Laundry Equipment Troubleshooting and Simple Repairs (Part 1)
CHICAGO – Providing fully functioning washers and dryers is the key to the success of any self-service laundry operation, which means performing regular preventive maintenance (PM) and making quick repairs should be a top priority for the homeowner of the shop.
For a recent “Equipment Maintenance 101” webinar, the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) invited a panel of three experts to comment on the topic of troubleshooting and simple repairs.
Russ Arbuckle is President of Wholesale Commercial Laundry Equipment SE, based in Southside, Alabama. This 32-year industry veteran started out as a service technician for a small parts and service company that primarily dealt with household laundry equipment before moving on to commercial and industrial machinery. . It has four laundromats ranging in size from 2,400 to 5,000 square feet.
Ken Barrett owns five Washin ‘laundromats in east central Alabama. Before joining the laundry industry, the owner of several stores worked in automotive industrial robotics.
Dan Marrazzo owns several Laundromat Depot laundry stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has decades of residential and commercial construction experience. He has owned and managed several residential, commercial and industrial properties, including two 35,000 square foot shopping centers.
From the outset, new store owners need to assess their own maintenance capabilities, the panelists say. This will inform their decision making later.
“Find your comfort level in electrical capabilities and mechanical capabilities. Understand where your limits are to begin with, then build from there, ”says Barrett. “Take every chance you can to learn more and develop, and understand these steps on what makes the equipment work so that it helps you solve problems. “
When it comes to tools and parts to have on hand, Arbuckle recommends having a basic tool set that contains wrenches and sockets (standard and metric) and a multimeter. Supplies may include zip ties, solderless connectors, wire ties, and electrical tape.
“I always keep an adjustable wrench and needle nose pliers in my back pocket because I can do a lot with them,” he adds.
“Sometimes it’s better to have a good set of tools than a mediocre mechanic, rather than the other way around,” says Marrazzo. “Honestly, you’re not talking about a lot of tools or a lot of money.”
COMMON REPAIR AREAS
The first in the common areas of repair are coin mechanisms, says Marrazzo: “Money is extremely dirty, and it’s difficult when it’s recycled over and over again into a coin mechanism. So if you have a store that is taking quarters… this is one of the items that often or quickly deteriorates.
Water valves can be another source of problems when they deteriorate or become clogged, he adds.
“We buy them in bulk (because we have six stores). It depends on the type of equipment you have. If you have different types of equipment like Ken, you will need a lot of different manufactured valves.
Another area where problems can arise are drain valves, and they can often be traced to… bras?
“Bra yarns are a villain in this industry,” says Marrazzo. “They have a stainless steel ring at the bottom for added rigidity. It is stainless so it will not rust. It goes through the barrel very easily, finds its way down the drain, and for some reason gets stuck in the worst part of the drain. All sediment and lint collects on it.
REGULAR PM TASKS
Barrett has summed up some PM tasks that you need to do on a regular basis, although the recommended timeframe could be almost daily to over a year between interviews.
- Clean dripping parts – “Get those long cotton swabs, like the ones in the doctor’s office, and usually with just water, wash off your drops.” It’s not too often, every two years, it just removes a lot of the trouble, that little soap residue in there.
- Clean the drain valves – “We’re going to work our way through a store and just separate the drain valves and clean the drain tube behind.” It’s not something you do every month, it’s every six months or every year, depending on your activity level. (Don’t forget to clean the drain level tubes as well, he adds.)
- Eliminates lint build-up from dryers – “Lint in the dryers is something you have to master. There is front access, rear access, depending on which manufacturer you have. … Ideally, just set a time when you have a slower day, hit it with a few people and some good Shop-Vacs, compressed air and a compressor, and just go ahead.
“These are the ones you really want to program,” Barrett says. “Look at the manufacturer’s recommendations and understand (with the help of) your distributors how busy your store is. I could do one store once a year but another store every six months because of the volume going there. … Then you can adjust. Maybe it’s too often, maybe it’s not often enough.
“In newer machines, be sure to keep the inverters clean,” suggests Arbuckle. “Inverters are one of the most expensive components in washers and now dryers. They don’t like dirt and dust that allow them to accumulate heat. When they build up heat, they start to break down and will eventually deteriorate. “
See you Thursday for the conclusion!