Level of Difficulty: Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
Completion Time: Week-end Project
Anyone with moderate plumbing and electrical skills can add a washing machine, dryer, and laundry sink. The key is to do the job properly according to your local building code, which is designed to ensure the structural integrity and safety of your home. Conforming to code also means you’re likely to get the performance you expect from your appliances.
This article describes how to run water and drainage lines for a washing machine and laundry sink and install a 120V/240 V electrical outlet and ventilation for a dryer. This installation takes place in a basement, but the steps are the same regardless of location.
- Adjustable wrenches
- Caulking gun
- Glue gun
- Emery cloth
- Fish tape
- Flux brush
- Hole saw
- Long nose pliers
- Multimeter or voltmeter (voltage tester)
- Pipe cutter
- Pipe wrenches
- Propane torch kit
- Tape measure
- Tin snips
- Utility knife
- Vent clamps
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- ½" brass hose bibs
- ½" brass shutoff valves
- ½" copper 90º elbows
- ½" copper pipe
- ½" copper pipe anchors
- ½" copper tees
- ABS fittings
- ABS glue
- ABS pipes (2" and 1 ½")
- Banded couplings
- Flux (lead-free)
- Hammer arresters
- Heat-resistant grease
- Laundry faucet
- Laundry tub or sink
- Pipe-joint compound
- Plumber’s putty
- Solder paste
- Solvent glue and primer
- polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape
- 14-30R dryer receptacle
- Wiring (NMWU 10/3 cable)
- 30 A dual-pole circuit breaker
- Conduit (if necessary)
- 4" metal clamps
- 4" metal exhaust vent
- 4" metal flexible exhaust vent
- Metal tape
- Perforated band iron
- Dryer vent hood
- Drywall, tape, and joint compound
- Vanity for laundry sink
- Countertop and shelving
- This is a multi-step project involving plumbing, electricity, ventilation, and basic wall-finishing work.
- This project will require you to periodically shut off the water and electricity in your home, and to make sure plumbing is not in use while you work on drain pipes. Plan your time (and your family’s time) accordingly.
- Review local building codes and inspection requirements. Codes may restrict installing a washing machine and dryer in a garage, closet, mobile home, or sleeping quarters. There also may be special requirements for adding a washer and dryer to a secondary or “granny” suite, especially if there’s already a laundry area in the building.
- This installation shows how to set up a washing machine that drains into a standpipe connected to your home’s drain and vent lines. For a simpler setup, you can drain the washing machine directly into the laundry sink using a hose hooked over the side.
- For a more finished look, consider a washing machine outlet box. Nestled into the wall, it houses hot and cold water connections, hammer arresters, and a standpipe hole in one neat package.
- Be safe. Protect flammable surfaces when soldering copper pipe and plug drain lines with a rag to prevent gases from entering your work space.
- If at any point you’re unsure of what you’re doing, call a qualified electrician or plumber. An hour spent with a pro will save you plenty in time, materials, potential code violations, and future repairs.
- Installing a breaker or running wires to your main breaker box, as any electrical work, should be done by a qualified electrician or professional. This section of the article is for reference only and does NOT advocate homeowners doing their own wiring.
1.2 Make sure your appliances fit your space. Check manuals for dimensions and recommended clearances.
1.3 Ensure that your washing machine has access to a 120 V GFCI outlet.
1.4 Check the floor. It needs to be level, firm, and able to support the combined weight of your fully loaded washer and dryer.
1.5 Mark the walls and floor with the location, height, and footprint of your appliances.
2.1 Ensure that your drain and vent plan, including the pipe material, interior dimension, length, and cleanouts, conforms to local code. The sink and washing machine standpipe each must have a P-trap and be vented; typically, wet venting is allowed for these types of fixtures.
2.2 Dry-fit all or part of your pipe runs. Slope any horizontal pipes toward the drain line at a rate of ¼" per running foot.
2.3 Mark where you will cut your home’s existing drain line so you can install sanitary tees or wye fittings for the washer and sink drain and vent lines.
2.4 Cut and remove the section of the drain line.
2.5 Prime, glue, and assemble the pipe runs for the drain and vent. Choose the correct solvent cement or pipe glue for the type of plastic you intend to use: ABS (black plastic) or PVC (white plastic).
