By: Jeff Kamaka and Bill Smigo
Facility maintenance is all about preparation. As the weather changes, so should the focus of your maintenance budgeting strategy. With warm summer months upon us, HVAC and landscaping should become the two most important maintenance projects to keep in check.
Did you inspect your HVAC system after spring? Have you prepped your facility for summer pests? Are your irrigation systems functioning properly? There’s a lot to manage to get your facility ready for the heat. Strategizing maintenance year round is key to staying ahead of the curve.
For a successful maintenance management strategy, follow these great summertime tips!
HVAC Maintenance Tips
Perform a spring and summer HVAC system maintenance inspection
In the summer heat, your HVAC equipment can be forced to run twice as hard. This makes breakdowns more common, especially if you don’t take the right precautions. To make sure your system is ready to handle summer, you’ll want to:
- Check HVAC condenser and evaporator coils and make sure they are clean.
- Do a full system inspection and check the refrigerant system for leaks.
- Change the filter. A simple filter change can reduce your energy bill by up to 16 percent.
- Clear the drain pans. Increased summer usage creates more condensation that can leak or overflow and cause damage.
Check your facility’s thermostat settings
The easiest way to reduce summer expenditures is by adjusting your thermostat based on times of occupancy. If your store is not in continuous operation, or certain zones remain unoccupied for long periods of time, you can save on energy by raising cooling setpoints and lowering heating setpoints of those areas by four to six degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll also want to make sure HVAC settings in stockrooms, offices, and other peripheral spaces are at a minimum. If you do not have an energy management system (EMS), consider investing around $200 on a programmable thermostat for a quick return on investment.
Plan an asset allocation strategy
Preventative maintenance is important, but it’s not always easy to convince executive leaders to invest in replacement parts before an issue occurs. To counter this, you should audit your assets and inspect all of your facility’s equipment regularly to stay ahead of maintenance issues. HVAC units can typically last 15 years or more with proper maintenance, whereas an unmaintained unit may need to be completely replaced after 10 years. Replacing major parts will not only extend the life of your unit, but it will also maintain your system’s level of efficiency, reducing costs and preventing breakdowns caused by summer heat.
Landscaping Maintenance Tips
Look out for early signs of pests
Late spring and early summer are the active seasons for most pests. Left untreated, an infestation can lead to permanent damage of your facility. You will want to keep a keen eye out for insect activity on shrubs and trees by looking for chewed leaves or defoliated stems and limbs. If an application is required, treat the surrounding area as soon as possible. Be sure the service provider you choose adheres to state regulations and has all the necessary documentation and insurance requirements.
Prune facility landscapes to maintain curb appeal
Not only is it essential for maintaining your facility’s curb appeal, but summer pruning is necessary to keep plants from obstructing walkways, doorways, and even your security system. As you assess your facility’s landscape, you will want to take note of:
- Upgrown roots or low hanging branches in parking lots and walkways
- Overgrown shrubs blocking secondary exits or utility doors
- The line of sight to your facility’s signage
- Any obstructions to security systems and outdoor lighting
Monitor your facility’s irrigation system throughout the season
Even after initial adjustments and repairs have been made, it’s still important to monitor your system throughout the season to ensure its performance. Here’s what you will want to assess:
- Periodically check your irrigation clock to ensure zones are functioning properly with correct start and end times.
- Visually inspect your system while it’s running to troubleshoot misaligned heads and nozzles.
- Watch for water ponding and running streams in turf areas and parking lots, as these are signs of a leak. Leaks affect the efficiency of your system and also add to your utility water expenditures. Even if no visible leak is evident, you should still consistently monitor monthly water billings for any spikes in usage or cost.
Simplify Your Facility’s Year Round Maintenance
There are many aspects of running a facility, so it’s not uncommon for maintenance, at times, to receive less attention than it should. However, it’s still necessary to keep maintenance at the forefront of your planning. HVAC breakdowns, pest infestations, and irrigation leaks can make a mess of your budget, but keeping up with year-round facility maintenance can be easy.
NEST offers proactive consulting and budgeting services that optimize and reduce facility maintenance spending. We help companies like yours take control of their assets and strategize month-to-month spending, so you never go over budget. Ready to take back control of your assets? Contact our experts to discuss your toughest facility maintenance challenges.