Businesses nowadays are more aware than ever of the importance of a good HVAC preventive maintenance program to optimize efficiency, prevent breakdowns, and extend the life of their equipment.
However, despite what common sense dictates and experts advise, there are still (and always will be) PM holdouts that are willing to gamble that their HVAC equipment will continue running without a hitch, with little to no upkeep. The fact that HVAC systems are typically out of sight and out of mind makes it easier for some decision-makers to downplay or ignore preventive maintenance when running on a tight budget. Naturally, many find out too late that theirs was a losing bet. Case in point: a small food manufacturing facility that considered – and rejected – signing on to a PM program from MSC.
When we visited the facility late last year to inspect the HVAC and process cooling systems and discuss their maintenance needs, some signs of disrepair – iced coils, low airflow, etc. – were apparent. The facility manager was advised of the issues, given the estimated cost to correct them, and provided with a quote for PM. But while the facility manager was quite receptive to our proposal, his direct superior was not, opting to save money by foregoing a PM contract and handling basic maintenance in-house. He reasoned that the facility’s relatively new equipment had been running just fine so far and insinuated that professional maintenance contracts are for the gullible.
Just five months later, MSC received an emergency call from the facility reporting a major compressor failure. Production lines were shut down, goods that had been in mid-production were lost, and stored products were in immediate jeopardy. Though our service technicians were able to quickly restore the walk-in boxes, production had to remain halted for several more days while a replacement compressor was located and acquired and the repairs were made.
All in all, between production downtime, ruined product, and the cost to replace the failed compressor – all of which would have been unavoidable if existing issues had been addressed and the equipment properly maintained in the first place – the entire debacle cost the company nearly $90,000.
What does it take to convince holdouts like these of the importance of regular HVAC preventive maintenance before a catastrophe occurs? High energy bills don’t point explicitly to a malfunctioning or inefficient system, and productivity losses can sometimes be hard to pinpoint, so it’s easy for them to disregard PM in order to stay within budget and save some money in the short term. Costly service emergencies and equipment failures that could easily have been averted, however, are awfully hard to ignore.
It's been said countless times before and we shouldn't need to say this again, but there are still far too many people out there that still haven't absorbed the message: An efficient, well-functioning HVACR system is vital to a facility's operation and productivity, making proper preventive maintenance an absolute necessity, and HVACR systems that are not properly and regularly maintained will invariably – yes, invariably – cost far more in the long run.