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Swapping a laundry room and a utility room - is this a huge expensive project?

We are about to move into a new house, and one of my complaints that the laundry area is downstairs.  There is a walk-through pantry, where you enter from the garage, walk through it, and enter the kitchen, and the laundry is on one side of that. 

Upstairs, however, there is a utility room, almost directly above it, that holds the furnace, water heater, and a small water softener.

My realtor said it was possible to have those switched, but I wanted to ask some others' opinions on the subject. 

I'm sure it's "doable", but would that be a huge expensive project, with all sorts of re-wiring and expensive duct work? 

Thanks!

(And I realize it's just a complete guess from anyone on here, not having seen the property at all.)
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October 10 2011 - US
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Answers (10)

In most cases, moving your AC system is not the most economical way. However, given a proper budget, everything is doable.

If having laundry downstairs is really getting on your nerves and you are planning to stay in this house for 5 years or more, just do it and enjoy!

Good luck!
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January 29 2012
I am giving a blind eye opinion. I know you are dealing with 2 systems (major) with option A and one system with option B. The one thing to consider is this, your HVAC system was designed and calculated to work from its current location. Keep that in mind, also I am only giving you another perspective to view the situation from. The added footage to your trunkline can possibly decrease the forced air pressure. Resulting in cold or hot zones in your house. Then forcing a larger unit. I am merely giving you more ammo. to arm yourself with when it is time for your estimate rebuttal.
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October 14 2011
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Well, our contractor friend says he's done it several times, so we're having him down for an estimate. Cant hurt, right? We may or may not do it, we'll see.
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October 13 2011
 In order to drop the furnace you need ductwork maybe a new lineset for your AC (to compensate for the added length) capture the refrigerant reconfigure everything , run new gas and electric lines. And on top of that tap into and reconfigure plumbing drains and water lines.  You would actually be doing double work.

Moving a wall (as long as its not loadbearing) , tapping the water and drain , and running a new electrical circuit for your dryer.  We're talking on an 8ft wall with 10 ft ceiling , about 12- 2x4s ($36)/ 3 sheets of drywal , 6 if you are going to finish the interior of the wall ( $48) / screws , tape and mud ($28) copper is questionable we will rough it at ($70) /wire and outlet box is questionable depending on if your panel is in the utility room (? at this time)
$400 on materials maybe, The labor is what will kill you.

The lineset and refrigerant and duct work move is equivelant to this entire job. And that is just a start. Option B!!!!!!!!!!!
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October 13 2011
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That's sort of our option B to discuss with the contractor, actually. It that's more cost-effective, then we may go that route. It would involve expanding the room, however, so it's a matter of which is easier and less expensive.
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October 11 2011
Is there any way possible to expand the utility room to include the washer and dryer? Or get a compact w/d set for small loads upstairs and keep the other for large loads. This would take adding a 220 plug for the dryer , a regular outlet for the washer (if there are none available) and tapping into the water lines and drain.  Anything is possible, but at what cost are the possibilities? Sometimes it's ok to force the square peg into the round hole.
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October 11 2011
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Thanks for the responses, everyone.

The reason I thought it might be possible is that the rooms are almost on top of each other.  The downstairs room is next to the kitchen, the upstairs is next to a bathroom - so I don't think the pipes/plumbing issues would be a big problem.  My real concern is the duct work. 

We actually do have a contractor that has done a lot of small jobs for us, but he built his own home from scratch and I think he'd be a good fit.  I may ask him to come by for an estimate just after we take posession of the house.

Thanks again!
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October 11 2011
A contractor will be able to give you the best answer to your question. But speaking as someone who has been through her own remodeling projects, and has supervised them for other people, this sounds expensive. The big caveat (and the reason you should check in with a contractor) is that IF the rooms are adjacent to each other, you might be able to move the utilities (e.g., furnace and hot water heater) and just reroute the connections from one room straight through the wall to the next room.

Keep in mind that this project will probably primarily involve rerouting ductwork (from the heater to the rest of the heat-distribution ductwork in the house) and pipes (from the hot water heater to the hot water distribution pipe-work that leads to the sinks and other fixtures throughout the house). This could be as simple as adding a few feet of straight ductwork/piping from the new utility room, passing the new ducts/pipes through a shared wall or a short section of ceiling, and tying in with the previously-installed ductwork/piping systems. OR...you could have a total ductwork and piping redesign project on your hands. If you have a full redesign project to deal with, you're probably looking at tearing open walls, possibly ceilings to get to all the old ducts and pipes and reorganize them to connect to the new furnace and hot water heater connection points. And if your new duct and pipe connection points are far away from the previous connection points, this could alter your air flow and water pressure, and require new adjustments to the ducting and/or piping, so that the drop in flow/pressure is corrected.

If you're not ready to talk to a contractor about the project (maybe don't want to start paying for consultations while you're still "feeling out" the idea), here's an idea: Try making a simple sketch of the current and proposed utility room locations with as much detail (measurements of the distance between the rooms and the walls between the rooms, precise locations of the utilities and where their duct and pipe connections are located...). Bring this sketch in to someone at Home Depot or Orchard Supply Hardware, or any other local hardware store where you have helpful folks. Go in when business is slow, and ask these folks to help you figure out what you need to buy for the project. Their response should give you a good idea as to the feasibility and complexity of the job.

Good luck!
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October 11 2011
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Sounds hugely expensive, and disruptive. 
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October 10 2011
Having been in the building business since 80', based on what you said how can the furnace be relocated? You've got ductwork that ties into it throughout the entire home. Re-working that might not be possible at all. Then to relocate a hot water heater where all the piping comes from there to service the hot water for the home. Really if it could be done, it would most certainly cost you more than it's worth. You would be doing it for your own enjoyment. It would not make that much difference in the re sale marketplace. When we suggest imporvements to a home, we look at things that will create value over time. That way you can see a return on the investment. I would contact some contractors either online who service your region or ask your Realtor for some referrals. I think you may find it's going to be more trouble than it's worth. Thank you for your question.
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October 10 2011
 
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