One of the best things you can do for your children is to encourage them to play outdoors. Allow them to dig in the dirt, play in a sandbox, roll in the grass, play in the snow, and jump on a trampoline until they're exhausted and dirty. Some may say that means more work for the parents, when children are sweaty and dirty. But, that's why adding a mudroom onto your home — complete with a heated floor and a utility sink — is such a wonderful idea for large families. Here's what you need to know.
Building Code Enforcement
Before you begin planning the mudroom with plumbing fixtures, you'll need to find out what you can and cannot do in your location, which is determined by ordinances and building code regulations for your area. Contact the building code authorities in your municipality and/or county and ask them for a list of what you need to do and what you need to avoid doing in order for your mudroom and plumbing to be in compliance with codes.
Location of the Mudroom
Hire an architect to help you design the mudroom addition. He or she will be able to determine the best location and layout of the mudroom based on the structure of your existing home, and they will also help you do determine how to tie in the electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC, if necessary so the overall expense of the construction will be kept to a minimum. For example, building a mudroom adjacent to a part of the home that has no plumbing will be more expensive than building a mudroom adjacent to the kitchen, where there are existing plumbing lines.
Heating the Mudroom
Depending on the climate where you live, you'll need to consider various features to have in the mudroom so it can be enjoyed and used year round. More importantly, if you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing and stay there for an extensive period of time, you'll want to make sure to heat the mudroom so the pipes for the utility sink do not freeze and burst.
One way to provide heating in the mudroom is by having your plumber install a radiant hydronic floor system, which uses hot water. The hot water for this type of heating system comes from a water heater or boiler and moves through tubes in the floor to provide radiant heat. The water then returns back to the water heater or boiler to be heated again. Again, this type of system can be installed by a plumber because it uses water and plumbing fixtures.
Installing the Utility Sink
Since the purpose of the mudroom is to prevent mud and dirt from getting inside the home, it's a good idea to install a utility sink in the mudroom. That way, you and your children can wash off mud and dirt from your skin, clothing, and shoes, as well as from gardening tools, equipment, and toys. If you have a pet, you can also use the utility sink to give your pet a bath.
Utility sinks come in different sizes and shapes. Consider the various ways you'll use the utility sink over the years and discuss them with your plumber so he or she can help you determine which type and size of utility sink would work best for your particular needs. If you choose to have radiant hydronic flooring, the plumber may be able to use the same water heater to provide hot water for the utility sink.
In conclusion, installing a year-round mudroom complete with heated flooring and a utility sink will help keep your children healthy and active outdoors without you having to worry about mud, dirt, and snow being trekked into your home.