OSHKOSH, Wis. — Most laundry owners don’t look extensively into washer programming. Perhaps they should. While many washer brands offer controls allowing for various levels of programmability, some laundry operators default to factory settings. In doing so, they might miss out on opportunities to cut utility costs, generate additional revenue and fuel store profits.

In this column, I delve into how washer programmability can work to benefit a laundry’s bottom line.

UNDERSTAND THE CONTROL

The first step in programming is to understand your washer control and its capabilities. Check out the manufacturer’s website for programming tutorials and brochures; talk with your equipment distributor to sort through programming questions; understand your alternative payment system’s offerings; and find out if an upgrade kit is available for your control.

A simple-to-install upgrade kit will offer more functionality at a fraction of the cost of a new washer. At the end of the day, owners can make needed program tweaks to boost efficiency and profits without sacrificing wash quality.

Most washer controls integrate networking, remote programming and payment system interface to make quick programming possible. Owners can program washers directly from the keypad, or in combination with an alternative payment/management system using a computer, tablet or cellphone. It’s easy and effective.

A highly flexible washer control will allow programmability at the smallest levels. For instance, a high-quality control will allow owners to configure pricing and specials, run reports, monitor revenue and schedule routine maintenance flushes; adjust water levels, mechanical action, cycle times, extract speeds and water temperatures by degree; and add or delete baths, rinses and spins; among other things.

These controls sometimes offer multi-level vend pricing on the same machine depending on the wash program selected, time of day, or day of the week. Such flexibility allows owners to tweak programs to meet the needs of a given demographic, lower utility usage and costs, and heighten revenue and profits.

INDIVIDUALLY MODIFIABLE PROGRAMS

Generally, a washer control offers several programs that can be individually modified, including “Hot,” “Cold,” “Warm,” etc. Think about adjusting the following parameters within each option:

Wash Temperature — Turning cold water to hot water is extremely energy-intensive. Heated water accounts for about 90% of the energy needed to run a washer, according to Energy Star. Plus, many garment manufacturers don’t recommend washing in high temperatures and retail detergents have been modified accordingly. Default temperatures are approximately 104 F for Hot and 86 F for Warm cycles. Dial those down a few increments for utility cost savings that will add up.

Extract Speed — During extraction, washers spin at a specific force to remove moisture from laundry. Higher extract speeds remove more moisture, which in turn shortens drying time and dramatically extends linen life. When drying time decreases, so does resulting natural gas usage and costs. Some high-speed washers generate a G-force exceeding 400. Ensure washers are set for their maximum G-force output. Customers will enjoy the quicker dry, you’ll improve customer turnover, and dryers will last longer because they operate less often. By increasing extract speeds, you’ll boost profits, while speeding customers through your laundry.

Check back tomorrow for the conclusion!