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Coin Laundry Equipment Service Tips (Part 1)

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/gerenme)

Bruce Beggs |

Improve business, save money by keeping up with maintenance needs

CHICAGO — Not every equipment matter in a coin laundry requires a service call. There are some things that the average store owner can do—and should do—to keep their machines in good working condition.

American Coin-Op polled several manufacturers this month about the level of equipment maintenance a store owner should expect to perform, what tasks should be left to trained repairmen, and how much money a store can save by maintaining a consistent preventive maintenance schedule.

Q: What types of equipment maintenance should a store owner or attendant be able to do without contacting a distributor or equipment repair service for assistance?

Russ Cooper, manager of technical service, Dexter Laundry: By nature, Laundromat ownership tends to be a “hands-on” business that is undertaken by entrepreneurs that have some degree of mechanical aptitude or that have employees that do. By taking advantage of equipment service schools, owners and their employees can learn to service most aspects of the machine. Many of the equipment issues that we at the factory help out with begin with neglected maintenance or a simple lack of cleaning that most anyone would be qualified to handle. From there, basic troubleshooting and component replacement generally requires no specific tools or skills.

Robert Small, senior manager, global commercial laundry service, Maytag Commercial Laundry®: Regardless of equipment type, it is always a good idea to keep the exterior of the product and all surroundings clean and tidy. This will eliminate the possibility of lint and debris getting into any part of the machine that would require additional maintenance or cleaning.

Leroy Trevigne, key account representative for vended laundries, Pellerin Milnor: For new installations, if not installed by the dealer, be sure the installer consults the installation manual or dealer for proper installation procedures. For water fill problems, be sure there is at least 40-50 psi coming into the building, 60-70 psi is best. Be sure hose sizes are correct to each machine. Check inline filter screens, (and for) trash caught inside the valve body and small control glass control circuit fuses. Some machines, top loaders in particular, have inline fuses for the water valves.

Keep all machines clean, both outside and inside the control. Chemicals such as detergent and bleach are highly corrosive. If not cleaned daily from the exterior, it will damage the outer surface of the machine. Dust should be vacuumed from the controls, with power off, at least once or twice a year.

Robert Barile, regional sales manager, Speed Queen: Most manufacturers provide preventative maintenance lists detailing which tasks should be performed on a regular basis. For issues such as water being unable to move in or out of the machine, an attendant should look to clear debris from a drain or fill valve. Owners/attendants should be able to follow lubrication per manufacturer instructions and execute the removal of lint buildup on dryers, coin drops, control compartments, computer or output relay boards and motor-cooling vents.

Q: What types of equipment maintenance or repair is generally too advanced for the average store owner and thus should be handled by factory-trained or qualified personnel?

Small: Any part or component failure, or any error codes displayed by a machine that warrants it “out of order.”

Trevigne: Anytime there seems to be an electrical problem, a problem with the sequence of the wash cycle, motor problems, main bearing problems, or problems that the owner cannot seem to determine just what the problem is, the service company should be contacted. … It is always best to obtain service quickly, rather than wait and let the problem worsen.

Barile: In general, maintenance surrounding electrical components should be handled by a factory-trained technician. For example, most large replacement components require specialized tools and training, such as main bearings, cylinders, motor, and suspension systems. Solid state computer controls or inverter drives also require specialized tuning equipment and knowledge.

Cooper: Depending on the equipment and the comfort level of the owner, some electrical testing is too advanced for many store operators. In almost every case, if the machine must be dismantled for bearing or shaft replacement, these procedures should be left up to a qualified technician.

BASIC EQUIPMENT SERVICE TIPS

Following are some basic equipment service tips offered by this month’s experts (with the understanding that not all machines are alike). Keep each machine’s instruction manual close at hand and always check for recommended maintenance.

Washer, Top-Load:

  • Clean machine tops regularly, because they become “tables” for laundry baskets, detergent bottles, etc.

  • Keep coin slides and drops clean

  • Keep soap dispenser free of extra detergent or fabric softener

  • Check magnet-controlled door interlock switches, water pressure switch tubes, and inline fuses to ensure they’re working properly

  • Use compressed air to clean internal parts of coin drops

  • Check fill hose screens and remove any gravel, sand, etc.

  • Replace water inlet hoses every five years

  • Make sure machine is properly mounted/balanced

Washer, Front-Load:

  • Clean machine tops regularly, because they become “tables” for laundry baskets, detergent bottles, etc.

  • Wipe down the bellows with cloth soaked in solution of 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach and 1 cup warm tap water; let stand for five minutes

  • Change oil in bearing housings as needed

  • Vacuum inverter louvers

  • Keep drain valves clear of debris such as coins, paper clips, bra wires, etc.

  • Ensure that power-supply voltage matches that required by machine

  • Replace water inlet hoses every five years

  • Make sure machine is properly mounted/balanced

Check back Monday for Part 2!

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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