Tad’s got an invention…

I submitted Tad’s new invention to This Old House Magazine.  I’ll let you know if he gets published and/or famous…

What do you think it is?


Here are a few hints:

  • We have found 2 uses for it, though it was initially invented to solve one specific problem.
  • It’s primary use is to help keep malodorous gases out of the house.
  • It’s secondary use is to provide something lifesaving to a holiday decor item.
  • It is usually used in the laundry room.

Here is the long answer.  We’ve got a floor drain in our laundry room in case the washer gets a leak or overflows.  The drain is under the washer.  The drain has it’s own P-trap.  It is also the last drain from the house to the sewer line – though I am not sure this matters.  It gets smelly in there when the water in the P-trap evaporates down to nothing – because the water in the P-trap blocks the sewer gases from coming into the house (as you may or may not know).  As you can imagine (or maybe you know because you have the same problem) it is difficult to get water in a drain that is underneath a washing machine.  I had tried using a flexible tubing attached to a funnel.  The first problem was that it was difficult to see where the drain was because there was only about an inch between the washer and the floor.  The second problem was that it was really difficult to get the end of the tubing lined up correctly with the drain.  When I poured in the water, the tubing would shift or not be lined up with the drain to begin with – resulting in water everywhere before draining into the drain.  It was time consuming and messy. I complained numerous times about the floor drain being really annoying – because the floor drain was Tad’s idea to begin with.

My complaining led to Tad needing to defend his floor drain idea, which eventually resulted a solution – Tad’s invention.  We haven’t come up with a clever name for the invention yet so let us know if you’ve got any good ideas.  For now, I will call it “Tad to the Rescue!”  Anyway, Tad had read about some anti vibration feet for washers and dryers.  We really didn’t necessarily need these for the anti vibration feature but more so for the fact that the washer and dryer would sit up off the floor a few inches making it easier to access the floor drain.  So, we headed to Home Depot and collected 8 feet – 4 for each appliance.



Tad then came up with his invention.  It is made from 2 pieces of PVC pipe, an elbow, a cap for the end, and a funnel for the other end.  He capped one end and drilled a hole in the pipe itself – for the water to drain in a somewhat controlled manner directly into the floor drain when lined up correctly – rather than pouring out of the end of the pipe.


Now that the washer is up off the floor a few inches, it is a lot easier to see the drain and get the pipe lined up correctly.


Tad thought about gluing all the pieces together but I wanted to be able to easily store it under the sink cabinet.  He left it so it can be taken apart and easilty stored in the water pitcher.


I use it 2 or 3 times a month.  No more stinky sewer smells.

Oh – and the secondary use – we used just the single piece of the piping to water our Christmas tree.


It worked great!

What is it? …


It fixed a problem we experience in the winter.

We didn’t know that this simple fix was even available.

It was inexpensive.

It saves us money.

It is not a miniature chimney.


Here are some hints:

Our feet are now nice and toasty in the winter.

I believe Tad saw this fix in This Old House Magazine.

Tad searched the world wide – for the best deal.  Not really, but he did search the internet pretty thoroughly to check out the options.

It is an “upgrade” – for $30 or less.

It keeps the cold out and the heat in.

It is a bit like a little anteroom – or mini vestibule – or revolving door – or air lock chamber on a space ship – between the inside and outside of our laundry room.


Is it a dryer exhaust vent – you ask?

Well – yes – it is a dryer exhaust vent.

It may not be glamorous. It may not be high tech.  It may not be riveting.  It does make doing laundry a bit more luxurious?  Maybe, luxurious is a little bit of an exaggeration.  Still though, this thing is worth installing at your house.