The Hidden Costs of Improper Maintenace

Building and equipment maintenance often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. In fact, it’s easy to forget about maintenance until something breaks. This can be a costly mistake. Aside from repair and replacement expenses, improper maintenance can result in a number of additional short-term and long- term costs that can negatively impact your bottom line.

Shorter equipment life

Motors can degrade internally from deterioration of winding insulation caused by overheating from voltage imbalance. Motor bearings can seize when races become pitted from the stray current generated by the high-frequency pulses of VFDs. Cooling tower fans can break down due to vibration caused by poor alignment between the motor and the fan gear drive.

Poor equipment performance

Low refrigerant charge in walk-in coolers or freezers can result in food spoilage. Dust on light fixtures can reduce illumination levels. Dampers on air handlers that are stuck open or closed can fail to maintain proper indoor air temperature.

Health and safety issues

Failed lighting fixtures can negatively impact safety and productivity indoors, and security outdoors. Poorly performing HVAC systems can impact indoor humidity levels, leading to the growth of mold and mildew. Poorly maintained cooling towers can result in deadly Legionella growth.

Structural damage

A small roof leak can result in major damage over time to structural members, ceilings and walls. Loose electrical connections can overheat to the point of melting, resulting in a fire. Dirty evaporator coils can collect mold and bacteria, which can circulate indoors.

Unwanted surprises

Waiting too long to replace old equipment may result in expensive upgrades if manufacturers no longer carry the parts. Failure to keep up with software patches can cause maloperation of equipment or expose the control network to hacking. Backup generators can fail to start if the battery charge falls too low or fuel becomes contaminated.

Remember that preventive maintenance is the key to long-term savings. A regular preventive maintenance program can help ensure peak performance and lower costs. If your facility is in need of an upgrade, contact your local electric cooperative. Your local co-op offers Power Moves® rebates for qualifying energy efficiency upgrades to your business or facility. Contact your electric cooperative’s energy advisor to start the conversation.