When you have laundry capabilities right inside your RV, you can enjoy the best of both worlds when you take off into the great outdoors. Not only do you get to escape the day in and day out of your busy life at home, but you can still enjoy the creature comforts you’re used to and not quite ready to give up, especially if you’re taking off on an extended getaway. While you can always head to the campground or nearby Laundromat with dirty clothes, quarters, and some good magazines in hand, nothing beats the 24/7 access to your own personal washer and dryer! But if your RV doesn’t already come equipped with a laundry unit or you find yourself needing to replace an existing one, there are some things you need to know before picking one out and installing it. Here are some tips on choosing and installing a laundry machine in your RV to help ensure you get one that fits your setup.
Know Your Space
It’s safe to say that 99% of RVs that have laundry hookups are designed to accommodate a stackable unit. Even the biggest RVs are short on living space compared to a stick-and-brick home, so adding a side-by-side unit just isn’t going to happen. When you head into the appliance aisle to check out your choices, don’t fall in love with a beautiful side-by-side Samsung pair that almost makes it fun to do laundry. Most RVs that have space for a washer/dryer unit have a designated “closet” area with hookups. When being used, they’re easy to access with the closet doors open. When not in use, you can close the doors and forget they’re even there. Now you see it, now you don't!
Types of RV Laundry Units
You’ll find that there are two different types of RV laundry units: stackable washer/dryer units, and washer/dryer combos. Let’s look at the difference.
As the name would imply, the stackable washer/dryer units are stacked one on top of the other. They fit easily into a laundry closet and don’t take up too much room. The capacity of these units is surprisingly big with most being able to accommodate 12 lb. loads. Since these units are vented, they use air to dry your clothes, not water. This is a good option if you’re wanting to conserve water while RVing! You can also use both components at the same time. So when your washing machine load is done, toss that load in the dryer and then get another load going in the washer. This means less time doing laundry and more time enjoying your beautiful destination! However, there are a few downsides to a stackable unit. They don’t typically fit in smaller RVs, and they tend to use a lot of water during the washing cycle. So you’ll have to gauge if the combined water usage between the washer and dryer makes sense for your conservation efforts.
A washer/dryer combo is just that, a combination of both washer and dryer in one unit. This type is smaller in size and more efficient, with one drum doing all the work. Just put your clothes in the drum, set it, and go relax by the campfire or take a hike while the machine washes and dries the load! Many units will even switch from washing to drying without needing prompting from you, so that means no wet clothes sitting idle inside the drum while you’re away from the RV. These come in both vented and non-vented models. While a great choice for smaller RVs, these can take up to 3 hours to wash and dry one load, and they typically use about 13 amps and a lot of water. So while you’re getting a one-stop laundry shop, you’ll be using a lot of power and water in the process. Is the convenience worth it for you?
Vented vs. Non-Vented
If you’re considering a washer/dryer combo unit, you’ll have to choose between a vented and non-vented unit. A vented unit uses air in the room to dry the clothes and you’ll need to make a hole for an exhaust vent. Vented models help to conserve water during the drying process, and they dry clothes more quickly than a non-vented type. A non-vented model heats the air inside the drum to dry the clothes. They typically use a lot of water, so they’re not a favorite of RVers.
While having a professional install your new laundry machine is probably a good idea, it’s definitely do-able to DIY it if you’re handy with tools and good at reading instructions. Each model will have different installation instructions, so refer to the product manual for specific install directions. Also take care when loading the unit into the RV, as it’s bound to be incredibly heavy and awkward to maneuver from the door to its designated spot in the RV.
If you purchase a vented unit, you’ll have to create an exhaust hole in the side of your RV if it doesn't already have one to allow air to escape from the unit to the outside world. Most laundry machine models will come with specific instructions that show you where to drill this hole. Just keep in mind, however, that putting a hole in your RV's sidewall will void some warranties. Take that into consideration when choosing a unit!
You’ll also want to install a drain pan to protect your RV from any water leaks that might occur. A drain pan will also help hold the laundry unit in place while you go down the road. Find a place where water can drain through the bottom of your RV and out near the holding tanks. Secure the pan to the floor and you’re good to go.
As always, follow manufacturer instructions when installing something on your RV! And when in doubt, contact the service department here at TerryTown RV SuperStore and we’ll be able to offer helpful advice or do the work for you! Are you looking for a new RV that comes prepped for a laundry unit that can easily be installed upon ordering? We’ll do all the work and you can reap all the benefits! Check out the hundreds of travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and park trailers in our inventory that make light work of laundry and offer other great residential comforts too, ensuring that you enjoy every minute of your outdoor adventure.