Proper Installation of Equipment

Owners and Operators of commercial laundry equipment often have strong opinions of the various equipment brands, these opinions are derived from their experiences over time with these brands. What I learned over my years in the industry is that in a number of cases what may seem like a trouble prone model or bad design can actually be faulty installation. This is not always the case of course but I have found it happens more often than you would think.

I have spoken with operators who have been in the industry for decades and are very well-informed regarding their business and equipment, yet are unaware that the equipment they have complained about for years was never installed properly to begin with.

Some examples of faulty installation in washers:

  • Insufficient voltage can cause computer board issues, false error codes, intermittent component issues, power failures, or worse. Insufficient voltage can be the result of the wrong gauge electrical wire being used, a faulty breaker, etc.
  • Low water pressure sounds obvious but when additional washers or washers in a new facility it is important to ensure that not only is the waterline of the right diameter but that there is sufficient pressure. In some cases a new Laundromat may have the right size water line but insufficient pressure when multiple washer are in use. This will cause long delays in the cycle time or even cause error codes that prevent the washer from operating at all.
  • Improper drainage: The wrong diameter drain, insufficient pitch in the drain, lack of venting on the drain, are all issues I have seen any number of times.
  • Machines not properly lagged / bolted down is a very common issue. Many people operate under the false impression that if the concrete depth isn’t sufficient for what is required that adding a steel base will resolve the problem, this is a common misconception. A steel base can be used but doesn’t in and of itself resolve the problem, it can actually make the problem worse. Understanding the proper application of a steel base still seems to be the most common misconception among even the veterans of the industry.

Examples of faulty dryer installation:

  •  Faulty voltage is a common problem in washers and dryers. Usually short cuts taken when supplying power to the dryer are the cause (using the wrong gauge wire, running multiple units on one breaker, undersized breaker, etc.).
  • Lack of appropriate make-up air is another very common error. Gas or propane dryers require oxygen for a good flame, lack of fresh make up air can cause an inefficient flame or other issues like high temp limit faults.  This problem can seem intermittent and only occur during high volume use when multiple dryers are present.
  • Exhaust issues occur when the wrong diameter exhaust is used, exhaust duct work is too long causing static pressure buildup, exhaust is too close to incoming fresh air, to many restrictive elbows are used in the exhaust duct, lint build up in the duct work, and many more exhaust related issues.
  • Low gas pressure is a common problem, usually symptomatic when multiple dryers are in use.

Often when equipment is installed the person performing the installation may not be familiar with the particular model being installed, this can be mitigated by reading and adhering to the installation manual. Unfortunately this is usually not the case, for the most part the individual(s) performing the installation are simply trying to get the machine in place and operational. In some case the installer may be someone working for a distributor but they aren’t familiar with the latest model or changes made to the installation manual.

There are bigger problems than a machine being out of order that can come into play when equipment is not installed properly, fires, flooding, and serious injury can also occur.

Always make sure the installation manual is read AND understood before installing new equipment.

In my next blog, we will discuss “Card Stores” and whether or not that is a viable option for a laundry owner.

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