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alesser738
12-25-2010, 04:19 PM
I have 45 Dexter n series washers and 47 newer Dexter washers some express some not express. My question is regarding things getting stuck in the drain valve. Every three weeks I check every single washer for items getting stuck in the drain. Out of the 92 I probably find 5-6 washers that have something stuck (75% of the time the usual bra wire). Another probably 10 that have coins stuck so the drain valve can not close completely.
I did a search a few years ago and someone recommended to use a magnet (I purchased $50 in magnets to no avail) . I am thinking of building like a trough between the washer and drain valve and was wondering if anyone has done something like this?. I have probably wasted $100,000 in water over the last 8 years and am also getting tired of doing the same thing over and over 92 times every three weeks. Any ideas are appreciated. THANKS Adam

Adamski
12-25-2010, 05:15 PM
Adam,

First, let me say that I am surprised that this leaking drain valve problem has become so uncomfortable that you feel the need to check every drain valve every 3 weeks. I, for example, will only check a drain valve if I have reason to believe it might be causing an actual problem with the washer or, if we have the front off the washer for other reasons, we might go ahead and check the drain valve. I have many drain valves that I've never inspected (on my 2008 washers).

If your washers drain into a trough system, it is fairly easy to watch the washer's drain while the washer is filling and/or tumbling but not draining. During these parts of the cycle, the washer should not be leaking any water down the drain. A 1/8" stream would indicate minor leakage and a 1/4"+ stream would indicate serious leakage. After observing each washer's drain, you can determine which washer valves need to be inspected.

If you cannot view leakage through the drain system because it's a closed system, you may be able to discern serious leakage by watching the water level in a Wash or Rinse part of the cycle. You would have to view the level through the window during the pauses in the tumble action and look for a dropping level with each successive action pause.

Another option would be to install a clear, neoprene hose in the drain line behind each washer. This way, even with a closed drain system, you could view any serious leakage during times when the valve is closed. You could even go so far as to install a pilot light on the back of each washer that would be powered off the drain valve. An "ON" light would indicate the valve has power and should be closed at that time (on Dexter washers).

The larger question is, why are your valves giving you so much trouble in the first place? A call to Dexter's tech dept might be helpful.

alesser738
12-25-2010, 06:37 PM
Thanks for the reply Larry,
The drain valves function perfectly (the problem is items getting stuck in them). I already tried the clear pipe idea (unfortunately it turns black after a couple months). I write down every washer that has something stuck in it (absolutely no connection other then the busier washers are move likely to have something stuck). None of theses issues cause the customers to complain or create machines Out of Service. I have checked the spacing between the outer drum and inner drum and the gaps are within spec 1/4-3/8. This is only something I notice.
45 washers every three weeks for 7 1./2 years=I have done this 5,850 times
47 washers every three weeks for 3 years = 2,444 times
Together 8,294 times lol at least I am getting pretty fast
I would type more but have 9 triple load drain valves to check (wish I was joking ).
Any other ideas are appreciated. thanks Adam

MrMachine
12-25-2010, 08:10 PM
Thanks for the reply Larry,
The drain valves function perfectly (the problem is items getting stuck in them). I already tried the clear pipe idea (unfortunately it turns black after a couple months). I write down every washer that has something stuck in it (absolutely no connection other then the busier washers are move likely to have something stuck). None of theses issues cause the customers to complain or create machines Out of Service. I have checked the spacing between the outer drum and inner drum and the gaps are within spec 1/4-3/8. This is only something I notice.
45 washers every three weeks for 7 1./2 years=I have done this 5,850 times
47 washers every three weeks for 3 years = 2,444 times
Together 8,294 times lol at least I am getting pretty fast
I would type more but have 9 triple load drain valves to check (wish I was joking ).
Any other ideas are appreciated. thanks Adam

I routinely get bra underwires and NYC subway "metrocards" stuck in my drains, along with the usual conglomeration of nails, screws, bobby pins, library cards, and student ID's.
Since I don't use troughs (commercial washers in NYC must be directly connected to a drain line), I can't visualize the function of the valves like Larry can. Boy, I wish I could.

