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New Lights and Camera Concerns

LED Canopy Lights

Yesterday I had some additional lights installed in front of one of the stores. There were already lights in front of the Laundromat but not in front of the next unit that I use for storage. I came in early the next morning to make sure they were on and looked OK but also to check how they impacted the cameras.

 

As you can see below, the new light caused a lot of interference with the camera lens. It limits the viewing area as well as the quality of the recording.

 

 

E-conolight LED Canopy
Interference from new LED Canopy light on camera lens.

 

The repair was a pretty easy fix. I used a piece of metal tape, the kind they use on duct work to make a small dark zone for the camera.

 

E-conolight Canopy LED

 

The image quality doesn’t seem that good as it is a screen shot from my phone but you can see the impact the light had on the camera.

 

Check out the details and the fix:

 

 

So whenever you make changes in your store look at how it impacts the other systems and customers.

 

Ken

 

Hiring Employees- Direct or Through an Agency?

Hiring Employees- Direct or Through an Agency?     

            A few weeks back I contacted a Staffing Agency about getting some more attendants at the store.
     Here is the video I posted

 

     Now it’s time for some updates.Click here to Read More

Episode 49 – ClogHog with Paul Del Piero

ClogHog with Paul Del Piero

 

          Recently I had to deal with another drain issue in one of my stores. As always it was a Sunday afternoon and I needed to get something done. I decided for the cost of bringing in a plumber I could get the equipment myself and be able to do my own maintenance as well.

          I picked up a power auger at a local store and got the issue dealt with. 

          Previously I had come across some information on a sewer jetter named ClogHog and decided to look into it a bit deeper. Power augers do a good job of cutting though obstructions but a jetter has the advantage of having the water right there and cleaning the pipe as it goes through.

          I decided I would put together the items I needed to deal with sewer problems and, more importantly, prevent them from happening.

          I’ve added a ClogHog to my arsenal of equipment.

          In this episode of the PodCast we talk with Paul Del Piero of ClogHog and get into the details of what they do, how they work and why you should have one as well.

 

Ken

Episode 48 – Wash-Dry-Fold POS- With Brian Henderson

Wash-Dry-Fold POS- With Brian Henderson

          Today we follow up with Brian Henderson and learn more about his Laundromat tested and proven system for tracking Wash Dry Fold orders. 

          Brian Henderson is the owner of Wash-Dry-Fold POS: The Point-of-Sale System for Laundromats.  Founded in February of 2016, Brian’s company is quickly approaching its first anniversary and has already seen some great success for a new business startup, grossing over $100,000 in sales and serving customers from as far and wide as Alaska to Florida to New York and California and everywhere in between.

          Brian’s company was recently featured in the November 2016 issue of Planet Laundry magazine in an article titled, “Filling a Common Need: When His Family’s Laundry Chain Needed a POS System for Its Drop-Off Business, Brian Henderson Created One – Now He’s Built a Company Around That Solution”

          Brian also serves as the operations manager of his family’s chain of three laundromats in northeast Oklahoma named Liberty Laundry, which consistently outperforms national averages for annual income in this industry on a scale of three to one.

          You can contact Brian at Brian@WashDryFoldPOS.com or head to the website WashDryFoldPOS.com

Ken

Speed Queen Bearing Change

              One of my Speed Queen 40# washers had a main bearing start to make noise. we stopped using it and got on the phone to get some new parts on order and set up a repair.

                 This is not an easy repair and requires some special tool and techniques so you will probably want to call in an experienced Tech. There is also the issue that if there is a problem during or after the installation your machine isn’t down while you figure out what went wrong.

                First I determined it was a bearing issue.

           Next step was to order the new parts. It is possible to just change the bearings and seals and not the entire tub, shaft and trunnion but we could not determine if any changes or repairs had been done since installation. To check this we would have had to take it apart, measure the shaft diameter, order the bearings and seals and then once they arrived, install them.

             This particular washer sits right inside the front door of the store and is the only one of this size. The impact it has to our customers and our own Drop Off service is a lot. We have to use 2 other washers while this is down which reduces the volume we can get through the store.

