines, do-it-yourself project ideas, home improvement expert references, governmental home guides, and educational documentation to determine whether this unique space could provide a creative freezer-dryer storage solution.

If the space available under the stairs will accommodate the appliance sizes and connection requirements, the understair space may be utilized for tumble dryer and freezer storage, provided some safety guidelines are considered.

  • Determine the freezer model that best fits the space and requirements.
  • Determine the dryer model that best fits the space and requirements.
  • Provide proper ventilation for the appliances.
  • Evaluate the power supply and make any needed updates.
  • Stabilize appliances to avoid movement and reduce vibration.

The term spandrel refers to the distinctive shape (typically triangular) formed by the floor, the stair angle, and the vertical stair rise; it refers to stair architecture. This unique space below your stairs may provide a perfect freezer and dryer alcove. While it may seem simple enough to install the appliances and plug them into an available outlet, please read on to learn about each appliance’s specific size, power, and ventilation requirements.

laundry driers in line and portable freezer in a house, Can You Keep a Tumble Dryer or Freezer Under the Stairs

Determine the freezer model that best fits the space and requirements

Freezers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and door access options. The volume the freezer will hold is measured in cubic feet. The typical per-person volume recommendation range is 1.5 to 3-cubic feet. Per the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Home Freezing Equipment Factsheet guidelines, those who freeze garden produce should increase this suggested volume to 6-cubic feet per person. Below, we’ll discuss various sized freezers to meet your household needs.

Portable freezers

Portable freezers do not provide as much storage as other formats; however, if you have a tiny space or need to utilize the freezer at home and on the go, this is a good option.

Check out the Whynter Slimfit Portable Freezer at Amazon.

Compact freezers

Compact freezers provide an option for limited space and minimal storage needs.  They are typically less expensive than portable freezers.

Check out the Whynter Compact Upright Freezer at Amazon.

Chest freezers

Chest freezers open at the top and are typically budget-friendly and roomy. Because chest freezers require more floor space, a smaller version may provide a good understair option.

Check out the Danby Chest Freezer at Amazon.

Upright freezers

Upright freezers are more costly than chest freezers; however, they provide front-open access, easier food storage/retrieval, and require more vertical than horizontal space.

Check out the Frigidaire Upright Freezer at Amazon.

Upright display freezers

Upright display freezers, typically used commercially, have glass doors add to home kitchen functionality.

Check out the slim, retro Upright Glass Door Freezer at Amazon.

Drawer freezers

Drawer freezers provide easy front-access drawers.  They tend to be expensive and may not hold as much as other freezer configurations. 

Check out the Kitma Commercial Undercounter Freezer at Amazon.

Determine the dryer model that best fits the space and requirements

Tumble dryers come in a variety of sizes as vented, condenser, or heat pump models. Choose from electric or gas (if available for home and space) and models with front or side open doors. Select freestanding models, integrated cabinet-matching formats, or semi-integrated models with visible control panels. Let’s take a closer look at these options.

Vented dryers

Vented dryers utilize a hose connected to an outdoor vent for directing evaporated moisture from the dryer. These tend to be the least expensive dryers but require access to an outside wall.

Check out the Kenmore Electric Dryer at Amazon.

Portable dryers

Portable dryers are designed to fit small spaces. They are less powerful than other models but may cost as much, depending on the model and size.

Check out the Panda Dryer at Amazon.

Condenser tumble dryers

Condenser tumble dryers do not require a vent. The steam is condensed, and the water is collected in a container for emptying into a sink. Condenser tumble dryers cost more than vented dryers; however, they allow placement anywhere needed power is available.

Check out the Fisher Paykel Condensing Electric Dryer at Amazon.

Do Tumble Dryers Need A Drain?

The built-in water tank of a condenser tumble dryer eliminates the need for a drain; however, you may install a drain instead of manually emptying the water tank. Simply direct the water via a drain hose to an available sink, sink drain, or other drain pipe connection per manufacturer specifications.

Heat pump dryers

Heat pump dryers utilize hot air to evaporate water and direct it into a tank for emptying. These are typically the most energy-efficient and expensive dryers. 

Check out the Blomberg Ventless Heat Pump Front-Load Electric Dryer at Amazon.

Provide proper ventilation for the appliances

When choosing the spandrel space tumble dryer and freezer, determine the space layout and appliance layout.  Include the required ventilation recommendations for each appliance.

