The not-so-nice ice issue
As the cold temperatures continue to wreak havoc across the country and snow blankets the Northeast and ice covers the Southeast, it's important to keep an eye on your dryers. Icy temperatures can freeze car locks, windows and doors on a car exiting a carwash if the dryer isn't doing its job. But, with a good dryer and an ongoing maintenance program utilized throughout the year, there shouldn't be any problems.
Aaron Green, owner of Kwik Car Wash, said,“The cold can lead to dryers heating up (running for a period of time) and then shutting down with fewer cars and this can lead to condensation build up and shorting out, so we make sure to have proper ventilation. “As normal maintenance, we make sure the intake is free and clear and we like to clean ours once a month inside and out to ensure things are working properly.”
Mark Ellis, President of Xpert Solutions/Southland Auto Wash, said they have a standard preventative maintenance program that includes verifying impellers are all in good condition, and intake and safety screens are cleaned to provide maximum airflow. "This process is year round so that our dryers are always operating safely and at full capacity.”
Keeping the mechanical in all your systems in top operating condition year round will be a main factor in determining whether the cold weather affects your machinery. Dryers are necessary for removing as much water as possible, and reducing the potential for ice-related problems.
“A customer can wash late in the day and in the morning their door and locks can be frozen shut,” said Green. “I have personally washed late in the day and the following morning went to roll down my window and stripped the gears in my motor from water freezing.”
“The more thorough the drying is that we provide, the less water track (ice track in winter) is left at the tunnel exit. Water droplets left on the vehicle will freeze, which can cause wipers to stick as well,” says Ellis.
“As with any piece of carwash equipment, proper maintenance and periodic inspection will greatly reduce any chances of downtime due to mechanical failure,” said J.R. Klemmer, General Manager of Proto-Vest. “An area to pay particular attention to is the inlet region if the blower assembly which — when blocked — can create many adverse effects on the dryer’s operation.”
Pay close attention to...
“The air flow/air pressure should be checked at the tip of each outlet nozzle and if inconsistent, inspect for blockages and take amp readings on the motors to reveal any problems,” says Cheryl Dobie of Aerodry Systems, LLC.
To keep the dryer running at peak performance it is important to clean this area often and inspect the impellers in the blower housing where wax, soap and auto exhaust may build up.
“Vibrations are another valuable gauge in detecting dryer problems. All blowers produce minimal vibrations during normal operation, nevertheless when the vibrations become greater it is usually an indication of a potential problem. Worn motor bearings, foreign objects in the blower or a missing balance weight will all cause abnormal vibrations. If left unchecked, this type of situation could lead to motor or blower damage that can be very expensive to repair,” warns Klemmer.