Spin Cycle

Laundry equipment is an investment, and the investment should be protected. To keep laundry equipment working at an optimum level, schools must maintain their machines.

Many of the preventive-maintenance practices are not major service work, but it is important to develop a routine preventive-maintenance schedule.

Tips for washing machines

These preventive-maintenance tips should apply for all smaller chassis home-style or coin-operated washers:

  • Monthly

    Inspect the rubber hoses on the back of the washers for any cracks, blisters, corroded fittings and leaks on a monthly basis. If any of these are present, the laundry service company should replace the hoses. Even if there are no noticeable problems with the rubber hoses, they begin to lose their structure over time. Therefore, manufacturers recommend replacing them every five years.

    As an added preventive-maintenance measure, it's a good idea to have the laundry service company change out rubber hoses for metal flex hoses. They last longer and require less maintenance.

  • Bi-monthly

    It is important to remove any obstructions. Bi-monthly, schools or their laundry service company should turn the water off to the washer, check the screens at either end of the washer hose, and remove any debris.

    To prevent faucets from binding up, close and reopen the water faucets. This also is a great way to check for leaks where the hose connects to the faucet.

  • Annually

    Foundations shift with age. To prevent washers from walking on their own, the rear self-leveling legs should be reset annually. To adjust them, tilt the washer forward onto its front legs and gently set the machine back down. The legs should automatically self-adjust.

In addition to adjusting the self-leveling legs, many laundry service companies will change the drive belts on washers every year.

Dryer maintenance

Dryers usually require less maintenance. Their worst enemy is lint. Lint buildup often is one of the leading causes of dryer failures. It also increases energy consumption drastically. Some tips:

  • Daily

    After each use, it is important to empty lint filters. Students should be involved in this process. Post signs in the laundry room reminding them to empty the lint trap after each load.

  • Bi-monthly

    The type of venting duct used will determine how often it needs to be cleaned. For smooth metal exhaust vents, every three to six months is acceptable. Corrugated metal flex ducts get dirty faster and should be cleaned every two to four months.

  • Annually

    Lint and dust can get everywhere. Once a year, most manufacturers recommend moving dryers away from the wall and vacuuming the area behind and the floor underneath. The lint filter also should be removed and vacuumed carefully using a hose attachment. It also is recommended to vacuum underneath the dryer door and dryer heater box.

Casey is the director of multi-housing for Alliance Laundry Systems, Ripon, Wis.

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