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Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

  • 1.  Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

    Posted 10 days ago
    My main exhaust fan from the dryers (similar to this one) stopped working causing water condensation to work its way out and drip onto the floor.  The motor sits on the top, about 16 ft up, close to the main ceiling, so it was a bear to get to.  I flipped the main switch to it, no dice.  The fan turns on its own, from the dryers blowing out, but its not extracting to the outside, so the humid air continues to the opposite side of the duct work.  The belts appear to be in place.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Can I test the motor without pulling it out?  The motor is 5HP Baldor-Reliance, approx 10yrs old and I have 30 dryers.

    On a similar note, the duct work is approx 60 ft long, L-shaped, runs along the back wall.  The long end runs above the dryers and this big box is close to the corner, the duct extends and turns a 90 degree angle and continues approx 25-30 ft.  I presume this extension was put in place originally for future addition of dryers.  Just my guess.  My question is, is this extension even necessary if I don't plan on adding these many more dryers.  This is where the drips are occurring.  Should I just cap it off at the long end?

    Thank you in advance for all your input.

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    David Rebolloso
    North Tryon Laundromat
    Charlotte, NC
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  • 2.  RE: Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

    Posted 10 days ago

    David,

    I'm not an HVAC guy, but I had to weigh in when nobody else has spoken up.  This is a big deal that you need to fix right away.

    First off, your setup is weird.  I'm not an HVAC expert, but every single store I've seen has ductwork that exits nearly straight up, through the roof.  The exhaust of a dryer has good airflow, but not so good that it can travel sideways, through a dead motor fan and out.  Hence your big dryer fan.

    So, this means, get it fixed right away.  There is a lot of carbon monoxide and other ickies looking for a place to go, you don't want to have little old ladies passing out.  I would buy some battery-powered CO2 detectors right away.  Plus, the stuff isn't going to dry, you'll have hot, wet clothes with bad exhaust airflow.

    Go out and buy one of these, climb up and put it against the motor connectors.  Have someone turn the switch on and off (why is there a switch?  Geez, this seems like a setup waiting to put a lot of people to sleep.

    If you have power, you'll need a new motor. Maybe you can get this one rebuilt, but I don't think you actually have enough time to do so.

    If you don't have power, that's easy.  Hell, run an extension cord and fire that thing up while waiting for an electrician to change out your bad breaker, or most likely, the automatic switch that starts it up when the dryers are running died.  Assuming it's single-phase.

    While you still have brain cells unaffected by carbon monoxide, describe for us the switching system.  What turns the motor on?  What switch were you using?  Were you using the breaker?

    Since you didn't hear it die, via squeals and death rattles, I suspect it's not getting power, which is the easiest thing to test for.

    I'd get a good HVAC guy out (the firm that installed it?) ASAP, dryer exhaust has to go somewhere and right now, a lot of it is going where you don't want it.



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    Luigi
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  • 3.  RE: Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

    Posted 10 days ago

    Should I just cap it off at the long end?
    David Rebolloso,  01-05-2019 16:23
    Wait, what?  Can you take a picture?  Is it just open to the environment?

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    Luigi
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  • 4.  RE: Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

    Posted 9 days ago
    Never cap off an exhaust or fresh air line. What triggers the fan to go on?

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    Denise Rubenstein
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Laundermagic of Patchogue
    Bayport NY
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  • 5.  RE: Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

    Posted 9 days ago
    Luigi, thank you for your reply.  I think I figured it out but I'm still a little perplexed. The motor, belt, housing, etc was full of gunk, lint, etc and I think that was affecting the mechanism. I'm glad I caught that fire hazard!  I vacuumed everything and "blowed" it out and it seems to be working back to normal.

    But while I was up there checking everything I could not find a power line going into the motor or the switch and I checked all around the exterior box.  As to Denise's question (thank you), I'm thinking there might be a heat sensor that activates the fan and the power cable might be inside the box, but I won't know until I actually open it and look inside.

    Just to give you some background...My background is retired military, 30 yrs in healthcare, so no prior experience in the laundry business.  I've only been open 15 months, the prior tenant was not here when I took over and he had taken everything with him, so I have no operational history other than from the property manager.  I'm fairly handy, just enough to be dangerous I guess.  I've tried to learn as much as I can from the technicians since my equipment is still under warranty and the rest I learn as I go, this issue being a prime example.

    I try to read this forum regularly and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all you guys with umpteen years of experience for your contributions and taking the time to share your vast knowledge.  May everyone have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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    David Rebolloso
    North Tryon Laundromat
    Charlotte, NC
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  • 6.  RE: Main Dryer Exhaust Fan

    Posted 9 days ago

    The motor, belt, housing, etc was full of gunk, lint
    David Rebolloso,  01-06-2019 20:23
    Yes, lint.  This is going to be your issue for as long as you own the store.  I was wondering how an exhaust fan was going to deal with all that lint and I guess we found the answer.

    Check your lint screens on your dryers (what models?) which helps a lot, but laundromats put out an enormous amount of lint into the air.  If your motor squished to a halt after only fifteen months, that means that you have a lot of lint and that the motor is probably undersized.

    You've found a new preventative maintenance item.  Next, this is a symptom that is related to another issue; your dryer vents are probably (certainly? If it's going sideways and at right angles?) full of lint.

    Search the forum for the thread on how to deal with that.  You want a professional LAUNDROMAT duct cleaning company.  They have gasoline or truck-driven vacuums and know how to do laundromats.

    My first time, they took an enormous bag, and I mean enormous out of the ducts.  Why there had never been a fire, I don't know.  Dryers were constantly overheating and tripping one of two overtemp sensors, one you had to physically reset and one that reset on its own, both irritating to customers who put money in to come back to cold wet clothes tumbling around.


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    Luigi
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