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How To Clean A RINNAI On Demand Tankless Water Heater

How To Clean A RINNAI On Demand Tankless Water Heater

            On Demand, or Tankless Water Heaters, run the water through a small heating surface. Like the elements in an electric water heater these Heat Exchanger Plates can built up with calcium and other deposits and reduce the heating ability of your Water Heater.

RINNAI Water Heater
Tankless Water Heater Connections


        As I mentioned in a previous post,  Water Heaters- Tank or Tankless, the flow is reduced on a Tankless water heater to maintain the output temperature. So if the heat transfer efficiency is reduced it will take longer the fill your machines and increase the cycle time of the washer.

            Cleaning these water heaters involves a couple of hoses, a pump, some vinegar and some time. In the video I explain how the hose connections are set up and , hopefully, you have the correct valves installed that allow you to flush each unit individually without disconnecting any pipes.


              It seems like the rubber hoses I used may have broken down a little with the vinegar and there may have been some debris in them as well. I had bought a 25′ garden hose and some new ends so I could cut the hose into the lengths I needed and when I was getting the tools out of my trailer I saw the hoses and thought “That will be easier” as just grabbed them and off I went.

             If you are not sure that your hose will be OK in the vinegar cut a small piece and soak it in some vinegar for an hour or two and see if it is sticky, soft or breaking apart.

         One thing you don’t want is the hose splitting open and  vinegar spraying around.

            The directions do recommend that your pump moves 4 gallons per minute. The pump I used was about half that as it was all I could find at a reasonable price. With a little more planning you may be able to find a small electric pump that will meet the requirements like this one HERE.

            If you are using a drill pump it will be quite noisy and make sure that the ventilation holes are not covered so it will not overheat.


Ken Barrett
Multi Store Laundromat Owner, Blogger and Speaker.



How Much Gas Does A Dryer Use?

How Much Gas Does A Dryer Use?

           Over the past few days I have been running some tests on the various dryers at my stores. The question that came up was, How much does it actually cost to run a dryer? We all know how much we charge based on the amount of minutes per quarter or cycle but are we really making a profit?

         After some thought I figured I would determine the amount of time the gas valve is actually on and then do a bunch of math to figure out how much it costs per cycle.

         In my previous Post ,Dryer Gas Use Testing- The Equipment, I showed you the Timer that I had bought that could connect to any of the valves.

          Here is the video that explains the setup and the results.


        Some of the background information.

           The outside temperature was about 58 degrees and overcast.
           I used the site to determine the conversions between the various unit measurements of gas.

             The cost came from the December 2016 Gas Bill from one of my stores.

100’s of Cubic Feet :                        522
1 ft3 = 1000 BTU’s
Cost:                                                      $605.61
Cost Per 100 Cubic Feet                 $1.61
Cost Per Therm                                 $1.12                                    

$ per Ccf divided by 1.032 = $ per therm

              Although I didn’t use therms anywhere in the final results it is a common unit that gas is charged to the consumer. It’s a good number to calculate and understand when talking to owners around the country.

Here are the results:

                Now there are some that may read this and say that we should only be charging $0.25 for a dry. But as business owners we realize that there are a lot of overhead costs involved and gas is just a piece of the puzzle. Power, repairs, equipment depreciation all add to the final customer price.

             There were a few things that surprised me a little, I expected the empty dryer cost to be higher then the full dryer as the air/heat would be blowing right through but after the test and thinking about it I realized that the wet clothes absorb a lot of heat and it takes awhile to get the temperature up to where the burner turns off.

            So no more complaints about people running a dryer with only a couple of items in it.

             And next time a salesman tells you that you can pay part of the loan for your new dryers with the utility savings ask them to show you the numbers that prove it. 

         Hope this helps.

          If you have a chance take a look at the Resources Page and see if there are any items that will help you with your business. If there is something missing please let me know. That’s how I keep this part of the business going.



Ken Barrett in front of the dryers at Washin Oxford Coin Laundry, Oxford AL


Dryer Gas Use Testing- The Equipment

Dryer Gas Use Testing- The Equipment

         How much gas does it take to run a dryer in a Laundromat? And what does it cost?

           The dryers do have a BTU/ hour  rating listed on the name plate and we can do calculations based on that but we know the burner cycles on and off depending on the amount of clothes, the water content of the clothes and the outside temperature and humidity.

            So I decided to go to the source. The gas valve. How long is it actually on.