What I do instead as a next best thing, I take a flashlight and point down inside the washer's basket, into the drain hole of the tub. With a good flashlight, you can see through the wash basket's holes right down into the drain of the washer. Many times an item will be lodged right at the opening of the washer tub's drain.

You can do this as often as you like. I usually check all my washers twice a week. It takes about 10 minutes at most.

Adamski
12-26-2010, 06:48 AM
Adam,

Yes, I understand that the valves are functioning but things are getting caught in them too often causing them to leak when closed. What size are your drain valves? Most of my washers have 3" drain valves except my 20# washers have 2" drain valves. Even my 2" valves have not given me any problems at all so I can't understand why you're getting so many things stuck in your's.

Maybe your customers need to check their pockets more. Could that be the difference between your places and mine? Do you have the big door Dexters? If so, maybe that new door design is not dished-in enough and it's too easy for objects to get through the gap around the door between the basket and cylinder.

MrMachine
12-26-2010, 07:54 AM
Adam,

Yes, I understand that the valves are functioning but things are getting caught in them too often causing them to leak when closed. What size are your drain valves? Most of my washers have 3" drain valves except my 20# washers have 2" drain valves. Even my 2" valves have not given me any problems at all so I can't understand why you're getting so many things stuck in your's.

Maybe your customers need to check their pockets more. Could that be the difference between your places and mine? Do you have the big door Dexters? If so, maybe that new door design is not dished-in enough and it's too easy for objects to get through the gap around the door between the basket and cylinder.


Larry,

It may have to do with Adam's clientele.
I have one store that gets something stuck in a drain almost once a week.
My other store (with the same brands of machines) will be half that frequency. They both do approx the same amt of turns.

After putting up a big sign to "check your pockets for items that could ruin your laundry", I did see a small improvement.

alesser738
12-26-2010, 10:59 AM
The small Dexter washers (t300, t350) have 2 inch drain valves.
Every other size has 3 inch drain valves.
They are all the older smaller Dexter Doors. Unfortunately the flashlight idea only works on Wascomats that I know of) the Dexter drain valves can not be seen from the inside of the drum. This did give me a good idea about remounting them so I can see them with a flashlight.
Yesterday I checked 45 washers. Got three bra wires, 2 hair pins all stuck in the drain valve causing leaks. Any other ideas are appreciated. Thanks Adam

Adamski
12-26-2010, 11:08 AM
Adam,

Require that all female customers be bra-less and hat-less. No bra wires or hat pins.:)

Seriously though, we all get bra wires going through our drain valves. Once in a while one will get stuck. We probably pull out 1 bra sta every 2 months. Certainly no more than that. I just don't get why you're having so much problem with this.

Howard
12-26-2010, 11:12 AM
Not sure why you see the need to clean these things pre-emptively. Also don't understand the need to see if water is leaking through a trough. Can't you hear if something is caught in the drain valve. I know whenever I have one leaking I can hear the water valves open during the wash cycle to add more water to make up for what might be leaking. That is when it is time to go open up the valve.

MrMachine
12-26-2010, 11:34 AM
Not sure why you see the need to clean these things pre-emptively. Also don't understand the need to see if water is leaking through a trough. Can't you hear if something is caught in the drain valve. I know whenever I have one leaking I can hear the water valves open during the wash cycle to add more water to make up for what might be leaking. That is when it is time to go open up the valve.

You know what it is for me Howard? The price of water these days is getting SO high that I want to minimize the number of leaks and the amount of time that they are leaking.
Leaks cost too much money these days.

BCW
12-26-2010, 12:24 PM
I agree with Howard. It's a big waste of time to constantly check drain valves. Just listen to the machines run and you will know if all is well. Common sense will take you a long ways in fixing and maintaining equipment.

