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Basic Preventative Maintenance Increases Performance, Life of Equipment

Robert Small |

When owners of self-service laundries buy new washers and dryers, they want to receive the maximum performance from that equipment for the maximum length of time. One of the best ways to ensure this is to be proactive and regularly perform a list of preventative maintenance tasks. These tasks, though simple, are an important step in maximizing performance and equipment life.By following a preventative maintenance schedule with washers and dryers, owners can have peace of mind that their equipment will perform longer and better.SINGLE-LOAD WASHER MAINTENANCECleaningTo ensure top performance — as well as a tidy appearance — from a washer, it’s important to inspect and clean it regularly. Frequent detergent spills and the accumulation of dust and debris can gum up the system. After ensuring that all items are removed from the washer, inspect the colored seal, or bellow, between the door opening and basket for stained areas. Pull back the bellow to inspect all areas under it and check for foreign objects.If stained areas are found, wipe down the bellow with a cloth and a diluted solution (one cup of liquid chlorine bleach and one gallon of warm tap water) and let it stand for five minutes. Then, wipe the area thoroughly with a dry cloth and let the washer interior dry with the door open.If you have high-efficiency washers, check to see if they have a special cycle that uses higher water volumes in combination with liquid chlorine bleach to thoroughly clean the inside of the washer. If they do have this special cycle, use it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If the cleaning cycle is interrupted, be sure to continue with several rinse and drain steps to make sure that all of the remaining bleach is rinsed from the water.It’s also a good idea to clean the washer’s exterior to keep it looking new. Use a soft cloth or sponge dipped in mild soap and water — nothing abrasive — to wipe up any spills.Maintaining Washer FreshnessTo maintain water freshness, use only high-efficiency detergent and leave the door slightly open after each cycle to allow for better ventilation and drying of the washer interior. The washer should be cleaned monthly using the cleaning procedure mentioned above. If the cleaning procedure does not sufficiently improve the washer freshness in the machine, evaluate your installation and usage conditions for other causes.Water Inlet HosesYou should periodically inspect and replace inlet hoses if bulges, kinks, cuts, wear or leaks are found. When replacing inlet hoses, record the date of the replacement. If no imperfections are found, you should always replace water inlet hoses after five years of use to reduce the risk of hose failure.SINGLE-LOAD DRYER MAINTENANCECleaningThe main goal with dryers is to keep the dryer and dryer area free from any items, such as lint, that would obstruct the flow of combustion and ventilation air. Clean the lint screen after every cycle — accumulated lint should be removed from the dryer cabinet and exhaust vent at least every two years, depending on how often the dryer is used. If the dryer is used more frequently, it may be necessary to clean these parts more often.It’s also important to keep the area around the dryer clear and free from combustible materials, gasoline and other flammable vapors and liquids. 

About the author

Robert Small

Whirlpool Corp.

Manager of Global Product Service

Robert “Bob” Small is a manager of global product service at Maytag and Whirlpool Commercial Laundry, where he focuses on product service and parts management. Small joined Whirlpool Corp. in 1990 and has a bachelor’s degree in technology from Purdue University.

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