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  • Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

    Our 61-year-old building has never allowed washing machines in apartments, but some people are pushing to have them. I’m worried. Do we still risk
    damage to pipes if all washers are low suds, in a waterproof pan with a moisture sensor, a waterproof membrane applied under floor tile and 6”up the wall, and a slop sink? Or will pipes still be stressed? The building doesn't have much money for repairs. Many thanks!

    Worried Board Member

  • #2
    Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

    Symmons and Watts also make washer valves with solenoids that shutoff during the off cycly so that if the hoses split there won't be leakage.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

      Washers won't damage pipes, but may overload them leading to backups. Get a plumber to assess fixture load and pipe size on your drain lines to make sure there is an appropriate way to drain them before allowing them.

      Putting them in a pan won't help much unless the pan holds as much as the washer, which it won't. The pan mostly will only help if a machine fails and leaks out on the floor. A backup will either come out of the wall where the washer drain hose drain goes in, or out of another lower fixture on the same line. A stack backup will still probably flood at least one unit, probably a bottom unit.

      If you allow them, consider who is paying for damage from backups or from leaks from failed machines and bump up dues or put appropriate language in the HOA rules. Consider annual cleaning of the appropriate lines to prevent backups.

      If you allow them, don't let the homeowners install them, make them get a plumber to install a proper washer box and so the drains go into the right stacks in the right way. If the homeowners do it they will end up everywhich way and mostly wrong (listen to me on my soapbox lol, my washer dumps into my toilet... really though make them do it right or you'll regret it later).

      As an alternative consider a coin-op common laundry if you have the space. The best place for this is low; ground floor, basement, or take a few spaces out of the parking garage if there is one. HOA in my building is considering buying a basement unit to convert to a laundry.
      This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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      • #4
        Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

        Thanks so much! This is very helpful.

        We have a report from an architect that is mostly unintelligible to the layman so I really appreciate your clarity.

        My biggest worry is who'll pay for any damage. One question--if I'm not taking up too much of your time. Is it possible
        to determine which washer is to blame for back-ups on a lower floor if there
        are two or more washers in the same line? I'm guessing the answer is no.

        We actually do have a nice common laundry room, but some residents
        still want their own washers.

        Thanks again!

        PS This is the first time I ever posted on a forum of any kind!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

          Originally posted by concerned View Post
          Thanks so much! This is very helpful.

          We have a report from an architect that is mostly unintelligible to the layman so I really appreciate your clarity. They tend to talk over everyone heads. Makes them seem important.

          My biggest worry is who'll pay for any damage. One question--if I'm not taking up too much of your time. Is it possible
          to determine which washer is to blame for back-ups on a lower floor if there
          are two or more washers in the same line? I'm guessing the answer is no.
          Probably not but same goes for any other common plumbing in the building

          We actually do have a nice common laundry room, but some residents
          still want their own washers.

          Thanks again!

          PS This is the first time I ever posted on a forum of any kind!
          You couldn't have pick a better one to start with

          LMAO at Ace...washing machine dumps into toilet Even I wouldn't do that

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

            This I think is what NHMaster3015 was talking about. An auto shutoff valve.

            http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/skil...055341,00.html

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            • #7
              Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

              Thanks for the clarification.

              I aslo want to thank NHMaster for the message. Since I'm not a plumbing person it was a bit beyond me but I'll pass on the information if our building does decide to allow washers to be installed. Our big meeting about it is
              tomorrow night.

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              • #8
                Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

                there is a cheaper way to protect from washer supply line failure:
                http://www.watts.com/pro/whatsnew/wh..._floodsafe.asp
                there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

                  I'm still trying to get educated for our board meeting tomorrow in which we decide whether or not to allow apt. washers.

                  The architect's report we got contained this info about our 6 floor building, but without any explanation or comment.
                  "The cellar has an 8" combined house trap & tap to the city sewer.
                  The soil risers in the cellar are 4" in diameter. The storm drains are 5"
                  in diameter. From the roof I observed 2 roof drains and 12 soil stck vents."

                  So, as a layman, I'm wondering what this has to do with whether or not we should take the chance of allowing washers in indiv. apartments.
                  Would appreciate any comments.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

                    Are you gonna lose renters if they aren't allowed there own washing machine or is this a condo?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

                      We wouldn't lose anybody. It's a co-op.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

                        it think you found your answer

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                        • #13
                          Re: Help! Apt washers vs. pipe damage

                          I tried to reply earlier but my answer didn't show up on the thread.
                          This is a coop so we don't have to worry about renters.

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