Re: Common Laundry Question
From: Douglas G. Larson (
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 06:42:18 -0800 (PST)
>> Does anyone have a formula as to the number of washers for communities
that have only a common laundry facility? We are looking at 15 - 18 homes,
average size two bedrooms, with an average of 2.7 >>
>> people in each home (I made that up, I don't know what the average number
of people per home will be.). Will three machines be enough, or ...?

I don't have any statistical data to offer you. But I can tell you that at
Songaia Cohousing, with 15 family units, totaling about 36 people, we have 3
commercial style washers and dryers. Most of the time this is completely
adequate, though occasionally, we have back-logs. 

We have some guidelines and ground rules that we use. 

 1)  We ask that families limit their laundry use to 3 hours per week.

 2)  We have a sign-up sheet in the laundry room for people to sign up for
time they want to use it. 

 3)  Since the laundry room is next to our guest room, we ask that laundry
use not occur before the hour of 8am or after 10pm if there are guests
present. If no guests are present, then anyone can use it any time they

We don't adhere to these ground rules strictly, though we follow them

Our machines are commercial Speed Queen brand and are what's called
stackables, i.e. the dryer sits on top of the washer. So obviously they are
both front loaders. We chose stackables because our laundry room has limited
space.  We have had no experience with other brands, though an informal
search 12 years ago, when we were ready to buy, turned up Speed Queen as one
of the most reliable and dependable brands.

Based on what you have told us, I would think that 3 sets of machines would
be minimum. One of the factors you ought to consider is the length of time
needed to do laundry. Say a family of 4 wants to do laundry. With 2
machines, that might take 3 hours or so for washing and drying. With 3
machines, it could be reduced to 2.5 hours, or perhaps even 2 hours. My
point being that with 2 machines, each use takes longer and also makes
people who are waiting, wait longer. You could reduce wait/use time with 4
or even more machines but you also have to weigh total purchase cost,
operating costs (electricity, water) and maintenance costs. I don't know of
any clear formula for determining the best choice of machines given the
total population using them. 

You didn't ask, but I suggest you create adequate counter space in the
laundry room so people can fold finished laundry. Our single table, on the
small side, isn't enough, though we manage. 

Douglas Larson,
Songaia Cohousing,
Bothell, WA

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