2.6 Rough in the P-trap and standpipe for the washing machine. Local code will vary, but in most cases the standpipe extend a minimum of 18" above the P-trap weir and terminate above the flood rim level of the washing machine (local code will prescribe the maximum standpipe height). Also confirm code requirements and manufacturer recommendations for the diameter of standpipe. Typically, 1-½" pipe is the minimum.
2.7 Prime, glue, and assemble the washing machine outlet box to the P-trap.
2.8 Rough in the P-trap for the sink. Make sure the weir of the P-trap is below the top of the opening in the fitting that connects it to the vent.
The simplest way to bring hot and cold water to your washing machine and laundry sink is to tap into your ½" copper water supply lines.
3.1 Shut off water to the supply pipes. Drain the lines.
3.2 At a point that’s roughly mid-way between the location of your washing machine and utility sink, cut each pipe with a tubing cutter.
3.3 Using ½" copper piping, install a tee fitting on each pipe. Apply flux and sweat fittings into place.
3.4 Extend lengths of copper pipe to supply the utility sink.
3.5 Install a water hammer arrester on each line to reduce pipe noise and vibration.
3.6 Install a tee on each line to route hot and cold water to the washing machine. Terminate the pipes just higher than the height of the washing machine for easy access to hose connections and valves.
3.7 Complete the washing machine supply lines. Sweat a brass stubout onto each line and anchor it to the wall with masonry screws. Install hose bibs to the washing machine stubouts.
3.8 Run water supply to the washing machine box and add shut off valves.
Newer electric clothes dryers have a four-prong plug. You’ll need to install a four-slotted wall receptacle known as a 14-30R and connect it to a dedicated 30 A dual-pole circuit breaker in your electrical service panel. Installing a breaker or running wires to your main breaker box, as any electrical work, should be done by a qualified electrician or professional. This section of the article is for reference only and does NOT advocate homeowners doing their own wiring.
4.1 Verify the electrical requirements of your dryer.
4.2 Determine roughly how much electrical cable you’ll need to connect the outlet and the electrical panel. The dryer circuit will use NMWU 10/3 cable. It has four wires: two hot (red and black), one neutral (white), and a ground wire (bare or green).
4.3 Route the cable from the dryer area to the location of the electrical panel. Be patient: this 10/3 cable is stiff and can be hard to fish.
4.4 Position and secure the receptacle to the stud or wall. If you plan to install the receptacle on a masonry wall, you’ll need to use electrical conduit to protect the cable.
4.5 At the electrical panel, locate two adjacent available spaces for the new 30 A breaker.
4.6 Switch the main disconnect breaker to the OFF position. Verify that the power is off.
4.7 Bring the supply cable into the panel and fasten it with a cable connector.
4.8 Strip 6 to 8" of sheathing from the cable, exposing the wires. Untwist the four individual wires and align them to their respective terminals.
4.9 Connect the neutral (white) and ground (bare) wires to their respective bars in the panel.
4.10 Connect the black wire and red wire to the two available terminals on the breaker.
4.11 Once the breaker is wired, install it into the electrical panel.
4.12 Wire the outlet. The brass or darker-colored screws are for the hot wires; the silver screw is the neutral terminal; and the green screw is for the ground wire.
4.13 Put the cover back on the receptacle.
4.14 Turn on the main breaker.
4.15 Turn on the new circuit breaker.
4.16 Check voltages. Using a voltmeter, check for 240 V between the left and right terminals; check for 120 V between the left or right terminal and the neutral terminal; check for 0 V between the neutral and ground terminal. Correct any improperly wired connections.
4.17 Update the panel directory to reflect the addition of your dryer.
You will need an electrical outlet for the washer. Building codes require that an outlet placed in a damp location (like a laundry room) must be a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) receptacle. GFCI outlets are wired like conventional outlets but provide extra safety with a built-in circuit breaker. You don’t need to install a GFCI outlet for every outlet near water, just the first one in a series. This way the GFCI can “trip” or shut off if one of the receptacles farther down the line is shorted out.
Installing a breaker or running wires to your main breaker box, as any electrical work, should be done by a qualified electrician or professional. This section of the article is for reference only and does NOT advocate homeowners doing their own wiring.
