laundry room layout - considering plumbing

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by brad, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. brad

    brad New Member

    Oct 6, 2005

    I'm trying to figure out the best position for a washer and dryer in what will be my new laundry room. I'm near Buffalo,NY.

    From a traffic flow and layout perspective, the best location for the machines will be against a west-facing outside wall. I understand that issues with freezing pipes could potentially cause problems. The framing of this house is 2x4 based.

    The machines currently are against a south-facing wall inside of a closet in the kitchen area. We've only lived there since May, so haven't seen what might have happened over the winters to these pipes, but I see no obvious signs of breakage.

    My question is: Are there current practices used that would make plumbing for the washer in this wall relatively safe? The options I know about are:

    1) Put pipe as close to inside sheetrock as possible, and put as much insulation as possible between pipes and house sheething

    I don't know if this is considered relatively safe

    2) Build a secondary wall against the existing insulated outer wall in which to place the plumbing.

    I'd like to avoid this, if possible to retain the space and for appearance purposes.

    3) I don't know much about this one, but I read somewher that Pex piping is more freeze resistant than copper. Any ideas on this one?

    The other concern I have is concerning the location of our main electric service panel in the basement. If we put the machines where we are thinking about, they'll be almost above this panel. Is this code-compliant? Surely others put sinks, tubs, etc. above their main panels. I know that immediately above this panel, two stories up, is a large bathtub.

    I appreciate any feedback, and thanks for taking the time to read this!
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    I wouldn't know, but I understand it can get chilly up there in Buffalo!. I would consult with a good local contractor to find out about local practices concerning pipes in oustside wall.

    Regarding the electric panel below, I do not believe there are any restrictions in either the Uniform Building Code or the NEC about this. However, your local building codes may require the washing machine to be in a pan with an approved drain. Code or not, this is very prudent.
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  4. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Aug 23, 2005
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)
    Columbus, OH
    I'd suggest putting it near Buffalo too. Near Florida would make Laundry more fun come January though. Makes it hard to run down and toss it in the dryer though... :D

    I've seen this done before and makes it easer to 'move around' in the wall with plumbing and electrical. I had a heck of a time in my bathroom in 3.5in depth running supplies, drains and vents, electrical, and duct work. Good thing it wasn't a load bearing wall--no studs left..heh.

    Well the Thermal Conductivity Coefficients for copper and PEX is 365W/(m*dC) and 0.38W/(m*dC), respectively, where dC is degrees Celsius). So, yes, PEX is much more insulated. I'd do more math and give more info if it wasn't dinner time :D

    Interesting...but I don't think it violates the NEC. You can buy some pans that your washer would sit in and when it floods, it just drains away nicely.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The "insulation" factor is immaterial in the long run. Unless water is used periodically to restore the water to room temperature, it will eventually freeze regardess of the type of pipe or amount of insulation. PEX will expand as it freezes so it is more resistant to freeze damage, assuming a fitting does not break.
  6. brad

    brad New Member

    Oct 6, 2005

    Thanks for the responses. I talked to one plumber in the area who said that he'd keep all plumbing away from outside walls if possible.

    He said one option would be to run the drain and supply outside of the wall (on the inside, of course). He told me that this would look "reasonably professional". I'm not sure about this, though. We really want these machines against that wall, and at this point just want to figure out the best way to accomplish that.

    What options would I have if the drain and supply were run along the outside of the wall? I know I could build a small wall section to enclose all this, then use the normal box thingy to house the fixtures. How would you deal with venting if you went this route?

    Any other ideas? Are there any colder climate folks our there? In case anybody is wondering, Buffalo isn't like the Dakotas or anything. Last winter it got down to -15 for a few nights, but most of the time it was above 0 for sure in the winter....
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