Monday, April 21, 2014

playing detective in the laundry room

most of what i have shared so far about our new apartment completely neglected the fact that we have a washer and dryer.  for you suburbia readers, maybe this isn't such a shock as those of you fellow city-dwelling readers.   THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOR US.

once a week for nearly every week of the past 4.5 years of living here, i have taken my clothes up and down flights of stairs, paid up to $6.50/load for a washer, always 8-minutes-per-quarter for a dryer... and dealt with the "excitement" of sitting my sunday afternoons or my friday nights at the laundromat.  i've trekked through snow and rain, and could never let hot summer days and blistering cold winter evenings stop me from just doing the simple task of doing my laundry, only to have them come out smelling like hot metal (not matter what brand or scent of dryer sheet or detergent i use).  on average i spent around $15/week just to use the washers and dryers, which works out to be about $750/year.  guys, when they say the "cost of living" in NYC and surrounding areas is expensive, these are the ones that add up that are often forgotten. you say "why don't you just get an apartment with a washer and dryer then", and i say "that apartment is probably $300 more PER MONTH just for the 'laundry in unit'".

like i said, having a washer and dryer of our own is a really big deal, especially in a home that's 150+ years old.  with that said, it doesn't mean that i was excited about actually using the ones we have.  you see, when we moved in, the room with the washer and dryer was caked (and i mean CAKED) in lint.  the back wall is exposed brick, and it was almost solid lint.  it was stuck to the ceilings, in between the dryer and the wall, it covered the floor so much it peeled up like carpet, it covered the pipes in the room...  the dryer has a vent system on it that i had never seen before... one that vents INDOORS.  i didn't even know this was possible until i researched dryer systems and found out that it is indeed a real thing.  people vent regular dryers indoors with the help of a water reservoir that is supposed to collect the lint that passes through the lint screen that you empty with each load. 

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our first thoughts were "the guy who owned the place previously was just an idiot lazy and never refilled the water reservoir, and  that's why lint was everywhere".  we wanted to go to the extreme measures of penetrating the roof and venting it properly, i.e. outdoors.   then we found out everyone else in the building has the same system.  nobody vents their dryer outdoors.  so, maybe it wasn't the system. 

i spent 2 hours on saturday morning vacuuming the walls, pipes, ceiling, floors, etc. getting as much lint off of all surfaces in that tiny tiny room.  while hung had to run into work, i decided to climb up on TOP of the dryer (which is on top of the washer), i dragged the vacuum up there with me (because the nozzle wouldn't reach unless i brought it up there with me... gosh i must have looked pathetic) and i looked down behind the dryer to see if i could reach any lint back there (the room is so small i can't reach behind the washer and dryer, the walls on each side are too close).  what i found was pretty unbelieveable.  the dryer vent hose was NOT EVEN CONNECTED!! the big flexible metal hose that connects to the dryer for venting was disconnected.  see the photo below...

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if you see the portion of the wall at the bottom of the photo, that's where i had taken a few swipes with the vacuum nozzle... the part of the wall in the upper-left corner of the photo was just a hint of how the rest of the room looked when i started!!  also, the hose isn't connected.

ok... calm down... these things happen.  but the sad thing is that the guy who lived there before didn't even notice it.  he just let lint get caked all over the room and didn't think a thing about it! who cares if the water reservoir was full of water, it couldn't catch any lint if it wasn't connected to the dryer!!

after a tiny rampage, i calmed down over some guacamole and an episode of gossip girl and realized the only thing i could do was move forward and look on the bright side.  the bright side is that the reason for the lint in the room wasn't the weird water reservoir system, it was "just" that the vent hose was disconnected.  i went back to work cleaning the room making it jenn-and-hung-friendly for washing clothes, and ended up completing 5 loads of laundry sunday morning and afternoon.

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the VERY FULL dirt container from the vacuum, and a room that at least looks squeaky clean...

after living in the place for a month, we can finally do laundry in our own home, on our own schedule, and for the minor extra cost on our electric bill... maybe with the money we're saving we could buy a "ventless" dryer and forget about the whole water reservoir thing (or... we could use that money towards a trip to southeast asia... after watching anthony bourdain's episode of parts unknown in burma last night on netflix, i'm longing to go back SO so bad... that part of the world is just so beautiful)


1 comment:

Carrie said...

I'm sorry about that.. This totally sucks. I dislike going to the laundry mat, esp if they do not have a wifi connection. Thank God I can fit one load of clothes into the washer so I don't have to stay for hours like people with large families.

Hopefully things get better for you!