Laundromat Fires are the #1 Insurance Claim
Like I said, you need to keep this in mind when you own a Laundromat. So here are a few tips that I do to help reduce my chances of having a dryer fire. Clean the lint screens! Every shift the attendants or cleaning crew are required to clean the dryer's lint screens by hand. In two of my stores the dryer's lint screens are accessible to the customers and we have educated them with flyers as to how they will get a better dry if they clean the lint screen themselves before each use. Also make sure that you have at least one to two feet of clear space behind the dryers, so as to reduce the chance of something catching on fire. Have your attendant once a week sweep the area behind the dryers to get the dust off the floor.
At least once a quarter, preferably once a month, take a vacuum and vacuum out the area under the lint screens, blowers, and dryer basket area. Essentially everything you can get to from the front of the dryer, without taking it apart more than the removal of the front service panel. Make sure that you get the lint off of the temperature sensors, as it has a tendency to build up there. This build up on the sensors can make the dryer think it is cooler than it really is, thus making the dryer heat to a higher temperature, which could melt or burn the customers clothes (the second most common way a dryer catches on fire). Again, make sure you vacuum out the blower as well. Many times the fins on the blower get caked in with lint which reduces the airflow, making it less efficient. This will cause the clothes to take a longer time to dry and will annoy the customers in the process.
Depending on your location, you will want to have your dryer vents cleaned out once or twice a year. This cleaning should also include a detailed cleaning of the entire inside of the dryer, front, and back. Think of this as your 30,000-mile checkup for your car. It can be a little pricy, but the alternative will cost you way more in money and stress, and I am all for finding ways to reduce the stress in my life. So hire this one out and let someone else get their hands dirty for a change. With proper cleaning of the lint and areas around your dryers, they will last longer, work more efficiently, and be more reliable, all making for happier customers.
- Brian Brunckhorst