RE: RE: Common Laundry Advice Needed
From: Casey Morrigan (cjmorrpacbell.net)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 08:19:26 -0700 (PDT)
We have residential washers and dryers in our common house. They work just 
fine. About 1/3 to 1/2 our residents use them while the others have washers 
and dryers in the house - we have 14 units in our community.  So they are 
not seeing super heavy use. We, too, pay per load on an honor system.  They 
are starting to wear out and our laundry payment system is [mercifully] 
working well: we have accumulated enough in the five years we've had the 
used machines to buy new ones. It feels great to have planned that 
successfully! We are eager to buy energy efficient ones.

Casey M.
Two Acre Wood
Sebastopol, CA



> -----Original Message-----
> From: James Kacki [mailto:jimkacki [at] mb.sympatico.ca]
> Sent: Saturday, July 10, 2004 2:08 PM
> To: Developing cohousing - collaborative housing communities
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ RE: Common Laundry Advice Needed
>
>
> Douglas, you sound wonderfully organized and it sounds like a
> great system.
> To add a little info. to those considering options, residential units
> also come as a stackable unit,(dryer over washer) but I'm not sure if
> residential units would be adequate for the amount of use you
> describe
> (how many units in your communty?)  Does anyone have experience with
> residential washers and dryers in a common house?
> James
>
>
> original message:
>
> Douglas G. Larson wrote:
> > We have hook-ups for 3 sets of washers and dryers in our
> common house
> > and we purchased commercial Speed Queen machines for two of
> the hook-ups
> > and a one or our members donated a residential set for the third
> > hook-up. Our plan was to replace the residential set with a 3rd
> > commercial once they wear out.
> >
> > Efficiency and Reliability
> > The commercial machines we use are called stackables, i.e. the dryer
> > sits on top of the washer. We chose this configuration to
> conserve space
> > in our laundry area. We use natural gas for heating our
> water and these
> > dyers heat with gas as well. Gas powered dryers are more energy
> > efficient than electric. The washers are front loader types
> which use
> > far less water than top loaders.
> >
> > We have had the machines for close to 4 years now and they have been
> > reasonably reliable though we have no experience with other
> commercial
> > brands and so have nothing to compare with. I was on the laudnry
> > purchasing committee and the sense I got from the many
> sales people I
> > spoke with was that Speed Queen is considered among the
> most reliable of
> > the commercial brands. We have had the Speed Queen
> stackables repaired
> > maybe 4 or 5 times in 4 years.
> >
> > Coin-op or not
> > We didn't want to charge for use of the machines but these
> commerical
> > machines don't come without pay devices, though we did have
> a choice of
> > either coin operated or credit card operated. We chose coin operated
> > because the salesman said the machines are programable and we could
> > program it to take zero quarters.  He was honest enough to
> tell us also
> > that while setting the quarter count to zero was possible doing so
> > disabled some feature in the machine. I don't recall what
> the feature
> > was but we chose to set the quarter count to 1.
> > We leave a key for the coin box hanging in the room so
> residents use it
> > to retrieve a quarter from the box to run the machines. So
> in essence
> > use of the machines is free.
> >
> > Using the machines
> > The commerical machines are a little less flexible in the
> options you
> > have to select for any given run than residential machines.
> There is a
> > special door on the machines that you open with a special
> key to set the
> > programming. Once set the buttons on the front used to operate the
> > machine follow the programming that was set. The steps
> needed to program
> > them is on the complex side but it is doable and not
> something you tend
> > to change very often.
> > As an example, one of the choices you are asked when you
> program it is
> > the duration of the wash cycle in minutes. I don't recall
> what duration
> > we chose but when you use the washer that is how long it
> takes on the
> > wash cycle. The user doesn't have a choice. This is in contrast to
> > residential machines where you can easily set the wash cycle to
> > different lengths by turning a dial.
> > With our commercial washers you can add an extra rinse by
> inserting an
> > additional quarter. Adding additional quarters to the
> dryers adds more
> > time to the run. The amount of dry time added by each
> quarter is another
> > option in the programming.
> > The total run time for the commercial washers is quite a bit shorter
> > than the residential washer even if the residential washer
> is set to the
> > shortest cycle.
> >
> > Cleaning supplies
> > Two questions came up when we were setting up our community laundry
> > about the use of soaps and detergents.
> > 1) Can we buy detergent in bulk and so save money?
> > 2) Can we buy fragrance free detergents? (Some of the residents are
> > sensitive to the fragrances that are in detergents and so wanted
> > fragrance free varieties since we would all be using the
> same machines
> > and the odors tend to linger from one wash to the next).
> > We have a community exchange - essentially a little store
> where members
> > can purchase laundry detergent, among other things. The
> detergent sold
> > there is purchased in bulk and is fragrance free.
> >
> > Scheduling
> > We have a sign up chart in the laundry room where people sign up for
> > using the machines at certain times of the day. Out policy
> is that you
> > can sign up for 2 hours per week. Since our guest rooms are
> next to our
> > laundry room we limit use to between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm if
> the guest
> > rooms are in use. This sign up system works fairly well though
> > occasionally someone will sign up then not use their time,
> leaving the
> > machines unused for 2 hours or so. If someone else wants to use the
> > machines during that time it creates a bit of a conflict. It doesn't
> > happen very often.
> > We have two people who do the common house laundry and they
> sign up for
> > use just like everyone else.
> >
> > Machine Sizes
> > Since we chose stackable units we didn't have a choise on
> the capacity
> > of the commercial machines. They came in one size though Speed Queen
> > does make various sizes in the non-stackble units they sell. But our
> > experience is that while the washers look like they are on the small
> > size they actually hold quite a bit. The dryers are much bigger than
> > residential models and moderate in size comared to other
> dryers you see
> > in laundromats.
> >
> >
> > Douglas Larson
> > Songaia Cohousing
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
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> >
> >
> >
>
>
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