Who would knew this little laundry room in our basement has gotten most of our attention? Our bedroom only got a bed, the living room does not even have a sofa yet, and Slav’s office has been a dump ground for all the books and magazines. But this little laundry room, boy, has
renovated changed 100%! We sacrificed a whole bedroom to return its old glory, we have installed a new HVAC, and everything else in the room has been replaced, including the furnace, the washer and dryer, and most recently, the water heater.
Above was the laundry room when we bought the house, you can see the old washer and dryer combo to the left and the purple bedroom to the right. Below was after we combined the purple bedroom and the laundry room to make a “new” utility room.
Before we could even do a load of laundry in our new utility room, the old water heater went out. Slav installed a new tankless water heater which marks the last appliance replacement in the room – at this point, every single thing in the utility room is added/replaced by us. However, the pipes and connections hidden in these walls are still old, and we were 99% sure that some of them were leaking. So Slav said, what the heck, let us open it up and straighten things out!
I knew that I’ve praised Slav on this blog before, but this man is really my hero. He has worked for the entire week prior since the water heater broke, and I can tell that he has had enough of this room. But Slav is also a guy who always does the right thing. Regardless if it is work, or life, I have never seen him taking a shortcut, or trying to get away from his responsibilities. He knew that the pipes and connections behind the appliances must be a mess, and that is what brought him back to this room to take down these walls.
And this is what the room looks like now. How could I not praise this man?
To understand everything Slav did back there, let us go back to the same wall a couple days ago, right after the new water heater was installed:
1. Getting rid of the partition wall and soffit
As you can see, there was a wall between the laundry units and the water heater. There is also a soffit above the laundry units. The clear pipe held by metal clips connects the condensation pump to the washer drain, which drains our HVAC, furnace, and water heater.
We decided to tear down the partition wall, dry wall and the soffit entirely. We knew what’s behind the soffit – our dryer vent. But we still want to open it in order to fix the neighboring bathroom vent behind it. We suspect that the bathroom fan vents directly into the wall, instead of carrying moisture outside of the house. It can produce mold in the walls, and need to be fixed before the bathroom can be used regularly. Without a clear renovation plan, we’d rather not open up any walls in the bathroom, so it makes a lot more sense to open up the soffit in the utility room to troubleshoot.
What made things easier is that the bottom half of the drywall here was already missing.
See the wall cavity between dryer vent and the washer? That is the inside of our bathroom vanity. Yep, you can put an arm through the wall, open the vanity door, and grab someone’s leg when he/she washes hands in the sink. It will be the best Halloween scare ever.
So Slav went to town and removed the partition wall (not weight bearing), the soffit and the dry wall in between. Now we could see all the connections, and things were messy:
For one, the water lines feeding into the washer were not fixed to the framing. The connections are supposed to be bolted onto studs to prevent water pipes from vibrating when water comes in, which could cause leaks at distal connections.
Behind the dryer, the vent pipe was a mess. It consists of three different sections, all in different material, and they are only loosely attached to each other.
And it is definitely snapped open in the middle, which means some of the hot and moist air was pumped into the walls whenever the dryer was in use.
Slav peeled off the dryer vent completely to reconnect the pipes properly. See the duct tape on one section? Oh boy.
2. Switching/Reconnect Merry and Pippin
I have requested to switch Merry and Pippin around, so their doors can open to each other, instead of against each other. So Slav dragged them out, vacuumed clean between the studs, and relocated Pippin (the dryer) to the right side and Merry on the left.
Since Pippin is now next to the exterior wall, Slav shortened the dryer vent pipe and mounted it neatly:
See the bath tissue between Merry and Pippin? Hello bathroom vanity!
Everything is taped shut and properly secured to the framing:
The washer water lines are cleaned and reconnected as well.
Ans this is what Merry and Pippin looks like today – how neat!
3. Fixing the bathroom vent
As expected, we got to peek into the bathroom soffit from this side. This is the view of bathroom vent pipe, and it was – wait for it – not connected to the bathroom fan at all.
With sufficient lighting from the utility room, you can also see the pipe from the bathroom too. Yes, there is a hole at the bottom of soffit, directly above the shower. And no, we did not make the hole. It came with the house.
Slav reconnected the bathroom vent pipe to the fan and clamped down the connection. Now our bathroom fan is venting to the outside as it is supposed to, and no moisture, either from the dryer vent pipe, or from the bathroom fan, will accumulate in the wall anymore. 🙂
The Current Utility Room
After 6 hours of work, this is the “new” new utility room we now have:
I love how clean, and organized this room is. Everything works and there is no mystery. We plan to keep the utility wall open like without drywall over, which makes it a lot easier to renovate the bathroom down the road. For appearance, we might build a closet to conceal all the appliances down the road. But for now, we are enjoying the easy access and clean sight. No other room in this house gives me such sense of proud, victory, and peace – we own it, 100% – our “new” new utility room!