Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Planning Ahead

On Black Friday we braved the crowds and headed to Sears to pick out a new washer and dryer. The current dryer has been screeching like a howler monkey for months, and the washer has a constant pool of water in the pan below the unit. Not good. We got a great deal on an energy efficent front load washer and gas dryer, picking up the pair for $675 delivered, and the old units removed. Unfortunately the units were on back order until mid to late February. This wouldn't be a problem if our dryer stopped working last weekend... DOH!

My mother, the Queen's mom, and the Queen went to Sears to see what they could do to remedy our situation. They were able to somehow get us an upgraded washer and dryer, arriving next weekend. Regular price of this combo is $1490, and we're getting it for $675. In the words of Borat, "VERY NICE!"

As an aside, I'm always thinking about the future and how to upgrade the house to minimize overall costs. For instance, we are getting a gas dryer even though our current dryer is electric. Here is the history and reasoning that lead to this decision...

1. During the kitchen renovation, I noticed the electric dryer wasn't exhausting outside. I had the contractor add a vent, but knew the current placement of the dryer left it too far to actually hook the vent up. I want to finish the front of the basement, which means eventually moving the dryer toward the back of the house and since the wall was open at the location of the vent figured it was as good a time as any to add this. While a vent is a good idea to minimize moisture in basements, it isn't required for an electric dryer. I figured I'd add the vent for the future, and I'm glad I did as a gas dryer requires a vent because of the carbon monoxide gas exhaust.

2. When wiring the upstairs bathroom two dedicated circuits were added to bring it up to code. Previously, the bathroom didn't have any dedicated circuits. With adding two circuits my 100 amp breaker was now full. Since I want to eventually finish the basement, and I don't want to upgrade to a 200A service unless I have to, I needed to find a way to eliminate a circuit or two. With the replacement of the dryer looming, I figured that by switching to a gas dryer I'd be able to run a gas dryer off the same circuit as the washing machine. This would allow the elimination of the two circuits dedicated to the 220 VAC circuit for the electric dryer. This results in no panel upgrade required. Panel upgrades aren't cheap, so I think this is a good idea.

3. We need to add a gas line to the dryer. This shouldn't be a big deal, but with wanting to eventually finish the front of the basement the current gas line runs below the basement joists through the middle of the space. We could just add a gas line for the dryer off this old line, but we'd eventually have to rip it all out when we renovate the basement. Instead we are opting to have the gas line routed to the side of the space. This results in higher near term costs, but results in zero re-work in the future. Luckily I know a $30/hour plumber, so the costs for this are manageable.

The moral of the story is that we're getting a new washer and dryer, that will result in near term costs for gas line upgrades, but will save us money in the long run due to high efficiency and not requiring us to upgrade the electrical panel later. Sure it may cost more now, but the costs are worth it in the long run.


Art said...


It's been a pleasure reading about your rehab! I've learned a ton. I'm getting ready to start my own project in Fed Hill. Any chance you could share the name of your plumber with me?



Corey said...

Art - can you email me at coreyprofit at gmail dot com? I'll send along his info via email.