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Preventive Maintenance: A Little Goes a Long Way

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Preventive Maintenance. (Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/pagadesign)

Lee Ferguson |

CHICAGO — Having worked as a service technician and a service and parts manager for 13 years, I can attest to how vitally important it is to have preventive maintenance performed regularly on your laundry equipment.
Store owners have limited time each day, and it typically shows in many preventive-maintenance schedules. There are always more important or crucial tasks that need to be accomplished before any type of maintenance can be completed, especially preventive maintenance. Does this sound familiar?

Well, if you have this mentality, it will adversely affect you in the long run. Simply, the general condition of your equipment will become poor and the performance you receive from it will not be adequate. In addition, postponing or avoiding preventive maintenance will also lead to increased utilities and higher repair costs.
I realize that limited finances affect preventive-maintenance schedules. If you don’t view maintenance as being urgent, you’ll view your money as better spent elsewhere. This view couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ll reap the benefits of preventive maintenance in the first month. It will be no coincidence when your utility and repair bills decrease and your customer satisfaction increases.SIMPLE TASKS
Most likely, you already have a daily cleaning schedule for the laundry itself. You probably take care of the bathroom, trash cans, folding tables, windows, etc. Why don’t you incorporate some quick and easy tasks for your equipment?
Clean lint screens produce more efficient airflow, allowing your dryers to work better, not harder. Leaving your washer doors open at night will greatly extend the life of the gaskets. Making sure all the soap is removed and cleaned out of the soap dispensers daily will ensure your washers don’t “oversuds” and create a mess, as well as damage the motor and other parts.
Along with daily preventive-maintenance duties, you should schedule monthly, quarterly and even yearly maintenance. For example, it’s easy to remember when you move your clocks back or forward to check the batteries in the smoke detectors. At the same time, why not pull the front panels off the dryers and remove the excess lint?
April 15 is tax day. How about having a professional duct-cleaning company clean your entire trunk lines at this time?
Perhaps on the first of every month, you can change a number of your washer belts and/or hoses. Divide the number of washers by 12 and that will guide you on how many belts and/or hoses you’ll need to remove and replace each month.
Remember to keep good notes on all of your cleaning, equipment repairs and parts replaced. I recommend using a specific calendar that you can keep handy so it can be viewed at any time.
When it comes to preventive maintenance, a little can go a long way. Just like changing the oil in your car or replacing wiper blades, your laundry equipment needs “TLC” on a regular basis. Remember, your equipment will give you back exactly what you put into it. For every excuse I hear “why not” to perform preventive maintenance, I can give you at least two reasons why it’s critical to do preventive maintenance.
If you have any general maintenance questions, please submit them to Paul Partyka, the editor, at ppartyka@crain.com.

About the author

Lee Ferguson

Laundry Equipment Services, Inc.

Service and Parts Manager, Laundry Equipment Services Inc.

Ferguson has worked as a service technician, and a service and parts manager for 13 years. He is currently the service and parts manager at Laundry Equipment Services, Inc., in Berkeley Springs, W. Va.

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