By Dave George | Jul 28, 2009
Your dryer equipment is an integral portion of your self-service laundry operation. Maintaining your dryers properly will pay off in the end with less down time, lower utility bills, prolonged life and, of course, a safer operation.
Not only are the mechanical components of your dryer important to maintain, but proper ventilation also is crucial to facilitate optimal performance and safety of your equipment. Many commercial dryer equipment manufacturers recommend inspection of the ventilation system every three to six months. (For equipment-specific information, be sure to consult the tag on the rear of your dryer.)
A malfunctioning dryer may be attributed to a mechanical failure. Yet, oftentimes, a dryer will stop performing due to inadequate airflow through its individual vent stack or somewhere through the ventilation system. Fuel-burning appliances need to maintain a certain volume of makeup air and exhaust air in order to function properly and make the most efficiency of the fuel being burned. Ensuring that your ventilation system is free of lint and other debris will maintain the volume of exhaust air for which the system was designed.
Here’s an interesting fact: A typical residential dryer vent is four inches in diameter. Just a half-inch of lint accumulation on the interior of the duct walls will reduce the airflow through the duct by 44 percent. This restricted airflow causes the machine to expend much more energy to move the air and moisture through the duct. Just imagine trying to breathe through a coffee straw… not very easy, right?
Now, imagine the lint produced by your high-volume dryer systems. Not only is the air restricted, but lint deposits also are a highly combustible fuel just waiting to ignite your ventilation system.
Save yourself some money and increase the level of safety within your coin laundry. Examine your ventilation system regularly to avoid problems and increase the efficiency and life of your equipment.
Here are a few tips to consider when inspecting your dryer ventilation system:
1. Make sure there are no screws or rivets holding the pipes together. These are catch points for lint to accumulate over time. Any joints with screws or rivets may need to be addressed by a professional.
2. Duct tape should never be used on the ducts. Over time, the adhesive used in duct tape will fail. Use only an Underwriters Laboratories-approved metal tape. (UL 181 tested)
3. Inspect any areas where smaller ducts empty into or join larger ducts, such as collection boxes, plenums or trunk lines. These areas will fill up with lint rather quickly due to the decrease in air velocity within the duct.