5.1 Determine roughly how much electrical cable you’ll need to connect the outlet and the electrical panel. The GFCI circuit will use NM 12/3 cable. It has three wires: one hot (black), one neutral (white), and a ground wire (bare or green).
5.2 Route the cable from the outlet to the location of the electrical panel.
5.3 Position and secure the receptacle to the stud or wall. If you plan to install the receptacle on a masonry wall, you’ll need to use electrical conduit to protect the cable.
5.4 At the electrical panel, locate an available space for a new 15 A breaker.
5.5 Switch the main disconnect breaker to the OFF position. Verify that the power is off.
5.6 Bring the supply cable into the panel and fasten it with a cable connector.
5.7 Strip 6 to 8" of sheathing from the cable, exposing the wires. Untwist the three individual wires and align them to their respective terminals. Connect the wires to the breaker.
5.8 Once the breaker is wired, install it into the electrical panel.
5.9 Connect the wires to the appropriate terminals. Carefully fold the wires into the box and secure the outlet and cover.
5.10 Turn on the main breaker.
5.11 Turn on the new circuit breaker.
5.12 Test the circuit by plugging in a radio or a light and pressing the “test” button. The “reset” button should pop out and the device should turn off. If not, check your connections or the outlet. Push the reset to restore power to the outlet.
5.13 Update the panel directory to reflect the addition of your washer outlet.
6.1 Plan a dryer ventilation path. It must be independent of other ventilation systems in your home and should take the most direct route outdoors with the fewest number of bends. Consult your dryer manufacturer’s recommendations for calculating maximum length. The vent should exit your home at least 12" from the ground or any object that may obstruct the airflow.
6.2 Install a dryer box as low as possible to the wall. Although a box is not necessary, it facilitates the connections between the 90o elbow and the dryer.
6.3 Insert the first section of rigid metal exhaust ducting in the dryer box. For 6" walls you can use round ducting as for 4" walls, you can use compressed rigid 4"-diameter metal ducts or rectangular ducting.
6.4 Assemble sections according to the ventilation path.
7.2 Insert the vent hood duct pipe through the hole. Seal with silicone caulk (interior and interior).
7.3 Assemble duct sections according to your ventilation path. Face male duct ends in the direction of the airflow. Join the sections with metal clamps and seal with metal tape (not duct tape).
7.4 Hang or secure the ductwork with perforated band iron. Where possible, horizontal runs of dryer duct should slope slightly downward (¼" per foot) toward the exterior vent hood.
Note: Ask your dryer manufacturer or dealer about dryer ventilation for tight spaces, including side-vent, bottom-vent, and periscope installations.
8.2 Prepare drywall compound and cover the joints.
8.3 Install floor covering.
8.4 Paint the room.
9.2 Connect the washing machine hot and cold supply lines to the stop valves.
9.3 Turn on the water supply and check the connections.
9.4 Put the dryer in place and connect a metal elbow to the dryer outlet. Connect it to your ventilation system.
10.1 Measure the exact location of the pipes and mark the size of openings on the cabinet.
10.2 Make the cutouts with a jigsaw or hole saw.
10.3 Position the cabinet
10.4 Complete the utility sink supply lines. Sweat a shut-off valve onto each line (remove the stem units from the valves before you solder them into place).
10.5 Nail a 2" x 2" wood piece along the back wall to support the counter.
10.6 Apply a bead of caulking around the top of the cabinet.
10.7 Lay the countertop on the vanity while sliding it against the wall support and press firmly to solidify the joint.
11.1 Trace the sink opening with the template and use a jigsaw to cut an opening in the countertop.
11.2 Apply a bead of plumber’s putty to the faucet base.
11.3 Fit the faucet through the holes of the sink. Tighten the jamb nuts until the faucet is secure.
11.4 Install the metal friction washer and nuts on the faucet tailpiece.
11.5 Hand-tighten then turn with an adjustable wrench
11.6 Install the strainer in the sink bowl.
11.7 Fit the sink into the counter.
11.8 Align the sink’s tailpiece with the P-trap from your drain line.
11.9 Settle the sink’s tailpiece into the P-trap. Tighten the compression nut and securely connect to the drain (follow your sink manufacturer’s instructions).
12.2 Connect the pullout spray.
12.3 Check your connections and turn on the water