Tom

merlin3
12-26-2010, 12:32 PM
I agree with Howard. It's a big waste of time to constantly check drain valves. Just listen to the machines run and you will know if all is well. Common sense will take you a long ways in fixing and maintaining equipment.

Tom


+1

Only time I get worked up enough about it on Dexters is when I simply don't get water because it's stuck all the way open or when I hear the fill valve opening repeatedly during the wash cycle.

The above philosophy developed shortly after my first store and after I had started doing something like the original poster. That got old quick! :p

Rockamat
03-05-2011, 02:19 PM
I have 45 Dexter n series washers and 47 newer Dexter washers some express some not express. My question is regarding things getting stuck in the drain valve. Every three weeks I check every single washer for items getting stuck in the drain. Out of the 92 I probably find 5-6 washers that have something stuck (75% of the time the usual bra wire). Another probably 10 that have coins stuck so the drain valve can not close completely.
I did a search a few years ago and someone recommended to use a magnet (I purchased $50 in magnets to no avail) . I am thinking of building like a trough between the washer and drain valve and was wondering if anyone has done something like this?. I have probably wasted $100,000 in water over the last 8 years and am also getting tired of doing the same thing over and over 92 times every three weeks. Any ideas are appreciated. THANKS Adam

I have 28 Dexter small door washers. A nice mix of T-300, 400, 600 & 900s. Of the 28 washers I get a MINIMUM of 6 per month that either will not hold any water at all, or will not drain (to the point of taking 10-15 minutes to drain fully during testing the machine with no clothing at all). The problem is invariably clogged drain valves or the drain pipes beyond the valves, which often means going behind the machine in my closed system.

It is the same mix of junk that other people are talking about; bra under wires, metrocards, govt benefit cards, coins, screws, etc. which get logged and then all the 'soft debris' clings too.

The problem is so bad in fact that Dexter has a released a retrofit kit which changes out the drain valve and the drain pipe that goes from the basket to the valve with a smaller diameter pipe. Unfortunately they only make this kit for the 20 lb. T-300 machines, and I usually see the problem on my T-400s and larger with the 3" pipes.

The reason I check my washers preemptively is because if I don't I get a billion complaints- from unwashed cloths if the valve is clogged, to soaking wet cloths if a drain pipe is clogged. Waiting for complaints is bad business and I have to clean just as many drains anyway, so I might as well clean them out before I get a complaint. Same work - fewer complaints = less aggravation for me.

I am not able to hear my drain valves opening/closing so just listening for them is not an option. I suspect the people who are not having the problem with the Dexters see fewer turns? My 28 washers see 3500 starts a month on average. I'm curious if this is more, less or average compared with the other folks who are and those who are not seeing the problem. And yes I have signs all over asking to please check pockets before washing. This still does not stop the odd shotgun shell from ending up in a machine (yes, I actually found one in a DRYER last year and from the looks of it it went through the entire wash/dry cycle).

Adam, I think when you say trough you mean AFTER the drain pipe leading from the basket and BEFORE the drain valve. I've thought a lot about this too; catch the debris before it goes too far into the system yet is large enough to allow the water to flow. You'd still have to dump the trough every once in a while but could easily access it from the front of the machine. I think if the box is wide enough and with some sort "S" shaped water path inside the water flow would not be too affected and yet the cards and wires would get caught in the box, almost like a high-flow filter.

I reached this thread because this problem is driving me CRAZY so I finally googled it. I'd love to hear from other who are having the same problem. Sorry for the long post.

David (Rock-a-mat Laundry)

alesser738
03-05-2011, 07:56 PM
Hey David,
I just got done pulling a cell phone battery out of a 75 lbs Dexter Washer. Unfortunately, I broke my leg last week playing softball. I got a titanium rod inside my leg bone along with some screws. Thankfully I can still fix the washers and Dryers in my condition. I agree 100% about the volume statement. Seems this board is happy with like 5 TPD. I personally would probably hang myself if I opened a laundromat that only did 5 tpd.
How you described my solution is exactly what I am after. I was even thinking a small snake with a camera to check the drains. They make inexpensive ones that are only like 36 inches long. Only problem is I would need to drill a 1/2 hole in the washer drum and get a plastic plug. Just take the plug out and put the camera down, then plug the whole back up. Similar plug that they have mounted on the rear of the drums to access the bolts. I will test my idea and let you know. The camera would only help to find the problem sooner versus the trough fix I was talking about. THANKS Adam

Duane
03-05-2011, 08:16 PM
TPD means little.

