Turnout gear washing...questions
Before anyone goes ape ... I did do a search, and while I found many posts on the subject I never really found the answers I seek.
Department Background: we are a small volunteer department with 34 members covering an area of 450+ square miles. A typical year we run 35 or so calls, sometimes as few as 10, sometimes as high as 80.
We are looking to put a machine in the station to was gear. We have been considering a commercial washer/extractor with a roughly $5,000 price tag. We have also considered purchasing the biggest most heavy duty, super capacity FRONT LOAD residential machine available from maytag, whirlpool, lg etc..., price tag roughly $1,300.
I am looking for input from some folks who have tried the route of using a less expensive residential machine rather than a full fledged commerical extractor. Did it work? Are you pleased with the capability? Would you do it again? Can you wash 1 full set of gear at a time? How long have you had it? Is it holding up?
As you can see, it's not like the machine would be washing gear 12 hours a day, every day. I would be extremely pleased if everyone would wash the gear at least twice a year, and we all have structual turounts as well as wildland gear.
Any information provided would be most appreciated.