Dirty Laundry

Okay, a long time ago I said that I had a literal dirty laundry post coming up for you. Here it is. Nothing too exciting or pretty, but hopefully some helpful information.

The refrigerator, and washer and dryer all stayed when we bought this house. Probably because it was a rental and the previous owner lives out of the country. I wouldn’t bother coming to get them either. The refrigerator wasn’t very old. It was a stainless side-by-side and was in decent condition, but needed some new drawers because they were all cracked (I swear a kid must have climbed up them). They were ridiculously expensive, but cheaper than buying a new refrigerator for our rent house. Hooray! I cleaned out all the mold and funk. (It reminded me of that episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 when she spent four hours cleaning the refrigerator. Remember? Don’t act like you didn’t watch that show.) We took it to the house we just moved out of, and brought our own refrigerator here. And that has nothing to do with laundry…

The washer and dryer, on the other hand, neither one worked. At least not during the inspection, and not for quite a while after we moved in. I’m ’bout to get vulnerable here… For real. Here it comes. Don’t judge me.

I didn’t do a single load of laundry for over a month. Not one. Nope. There may or may not have been underwear purchased.

In theory, it would have been simple enough to bring our own washer and dryer in and get rid of the others. This house is kind of up on a hill. There are eleven steps to get to the front door, and nine if you come in through the garage. After taking one refrigerator out, and bringing another in (along with everything else we own), moving the washer and dryer was not a high priority. Especially since my husband has an old back injury that was acting up after moving those refrigerators. We waited as long as we possibly could.

We thought we’d try to fix the washer and dryer, since the ones we have are definitely not fancy or new. It seemed odd that neither of them worked, which made us question whether or not lightning may have struck at some point (it happened at one of our rent houses and ruined several of our renter’s items).

My husband checked both outlets and they worked (they were also checked during the inspection). The washer would fill up, but not run a cycle. That happens because it is hooked up to the plumbing, and you don’t even need electricity for that part.

The hubs is pretty determined, so even if he doesn’t know the problem, he’ll usually figure it out. I’m not sure what all he tried. There was some googling. Maybe even some youtube?

He noticed this little spot where the paint was worn away.


Turns out the washer works fine, it just has a problem moving to the next cycle because something is broken off down under the lid. It thinks the lid is open unless you have this screw driver stuck in there to press down on the do-hickie. So yeah, that screw driver is still there today. (Apparently people have been doing this for a while and that’s why the paint is gone. They could have left a sticky note. Gaw.)

screw driver in washer

The dryer didn’t work, even after the hubs tried everything he knew. So he broke down and brought ours in.

After he got the washing machine running, and brought in our dryer, the dryer kept running…and running…it ran for two hours…with no lint in the trap and wet clothes. Ugh. We knew our dryer worked fine, so I figured that meant the vent pipe desperately needed to be cleaned out.

It seems most houses are built with the laundry on an exterior wall, which makes the neighborhood smell lovely when someone is doing laundry, as well as making vent clean-out super easy. You only have a few inches of vent pipe from the back of the dryer through the exterior wall. It takes no time at all to clean.

Some houses have the pipe go all the way up through the attic and vent out the roof. Guess which kind we have.

vent on roof

It was 19° outside. And dark. Not the best time to get up on a roof and clean out the dryer vent. So, to double check whether or not that was the problem, my husband removed the dryer hose from the wall and vented it into a box. Yep. Laundry was dry in no time! vent to box

dryer hose

It is crucial to keep your dryer vents cleaned! (Click through to those links. It’ll save your house, maybe your life.) I don’t agree that you need a professional, of course, but it isn’t something to ignore. If your dryer seems to take a long time to dry, definitely check those vents.

So we washed the necessities and dried them while venting into a box. It made the laundry room nice and toasty, but the rest of the house was freezing because the thermostat is right outside the laundry room and it prevented the heater from kicking on.

Needless to say, we didn’t get caught up on the laundry, heck we’re STILL not caught up on the laundry.

As soon as there was a warm-ish day with no ice on the roof, the hubs got up there and cleaned out the pipe.roof vent

It was easy to tell which one was to the dryer. The one with all the lint trying to ooze out the sides.

I’m pretty sure this pipe hadn’t ever been cleaned. That’s probably 30 years of dryer lint right there. I can’t believe this house hasn’t burned to the ground. And has no one dried their clothes in the last decade?lint in pipe

He pulled out as much of it as he could; then he vacuumed it out with the shop vac.

lint pile 2

There were multiple piles.

The hose is flexible, and we have several extenders, so he was able to get it way down in there. He did this at a few different points, to make sure he was getting all of it.in attic going down

After clearing out as much as possible from the roof, he went into the attic and took apart the pipe. This made it possible to run the shop vac up the pipe towards the roof, and down the pipe towards the first story. Then he repeated the process from the laundry room.

He marked the pipes so he would know how they went back together.

He marked the pipes so he would know how they went back together.

So now I have no excuse for the monstrous pile of laundry taking over the entire back end of my house. Thanks, Babe, really.

You guys have a great weekend. I’ll just be here digging my way out of the whites.



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