An Interview with Whirlpool Customer Relations Manager Joe Carrita

Joe Carrita has spent more than 23 years in the commercial laundry industry, with a special focus on the on-premises laundry market and customer service. He recently discussed the latest in dryer care and maintenance – topics critical to the success of any laundry business.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dryer maintenance?

When we think of maintenance, we tend to immediately think of wearable items, such as gaskets, seals, belts and lint screens. These components are all important and should be prioritized with a regular checklist.

Think of it in the same way you would schedule a routine car service appointment. During those appointments, you have someone check your car’s fluids, tires and windshield wipers. Regular dryer checks allow you to know how the equipment is running and if there are issues that command attention.

What parts or components are generally involved in dryer maintenance?

We recommend laundromat owners keep a small inventory of spare parts – in particular, those that are inexpensive and wear over time, such as lint screens. Your inventory also could include parts that may be routine replacements, such as belts or gaskets. Having these on hand can help prevent downtime and keep customer satisfaction up.

In addition, there are variables to consider when it comes to the maintenance of lint. Some lint screens are designed to last the life span of the product, but regular maintenance – like collecting lint – and routine inspections are crucial. Additionally, the internal ductwork and seals should be inspected and are necessary to help keep the machine free from lint – where it is not designed to be captured – and in good condition.

What are some basic dryer maintenance tasks that a laundromat owner should consider?

The most important factor when it comes to dryer maintenance is consistency. A good recommendation is to set a routine schedule that allows you to conduct specific tasks.

Be sure to clean the exterior of the equipment, from the lint screens to the tumblers. Ensure that the tumblers are free of debris, as even the smallest mark or stain can cause customer concern.

Conduct standard checks on wearable items such as belts and seals. Make sure seals on panels and doors are in good condition. Test the machine to ensure that it is performing and working as designed.

Timing is unique to each operation. Not all stores will need the same schedule. For standard checks and cleaning, start on a monthly basis. The schedule can be revised as necessary.

Plan to make regular checks until you understand the buildup patterns on your machine. Cleaning, including that of lint screens, will need to occur more often depending on machine use. It is imperative to stay ahead of lint buildup – items like lint screens may need to be cleaned more frequently. Lint buildup can cause performance challenges for your dryers.

What type of advice can you give store owners who like to perform the majority of their own equipment maintenance?

The most important piece of advice is to follow the recommended maintenance schedule and checklist of maintenance items outlined in the machine’s manual. Typically, the manual’s checklist will include items that don’t require special tools or knowledge to complete, along with items that will help keep the machine running as designed. It’s best to contact a licensed professional for electrical and gas components or for areas that require special tools.

How does having a regular maintenance schedule for dryers impact a laundromat’s bottom line?

There are several variables involved when considering how a maintenance schedule will help a store’s revenue. It’s almost impossible to provide a complete list. However, these variables can include store locations, maintenance providers, how often a machine is used and more.

In general, holding to a routine maintenance schedule that includes cleaning and inspection will help to keep your machines running how they were designed. Referring back to the car analogy, routine cleaning and maintenance will help protect equipment and manage operational costs.

Lastly, don’t overlook the fact that overall dryer cleanliness can help incentivize customers to come back again and again, which is a win-win for laundry owners and customers alike.

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