Check out the TackLife 2-in-1 Laser Tape Measure at Amazon.

How Much Space Do You Need Around A Tumble Dryer?

Proper dryer ventilation helps dispel the heat and provides needed airflow. Include door space for top-load versus front-load models. The Maytag Measuring Guide suggests loading/unloading consideration and leaving approximately four feet for front-door swing, six inches behind if vented, and one inch on each side.

How Much Space Do You Need Around A Freezer?

GE Upright Freezer Clearance guide advises checking manufacturer installation instructions for space requirements and reminds that freezers have clearance minimums to allow air circulation. Consider the needed door-swing and whether the space format dictates the need for an upright or side freezer. Upright freezers will need more height room, and chest freezers typically require more floor space. Upright freezer manufacturer recommendations range from three to four inches on top and at the back with a  one-inch minimum side space.

Can You Put A Freezer On Carpet?

You may put a freezer on a carpeted floor if a board is utilized under the freezer to allow proper airflow and reduce the likelihood of the freezer’s motor overheating. To protect the carpet against any leaks, try a spill containment tray. 

Check out the New Pig Containment Tray at Amazon.

Can You Put A Tumble Dryer On Top Of A Freezer?

While both tumble dryers and freezers function better with more space, you may stack a front-load dryer atop an upright or drawer freezer. This arrangement may cause each to work harder since the dryer is a heat source, and the freezer is a cold storage appliance. Consult manufacturer guidelines for ventilation requirements and appliance weights and dimensions. The freezer will need to be heavier, longer, and wider than the dryer to provide a stable foundation. 

Can you use a door for understair freezer/dryer storage?

You may leave the appliance cubby open and easily accessible or conceal the appliances with a louvered or vented door. If a non-vented door is used, you will want to leave the door open when running the dryer to facilitate air circulation, reduce moisture buildup, and lessen heat accumulation to minimize cooling toil on the freezer.

If you would like to hide the door, use a solid door to allow cutting to fit the spandrel angle. Try wainscot panels to add architectural appeal to your door project. Add a minimally-visible door or wall vent or leave the door open when using the dryer.

Check out Ekena Millwork Ashford Wainscot Wall Panel at Amazon.

A magnetic push latch allows you to simply press the door to open or latch. The latch provides a hidden option for opening and closing the door.

Check out the Jiayi Magnetic Push Latch at Amazon.

A hidden door requires hidden hinges. Verify the hinges you choose will hold the weight of the door.

Check out the SOSS Invisible Hinge at Amazon.

Evaluate the power supply and make any needed updates

The freezer and tumble dryer should be on individual circuits using nearby outlets. Consult an electrician if you are not sure whether you have the proper electrical connections in the spandrel. Freezers and some dryers plug into a regular 3-prong 110-volt outlet; larger models will require 220-volts. Adhere to manufacturer guidelines concerning power and installation.

A circuit breaker finder allows you to map an outlet to the specific breaker in the breaker box (panel). Follow manufacturer use and safety instructions. Plug the transmitter into the outlet; go to the breaker box and use the receiver to pick up the signal to find the corresponding breaker.

Check out the HiTech HTP-7P Digital Circuit Detective Pro at Amazon.

If your dryer and freezer installation power requirements exceed available circuit breaker capacity, or if your breaker box is older, a new breaker box will help power the appliances and improve home safety. Verify local permit requirements, and utilize an electrician to protect against shock and ensure home safety.

Check out the Schneider Circuit Breaker Load Center at Amazon.

Stabilize appliances to avoid movement and reduce vibration

Anti-vibration feet or pads help stabilize the tumble dryer and freezer. These anti-vibration options hold the appliances in place, increase floor and appliance protection, and reduce noise. If using anti-vibration feet, purchase enough in the correct sizes to cover all appliance feet. Stacking the dryer atop the freezer increases the need to reduce movement.

Check out Empire of Electronics Anti Vibration Pads at Amazon.

Summary

A spandrel, or the space formed by a bottom stair flight, the floor, and the vertical stair rise, provides a great storage cubby for a freezer and tumble dryer. Proper ventilation, stability, moisture mediation, and power connection protect the appliances, the home, and the home occupants.

Check out these posts for additional home insights:

How Much Floor Space Do Stairs Typically Take?

21 Eclectic Kitchen Ideas

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