Question re using an apt. sized washer in an older building

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Silk, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Silk

    Silk New Member

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    Hi, I'm new here. Found the site when I was trying to research my question and thought this would be an excellent place to learn some things. :)

    I have a question that I'm hoping someone can answer for me. I live in an older building, small... only 3 floors. I believe it dates back at least 40 years.

    Now I live on the 3rd floor and there's no elevator. The laundromat is in the basement and to do my laundry I have to carry my laundry bags/basket up and down 4 flights of stairs. This is hard for me because I suffered a serious neck injury years ago and carrying this stuff up and down 4 flights of stairs is hard on my neck.

    So to try to solve this problem I just recently purchased a used apartment-sized washer and have started washing small loads in my apartment (hooked up to the kitchen sink) and then I just dry the clothes by hanging them up. This is a great solution to avoid the neck strain! But here's my question....

    Since purchasing the washer a friend told me that I could end up being in trouble if it damages the drains in the building. He said that in an older building that the rush of water going down might be too much and it could cause a backup in other tenants' sinks, etc. Is this correct? I'm confused because really it is only slightly more than one kitchen sink full of water that goes down the drain each time it empties. If it's a matter of the speed with which it's going down then I could try to alleviate that by maybe putting the stopper in and just letting it drain once the sink fills up, etc. (I'm sure I can think of some solution to make this work.) I just wanted some opinions from others who have a lot more knowledge on the subect of plumbing than I do! I really don't want to have to give up the machine because it's such a good solution for me and I'm sure there is some way I can make it work. Any feedback and/or advice is appreciated! ;)

    silk
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    I doubt you are doing anything to the plumbing. I don't think it would be any different than emptying a full tub.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    I agree that this would not likely cause a drain problem. However, if you have a leak which damages your unit or the one below, the landlord willnot be a happy camper. Do you carry renter's liability insurance?
  4. Silk

    Silk New Member

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    I don't have any leaks. I actually replaced the rubber hoses with brand new steel braided hoses just to be extra safe that leaking won't be a problem. I also am very vigilant about checking it frequently while it's running to make sure I catch any problems.

    I don't have tenant's insurance yet but I am looking into it (not because of the washer but obviously it's even more reason to now.)

    silk
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    You don't have any NOW. But you have installed a potential source of water leakage, without the landlords knowledge or permission, I presume. That is why I commented about the insurance.
  6. Silk

    Silk New Member

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    Yes, I know, like I said I am looking into insurance.

    And in the meantime, I babysit the washer very closely to make sure there is no leakage. In fact I usually am sitting out in the kitchen through most of the cycle just to make sure. ;)

    silk
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Silk...the "friend" that told you that...wasn't the landlord/owner of the coin ops in the basement by any chance, was it?
    Water rushing down a drain and destroying it...imagine what the toilets doing!
  8. Silk

    Silk New Member

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    Hey Grumpyplumer :) No, it's a friend who lives in another apartment building & said he was going to get an apt. sized washer and then had to decide against it because of concerns over it damaging the drains in the building. He said the pipes/drains wouldn't be able to handle it.

    silk
  9. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    Silk, thats what drains are made for...on top of that, the washer is and "indirect waste"..it only dumps into the sink basin...there's no force or flushing...just soapy water.
    If soapy water is an issue...no more washing dishes! (um...that sounds real good to me)
  10. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    By the way...I had trouble with c-4 & c-5 (calcium deposits from a fracture earlier in life)...I know your trouble.
  11. Silk

    Silk New Member

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    Ya mine was a chiropractic adjustment gone bad. :eek: Almost killed me. I just now have to be careful not to strain my neck.

    silk
  12. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    I used to work a lot in Hells Kitchen (old tenements, rent-stabilized), and none of those buildings will allow washers, but a lot of tenants have them.

    The reason given is always that the drains won't take it. And I think if everyone in those buildings had one, there'd be a problem; some of those systems are seriously undersized...

    But I've never actually seen, or heard of, a problem with the drains.

    This is one of those machines where the supply is hooked up to the faucet? If so, no worries. If it's plumbed directly (with dedicated supply lines), just make sure you turn off the valves any time you aren't using the machine. Even the metal-reinforced lines can burst, there's no reason to leave them under pressure, since you'd be liable.
  13. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    There's no way you will damage the drain by running water into it. Now, it is entirely possible that the drain is too small for the entire apartment house, but that is a matter of pipe size and the volume of water that it can handle. It would not damage the drain itself, but could backup if everyone in the house tried to drain a lot of water at the same time. As far as insurance is concerned, you are foolish not to insure your property. Renter insurance is quite reasonable and could save your bacon in case of a fire or other disaster.
  14. by sitting with the machine, and by hooking it up yourself each time you use it,
    you are taking care of the only serious problem that washing machines cause. Old ones especially. They leak from the drum, and the supply hoses (usually black rubber hoses) crck or split or burst when left "on" and unattended. Old hoses especially. I know of no tenant who will think of turning off the water taps to their washer supply hose. Most homeowners I know don't. Some people have been known to leave clothes to soak in a washer tub, and not see a small leak. Some people don't see leaks around the supply hoses. This can go on for years, as the other tenants may not report "little" problems either.

    Naming drains as the problem, means you cannot respond by promising to act responsibly. If they began discussing your possible inaction, you would have the world's best response available in a microsecond.

    David
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