|RE: Common Laundry Advice Needed||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kay (argylemines.utah.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 13:10:52 -0700 (PDT)|
At Wasatch Commons maybe 12 units use the laundry. RECORDKEEPING Usage is recorded on an honor basis on a clipboard in the laundry room. At first, we wrote "date -- name -- number of loads" in columns on lined paper. Adding up monthly usage for each household took flipping through pages. Somebody created a form which we have used for about three years with only a few tweaks. It is a table, with unit numbers and resident names on the y axis (down), and number of loads and half dollars on the x axis (across). People mark a box for each load as they do it (or in my household's case, write the date in the box, so we keep track better -- "That's the fifth load today. Oops! Forgot to mark one." Management is encouraging wider adoption of the practice). Awhile back I got fancy and put the amounts inside all the boxes, in a very small font in one corner, all the way down the table. By its design, you automatically have a running total. I print out about three months' forms at a time, finding that a reasonable balance between efficiency and needed frequency of editing as units change owners. CHARGES We charge separately for washers and dryers, to allow for households that own a washer but not a dryer, or prefer to line-dry -- Salt Lake averages 237 sunny days a year. We finally got community clotheslines built this spring :). The charge of 50c for each machine-load seems to have been arrived at simply because it was a bit less than what the local Laundromats were charging. Half the proceeds go to the common house utility budget and half go to the laundry reserve. Payment is expected monthly. When a machine needed replacing, we reopened the question of payment -- leasing vs. owning, coin-op, card-reader, etc. We decided the hassles of leasing were probably equal to the hassles of owning. Added income from better compliance would be swallowed by the lessor's cut, or if we owned a coin-op ourselves, counterbalanced by the time factor of counting and depositing coins and greater maintenance because more parts to break; plus, in either case, the niggle factor of needing quarters. The honor system takes little time to manage and had brought in enough to replace the machine, so we decided to stick with it. SCHEDULING Some initial scheduling difficulties were reduced to manageability by asking that people without M-F 8-5 jobs avoid weekends. It's rare to check back more than once, waiting for an available machine. BRANDS AND FEATURES We started out with two Gibson front-loaders and two Gibson gas dryers. I'm told they can stack to save space (without the access problems of a stacked top-load unit), and we have discussed doing this to fit a third set of machines into our small laundry room. Another set of washer and dryer would further reduce scheduling conflicts and let people use their time more efficiently -- it's more work to put in a single load at a time when you have to trot down the path through the snow, not just into the next room. This option was tabled for possible future funding. An advantage common to all front-loaders is that the washers are water-efficient (no water height option necessary) and the spin cycle does an excellent job at extraction, cutting down on dryer time. A problem is that some users take a while to figure out that you need half the detergent as for a top-loader. (I can see the movie trailer now: "It's frothing. It's breaking free. It's -- The Suds That Ate Salt Lake!") The Gibsons have needed repairs about once a year -- refusing to fill, loud thunka-thunks when the belts go out, broken door locks, smoke (golly, you mean lint burns?), etc. -- as well as on-going maintenance like replacing the drum light, vacuuming the lint trap, scrubbing off the buildup of caked detergent, pouring water down the floor drain to block sewer gas, and snaking a wire back to the turn in the dryer vent, to fish out a dead bird (phew!). On the plus side, (a) the Gibsons have an optional second rinse (not so optional if you have chemical sensitivities). (b) The dryers have a moisture sensor cycle, which runs until the items are dry and no longer, as well as a timer (some people prefer it -- go figure). (c) You can turn the end-of-cycle buzzers off (please!). Some annoyances include (a) We've repeatedly had to replace the fragile control knobs on the dryers. (b) You pour the detergent (etc.) into a pull-out drawer. They jam, and at least one has broken. If not cleaned often enough, caked detergent from a previous user can get deposited on clothes, a problem if it has bleach or scent. (c) Our hard water quickly films the glass door port. My room-mate can't stand this, and takes it off with chemicals and elbow-grease periodically, or it would long since have become opaque. (d) The doors open to the center of the room instead of toward the outside. Better if the machines were either in reverse positions (hookups prevent) or had the doors hinged opposite the present arrangement, so the doors weren't in the way when you are transferring from washer to dryer. Better yet, Kenmore dryers have a door that opens DOWN. You can drop the load on it, to shake out each item as you toss it in (the washers tend to twist sheets into ropes) or to pull out items that don't machine dry. One of the washers was declared unfixable, and we got a commercial Maytag ($1,200?). I prefer it to the Gibson, despite slightly simpler options. No dial collecting grunge. No buzzer. No glass to cloud up. Detergent is poured into a flapped opening on top of the machine instead of a recalcitrant drawer, and the accumulations don't seem to get inadvertently added to a subsequent load. The door still opens the wrong way, and we had to call the installer back to increase the spin cycle to its faster setting (a wimpy spin means more time, and more quarters, to get clothes dry, and is thus a popular feature with laundromats). Kay
Common Laundry Advice Needed Mike Swettenam, July 5 2004
- RE: Common Laundry Advice Needed Kay, August 3 2004
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.