Compact Washer in Chicago 3-Flat

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Millerke

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I am looking for advice/ experience/ practical info regarding installing a compact washing machine in a kitchen in a typical Chicago vintage 3-Flat.

The plumbing code gives modern washers a DFU of 3 and requires a 2" drain. However, I imagine this is to cover the newer massive front-loader washers with a high cubic foot capacity. I want to install a small under-counter European-style compact washer (Miele) which has less than half the capacity of a front-loader, but can't install a 2" drain pipe due to the other units. The Miele install instructions show three options as to how this washer can be installed, one of which is hooked up to a sink drain similar to a dishwasher, another is with the hose just dumping into a utility sink. Neither of these options seems as robust as what's required for a standard-size washer, but there's no distinction made in the code.

I see under-counter compact washers in kitchens in real estate listings all the time and have a hard time believing every one of these condos has had a 2" drain installed, but can't really find any specifics about installing a compact washer in codes or online. Has anyone heard of any exemptions/ inspector interpretations that would allow a compact washer to be installed to a 1.5" sink drain? Any practical experience where someone has installed one and it was fine?
 

John Gayewski

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There are a lot of regular washing machines that are piped with 1.5" pipe and they work fine. I have one in my house. There are exceptions in the code for "engineered systems" which means you to override an inspector who won't allow smaller piping you'd have to have an engineer sign off. Most times an inspector would allow it if your in a "one off" situation meaning your not installing a generic washing machine system (hot and cold water and drain in a box) with smaller piping in the walls.
The issue isn't necessarily volume of water total. It would be gpm. Your smaller washer could probably spit out just as much water just as fast as a regular washing machine.

I find it difficult to believe you "can't" run a two inch pipe somewhere. Which could be an inspectors hang up. But generally if you provide them with supporting documents they will let you.
 

Jdrive

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Are you sure that you don't have a 2" drain stack? Most vintage Chicago multi unit buildings are typically a 1.5" pipe from the sink connected to a 2" drain stack. You might have to open up the wall a bit to find the main drain stack but I wouldn't be surprised if you actually had 2" running between the units. Especially in a 3 flat.
 

WorthFlorida

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HE washing machines (especially front loaders) only use a few gallons per fill and they also pump water out at a much slower rate for noise control. A 1.5" drain will more than handle the machine.

This is from a Meile manual. Look at your model under installation. It most likely will read 1.5". What the installation manual states that 1.5" is the required minimum size. Plumbing code requires 2" to handle all sizes of machines. Before HE machine, especially top loaders used 10-15 gallons (or more) per fill and the old machines really pump out water at a very high rate. If you are worried about any splash back when the machine is draining, stuff a rag loosely around the discharge hose at the standpipe.

Operating and Installation Instructions Washer W 4842
2. To a stand pipe: place the drain hose into a 1.5" (4 cm) stand pipe and secure it firmly.
 
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