Is Trouble Lurking on your Roof? (Part 2)


air conditioner on roof
Evaporative coolers are a common source of unwanted water on Laundromat roofs.

Miles Waters |

CHICAGO — While your Laundromat roof may be out of sight, it should be on your mind. Routine visits to your roof help avoid costly repairs and keep your equipment running more efficiently.There are a variety of concerns regarding roofs and roof-mounted equipment that need to be addressed.First, if there is a permanent roof-access ladder, keep a key on hand if the ladder has a lock. If no such ladder exists, keep a ladder on site that is tall enough to safely access the roof. Trying to find a way to get on the roof during an emergency is not a good plan!Once safely on the roof, look for the following:Air conditioner — When checking your air conditioning, be certain that the condenser coil (resembles a car radiator) is free from lint in order to get the maximum efficiency and the lowest operating cost. Spraying the lint off the coil with a hose is typical. Be sure the condensate pipe, which drains the water created during all air-conditioning operations, is intact so that the water can reach a drain or be piped off the roof. This pipe can be repaired by a plumber or, if plastic, by anyone familiar with PVC piping.Dryer vents — Be sure the top portion of the dryer vent, consisting of two 90-degree elbows, ends pointed downward so rain can’t enter and destroy the dryer. Readjust any elbows or joints, or replace as needed. If you still find signs of water by the dryers, painting the elbow joints every couple of years with duct sealant (available at Home Depot) makes them waterproof.Make-up air access — These openings, created using sheet metal and screen, provide the air that is drawn into the dryer, heated, and used to dry the clothes. Lint from the dryer ducts can clog this screen material, hindering the amount of airflow and lessening the dryers’ efficiency. Any stiff-bristle brush or vacuum cleaner can clear away the lint.Roof jacks — Roof jacks, constructed of sheet metal and shaped like a cone, allow piping to be sealed as it enters the roof. Any gap between pipe and jack can be sealed with roof tar. Apply the tar with a cheap brush; no points will be given for neatness.A trip to the roof now and then can extend the life, reliability and efficiency of the equipment on it, as well as the roof itself.

About the author

Miles Waters


Miles Waters is a licensed and bonded contractor in California specializing in Laundromat construction and remodeling for more than 20 years. Waters is available for consulting nationally.


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