    The timer I used was an Autonics LE8N-BF

LCD Counter/Totalizer, Digital8 AUTONICS| Zoro #: G7526635

               Other uses for this would be to connect to your water heater to determine an average weekly gas usage. This will help you isolate the Hot Water Cost from the dryer cost.

           There are a couple of setting on this depending if you want to track down to the second. The directions look a little confusing but they cover a few different timers and a coupe of languages. So just find your timer part number and follow the steps.

LCD Counter/Totalizer, Digital 8 AUTONICS| Zoro #: G7526635

The results will be posted soon.


Ken Barrett in front of the dryers at Washin Oxford Coin Laundry, Oxford AL

How To Install LED Lights

 How To Install LED Lights

     The lights in the overhead sign were out so it was time to get some repairs done. As it was the Fall and the time change was complete the lights in the sign come on before most people head home from work.


     I decided to install LED light tubes in place of the T-8 florescent. It is a pretty easy conversion and the label says the tubes will last 45 years.
Maybe I should renew my Lease?

      First step is to check and make sure you have power to the sign and that your photo sensor is working OK. 

     Next shut the power off so you can work safely. I disconnected the wire nut in in the sign and isolated the power feed.. this allowed me to test the new lights by bypassing the photo sensor.



     The old ballasts are removed and not used with the new LED lights. Cut the wires near the ballast as you will use them to rewire the fixture.


      Non-Shunted tombstones must be used with the LED lights. If you are not sure if your are non-shunted ( and they probably are not) it’s not a bad idea to change them as they tend to get brittle over time and may even have some burn marks. And the bulb says you won’t be back for 45 years so why not put in a few new parts now. The tombstones cast less than $4 each.

    Only one end of the tube is wired so I only changed that end. The others were in good shape.

    Wire the tombstones with a power and neutral wire in parallel. The wire just pushes into the base so the only tools you need are wire strippers and cutters.  


     After you install a set test them to make sure they work and everything looks good. 


     The finished product. I had to cover the photo sensor to get the lights to turn on. The photo sensor must be covered for a minute or two before it comes on. This is to prevent the light from flickering on and off.

    The sign originally had 8′ tubes installed. when I converted it to four foot tubes about 4 years ago the old fixtures were corroded into the sign so I worked around them.
This is part of the reason the the lights can be seen at the top and bottom of the display. The other reason is that this sign is about 40 years old so some of the paint/coating is faded.

    I have considered a new insert to the sign but I like the old look to this one.
    In the next year or two I will be upgrading the sign with the company logo and replacing the lower sign with more of the services and benefits.

    City bylaws prevent the installation of signs above the roof line but this was grandfathered in as it was existing. I was able to add the lower sign when I took over the store as it fits inside the 10% coverage rule and the overhead sign is not included.

Some night pictures.


Have a great day

P.S. Don’t forget top check out the PodCast available on iTunes


Fall = Sports, Outdoors and Warm Blankets

Fall = Sports, Outdoors and Warm Blankets Marketing and reaching your audience.

Part of the reason I am involved in the Chamber of Commerce and run draws at the store is to collect emails.

ABCE. Always Be Collecting Emails.

             A few times each year I will send some email marketing to my list to keep my Laundromat in their mind.

           This particular email is designed to prompt them to bring in their blankets, sports and hunting gear and other items to help them free up some time for spending with family.

               As I am located in Alabama the summers are hot and humid so the fall weather is a nice break. Nights in the 40’s and days in the 60’s with almost no humidity but the days are short. We are in the Central Time Zone about an hour from the Eastern Time Zone so after the clocks change evening arrives fast.

Here is the context of the message I sent:

         The weekends are sunny and cool, the leaves are changing, it’s a great time to watch some sports, take a walk in Cheaha Park or around the lake in Oxford. 

      A beautiful time to be in Central Alabama. But how do you get to spend all of this time with family and friends and keep all of those blankets, sports wear, hunting clothes and sweaters clean?

      Go Pro!!
           Laundry is our business , not yours so bring it all to us at 1304 Greenbrier Road in Anniston and it will be professionally washed, dried and folded and ready for the next game or family event.
        Spend you time doing what you want this fall and leave the dirty work to us.

           Below this was a map to the store and the hours. The full email can be seen HERE

    The picture I used was made from a few I found on Google. I used PowerPoint to combine them and Jing to capture the finished picture.

        Here is a quick video on the process. In the video I mention “” which is not the website to get the program from. Use the link above.

