Learning how to measure for a new washer and dryer can not only help you buy the right size appliances, but also assist in a smooth delivery. Also, by measuring before you begin shopping you'll save time since you can focus only on units that meet your size requirements.
You might find that selecting the correct size is a little more involved than you originally thought. When you first begin looking, you're probably focused on features and load size capacity, heck, you may even be selecting colors. Although, these are all important factors, they don't really matter if your new appliances won't fit in the allotted location.
Purchasing a washer and dryer that is too large for the designated space is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You can probably make it work, but it won't be pretty. After spending, in many cases, several thousand dollars, you'll definitely want it to be pretty.
We'll show you how to find a new washer and dryer that fits into your laundry room perfectly and help you be prepared for any unexpected surprises that may arise.
Before you get your tape measure out, there's a few things you should consider. First, look where you'll be installing your new washer and dryer and check for the following:
- Is the floor level? If it's not, which is common in basements and garages, it's critical that the slope is no more than 1-inch. The floor should also be clean and solid.
- Is there an exhaust for the dryer? All conventional dryers require an external vent to safely operate. Unless you are purchasing a condensing dryer, you must have a vent nearby.
- Are there hot and cold water hook-ups? Your washing machine will need access to both hot and cold water. These hook-ups should be within 3-feet of your new washer.
- What type of electrical outlet is installed for your dryer? Older homes are generally wired with 3-prong dryer outlets, but newer homes have 4-prong outlets. You'll need to purchase a power cord, so knowing if it should be 3-prong or 4-prong can save you a trip back to the store.
- What about the electrical outlet for the washing machine? There should be standard household 120v grounded 3-prong electrical outlet within 6-feet of your washer.
- Where is the drain located? Your washer will need a drain that is no higher than 96-inches. It will also need to be within 5-feet of where the washer is installed.
The old saying, measure twice, cut once is also true when it comes to measuring for a new washer and dryer; only instead of cutting, you'll be buying. If you purchase appliances that are too large for your space, you'll likely need to make modifications in order for them to fit.
However, if your new washer and dryer is too big to make it thru a doorway, you'll either need to do some impromptu remodeling or return your new purchases for a smaller set of appliances.
By simply taking a little extra time upfront, you'll save yourself a lot of headache. Follow these guidelines to ensure that your new washer and dryer fits into the space you have available.
- Measure Bottom to Top: Measure from the floor to the bottom of any overhead counter top, shelf or cabinet
- If you're purchasing a top-load washer, be sure to add at least 20-inches above the machine to allow the door to fully open
- If you plan on placing a front-load washer and dryer on a pedestal, don't forget to include the height of the pedestal for the specific model in your measurement (on average they are 14-inches)
- Measure Side-to-Side: Add 1-inch to each side of the appliance for proper air circulation. This is a total of 3-inches: 1-inch on the outer side of each unit and 1-inch in-between
- Measure Back-to-Front: Add a minimum of 6-inches to your depth measurement for the water hook-up and vent
- Include any floor moulding into your measurements
- Be sure there's room to open the washer and dryer doors
Once you've taken your height, width and depth measurements subtract the additional space you've added. This will determine the maximum space available for both appliances.
From the floor to under the cabinet = 60-inches
Top-Load: Subtract 20-inches. Available height = 40-inches
Front-Load with Pedestal: Subtract 14-inches. Available height = 46-inches
From side-to-side of your available space = 70-inches
Subtract 3-inches. Available width = 67-inches
From back-to-front of your available space = 33-inches
Subtract 6-inches. Available depth = 29-inches
Taking proper measurements to determine the correct size of your new washer and dryer is important, but it's also helpful to factor in some extra space. For instance:
- Workspace: It's a best practice to leave a minimum of 48-inches in front of your new washer and dryer. This will give you room to move freely around the units without needing to close the doors every time you pass through.
- Extra Space: Think of the future. As an example, you may need to replace the dryer, but not the washer. You may not be able to find a dryer with the same dimensions. Extra space can always be filled, but can't always be created (at least not easily)
When determining the size of your new appliances, you should also consider how you'll bring them into your home.
Measure everything and consider anything that is a potential obstacle.
How to Walk the Entrance Path
- Start at the unloading zone
- Walk the path you'll be bringing your appliances thru your home
- Observe any obstacles which will need to be moved (such as furniture)
- Measure all doorways, stairwells, and hallways to ensure they are wide enough to accommodate your new appliances
- It may be necessary to remove the door and hinges, and possibly even the stairwell handrail
Whether you are having your new appliances professionally installed or you're doing the job yourself, take a few minutes to check what's included and what you'll need to purchase beforehand. You'll save yourself time, frustration and even money.
- Electrical Connection: The electrical cord for a washer is usually included and you should be set unless your home does not have a 120v grounded 3-prong electrical outlet within 6-feet of where your new washer will be located.
- Washer Hoses: You'll need to connect your washer to the hot and cold water valves with water hoses. Many washers do not include the hoses, in which case, you'll need to purchase new ones. We do not recommend using your old hoses, as they are constantly under pressure and degrade over time. The industry-standard rubber hoses are the most common, but for a few extra dollars you can upgrade to a stainless-steel braided hose that generally last significantly longer.
- Drain Hose: If your washer does not include a drain hose, you'll need to purchase one. Be sure to buy one that will work for your specific model.
Gas Clothes Dryer
- Gas Connection: A gas shut-off valve with a metal connection is a must. In most cases the shut-off valve is already in place, but it'll need to be within 6-inches of your dryer. In addition, you'll need a gas flexible connection hose to connect your dryer to the gas shut-off valve. In most cases, the connection hose will need to be purchased separately. We recommend purchasing a new gas flexible connection hose versus reusing the old hose.
- Ventilation: Most homes already have a ventilation port in place. However, you'll want to make sure that it's in good condition and meets your dryer's specifications. You'll also need duct venting which runs from your dryer to the ventilation port.
- Electrical Connection: Gas dryers require a 120v power supply. Check to see if the model you select includes the power cord. If not, you'll need to purchase a cord with a 3-prong plug.
Electric Clothes Dryer
- Ventilation: A ventilation port is typically already installed on your home. However, you'll want to check that it's in good condition. You'll also need to provide your own venting duct that connects the dryer to the ventilation port. Frequently you can find a kit that'll include both the port and the duct.
- Electrical Connection: The electrical cord for electric dryers is always sold separately. This allows you the opportunity to purchase the correct plug configuration for your home. As mentioned earlier, you'll need to determine which cord your home is wired to use. Check the 240v outlet to see which plug will fit. It will either require a 3-prong plug or a 4-prong plug. Unless you are comfortable working with electricity, it's a good idea to hire a qualified electrician to install the plug to your new washer.