Why Preventative Maintenance?

We maintain automobiles, bank accounts, our physical bodies, and many other things. However, we don’t typically say, “I’m going to do some preventative maintenance on my feet.” Yet we do trim our nails and wash our feet, and we take vitamins and we bathe. We change the oil in our cars and we give them a tune-up. We withdraw, deposit, and/or keep a check ledger for our bank accounts. Because we place value on these things, we make a point to do these types of preventative maintenance, and it’s better than the option of failure. Having been in construction and building maintenance fields most of my life, I have noticed that folks just don’t think the same way about their homes as they do other high-value items.

A manufacturing facility or assembly line cannot afford to be down, therefore, they have rules in place where a maintenance person keeps a running log of electrical, mechanical, and structural tolerances. This is done so that when an item is outside the normal matrix of operation, they can address the individual device rather than waiting for an entire system failure.

I was employed as a maintenance engineer at a well-known lodge/resort in Glacier National Park, MT. I had a checklist that was quite extensive regarding pressures and temperatures of boilers. We inspected them multiple times a day. Why? Because most people will not stay at a lodge if the utilities are malfunctioning. Granted, your home is not a hotel, but on a micro-scale, it is of the same species and is much, much more important to you. As a homeowner, you want to protect both your investment and your family.

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Although many homeowners have a basic knowledge of the systems and equipment residing in their home, they struggle with or are not equipped to create a baseline for the efficient operation and/or a maintenance plan for their equipment or structure. Nevertheless, an area I see most neglected is the exterior, with its surrounding soil and water table or static moisture content. The pressures exerted by the variables of rain, snow, drought, hydrostatic pressure, and freeze-lines can cause tremendous heave and settling of foundations and basement walls. The guttering and positive drain patterns are something an inspector will take into account in understanding a building’s physiology, thereby determining a baseline and creating a game-plan.

At Top Drawer Residential & Commercial Maintenance, LLC, we educate homeowners that they should have their homes inspected at least once, and then they should move to a quarterly or (minimum) bi-yearly preventive maintenance schedule.

Homeowners should seriously consider the holistic practice of inspections and preventative maintenance so their top investment, their home, brings higher returns upon sale, operates at peak efficiency, keeps large replacement costs down, and relieves everyday stresses by providing the knowledge of equipment and structural integrity and safety.

All existing products, materials, equipment, and structures were new at some time. In New England, we have some homes that are close to three hundred years old. Although no one can make guarantees on longevity, it is true that the best kept structures and equipment are those that have been and are still being regularly maintained.

Hopefully I have clarified some of the reasons to instigate a preventive maintenance program. If you have any questions, tips or experience you would like to share, please contact us. We do love to hear from you! It’s always satisfying to help owners get a game plan together to enable their equipment and structure to serve them for many years to come.

There are numerous reasons a preventive maintenance program is wise and beneficial.

1. Cost Savings:

A preventive maintenance plan can save homeowners and companies money because efforts will be focused on preventing equipment failure rather than responding to emergencies. An emergency due to equipment failure can be stressful – whether it’s an HVAC system in summer or a boiler in winter. Suddenly being caught unaware can complicate plans conducive to future growth and/or relationships.

2. Efficiency:

Whether it’s tight windows and doors or clean, unobstructed evaporator and condenser coils on an HVAC, everyone likes to get the best bang for their buck. No one likes to see the heat escaping to the outside due to a poor weather-strip or caulking, however, most folks don’t know if the HVAC is running efficiently or not. Instead, they increase the temperature of the thermostat. Items of this nature need to be inspected by a professional. Efficiency and cost savings go hand in hand.

3. Safety:

Routine inspection of monitoring systems, whether they’re intruder alarms, smoke detectors, overflow protection devices, electrical breakers, valves, or other switches, is a wise decision. It is important to know that you will be warned when something is operating outside of its normal parameters.

4. Conservation of Assets:

Companies do not like to get hit with large equipment replacement costs; therefore, they have routine inspection and preventative maintenance procedures in place. Homeowners should not be any different. It is easier to schedule routine preventive maintenance inspections than to schedule someone to come out and replace the entire HVAC or boiler system. In the same way, it’s wise to get an idea of a home’s surrounding drainage and to address concerns now rather than placing piers due to foundational settling or heaving later on.

5. Investment & Return:

Most people are not living in their dream home, and when they sell, a buyer’s inspector will typically go over the home with a fine-tooth comb. It can be very painful being the seller and getting hit with large-ticket item replacements. Just like a used automobile comes with a maintenance log declaring the previous owner changed the oil every 3000 miles, a log declaring the maintenance cycle of a home has its benefits for the present and when it’s time to sell.

Structural Physiology 101