When looking for an apartment, considering whether or not an in-unit apartment laundry is worth the trouble is an important decision. Compare the advantages to disadvantages of having an in-unit laundry before you decide.
Additional Cost: Raises Rent
With little exception, an in-unit apartment laundry drives up the cost of monthly rent for an apartment. This helps offset any repair costs your landlord must pay should the washer and dryer wear down, as well as the initial investment the apartment complex owner made to have the units installed. However, the cost may not be an exceptional amount and could possibly be somewhere between $20 and $50 a month.
Additional Cost: Utility Usage
If an in-unit apartment laundry drives your monthly rent up as much as $50 per month, it’s likely actually part of a deal you have for a flat-rate utility charge each month. If so, you actually won’t have to consider how much you use the laundry, unless you actually use it so little (like once to twice a week) that the additional cost isn’t worth it. However, remember that a utility cost covers more than just the laundry use anyway.
Conversely, if your rent does not include utilities, you should consider how much running your washer and dryer will add to your utility bill. Running a washing machine and dryer seven days a week costs between $400 and $700 a year, depending on the model and the cost of electricity in your area, whereas running both twice a week will set you back only $100 to $200 per year. However, you can save as much as $200 annually by washing your clothes on the cold water setting and using a line dryer to dry your clothes.
Weighing the Cost Against Alternatives
However, don’t write off an in-unit apartment laundry based on cost until you consider your alternative options. Using a friend’s laundry could be free, depending on how generous the friend is. Using a laundromat can add up pretty quickly, as you could easily spend $5 to $10 each visit, so even if you only go once a week, you don’t save much in the long run. Likewise, a laundromat inside the apartment complex may still be coin-operated and cost just as much.
Highly Convenient (for the Most Part)
Where the in-unit laundry really wins over any other option is convenience. It’s much more convenient to do your laundry in your apartment instead of lugging it somewhere else, especially if you have to burn gas to get there or you must use public transit. However, you will have to be considerate of your neighbors and may not be able to run your in-unit laundry as often as you like.
The one drawback of the in-unit laundry as far as convenience goes is that it will take up space in your apartment. While typically fitted into a closet and not really in the way, that does translate into less storage space for you. Nevertheless, apartments with in-unit laundry are typically large enough to accommodate them.
Many apartment dwellers find an in-unit apartment laundry is worth the extra cost and forfeited space, but you may not agree. If you’re living on your own, you could find it’s much easier just to get an apartment without a washer and dryer.