        So the decision was made to spend the extra money and do it once. This also reduced the Service Tech time as there was only one trip.

           I made sure I had the parts at the store before we confirmed the date of repair. There’s nothing like paying somebody to show up and wait for a delivery with you.

New Speed Queen Drum and Shaft

        The day before the repair I decided to have the motor checked at a local repair shop to make sure it was OK. I have had a number of dryer motors rebuilt by them so they will usually test motors while I wait and have them repaired the same day. The benefits of using a smaller shop and paying right away.

         It turns out the motor was fine so there was no charge. While your machine is down it’s a good time to check a few things and do some cleaning.

               On the repair day I helped the Tech with some of the work. He did the work on the back of the washer, the heavy and tough jobs, and I did the work on the front. See the Time Lapse Video below of the repair.

               As the drum needs to come out form the front you need to remove the cover, door, door lock and switches and the clamp that holds the front part of the tub together.

            I always take a picture of any of the electrical connections before I take anything apart. It’s faster then making a bunch of notes and saves my brain for other things.

           You may not have to remove the wires. It will depend on how much the assembly swings out of the way.

          The switches confirm the handle is shut and that the solenoid activated the door lock.

Speed Queen Door Lock

             Once all the parts on the front and the back were removed the drum was pulled out from the front. 

Old Shaft From Speed Queen Washer

           While the Tech worked on the trunnion and some other items I used the time to do some cleaning around the front of the machine.

             One key point to clean is the level sensor tube. On this model it connects to the bottom of the tub in a small drain. As it is connected to a horizontal tube there is about 4″ that sit flat. This will have a tendency to get full of gunk . Spend the time to clean it out. This will make sure you have a good level in your washer and  possibly reduce costs as a plugged line will add more water to the tub.

          You can pull the tube off of the level sensor and flush it out in a sink. The stainless tube is a little more difficult to clean.

Level Sensor Tube

    Now it was time to put everything back together.  

Speed Queen Bearing Trunnion

     The most difficult part on the front is getting the front piece of the drum and the clamp in place. It will take a few hands to hold it as you tighten it up. This needs to fit well to avoid leaks.

As I put the door back on I made a few adjustments so it would close nicely. It seems the washer didn’t like that so much and the drum rubbed on the door glass when it was spinning with a load. So the door was adjusted slightly to correct this issue.

Total time for the job was about 3 hours and we didn’t have any issues to deal with.

 

Let me know if you have any questions.

Ken

Episode 47 – Security Systems

Security Systems- We all need them so get one that you can work with and think like a thief.

          You have a business and you have an income and there are people out there that want to take it from you. It only takes one to ruin your day.

          Having a security system is a basic need in the Laundromat business and your Insurance Company is going to want to know you have one as well.

          There are many companies out there, both national and local, so you need to find one that works well for you. 

          Personally I use SimpliSafe and I have just converted my last store to them.

         Why did I switch?

          I’m a hands on, do it myself type of person like many other Laundromat Owners so I don’t mind sticking a sensor to a wall and clicking a few buttons on my computer.

          With one of my old systems I had a problem with a water sensor. They said they would be there between 12 and 1. At 12:55 they arrived and started to work on them. It turned out both were bad so he replaced them. Then came the waiting time while there were programmed and tested and guess what?? Neither one of the new ones worked.

          So he had to order two more and schedule another time to show up. 

          I don’t know about you but I hate waiting around and then watching someone do things.

          Here’s the link http://simplisafe.com/ or you can send me an email ken@laundromathowto.com, I’ll send you a link and you get 5% off and I get a free month of monitoring. That’s how all this works.

 

Ken

 

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.

Ken

 

NAHB- IBS Show 2017

NAHB- IBS Show 2017

National Association of Home Builders- International  Builders’ Show – Orlando Jan 2017

         I spent a few days last week at the IBS checking to see if there were any new products that may work in the Laundromat / Coin Laundry Industry. And it was in Orlando in January.

