Welcome home, Merry and Pippin!


Yes, I named our new(-ish) washer and dryer. And yes, I know they are giants. But Merry and Pippin reminded a good friend of mine with two dogs named after them and just sounded funny. So say hello to Merry, our new(-ish) washer, and Pippin, our new(-ish) dryer!

I keep calling them “new-ish” because they are not really brand new. We bought them second-hand off Craigslist (more on this later), a few days before we closed on our ranch. At that time, we were told that there would be no washer and dryer left on site, so we rushed to find decent washer and dryers without breaking our bank. But the day when we moved in, look  what we found in the basement:


Working washer and dryer! The dryer is a front load and has touch panels and special settings for linen and jeans. It was so much fancier that any dryer we have ever used.


We were initially grateful for the previous owner’s thoughtfulness – it was so convenient to have working washer and dryer when you are moving. If you remember our move in June, we torn out the dirty carpet on the first floor during the first a couple days without unpacking anything. It was such a nasty job that I changed every time during a long break – and these washer and dryer were definitely a strong work horse.

But we soon found out that there was another reason why these units were left behind – they are simply too big to be moved out of the utility room. If you look at our basement floor plan, you will find a dividing wall between the utility/laundry room and the weird third bedroom:

Ranch basement_current

And this is in reality how the wall looked like:


The utility/laundry room is on the left of the wall, and the weird third bedroom, painted in purple, is on the right side.

Based on the concrete floor and our close neighbors’ floor plan, we believe that there was just one big utility room when the house was built. The dry wall dividing it was put in later. Very likely, the dry wall was put up AFTER the current washer and dryer were wheeled in, which explains how these big units got in here. You can also see the original door frame to the living room and the poorly constructed bedroom door.

Sad door frame without trims


A hook as a door handle – gotta respect the pure function


As much as I wanted to believe in the good will of people, I had to say that this wall was probably the determinant why these units were left here. They did provide some convenience initially, but quickly became a headache when we wanted to switch to our new-ish washer and dryer combo.


Look at this corner and the bump-out from the big furnace – there was no way to take the washer and dryer out. Just when we decided to give up and sell the new-ish washer and dryer, an opportunity presented itself:


The furnace was out – during HVAC installation! And even better, there were two strong guys on site to help Slav to move the units. These units, especially the washers, were super heavy. Trust me. I tried. Even with the best night of sleep, protein shake in the morning, plus coffee, I could not move any of them even on flat ground. So never mind going  up and down the narrow basement stairs!

With the guys’ help, the dryer and washer were moved out of the laundry room and up to the garage.


We quickly discovered that there was no dry wall behind the dryer. The dark pipes you are looking at are the plumbing for BATHROOM VANITY on the other side of the wall! We think that the dry wall was cut out to install the vanity in the bathroom, then never patched up.


If we had lived downstairs, we would have noticed that whoever doing laundry could hear everything happening in the bathroom, and vice versa!

The missing dry wall extended all the way behind the washer:


At this point, there was nothing to lose. I decide to cut the rest of the dry wall out and see what was behind it. It would also make connenting the dryer vent easier:



Hello, sewer pipe with an access point! At least we know where the upstairs sewerage connects to the main line now. Let us hope that we never need to use this information, ever.

When everything was vacuumed twice and the floor was clean, Slav happily moved the new-ish units in. It was just enough room to rotate them in:


This picture was taken after everything was connected! Slav breathed a big sigh of relief that one big task of his was finally over. Look at his face, so happy and innocent. He did not know what was coming…


What was coming, is a disaster during which we could have gotten hurt badly. But Slav being Slav, who is very thorough and always makes sure his work is complete, prevented our house from burning down. Lots of people claimed that they pay “attention to details”, but Slav truly practices it, both at his work and at home.

Like this moment, it was 5 PM on a hot and dusty day and the HVAC guys have gone from their first day of work. I was down for a shower and some pizza, but Slav insisted to perform a test run on the washer and dryer, “just to make sure that they are doing their jobs”. And it turned out that the dryer was not. A couple minutes after turning on the dryer, it smelled like something was burning inside the dryer. The smell was so bad and the dryer got so hot, that we had to immediately turn it off and open the windows.


Slav took the door off. Immediately, we saw feathers.





Tons of feathers. It was like a pillow exploded in there. In fact, I think that was exactly what happened. A pillow worth of feather filled the filter compartment, all the way to the back between the dryer cavity and the outer siding, and the worst part, the heating compartment. Feathers were directly in contact with the wires and blocked the heat transfer, and they were burnt from just a couple minutes of usage of the dryer.

I do not want to think about what would have happened if we had not done the test run. The laundry units are in the basement and the only times we are down here are doing laundry. We typically start the machines, and go right back upstairs. In many cases, we turn on the dryer before going to sleep or going out. Without the test run, the first dryer run could have burnt the house down, and we might have gotten hurt really badly.

When it comes to second hand stuff, I always count on people’s honesty. When we sell something, we will tell people everything we know about it and price it accordingly. We did wonder why these units are so cheap – they looked almost unused and they were only 40% of their original price. And when the seller told us that he just want to get rid of the “spare set” and everything “runs great”, we believed him. Does he ever wonder if he has destroyed a room, a house, or a family? How does he sleep at night knowing the dryer could catch on fire first time it was used? I know I could not.


Slav started vacuuming, disassembling, vacuuming, disassembling. It took him two hours to get every pieces of feather out.

So there they were, Merry and Pippin, clean and free of feathers. They have been working for us for a month now and they have been great. They runs quiet and shout loudly when finished. I felt that we saved Merry and Pippin, and I love them even more now.


The only problem we have here now is the dry wall – the wall sits so close to Merry and Pippin that only I could squeeze through the open doors to do laundry. Since we really do not need the 5th bedroom in the house, we will broke down the dividing dry wall and return the big utility room to its original glory.

Ranch basement_proposal 1


Slav has put his hammer through the dry wall during HVAC installation – cannot wait to see the whole wall coming down now!