When I first opened up 8 years ago I was doing around 8 TPD. With several price increases I am now between 4-5 TPD and here is the real kicker....

I HAVE A HIGHER CASH FLOW AT 4 TPD THAN AT 8 TURNS PER DAY. With less wear and tear on the equipment, less cleaning and less customer issues.

In other words don't concentrate on getting more TPD, work on creating a better cash flow. If you just want more TPD then cut your prices in half.


Duane.

rbh
03-05-2011, 08:20 PM
Well, I'll speak for myself and say yes, 5 tpd would make me happy, and I suspect is above the average for laundromats. When you consider you have your slow days (Tues, Wed), your weekends would have to be pretty damn busy all the time. If you are, that's fantastic, but not reality for most.

The poster indicated 3,500 turns for 28 washers for a month, if my math is right, that's just over 4 tpd.

alesser738
03-05-2011, 08:27 PM
Duane,
Not going to debate with you because I agree 100% on what you are saying. Heck, I wish I could do one washer turn at $1000 and give 30 minutes on a dryer for $500 and only get one customer a day.

bo
03-06-2011, 09:51 AM
On the old Speed Queen super 20, there was a device called a "button cup" which caught debris prior to its entry into the drain valve. There should be room on a Dexter to install one in the drain hose ahead of the drain valve. The problem is it would be a custom piece as the SQ trap was made into the tub of the washer.

MrMachine
03-06-2011, 10:22 AM
I have 45 Dexter n series washers and 47 newer Dexter washers some express some not express. My question is regarding things getting stuck in the drain valve. Every three weeks I check every single washer for items getting stuck in the drain. Out of the 92 I probably find 5-6 washers that have something stuck (75% of the time the usual bra wire). Another probably 10 that have coins stuck so the drain valve can not close completely.
I did a search a few years ago and someone recommended to use a magnet (I purchased $50 in magnets to no avail) . I am thinking of building like a trough between the washer and drain valve and was wondering if anyone has done something like this?. I have probably wasted $100,000 in water over the last 8 years and am also getting tired of doing the same thing over and over 92 times every three weeks. Any ideas are appreciated. THANKS Adam

Adam,

Bra wires can't be stopped because they go through the holes in the basket. Being that I have different stores in neighborhoods with different income groups, I have found that the store in the poor neighborhood gets far more bra wires than the store in the middle class neighborhood.

As far as coins in the valve are concerned, they have to be slipping through the gap between the basket rim and the drum door opening rim. If the gap is too wide, you will get more debris in your drain valves.

Debris getting stuck in the drains is simply a normal part of doing business in a mat. You can cut down some of it, but it will always happen.
The best thing I do for this is to check the drains with a flashlight. I catch 90% of the blockages before they build up by doing this.
Is it worth the effort to check twice a week? It's up to personal preference.

surfflite
03-14-2011, 02:26 PM
I only clean my drain valves when the machine sticks in a cycle (a sure sign of a clogged drain valve). I have pulled some very interesting things out of my drain valves. The best being an Ipod w/video capability. Sure it was water logged, but my son works at The Apple Store so I traded it in for a new one. :) The weirdest thing was a sex offender ID card (creepy). But tons of bra wires (I have thought of Larry's idea of no bra's allowed). Tons of drivers license, school ID's, Mexican ID's, cyberwash cards (how did that get in there if they started the machine with it?), coins, softball sized lint balls etc.....I have to say, drain valves are the easiest fix any machine can have.