             I’ll start by telling you that it’s a big show. It covered the West and South Buildings of the Orange County Convention Center as well as some of the parking lot.

Orange County Conference Center- Orlando FL

             I arrived on Tuesday morning so I was able to head straight over and get started. I covered the South Building and had to speed through the last few aisles to finish up before it closed at 5.

               Did I mention the parking? When I arrived around 11 I think they were almost out of spots. It took about an hour to actually get parked and that was after jumping a curb and finding a spot on the grass. So now at 5 everybody was leaving and it was jammed.

               Total steps for the day.. about 17,000.

              The next day was an early start and a trip through the main building. This was where the big names in bath, kitchen and construction supplies were set up. I have never seen so many toilets, faucets and door handles in one location.

           I’ll skip through all of the details but today’s total was a little over 21,000 steps.

         Now out of all that did I find anything of value for the Laundromat Industry?

                A new trend in toilets has the tank installed inside the wall with only a “Flush Panel” and the bowl exposed. The flush panel allows access to the tank valves.
Why would that be an option for a Laundromat? What if that 6″ you saved was the difference in getting the room ADA approved without having to move a wall?

Geberit US Concealed Tank Toilet

They can be installed in new construction or renovations.

                  Another option is the Thetford WasteWater Transfer System. These are a great option if you need to move a toilet, restroom or install a new one and you don’t want to cut the concrete or maybe the sewer is not in the area.

Wastewater Transfer System

               This system uses a macerating pump to push the waste up or over to where you have a sewer connection.

        There was a display that had an adjustable height sink as well. It can be used along with the in-wall tank toilet and allows the sink to be raised and lowered by pushing a button and using some slight force. 

Adjustable Height Sink

There was a number of the Water Heater Companies there as well including AO Smith, Rinnai, and American Standard.

Rinnai Free Standing Tankless System

     As a mechanical- type guy I found the show pretty interesting. Doors, windows, taps and other flashy things didn’t really get my attention but the sections with building systems (ICF- Insulated Concrete Forms) always get my interest.

        Time to rest my feet for the next big show.

 

Ken 

 

Do you have Questions or  Ideas for future posts or PodCasts?

Drop me an email at Ken@LaundromatHowTo.com

Toilet Paper Roll Holder Locks

Toilet Paper Roll Holder Locks

       Having your toilet paper disappear is frustrating for you and your customers, plus there is the cost involved.  As I run 24 hour stores and only one is partially attended I have had my share of TP theft.

         The dispensers I was using had a simple key with two prongs on it. This was easy to overcome with a screwdriver or possible a key or knife blade.

 

         After a few issues as you can see on Facebook HERE . I was ready to try something different. After this issue  HERE, when the door was damaged I used the opportunity to renovate the restroom and add some tile. At this point I found a toilet paper dispenser that had a more complex key.

Dispenser Waffle Key

               You can purchase it on Amazon, they hold 2 of the large rolls and have a good lock for most places.

San Jamar Oceans Twin 9 Inch JBT Toilet Tissue Dispenser

 

             One of my unattended laundry’s has more of an issue with homeless people than the others, I believe that is why I have problems losing rolls of paper here.

           About a week ago I went in and found both rolls gone, the cardboard sleeve and all. When I looked at the lock I saw where it had been gouged out at each end allowing both tabs to be depressed and the cover opened.

             I didn’t have much time to do a pretty fix so I just grabbed a shackle and lock from a local hardware store and installed it.

           The part is called a Double Hinged Hasp which allows it to move out of the way so you can open the cover and it also covers the mounting screws on the wall.

Double Hinge Hasp

This shows how the hinges work.

               Once it was all done it’s not as pretty as I like, I try to avoid this look as it portrays a security issue at your store but as I mentioned I only had a bit of time at with two $6 rolls of paper missing each night it needed to be stopped.

        If you are having problems with the less secure key types I do recommend this one. It’s working great in another one of my stores and I have one to be installed after the remodel of one of my other stores.

 

Ken