Is it Ok to have a washing machine upstairs?

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What do people who live on the third floor of a storey building do when they need to wash a set of clothes on the washer?

Coming down for every episode of the washing machine alone can make you decide to change accomodation.

In truth though, installing washing machines in upstair apartments, is possible. Actually, scores of washing machine users in first floors and above have their appliance installed upstairs.

In Africa, separate laundry rooms in public buildings are rare. Washing machines are a private property. Occupants have only one place to install them… in their apartments.

If you live on upstairs, there is only one option to keep your washing machine… your apartment upstairs.

For these people, having a washing upstairs is not a choice, it is the only option.

If you are concerned whether it is ok to have your washing machine upstairs, your concerns might be geniune. As with every other aspect of live, installing heavy appliances upstairs has its cons and pros. 

In fact, you need to consider several factors before installation, as these can determine whether you should pause getting a washer in a storied apartment or whether it is just fine.

Let’s consider some of these factors.

Factors to consider when installing a washing machine upstairs

Is it Ok to have a washing machine upstairs

There are at least 3 things to keep in mind when installing a washing machine upstairs.

  1. Landlord’s permission
  1. Material the building is made of
  1. Availability of plumbing system

Landlords’ permission

If you live in a rented apartment, you do not have total control of the building. 

Due to fear, ignorance, or simply sincere concerns, some landlords might need some convincing to allow installing a vibrating appliance, the size of a washing machine in an upstair floor.

This is no time to unleash your constitutional right on him or her. If he’s afraid of safety (safety of his building, usually) he’ll need some assurance that this appliance will not damage his house.

If the building is yours, then this is of no concern to you. You have full control of what you install in your home. However, there are other factors that will be of concern to you.

Material the building is made of

In this part of the world most buildings are made of stone blocks and concrete castings. The wealthy still build edifices with shipping container frame. 

However, in some part of Europe and America, houses made from wood is not unusual. 

The difference in building material is a geniune concern when installing a washing machine upstairs.

Concrete decking are built to withstand heavy weight, and are relatively water resistance.

This cannot be said of wooden deck. 

Houses made from metal containers have a unique concern, you need to consider the possibility of water leaking into the metal frame. Of course, containerized buildings can withstand the load of a washing machine. 

A civil engineer friend even said, you can install anything on a containerized building as you would on a regular stone and concrete building.

However the fear of leaking plumbing system is a geniune concern.

This factor will be discussed in detail later.

Availability of plumbing system

Washing machines need a water supply and a drainage. If you are considering installing a washer in your upstair apartment, this is one of the first factors that must have come to your mind: Where will I get water from?

This is easy to determine in a self-owned building. You simply leave this task for the plumber to determine. However in a rented apartment, is becomes a big issue.

  • Where will I get water from?
  • Where will I pass my installed pipes through?
  • Will my other neighbor complain about my plumbing lines affecting them?
  • What if the landlord says No.
  • Or maybe he’ll asks me to reroute the plumbing lines

These are important points to consider BEFORE installing the washer. As doing this later might mean extra cost and sometimes damage to already installed setups.

Usually a smart plumbing will simply find a way to tap from the existing water supply and drainage in the apartment.

But do not bank on the plumber to simply know what to do. Discuss with him to be sure you both are on the same page.

Before we discuss the pros and cons of installing a washing machine upstairs, let’s consider an important question that is probably in your mind right now: Can washing machine damage a decking floor

Can washing machine damage a decking floor

Is it Ok to have a washing machine upstairs

It depends on what the decking is made of. Here we’ll consider the different weight different decking material can handle and see if your washer fall into these.

First, an average household washing machine weight about 90kg or 205lb. Some larger models can weigh as high as 136kg or 300lb.

How much can a weight can a decking carry?

  • A concrete deck can support a weight of 545kg or 1200lb per square foot. That’s about 6 washing machines.
  • A Wooden deck on the other hand can carry a 23kg or 50lb. The distance of the joist will play a large role in determining if the deck can carry much larger weight.

A containerized building can carry as much weight as its stone block conterpart.

With this in mind is becomes obvious that, 

  1. A standard concrete deck can carry the practically all domestic washing machine loads.
  1. A container building’s deck can carry all washing machine load.
  1. A wooden deck need extra fortification to carry an average washing machine without damage to the building’s structure.

When installing washing machines in wooden deck, ensure that:

  1. The jolts are 12” apart. This will enable it to carry more weight.
  1. You do not install it on aged structures needing repair. This will only weaken the old wooden structure.
  1. Insist on quality plumbing installation, as leakages will gradually weaken wooden deck.

So, can washing machine damage a deck?

  • If it’s a concrete deck, you are fine. It will not damage your deck.
  • If it’s container building’s deck, this too is fine. It can withstand the weight and vibrations.
  • But if it’s a wooden deck, you need to exercise some caution to ensure no lasting damage is done.

If you are sure you have all it takes to install your newly washing machine in your upstair apartment, its time to consider the pros and cons of installing one.

