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Going Against the Upward Trend: Tips for Lowering Utility Costs (Part 1)

Smart upgrades, maintenance, new equipment can boost savings

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. — Utilities are among a vended laundry’s greatest expenses, so it’s important to understand how to curb those costs through smart upgrades, maintenance and new equipment purchases. Oftentimes, small tweaks to your thermostat or washer programs can result in significant savings. Save even more by investing in new technology. Read on for ways to improve energy efficiency at your vended laundry.

Maintain Equipment — Consistent maintenance according to a regimented schedule is the key to the safe and efficient operation of every piece of equipment at a vended laundry, from water heaters, washers and air conditioning/heating systems, to drying tumblers. Ensure that you follow manufacturer recommendations found in the back of installation manuals for regular preventative maintenance.

Regularly maintain or replace filters, and thoroughly clean tumbler lint screens, blower fan blades, air intake louvers/screens and burner manifolds. Annually, remove dryer fronts and remove any built-up lint around the cabinet, dryer cylinder and computer board. Check belt tensioning, inspect water valve and drain devices for slow leaks, and pay attention to vent system clean-outs and main manifold trunks.

Replace Old Washers and Dryers — Most new front-load washers and dryers offer solid efficiency in terms of electrical, natural gas and water usage. Dryers have become more efficient over time with spark igniters that allow for minimal temperature fluctuations as they run the selected cycles. Moreover, they often feature improved cabinet fit and finishes, which retain more heat for a quicker dry while conserving Btu. To further lower electricity consumption, choose washers and dryers with inverter-driven motors.

Choose High-speed Washers — While the cost of soft-mount, high-speed washers is more than hard-mount washers, they will lower operational costs – especially natural gas usage. This is because soft-mount washers generate and sustain much higher extract speeds (up to 450 G-force), when compared with traditional hard-mount machines (up to 200 G-force). Thus, they remove significantly more moisture and soils from a load — slashing resulting dry time by up to 50%. Soft-mount washers will also reduce the operational time of your dryers — extending their longevity.

Soft-mount, high-speed washers can save thousands a year in utility costs. Additionally, soft-mount washers do not require bolt-down to a thick, reinforced concrete foundation. They save floor space and can be easily moved and relocated.

Tweak Washer Programming — If you buy new washers, ensure they are highly programmable for additional savings in water and electricity. It’s best to choose washers with a control that allows the store owner to customize extract speed, mechanical action, multi-level pricing, time-of-day pricing, wash temperature by degree, water levels, number of baths and rinses, and wash and rinse time by minute. That way, store owners can add or eliminate baths, extend or shorten rinses or washes, and decide what the exact water temperature should be based on vend price and energy/water costs.

By selecting exact temperatures, laundries can save a considerable amount in water-heating costs and hot-water volume demand, helping their heating systems keep up during peak periods.

Check back Wednesday for more tips!

Going Against the Upward Trend - Tips for Lowering Utility Costs

(Photo: © den.dubinko/Depositphotos)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].