For a long time, laundry chutes were a wonderful invention for houses with washing and dryer connections in the basement or on the first floor. Instead of having to carry your laundry baskets up and down the stairs, a laundry chute offers the convenience of being able to just toss your clothes in so they’ll just drop right in front of your washing machine.
Unfortunately, laundry chutes are no longer seen in the majority of houses nowadays.
Whatever happened to laundry chutes?
If you grew up in the 80s or are a fan of 80s movies, then you’re familiar with the laundry chute – a smart and convenient invention that made doing the laundry easy and fun.
Despite their popularity in the past, you’re unlikely to see a laundry chute in modern homes because designers stopped including them in the design and construction of houses. So, it’s not due to a lack of desire from homeowners that laundry chutes are no longer around but due to a change in design trends.
You see, the laundry room is usually located on the same floor as the bedrooms in most multilevel houses nowadays, which is convenient. This is very handy in that it eliminates the need for people to spend time making the dreaded journey to and from their basement.
Then you have high-efficiency washers and dryers that make it possible for households to wash their clothing without having to feel bad about wasting energy.
Another reason for the lack of laundry chutes in most modern houses is due to fire code requirements. According to experts, laundry chutes make it easier for fires to spread from one floor to another more quickly so it’s not recommended to include it when building a new home.
But, none of this should prevent you from installing a laundry chute, especially if there’s a way for you to do it safely. For best results, consult with a house inspector or contractor before you build your laundry chute home to make sure that your laundry chute doesn’t drain close to a hot water heater or furnace.
Why laundry chutes are worth installing
Laundry chutes are quite useful and they’re definitely worth it, if only for the entertainment value alone. Not only can you install a laundry chute in your home but in residential structures as well, such as condominiums, apartment complexes, and hotels.
The installation will be much more expedient if you have a cabinet with a hole that leads down to the basement, where your washer and dryer are located. It’ll save everyone’s time while making it much more fun to use.
The addition of a laundry chute to single-story houses with only a basement can be an easy and casual job for the DIY-inclined. However, homes with more than one story will need the services of a professional to guide the chute through the various floors.
What’s more, even though laundry chutes are known to readily spread fire, it is still possible to install them safely if you follow the proper installation protocols. For instance, all laundry chutes are now required to be equipped with fire doors that are rated for at least half an hour in accordance with the Building Standards Code.
Additional automated mechanical fire doors may be added in the chute to slow down the rate at which flames and smoke can move throughout a home.
To further minimize the chances of a fire spreading as a result of a laundry chute, you can modify your laundry chute with several add-on items which are available at a reasonable rate from specialist retailers.
If you’re unsure about which components to purchase, you can always consult with a professional for guidance. If you want to install it yourself and are confident that you can do it up to code, look for laundry chutes that come with detailed installation instructions. Preferably, you should consult with sources other than Google to make sure that you’re doing it right.
For a long time, laundry chutes offered a great deal of convenience to homeowners and they were just fun to have. However, recent trends in home design have led to the disappearance of the laundry chute in modern homes.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of having a laundry chute in your house if that’s what you’re in to. If you can locate an appropriate place in your house to install a laundry chute, it can add a significant amount of interest to its design and maybe even impact its overall value.
You can even do it yourself, granted you have the skills to do so, and can follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the tee. The most important thing is to ensure that you have a clear passage between the two levels that you’ll be passing your clothes through and that there are no cables, piping, or other obstructions in the way. A corridor is often the most convenient location for a laundry chute.
Once it’s up and running, you’ll be living your own Home Alone/ Gremlins fantasy.