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Dryer bulkhead insulation

  • 1.  Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-02-2019 10:17
    How does everybody handle the bulkhead above your dryers?  It seems most places do not insulate behind the drywall, is that common?  I am doing some work on the ceiling and walls, what insulation are you using, I assume fire resistant. Also are you using some form of seal between the top of the dryer and wall?  Thanks

    Craig Brenneman
    Store Owner/ Employee
    West Jefferson OH

  • 2.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-02-2019 11:58
    In SoCal the walls above the dryers are called curtain walls. The term bulkhead is used for the Formica covered area behind washers. Just a regional clarification for this response.

    During the construction process the dryers are installed and leveled. The curtain wall above the dryers are built using the support of the dryers.  The curtain wall can extend all the way to the ceiling in areas using air conditioning. or to just above the drop ceiling height.

    The factory installation will specify the exact place a zero tolerance curtain wall can be placed. I have used 2x4 studs or recently metal studs faced with drywall.  The curtain wall is bolted to the dryer tops before the drywall is installed.  Please read the installation manuals from the factory. Many old time installers don't keep up with the latest factory installation requirements.

    This method of building a Laundromat curtain wall is why replacing dryers in the future is such a pain. You have to cut the bolts attaching the curtain wall to the dryer tops.

    I've found that some building inspectors have required bolting all the dryers together and then bolting the entire row of dryers to the floor. This is another pain to find the tie-down bolts during a reinstallation.  This requirement was motivated by the inspector's knowledge of the crushing hazard of vending machine tip overs.

    Installation and sealing the walls would only be used where air conditioning is installed. Of course, materials used above dryers should be fire resistant.  Your local building inspector should tell you what he requires for a sealant or other materials.

    Bring your installation manual with you when you're having your design meeting with the building department. I once had a building official insist on 3 1/2 feet behind the dryers so a wheelchair bound person could perform repairs. The installation instructions showed an 18 inch minimum on these ADA certified dryers.  Saved a lot of interior space by knowing the facts. Hope this ramble helps.

    Larry Larsen
    Anaheim, CA
    Distributor - Insurance - Consulting
    Cell: (714) 390-9969

  • 3.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-02-2019 14:04
    Edited by Curt Harrington 02-02-2019 14:21
    The wall above my dryers has a board from the bottom to the back wall at a 45 degree angle for support. Way easier to change out dryers. Just get some insulation (the 10 ft pipe wrap works well) to sit under the wall between it and the dryer. You will thank me in fifteen years.

    Curt Harrington


  • 4.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-02-2019 22:21
    Edited by Les Monthei 02-02-2019 22:25
    Our local authority required the support for the curtain wall on the new dryer location be independent of the dryers, and the installation above the dryers had to be engineered for seismic movement and equipment tipping.  Only 3 stack dryers so we spanned the installation opening above the dryers.  When the dryers showed, they were slid in place, leveled, connected to the utilities and tested.

    The old curtain wall in an adjacent location was hung from the ceiling across and above several dryers from the building framing.  How any why you insulate depends on your particular location and weather patterns.

    Even with the full plus make up air required by the Mfg, we still get a fairly good pull of air thru the front of the machines that cause more accumulation of lint in the dryers.  One of the repair guys said to install additional air access in a convenient location between the dryer wall and make up air in back of the dryers, with a vent filter to replace regularly.  He said that all make up air will not come from only the required and properly sized make up air opening, and it's better to have the air filtered back thru the wall opening  v. thru the machines.

    Les Monthei
    Potential Investor
    Redding CA

  • 5.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-03-2019 00:12
    Craig, I think all you wanted to know is what others do for insulation after dryers are installed. I simply use clear silicone in between machines from the wall side down to the floor. For the gaps that are really wide I will stick in some round foam insulation first and silicone over it. For the bulkhead above I push in fiberglass insulation all the way up to where it ends. I also lay fiberglass across the back top of the dryers next to the wall. I have a 3 foot or so space to keep the ceiling open throughout the dryer maintenance rooms for extra makeup air. I have blown insulation into the ceiling so it isn't cold in the customer area.


    Thomas Bright
    Bright's Coin Wash
    Marengo Illinois

  • 6.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-03-2019 00:57
    I use 3/8 weather strips to block the gap between two dryers . Here is how I done : first dryer in place then I put a strip vertically 1" behind the front panel and then second dryer set next to first dryer ,just keep going like that until last dryer , You won't be able to see the sunlight/light between my two dryers,yes they fitted that tight .
     Most of my stack dryers sit on concrete pad ,I don't use 4 legs to level them I only use shims to adjust leveling ,so the gap at bottom of dryers very minimum and most of them sit completely flat on concrete pad ,so no gap there either.
     Top of dryers: I use 6" wide aluminum dimond plate or stained plywood for trimming, i use 3/8 weather strips to cover the gap between the top of dryer and the trims .
    The insulation for wall is just the one in Home Depot , R13 ? Something like that ,of course sheet rock and mud behind the dryer wall too .
     I use the laser temperature gun to check temperature to compare dryer wall and interior walls ,what I found is only 3-4*f different. I think is good enough.

    Linh Nguyen
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Mobile AL

  • 7.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-03-2019 01:11

    I once had a building official insist on 3 1/2 feet behind the dryers so a wheelchair bound person could perform repairs
    Larry Larsen,  02-02-2019 11:57
    I mean, I know you're used to it and all, but I have to state, "Only in California."


  • 8.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-07-2019 09:12
    Edited by Rich Cruz 02-07-2019 09:12
    Thanks Larry.

  • 9.  RE: Dryer bulkhead insulation

    Posted 02-03-2019 08:20
    Thanks for the responses, that is helpful.

    Craig Brenneman
    Store Owner/ Employee
    West Jefferson OH