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There is not always enough dedicated floor space in a house or apartment to accommodate both a full-size washing machine and a full-size dryer. Some people try to solve this issue by either machine washing their clothes at home and drying them in commercial laundromats or washing them in commercial laundromats and drying them at home. Others have room in their home for a washing machine, but must relegate a dryer to a basement or outbuilding. One popular solution to this space dilemma is known as a stackable washer and dryer.
A stackable washer and dryer unit is precisely what its name implies. A fully functional washing machine sits on the floor and is attached to the standard water and drainage hook-ups. This washer may either be a top load or front load model, although many modern units now use front loading almost exclusively. This means the clothes are placed inside the front section of the washer and locked inside a waterproof door, as opposed to being loaded in the top section of the washer and agitated in a large tub.
A matching dryer unit is literally stacked on top of the washing machine and attached to the proper venting and power connections. If the stackable washer is a top loader, the dryer unit is attached to the dryer at the back and an angled opening allows access to washed clothing. A magnet placed on the bottom of the dryer holds the washer lid securely as clothes are transferred from the washer to the dryer.
If the washer is a front loader, the dryer may sit directly above the washer with a few inches of clearance between them. The controls for each appliance may be mounted on the front panel, eliminating the need for top-mounted controls often found in older washers and dryers. Washed clothing can be pulled out of the washer and placed in a basket for transfer to the dryer. While one batch of clothes is drying, a second batch can be started in the washer.
Owning a stackable washer and dryer can save time and effort, especially if the two former appliances were located in separate areas of the house. It is important to remember that many stacking washer and dryer units are sold as a set, which means they may be more expensive upfront than individual washer and dryer units which do not stack.
Some modifications to a home's electrical or gas supply lines may have to be made, along with the installation of a venting unit for the stackable dryer. Not all utility or laundry rooms have the vertical clearance for a stackable washer and dryer unit, so careful measurements should be taken before making a purchase.
@Phaedrus, I know what you mean about that washer lid situation. I also have a compact stackable washer and dryer at my beach condo, and we tend to do smaller batches of laundry more often. It's not easy to wash large loads of beach towels and other bulky items when the lid will only open part of the way.
I finally bought a stackable washer and dryer last year after spending too much time in laundromats. I really enjoy being able to wash batches of laundry on my own time in my own house. The hardest part was getting the dryer properly ventilated.
However, there is one minor drawback with a stackable washer and dryer. The lid on the washer cannot be opened very wide. There is an angle cut on the bottom of the dryer which allows the lid to open about 30 degrees, but I have found getting heavier items like jeans or towels in and out of the drum is challenging. If I had two separate units side by side, I could open the washer lid all the way and pull everything out at once. The dryer door is totally accessible, so it's a trade off.
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