Tunnel washers are large-volume, continuous-batch washers with long chambers
and a series of compartments through which the laundry is pulled for soaking, wash-
ing, and rinsing. Tunnel washers are used in very large laundry operations serving
institutional users, such as hospitals, prisons, hotels, motels, and restaurants. They
are capable of handling up to 2,000 pounds of laundry per hour. Tunnel washers are
more water-efficient, because the water moves in a counter-flow direction to the
laundry starting with the last rinse, so that the water is used through several cycles of
the wash before being sent to the drain (see Figure 3-2). Tunnel washers are costly to
install, but they are capable of saving more water than washer extractors and require
less operation and maintenance labor. Tunnel washers typically use two gallons of
water or less per pound of fabric.
Figure 3-2. Tunnel Washer
Operation, Maintenance, and User Education
Facility managers can reduce water use by taking simple steps to educate users on
proper laundry equipment use and maintenance. In addition, consider the following:
Encourage users to wash only full loads. Consider using a laundry scale to weigh
loads to ensure the machine is filled to capacity.
Consider separating and washing laundry based on the number of wash cycles
needed (e.g., more soiled articles will require more wash cycles).
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