New Home Appliances: Getting Them Right
In a previous blog I pointed out that modular homes force you to make decisions before you build your home. This preliminary planning makes you far less susceptible to costly and unbudgeted change orders, something that tarnishes many stick built projects. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get yourself in trouble with poor planning when designing a modular home. In fact, this is happening more frequently with new home appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, microwaves, trash compactors, washing machines, and cloth dryers.
New Home Appliances: Size and Installation Requirements
Appliances have always come in a variety of sizes. But today the range of options is far greater because manufacturers are coming up with more ways to improve their products, and some changes increase the size of the appliances. It’s not unusual to find new home appliances that are wider, longer, deeper, and taller. All of these changes require a larger space than in years past. Your responsibility is to make sure your home is built to accommodate the size of your appliances.
You can safely assume that your modular manufacturer will provide enough room for “standard” sized appliances. They will also enlarge the space to fit your new home appliances regardless of the size as long as you give them the dimensions. But a non-standard size may require you to change other things in your home. For example, you many need to enlarge a closet to fit your washer and dryer. Or you may need to enlarge one kitchen cabinet to fit a cooktop, and shrink an abutting cabinet to retain your kitchen layout. However, if you don’t give the modular dealer and manufacturer the complete information for your appliances, and you sign off on their plans with dimensions that won’t work with your appliances, you must make the required changes at your own expense.
One option, which I recommend, is to shop for your new home appliances before you sign off on the modular manufacturer’s plans. This will allow you to determine the size and installation requirements, including electrical power and gas hook-ups, for appliances you are likely to purchase. Alternatively, you can do what many customers do, which is to allow the modular manufacturer to provide the standard space and hook-ups. As long as you buy new home appliances that work with these standards, you’re good to go. Of course this will limit your appliance selections.
New Home Appliances: Other Considerations
When planning for your washer and dryer, keep in mind that bifold doors do not open the full width of the opening. If you will be using a front loading washer, make sure there is enough space in front. Since you will want to vent your dryer to the outside, think about its location and whether your dryer can handle the distance. Should you decide to purchase your own range hood and it’s designed to vent to the outside, make sure your kitchen layout allows for this. The same goes for a down draft range or cooktop.
For more information about new home appliances, see Modular Home Specifications and Features in my book The Modular Home.