How to Vent & Drain a Washer & Dryer in the Basement

Installing a washing machine and clothes dryer requires significantly more work that just putting them in your basement and plugging them into an electrical outlet. In order to work efficiently without damaging your home, a washing machine, or washer, requires a drain, and a dryer requires a vent. The process of venting a dryer and draining a washing machine varies depending upon the setup of your basement. It may involve minimal effort on your part or a good deal of do-it-yourself home modification.

  1. Dryer Vent

    • Venting a dryer helps to remove lint from the unit and your home while also venting hot air the dryer creates. More than just annoying, lint is flammable, hence the need to remove it from your home and, in particular, very hot appliances. Gas-powered dryers, furthermore, may require venting to remove toxins created by the gas heating process. If your home already contains a dryer vent, simply connect your new dryer to that vent. Otherwise, installing a new vent is necessary.

    Vent Installation

    • The easiest way to install a dryer vent in a basement entails punching a small hole in the home's foundation. Creating such a hole usually requires the help of a stonemason or some other experienced builder. Install a frame for the vent in the hole, and install a screen to prevent items and creatures from getting into the dryer from outside the home. Connecting the vent to the dryer requires using piping made from metal or aluminum. Avoid using plastic or corrugated materials because lint becomes stuck easily in such pipes. If possible, vent downward from the back of your dryer for the most efficient lint removal. Using a fan can increase the efficiency of a dryer vent.

    Washer Drain

    • Draining a washing machine entails the process of removing from the machine all the water it uses during the wash cycle. All washing machines possess drainage outlets at the back, usually right next to the input lines. Usually a flexible plastic pipe is connected to the water outlet. The easiest way to drain a washing machine in a basement involves nothing more than draping the washer's water outlet hose over the side of a utility sink. The water from the washer drains into the sink and out of the home through the sink’s drain. Many people recommend avoiding that approach, though, and many building codes warn against, or explicitly forbid, hanging a washing machine's hose in a utility sink.

    Alternative Washer Drain

    • Installing a standpipe drain for a washing machine is an option. A standpipe drain connects directly to the drainage system of a utility sink, allowing you to drain your washer directly to your home’s drainage system rather than going through the sink. You can do this by cutting into the existing pipe system with new fittings. If your basement contains no utility sink, then cut into another drainage system. This task may require complex plumbing and the help of a plumber.

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