A washing machine and automatic dryer will anchor most laundry areas. Washers and dryers vary in size. A typical American model washer or dryer is 27 to 29 inches (686 to 737 mm) wide (across the front) and 25 to 32 inches (635 to 813 mm) deep. Most are about 36 inches high (914 mm), but some are as high as 45 inches (1143 mm). European models tend to be smaller. Always check the exact size of the equipment in the manufacturer’s specifications, or by measuring the actual equipment.
A washer can either be a front-loading or top-loading model. Most dryers are front-loading. Washer doors can be hinged on either side, depending on the model. Some top-loading models may have the door hinged at the back. Dryer doors can also be hinged on either side and some models are hinged on the bottom. Front-loading laundry appliances with front controls are desirable to improve access within the universal reach range.
Knowing the size, location, and swing of the door is important to efficient placement of laundry equipment. It should be convenient to remove wet laundry from the washer and place it in the dryer without interference from the open door of either piece of equipment. This movement of laundry between appliances should determine how the appliances are placed in relationship to each other.
If you will be placing laundry equipment in a closet, cabinet, or under a counter, check the manufacturer’s specifications. Typically there are requirements for clearances on the sides, front, back, and top of the equipment to allow for ventilation and equipment connections. Doors to closets and cabinets must have a specified area and location of ventilation screening or be louvered for air circulation.
Front-loading washers and dryers may require the user to bend down to load and unload. Some models of front-loading washers and dryers are available with a 12 to 15 inch (305 to 381 mm) pedestal, for easier access. The pedestal also provides storage. An alternative is to install the equipment on a raised platform so that the door is easier to access (see Figure 9.12). Planning the equipment at this height cuts down on bending and allows the door to swing open clear of the armrest or lap of a person using a wheelchair. If the equipment is raised, be sure that the user can still reach and read the controls. Also, consider that the top of the equipment may not be convenient to use as a work surface for folding clothes or storage.
FIGURE 9.12 Raising a front-loading washer or dryer, as much as 15 inches (381 mm), reduces bending and makes access easier, but still allows most people to reach the controls.
Courtesy of GE