Preventive Maintenance: Q&A Time


preventive maintenance tools
Preventive Maintenance. (Photo: ©

Lee Ferguson |

CHICAGO — In this article, I tackle questions submitted by operators.Q: My washers buzz in the upper left corner, near the horse (Dexter) logo. How do I stop this? Someone said I should unscrew the solenoid that holds the door closed and move it.A: From the description given, here are a few things to consider. First, locate the control panel. You must isolate the noise to the exact malfunctioning part. The buzzing noise you are hearing could be coming from multiple components, but let’s start by looking at the motor contactors.When the contactors engage to send voltage to the motor, determine if any of them could be chattering and making the buzzing noise. Then move forward in locating the door-lock solenoid, and ensure that when the door is shut and the machine is started, the solenoid pulls firmly in and makes a solid connection.If either item is malfunctioning and has gone bad, we highly recommend you replace them with OEM parts to ensure proper operation. As always, especially with electrical components, be careful inspecting the machine. If you feel uncomfortable with working on your equipment, contact a reputable service equipment distributor, and have a qualified, factory-trained technician diagnose and correct the malfunctioning equipment.Q: I only have 3/8-inch “supplies” rated at 135k Btu at 3 feet. Should I replace them if I need 90k per pocket? Is it important to do this now, or can I wait a bit?A: At some point, you will need to look into replacing your existing supply lines. Because of the shortage of Btu, you should be experiencing a whistling sound from the lines not supplying enough to each pocket. Theoretically, you will need to increase to a total supply line of at least 180k Btu, leaving a minimum of 90k per pocket.This is not necessarily an immediate fix, and it may create some serious problems in the near future with equipment operation. Keep in mind that this situation may also be affecting your water heater’s efficiency.Q: My dryers (drums) have some bad spots as a result of screws being caught in them. What is the best way to deal with this?A: I don’t know of any good, permanent fix for your problem. We have seen customers weld small pieces of aluminum over the damaged drum area. Short of replacing the entire drum, this may be the best solution.Q: What is the best way to polish the stainless steel on a Dexter washer? I’ve tried Pledge, WD40, stainless-steel polisher and even water. What do you suggest?A: I’ve had success with an orange spray cleaner. It cleans and polishes at the same time. You can purchase the generic brand and save money. If you want, follow that up with a dab of baby oil on a rag. Make sure not to use too much, because it will cause a buildup and you will see lint all over your machine. Remember, a little goes a long way.Q: How many hours a day should my attendant clean?A: That depends on the size of your store, the amount of business you have and how clean you want your store to be. The best scenario would be to have someone open the store in the morning, turn on the lights, do a quick check of the trash, dust, sweep the floor, and see if any clothes were left in the equipment from the prior day.In the middle of the day, have someone come in to dry-mop and empty the trash. Have this person check the bathroom and do a general wipe-down of the equipment.Closing time should be deep-cleaning time. This means thoroughly cleaning the equipment, emptying all trash, scrubbing floors, washing doors and windows, cleaning the bathroom, etc.Cutting labor costs is important, but you don’t want to lose customers because your store is filthy. Find a happy medium at your operation. 

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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