PRE-PURCHASE EQUIPMENT INSPECTION
The second most important pre-purchase analysis should be the inspection and evaluation of the equipment being purchased. Here's what you should do yourself prior to any walkthrough with an agent or seller. You should go to the Laundromat and start each machine using coin or a card. This ensures that all the mechanisms are working properly. After starting the washers, switch
between the cycle settings to ensure that all hot, warm and cold cycles are working.
Slowing of the flow of water might indicate that either the hot or cold water
screens in the water inlet valves are starting to plug up with debris or lime.
Listen to the washers for grinding noises or loud high speed whirs to discover
if the bearings are having problems.
If you go on a Saturday, your future customers will perform most of the starting
of the machines for you for free. You just have to watch and listen. Observe the
front of the washing machines for telltale signs of water leaks from the door
gaskets. Once the washers have started, try to open the doors to see if the safety
lock mechanisms are working correctly.
Look behind the washers (lift the bulk head) to spot any water leaks from a drain
hose that might be cracked or a water hose that might have a pin-hole leak. This is
also the time to discover if you have copper or galvanized water pipes. Try turning a few of the hose bibs to see if they are frozen.
Look for the serial number and model number on the washers and dryers. It is often in the front of the machine viewable when you open the door. It can also be in the rear of the machine, but you'll need access to see the dryer serial numbers.
Now inspect the dryers for trunion and bearing problems. Unloaded and empty they should spin without noise and too much resistance. Reach into each dryer and lift the basket to discover any excessive play when you lift it. The movement indicates that a trunion could be bad. You don't need to be an expert to test this, it will be very obvious compared with the other dryers. Same thing with all the washers. Test them as well. Test out all the vending equipment by using coin. Start
the swamp coolers or ventilation and heating. Look at the water heater and
paying attention to any rusting or signs of leakage. Test the
soap machine and bill changers using all denominations of of bills, including
the latest $5.00, $10.00 and $20.00 bills to ensure the changers have been
upgraded to accept the newest bills.
Climb on the roof and look at the condition. It should be fairly obvious if it
has not been maintained. It is common for owners to hide roof leaks by
replacing damaged ceiling tiles. If you have any concerns, put a sprinkler
on the roof and run it for a few hours, or contact a roof professional.
This inspection should take you two or three hours and save about $300
from a repairman who would look at your machines.
If you have concerns, check before you buy.