Dryer Maintenance D.I.Y. (Part 2)

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/alengo)

Bruce Beggs |

A breakdown of primary tasks and how frequently to complete them

CHICAGO — The success of any self-service laundry is based in large part on the availability and performance of its equipment. And while washers and dryers can be considered “equals,” it’s the dryers that customers use last and perhaps remember best, whether positively or negatively.

Therefore, dryer maintenance is of great importance. But just how much should you do yourself and how much should you leave to the “professionals”?

American Coin-Op invited representatives from the industry’s dryer manufacturers to answer questions to tell us what the average store owner should maintain themselves and where to draw the line. This is the second in a four-part series.

Q: Can you break down the primary dryer maintenance tasks that a business-minded store owner can perform and how often they should be done?

Jay Klemm, product manager, Alliance Laundry Systems, for Primus: The tumbler manual provides an overview of the regular maintenance needs that should be performed daily, monthly, quarterly, biannually and annually. Important daily maintenance needs include:

  • Inspecting the area surrounding tumble dryers and removing all combustible materials, including lint, before operating the machines.
  • Checking the cylinder for foreign objects to avoid damage to clothing and equipment.
  • Cleaning lint from the lint compartment and screen to maintain proper airflow and avoid overheating.
  • Cleaning the machines’ top, front and side panels with mild detergent and rinsing with water at the end of each day.

Gary Brown, vice president of engineering, Laundrylux: Cleaning of painted surfaces, door glass, door gasket, lint screens, lint screen compartment, and other exposed surfaces — daily.

Cleaning of door gaskets, coin selectors, makeup air inlets and screens covering inlets (and perhaps exhaust ducts) — weekly.

Cleaning exhaust vents, drum support rollers, and blower compartment, and inspecting wear-and-tear items such as rollers, belts and seals – inspect, clean or repair and replace as recommended in the product’s manuals.

Chris Brick, product and brand training manager, Maytag® Commercial Laundry and American Dryer: On a daily basis, it’s important to clean the front of machines, as well as the floors and walls surrounding dryers in order to reduce dust and lint buildup. In addition, owners should check dryer baskets for nails, screws and other objects that could damage the dryer, and make sure the lint compartment is clean periodically throughout the day.

Vacuuming the inner dryer cabinet to reduce lint buildup, and ensuring lint is not collecting on temperature probes, should be performed on a monthly basis.

Finally, owners should clean dryer exhaust ducts once a year.

Gary Clark, product performance and training manager, Continental Girbau: Continental Girbau’s preventive maintenance schedule for dryers includes the following:

  • Daily — Clean and check lint filter; check cylinder for objects.
  • Monthly — Check airflow device; clean motor of lint; clean burner compartment of lint; clean lint filter compartment; oil door hinges; and clean exhaust duct.
  • Quarterly — Check belts for wear and fraying; check door glass seal for wear; tighten all screws and bolts; check main shaft for tightness; and clean air ports on burners.
  • Biannually — Remove and clean burners; remove and clean all orifices; remove front panel and coin drop and clean of all lint buildup; check electrical connections; check gas connections; and inspect drum seals and inner panels for wear or damage.

Aaron Burningham, laundry sales and service consultant, Evans Commercial Laundry Equipment, a Speed Queen distributor: Daily, you should inspect the dryers for damage and obstructions, clean lint screens and filters for proper maintenance and airflow, and wipe down and clean dryers for clean and neat appearance.

Each month, check and clean exhaust venting as needed (including any dampeners and louvers, which can be cleaned with a vacuum); check for any buildup on thermostats (cycle thermostat, high limit, thermistors) and carefully clean to avoid excess buildup that may cause overheating issues; and check and clean all blower fan assemblies for any buildup on fan blades that will cause excessive vibration and lack of airflow.

Each quarter, check and inspect drive belts and cylinder belts, and replace as needed; check and clean air vents on motors with a vacuum; and check the overall flow of exhaust and fresh air makeup.

Twice annually, check all gas lines for leakage; check electrical connections for tightness, including any machines that use plug-in receptacles (inspect for any black markings on plugs); check any steam connection, if applicable, for leaks and clean coils; remove and clean burner tube assemblies to ensure proper flame and that the machine is being efficiently utilized; and remove front panel and service panels to vacuum lint from the front cylinder compartment as well as coin drop assembly.

Russ Cooper, manager of technical service, Dexter Laundry: Clean the lint screen and check it for tears daily, plus clean excess lint from the lint screen compartment. On a monthly basis, remove lint accumulation from the end belts of the motor, and remove lint and dirt accumulation from the top of the dryer and all areas above, below and around the burners and burner housing.

Each quarter, check belts for looseness, wear or fraying; inspect the gasket of the door glass for excessive wear; and remove lint accumulation from the primary air ports in the burners.

Semiannually, remove and clean the main burner tubes; apply a few drops of oil to each spacer tube on the tension arm assembly; and grease the pivot pins and the tension arms where in contact with each other.

Annually, check the intermediate pulley bearings for wear; check the tightness of the tumbler shaft retaining bolt; check and remove any lint accumulation from the exhaust system; remove the front panel and the lint screen housing and remove lint accumulation; place a few drops of light oil on the door hinge; and grease the bearings and the shaft of the intermediate drive pulley.

Mike Besaw, director of technical services, Alliance Laundry Systems, for Huebsch: The important daily maintenance tasks include inspecting the area surrounding tumble dryers and removing all combustible materials, including lint, before operating the machines; checking the cylinder for foreign objects to avoid damage to clothing and equipment; cleaning lint from lint compartment and screen(s) to maintain proper airflow and avoid overheating; and cleaning the machines at the end of the day (you can use mild detergent to clean the machine’s exposed panels and rinse with clean water).

Check back Monday for Part 3!

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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