Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Laundry Room Half Bath Project – or how a Plumbing Project Touched Every Room in the Retro Ranch (and almost every exterior wall too!)

Episode VII – The Washer and Dryer Awaken (Loudly)

In the last installment I failed to mention some of the other electrical and plumbing work that had been done. In the garage we had a new wash tub roughed in behind the half bath sink. This meant a light fixture over this sink and another ground fault outlet. The plumbing vent stack in that wall interfered with the planned medicine cabinet over the half bath sink, which in hind sight we really didn’t need. In electrical news, to remove the non-functioning hose bib near the corner of the garage meant installing a new grounding rod for the electrical system as the grounding was currently attached to the old hose bib. Several more minor annoyances were checked off the to-do list! 

It was time for the finish plumbing and electrical. The sink, toilet and wash tub in the garage all went in without incident. The new super energy efficient heat pump water heater was put into place and connected. More hot water, faster with a lower electrical bill – hurray. However, when the earthquake straps were installed one of the anchor bolts pierced a water line – oops! So, the water was shut off, the drywall cut and a repair was made to the pierced pipe. So while we were not without water for very long, it meant more work for Ted the Drywall Guy and accompanying drywall dust throughout the garage. 

Before taking delivery on a new stacked washer/dryer we wanted the new supply lines and water heater installed. As you may recall from previous blogs, we didn’t want to introduce rust from the old systems into the new appliances. On a Saturday morning, 10 days before Christmas, the Laundry Fairy (affectionately named by Beth) got his new Whirlpool washer/dryer. No more hauling baskets of laundry to our condo in Astoria (dubbed the laundromat during November and December) or to an actual laundromat. Christmas had indeed come early.  Laundry soon started and when clothes went into the dryer I thought it was a bit loud. Actually, more than a bit loud. You could hear the dryer in any room in the house, even with doors closed. 

With Christmas days away and getting ready to head to Chicago to see the kids and grandkids, a functioning, albeit extremely noisy clothes dryer wasn’t on the top of my list of things to deal with. Enjoying Christmas with the grandkids brought into focus just how loud the dryer was. Our daughter, Ashley, had also done some remodeling this year and had a new stacked Maytag washer/dryer that were whisper quiet. As Maytag’s are now just Whirlpool’s with different trim it was time to get things resolved. Standard Appliance sent their technician out and after diagnosing the problem indicated that basically the entire working system of the dryer - blower, heating element, etc. - needed to be replaced. Can you say lemon? 

 I contacted our sales rep at Standard Appliance and explained that I expected them to exchange the dryer. Well this is where tariffs, trade wars and Agent Orange come into play. Seems that they couldn’t get delivery of any more matching dryers at this time. While they did offer an upgraded dryer, they simply did not have matching sets available. A mis-matched set, visible whenever you walked into the house from the garage would have driven the Laundry Fairy crazy (note from Beth - nobody wants an annoyed Laundry Fairy!) Reluctantly we let them install all of the new components in the dryer. The dryer snafu also delayed the installation of the Easy Closets cabinet in the laundry room next to the washer/dryer. The 16 boxes of materials meant the garage was still very crowded, however once the water heater was installed we could typically get the Mini back into shelter. 

I wish I could tell you the new motor, heating element and more fixed the dryer issues. It did reduce the DBA levels - down to the low 70s. But, for reference, a conversational voice is in the mid-50s. This would just not do. So Beth and I made an appointment with our sales rep to work things out. I will say that Standard Appliance made everything right and exchanged our Whirlpool washer/dryer for a more expensive Electrolux set (go Swedes) without a penny out of our pockets. They took an aggravating experience and turned me into a customer for life. Now once I figure out how to turn down the beeper on these units that chirps whenever the load is complete, everything will be great! 

Ted the Drywall Guy did his magic in the garage (behind the water heater) and the project is almost complete. Not so fast there Bucky! There is the saga of the trim and shelving systems in the garage still to come.