Pros of installing a washer upstairs

  • Space management
  • Time management
  • Convenience
  • Safety

Space management

Installing your washer upstairs is a good way to maximise space usage. 

Extra space in the kitchen, bathroom, balcony, dining room, or even corridors. These are fine spaces that usually need more usage.

By installing your washer upstair, you are making better use of the these available spaces.

Plus a well maintained washing machine can add beauty to empty balcony space.

Time management

How many times do you go to the laundry room when you wash? Let’s assume you go once to start the washing, a second time to check the progress of the laundry, a third to remove the clothes from the washer and place in the dryer, a fourth to check the progress of the dryer, and a fifth to removed the dried clothes.

This gives us a total of 5 journeys to and from the laundryroom. For some, it might be more or less.

Now imagine you have to walk down the stairs in each of the journey. I guess that will be a waste of precious time. Not to mention the stress of climbing the stairs.

Imagine doing this at least once a week for 56 weeks.

You save a whole lot of time by simpling installing your washer upstairs.

Convenience

Back to the ‘journey downstairs’ analogy, it is simple an added lot of stress to walk downstairs to do your laundry.

Add this to the fact that the ground floor might be two or more steps down for high rise buildings. Using elevators reduces this stress, but it converts back to your electricity bills.

Except you’re in an fatburning exercise routine, walking downstairs is to do your laundry is really tiring. 

Safety

We wrongly assumed that you the reader is some yound agile, young or middle age man woman. Even if we’re correct, every walk down the stairs is a potential fall hazard.

Now when we add the possibilities of older onces doing their laundry themselves, and minor children being sent to drop and pickup laundered clothes from the washer, we realize that installing the washing upstairs reduces or eliminates the risk of fall and/or trip on the staircase.

Installing a washing machine upstairs is simply a no brainer.

Cons of installing a washer upstairs

  • Safety
  • Difficult to install
  • Cost of installation
  • Disturbance to neighbors

Safety

What an irony that the last point I mentioned as the advantage of installing a washer upstairs is still the first point I’m now calling as the disadvantage.

But hold on a minute, I’ll explain myself.

While installing a washing upstairs eliminates fall risk on stairsways, installing a washing machine on a wooden deck can actually be a safety hazard if not properly done.

For more clarification, see the section above: Can washing machine damage a decking floor?

So, added care should be taken and due consultation done before installing a washing machine in a wooden upstair apartment.

Safety hazard is usually eliminated when washing macine experts are consulted before installation. Better still consult your washing machine manufacturers, suppliers or another technician before deciding to install a washer on a wooden deck.

Difficult to install

Have a seen a picture of a washing machine in an upstair apartment? It is usually a good sight to behold, that’s probably what you did when researching this topic. 

However, what the picture does not show is how difficult it is to install it there.

When installing on ground floor of a building, there are less things to worry about. Maybe the most difficult is how to balance the washing machine.

By the way, talking of washing machine balance, here’s an article that addresses this problem.

But once it’s intended to go upstair, you have more things to consider:

  • How to get the washer upstair. 
  • Who will carry it, 
  • How will it be transported.

Cost of installation

Extra carriage cost, plumbing material and workmanship are part of the hurdles you will face if you need to install your washer upstairs.

Depending on how wide or narrow your staircase is, you might find it difficult for two persons to move the washer upstairs.

Also it will take more pipes and other plumbing materials to install your washer upstairs. In simple terms whatever it takes to install a washer on a ground floor, multiply this my each floor you have to climb and you’ll probably have the extra cost it takes to install a washing machine upstairs.

Depending on how your house is built and how the plumbing system is built, you might still be able to cut short the cost by improvising. 

Simply finding a way to tap from existing plumbing setup while go a long way to reduce material cost, rather than installing a fresh setup from scratch.

Even with this, you’ll need a skilled workman, and not your average Joe.

Disturbance to neighbors

Installing a washing machine upstairs is sweet and creative. But if you live downstairs, you’ll probably not allow you to install it upstairs.

The noise and vibrations from a running washer and dryer can be a niusance. If the room directly below where the washer is is a bedroom, the vibrations will seem like the washer is directly installed on your head.

This can be a cause of disagreement between neighbors in a public apartment. 

Your best bet is if the floor below is a garage, or parking lot, or some other non-living room.  Anything other than this, can make a washing machine in an upstair to be a nightmare and disturbance to the occupants below.

 ;

Conclusion

The use of washing machine upstairs is not a controversial topic. In fact, in my parts of the world, it is a norm.

So don’t make a big issue out of it. Your house is built to carry heavy loads and washing machine is one of them.

Of you live in a wood structure, consult with an expert to decide to decide if and where in the apartment to install it.

By all means give proper attention to the plumbing line and water leakage that might occur when transfering water from a distant source to your washer.

Give due thought to the possibilities of your washer disturbing those downstairs.

And if after it all your diligent consideration, you decide to install your washer in your upstair appartment, go ahead and do so. Many houses have collapse but hardly have it been because someone installed a washing machine upstairs.

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