And yes that is my dog barking at the end of the video.

                Depending on budget , time and skills (I guess that’s the basis for everyhting) you can do this yourself or hire others. There are many email websites that can be used (GetResponse, Contstant Contact, MailChimp etc).  rices vary usually based on number of people on your list.

        Hint: Don’t try and email individually or with a bcc to your contacts. The websites above will give you the results of your emails and allow people to “Opt Out”.

  If you have any questions or would like to see other topics covered please let me know.

Looking for more information about Laundromat Ownership?
–> Check This Out. <–

If you have any comments, please post them below.




Wind And Solar Power System – *#1 Home Energy Program

Now that I have built a Solar Dehydrator I am looking for other projects.Next on the list will be some solar panels or a small wind turbine.

Where we live there are a lot of trees so I’m not sure how well the wind turbine will work but I’m not looking to power the house on the first pass. Maybe a light on the shed. 

How about some Rope Lights for Christmas? These use about 20 watts of power.

Of course the best way to start is with some detailed information. Wind And Solar Power System – *#1 Home Energy Program has a bunch of information on projects you can do.

Click Here for info on how to build your own wind turbine. If nothing else it would be a great project wih the kids.

Stay tuned for updates

If you have any comments please post them below.


Play safe


Thermal Imaging Camera

Any fans of Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures or the other shows will be familiar with the FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera. These are used to visually detect different temperatures in an area or on an object.

I have used a few different types in my years as a maintenance tech and as a volunteer firefigter. These are two areas where the technology is the same but the packaging is different. The one we used in the fire service was black and white ( and 50 shades of gray ) and was built to handle the heat. Colors were not a concern it was mostly “If it’s white put water on it”.

Insurance companies should really consider some donations or suplementing the cost of these cameras. They can be used to reduce the amount of water used on a fire as well as the amount of area that needs to be pulled apart to confirm the fire is out.

In one occasion we were called to a home that had been built about 10 years early and was completly finshed on the main floor and the basement. The couple had seen some smoke coming out of the eaves and called us to take a look. Normally we would have pulled down the drywall on the main floor and part of te ceiling in the basement to find the concern and make sure it was out. Instead we used the Thermal Imaging Camera to find the hot spot in the wall. After checking a few areas inside and out and down in the basement we removed a piece of drywall about 24″ x 24″ and found a wire that had a nail put through it when the house was built. we turned off the breaker, isolated the wire, checked the area with the Thermal Imaging Camera and everything was great.

In that instance alone there was enough money saved from the reduced amount of drywall removed and no water damage to pay for the Thermal Imaging Camera.

This camera is not made for the high heat environment of firefighting but the benefits of it’s uses would more than pay for it. Just one trip around the house finds leaky windows, gaps in the insulation, water leaks and receptacle problems.

Order one of these now by clicking the link. Once you finish checking your house you can charge you neighbors a few dollars each to check theirs and you will have it paid off in no time.

Thermal Imaging Camera

If you have any comments please post them below.



The Solar Dehydrator

I’ve always been a little fascinated by the power of the sun for heating, power and drying. The front door on our house faces South. We have a full glass door in front of the main door. In the winter ( well as close to winter that Alabama gets) the door handle heats up so much I can barely grab it to open the door. I while back I read some posts about solar dehydrators and the ability to dry food and keep it for later use. I picked up a copy of The Solar Food Dryer by Eben Fodor. This book contained a bunch of information on different types and styles and some good, basic information. The book also explains step by step how to build a small solar dehydrator with a back up heater. Some basic woodworking skills and tools and a bit more time then I thought I put one together. One hint, the main piece is the glass and all the measurements are based around it. Instead of buying one built to the dimensions I picked up one that was close from a building supply store. A Habitat For Humanity Restore would be a great resource as well. The other hard to find piece is the metal heat absorber. After I built the main box I headed to a local steel roof supplier and bought flat piece of black roof metal. Once it was all assembled and ready to go I gave it a test run to heat out any possible fumes etc. When the sun hit the glass it was at 170F in minutes. This is why you should never leave your animals or kids in the car. The back up heater is actually two 200w light bulbs. Due to the few hours of decent sun we get in the winter I put a timer on the heater so it shuts off when the sun is on the glass. So far I am seeing times of about 24 hours to dry the two screens of items. I have dried tomatoes, apples, carrots, celery, peppers and some bananas. The kids are slowly coming around to the idea that’s its kinda cool and I’m not too weird.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Play safe