Tumble Dryer Under Stairs – Good Idea?
Should you put a tumble dryer under the stairs? Beyond the concern of safety, really the main question here is if your home can even accommodate that. Luckily, those of us at DreamyHome have seen and done quite a bit in our time, so we’ll be able to get those answers and more sorted in no time. Let’s get right into things.
Putting a tumble dryer under your stairs is completely reasonable and safe, assuming you prepare accordingly.
Let’s talk a bit more about what you’ll need to do to make sure it’s safe and, you know, a good idea.
Tumble Dryer Under Stairs – What to Do?
First things first, if this is a Harry Potter style situation where you hate the dryer and want to hide it and make it miserable, I want no part in it. DreamyHome only accepts free-range, well-loved dryers.
All jokes aside, the space under your stairs (called a spandrel) is often a great place for things like dryers, freezers, or other bulky items with no good place. This is made especially true if you’re hurting for space already. The spandrel isn’t exactly the most conducive to tidy, organisational spaces. Unless, of course, you hide a dryer down there!
What to Know
You’ll need to establish a few things first. Specifically, you’ll need to:
- Measure your dryer and spandrel to ensure it’ll fit! This means you’ll need to measure the sides, height, and heigth with the door open. (If it’s a top-loading dryer.)
- Determine if there’s a proper outlet for power. If not, you’ll need to modify your home’s power system to make sure it functions properly.
- How will you stabilise your dryer? You don’t want it shaking and rattling around beneath your stairs, causing unwanted noise.
- Account for ventilation. Some dryers need good ventilation (as they get hot), while other, more modern ones don’t.
- Optional: Soundproof your spandrel. This can be done rather easily, but we’ll get to that in time.
So to recap, you need to be aware of ventilation, space, power, and noise before installing a tumble dryer under your stairs.
Ensuring your dryer has proper ventilation is vital to your home’s health. Without ventilation, your dryer becomes a fire hazard beneath your stairs. To properly prepare adequate ventilation, you’ll need to break out the tape measure. Maytag’s measuring guide recommends that you leave roughly 120 cm of space for opening your door (top or side). It also advises at least 15 cm behind the dryer for ventilation, and 30 cm on each side.
And obviously, you’ll want to avoid placing flammable items in the spandrel alongside your dryer. That means no storing clothes, petrol, or your favourite kindling sticks next to the dryer. I know – what will you do with your favourite sticks now?
You’ll also want to think about the door to your spandrel. If it’s a thick wooden door, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of heat trapped in there. Consider installing a vented or louvered door to provide a bit of space for the heat to escape. Add in a magnetic push latch to hide the handle, and your home will still be pretty and safe.
This obviously ties into the above. Ensure that your dryer not only has enough space to fit, but to properly function. That means adhering strictly to the above guidelines, and allowing extra space if possible.
If you can’t reasonably fit your dryer in the spandrel, you’ll want to find another spot for it.
First things first – while you can do this yourself, I highly recommend having an electrician come in and consult. They’ll be able to figure out quickly whether or not your home can have a dryer there as is. If it won’t fit in the spandrel due to power concerns, the electrician will be able to provide a good path to make it happen.
Otherwise, you can look yourself. You’ll need (usually) either a 110 or 220-volt outlet, but you’ll need to check your manufacturer guidelines for your dryer before continuing. Using a circuit breaker finder can allow you to map out where that particular outlet attaches to the breaker.
Following the manufacturer guidelines for the finder, plug the transmitter into the outlet, and go to your breaker box. Using the receiver you’ll be able to pinpoint the proper breaker.
Now there are a lot of things you can do to soundproof your spandrel if you plan to have a tumble dryer inside. The cheapest option is to purchase rubber stabilisers to attach to the feet of your dryer. They’re a good, easy solution – but they won’t eliminate noise altogether.
If your spandrel is near (or in) the family room, that won’t do the trick. What you want is audio foam. This won’t soundproof your spandrel, but it will absorb a good bit of sound and make it less annoying. Attach egg crate foam, wedge foam, or actual soundproofing foam (though that’s expensive) along the walls, door, and ceiling of your spandrel with Command strips.
If you’re having trouble getting the foam to stay, glue it to a piece of cardboard and then attach that to the Command strip.
While it is entirely possible to put a tumble dryer under your stairs, it may require a bit of work. You’ll need to ensure that it fits in the first place, and ensure there’s enough space for proper ventilation. Other concerns include power supply and sound. The former can be solved by asking an electrician to do an inspection. Alternatively, you can locate the breaker yourself and do a bit of detective work to figure out what needs to be done.
The latter, on the other hand, can be done with egg carton foam, rubber grips for the dryer, and Command strips. While you can buy actual audio foam, it’s expensive. You’re never going to fully soundproof your spandrel, but this will drastically reduce the amount of sound you hear when running the dryer.