how durable are dryers?

talley_sue_nycApril 25, 2014

I live in a small co-op apt. bldg, w/ mostly single people. We have a laundry facility of two washers, two dryers, and we need to replace our expensive rentals with something that costs less. I'm trying to persuade people that we should buy something.

We have the equivalent of 4 families of 4, in terms of usage. (Some apts. don't use the machines, several of them are single people, a few are couples only.)

We're looking at purchasing Speed Queens bcs we can get a commercial warranty.

but I'd also like to consider whether the dryers, at least, could simply be ordinary home machines. They'd probably have a shorter life than in a one-family home, but I think they'd still be cheaper (since SQ's semi-commercial ones are $1,700) in the long run.

I think this because I have this belief that dryers last far longer than washers do; they're simpler mechanics, and they can be repaired more easily.

What do you think?

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Ms Talley,

I'm familiar with the SQ product line, mainly from the on-premise laundry and coin laundry business. I'm not exactly sure what SQ machines you are comparing. But I can offer a short explanation on your options. Your best bet is to find out who your local authorized SQ distributor is for NYC, who would best recommend equipment for your situation.

Industrial tumble dryers vs "home style dryers"
SQ (and others) sells a line of industrial machines for laundromats, hospitals, athletic facilities etc that are generally very large and intended to be run 24/7, or at least the better part of 10-12 hrs a day for one to three decades. Machine sizes ratings in pounds are 25/30/35/50/55/75. They sell big stack dryer versions seen in laundromats. These will generally dry full size comforters with no issues. These are not low cost, but intended for heavy use way beyond whatever a single home owner would ever need. Your situation with 16 persons sharing a common facility might possibly make sense depending on usage patterns. This equipment requires bigger vents (6-8 inch dia vs home dryer 4 inch, larger gas lines, and often make-up air accommodations because they have such large powerful fans. Adjustments to existing building utilities is expensive. This equipment is very heavy reflective of its industrial nature. Drying times are very short, 18-30 minutes.

As an alternative, SQ sells a commercialized home-style dryer. These are commonly installed in apartment buildings , college dorms, army base barracks, and in laundromats where multiple tenants use common equipment, but at times without a vended (coin drop or card reader on the machine) interface. This equipment is less expensive than the industrial stuff above, but has more durable controls/switches than your typical home machine. It is lighter weight, so easier to install, uses standard 4 inch vents and standard gas lines, and the make-up air requirements are considerably less. They have a stack version of this machine. Full size comforters will fit in possibly, but they would dry better in larger equipment. Drying times are a bit longer 35-60 minutes depending on load size. For your situation, I would not be surprised if this is what the distributor would recommend.

A third alternative is buying a few home dryers like you would buy for a single residence home. The controls are tailored more for a single resident, and the internal parts are very similar to the commercialized version above. I was in a battered women's home and they had four dryers like this serving about 10-12 women and their children. You won't find SQ at big box stores, just local independent retailers.

Again, calling the authorized distributor is free advice on your situation. SQ is very equipment. Best of luck in your buying decision.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:15AM
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Ms Talley,

One more question you had and I did not answer, dryers mechanically vs washers.

Yes, a dryer is significantly simpler mechanically, and therefore should in theory last longer than a washer assuming an equal investment in product cost. The forces being contained in a dryer are nothing like a washer. A dryer drum turns at less than 1 G force. Washers typically spin at 150-300 G-force. And of course managing air is easier than water. Your house doesn't get wrecked if a little air gets misdirected in a dryer, but misdirected water from the washer is a whole different story.

But like all things, with the right investments in design and components and techniques of manufacture, they can be made to last equally as long, just at different product costs. Commercial washers are generally 1.5 to 3 times as expensive as it's commercial dryer counterpart due to the difference in complexity and the expectation that they should last equally as long.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:36AM
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Thanks, Laundryvet!

We'd want the commercial/home version, since for many hours of the day, and sometimes even for a few days in the week, the machines are not in use.

I'd go for their home version, but the other co-op board members will probably want a warranty, and I think (from speaking w/ a SQ rep a while ago) that this is only available if we get the semicommercial machine.

Our problem right now is that we're renting machines that are designed to be in use 24/7, and it costs an appropriate amount for that expectation. But we don't use it that much. We pay $1,880 per year to rent 4 machines; in less than 4 years, we'd break even if we bought Speed Queens. And we'd then have at least 6 years of service left in them; maybe more, depending.

I've since found through some online retailers like that a SQ dryer is $1,000, so about roughly twice a somewhat decent home dryer. Since I'd expect the SQ to last a long time, this may not be such a big deal.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Suggest call the folks at Alliance (the mfgr) in Ripon, WI, directly. I assure you they will be happy to talk/work with you about all of this. They did with me and I'm just a lowly homeowner.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 9:28PM
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"We pay $1,880 per year to rent 4 machines; in less than 4 years, we'd break even if we bought Speed Queens. And we'd then have at least 6 years of service left in them; maybe more, depending."

My recommendation: buy fairly new used residential washers and dryers from a dealer that has been in business for 10+ years and run them until they drop, then replace them. Make sure it's a model that has an easy to clean filter.

Most dealers will give you a 30-90 day warranty, which is enough to know if you have a problem unit.

If you bought 4 used high-capacity residential washers and dryers for $300 each, you would be ahead of the cost curve the first year. Keep enough in the bank account to buy a new one in case of failure.

If the space allows, consider a 2 washer to 3 or 4 dryer ratio, because washers are faster.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 1:18PM
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lazygardens, I did a spreadsheet of all the possible permutations--Speed Queen, and even the residential ones for $300.

The thing is, we won't qualify for a warranty from most places, since it's not single-family. Is there some different aspect to "dealer" that you're thinking of? Like, a small family appliance store?

But yeah, we'd be much better off even buying home machines, even if they only lasted 4 years AND we had to pay for the repair guy to come 3x a year.

Would home machines really last 10 years?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:40AM
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lazygardens--did you mean, purchase used home Speed Queens from a SQ dealer?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 2:01AM
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