Commercial Laundry Machines’ Biggest Issue
The biggest problem with commercial laundry machines isn’t washers that won’t drain or even dryers that seem to constantly shift from over-drying to under drying your property’s towels and linens. With those issues, unclogging drains or replacing parts can provide a quick fix. No, the biggest problem with commercial laundry is the one that’s the most expensive: utility costs.
Studies show that energy accounts for 60 percent of a hotel’s carbon footprint, including gas, water, and electricity. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to fix this commercial laundry machine “problem,” and some solutions are not only quick, but their benefits are also long-lasting for both your property and the environment.
Hotel partners have found that improvements in energy efficiency can cut utility costs by 10 percent to 30 percent without sacrificing quality. You want your commercial laundry machines to work smarter, not harder, to keep you from literally washing money down the drain.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the biggest problem with commercial laundry machines – and how you can fix it.
Commercial laundry machines that are more than 10 years old are not only costing you more in maintenance and upkeep, they don’t have the latest energy efficiency technology. Commercial washers with the Energy Star logo also have advanced technology that ensures more water is extracted from materials in the final spin cycle than their conventional counterparts. That means your dryers won’t have to work as hard or get as hot to get things dry.
Washer design has been revolutionized in recent years due to governmental pushes to make appliances more energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. Washers that bear the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star logo must use at least 25 percent less energy.
These machines also have greatly reduced the amount of water needed by these machines. That begs the question, how are laundry equipment manufacturers using improved design to reduce energy consumption without jeopardizing the reliability of the machine’s sanitation processes?
Like many innovations in modern technology, the process hasn’t changed in many years. But, we have been able to use science and engineering to gain more control over our laundry processes than ever before. Traditional washing machines are made up of two tubs: an inner tub that holds the clothes in place and allows water to pass in and out via a series of holes, and an outer tub that keeps the water contained until it’s evacuated in the spin cycle. The actual agitation occurs from the action of a center post that moves backward and forward, churning the water and clothes briskly to release the dirt. The loosened dirt is held in suspension by the detergent until the water is later removed.
If the load becomes unbalanced, the machine can make a lot of noise or even jump around during the spin cycle. A standard washer can leave a lot of water in the clothes after the spin cycle has completed, too, causing the clothes dryer to expend more energy to do its job. Because each load is totally submerged (for most of the process, anyway), standard washing machines use a lot of water, too.
Utilizing a standard top-loading washing machine as a model, let’s take a look at how design innovations are helping to make newer style washing machines more planet-friendly.
Energy Efficient Front Load Washers
A front-load washing machine does some key things differently from a top loader. If you take a look at one, the first thing you’ll notice is that it doesn’t have an agitator. Instead of beating the clothes back and forth in the water, it rotates them up out of the water. Gravity causes them to drop back down into the water.
This washer design mimics the action of an agitator with one big key benefit. You don’t need nearly as much water to complete the process. This method of agitation generates plenty of dwell time in water and in some cases only requires half the water volume of a standard top-load washer.Water savings isn’t the only benefit, either. Half the water means half the energy required to heat it, spin it around, and remove it later.
Front-load washers can also typically handle larger loads. Where an old-style top-loading washing machine can wash between 12 and 16 pounds of laundry per load, front load styles can handle up to 20-pound loads. That means half the water usage and larger washing capacity.
Front-load washer design energy efficiency isn’t limited to reduced water consumption and larger load capacity. Many front loaders are very efficient when it comes to spinning residual water out of clothes, too. Removing more water than standard top-loading machines means less drying time and savings on the drying side of the process as well.
Next-generation washers have also made the switch to more energy-efficient direct drive systems that still generate adequate speed and torque, but do it with less power consumption. In addition to energy-savings, these systems need less room for the “innards” of the machine and result in a more efficient, lightweight design.
From a design standpoint, front-load washers can be a breeze to put in place. When you don’t have to worry about keeping the top of the unit clear, you can stack a washer and dryer combo in a small utility area without a major home renovation and a big appliance footprint.
Energy Efficient Top Load Washers
Before you run out and invest in a front-load washer design, high-efficiency, top-loading washers may be worth a second look. The standard top-load washer we’ve been talking about has undergone a makeover in recent years to bring it up to the standard of high-efficiency front-load models.From direct drive systems to units that use much less water, top loaders are catching up in the energy efficiency department.
One major change in new generation top loading washer is they no longer require a conventional center-post agitator. It still flips or spins the clothes to get them clean, but uses less water to do it. Many models also use a high-pressure spray to soak and rinse the clothes, which cuts back on water consumption because the drum doesn’t have to fill with water.
High-efficiency top-loaders spin clothes at high speeds, removing more water from each load than old-style units. Load capacities are larger, too, reaching as much as 20 pounds (9 kilograms), up from 12 to 16 pounds (5.44 to 7.25 kilograms). This puts them almost on a par with front loaders.
New top loaders boast efficient fuel consumption, excellent torque, lower water consumption, and often a lower cost. They still have lots of user settings that customize the way a load can be washed, though. If an item like kitchen curtains don’t need a 10-minute dunking, there are adjustable settings to reduce the soak time. This kind of flexibility has the potential for saving water and energy as well.
Looking for a leading commerical laundry distributor offering products with superior quality and reliability? At HM Laundry, we strive for excellence, growth, and innovation by continually stocking equipment that exceed industry standards and customers’ expectations.
Contact an HM Laundry expert today to learn more about our products and services!