May 21, 2015
Preparing Your Facility For Summer
The summer months are fast upon us and this year it is set to be a hot one. With that in mind, now is the perfect time to get a head start on some early summer maintenance chores to make sure your facility is ready to handle the heat - otherwise, you may have to get out of the kitchen! Here are some tips for preparing your properties for summer.
Whether you are responsible for a manufacturing plant, hospital, school district, or hotel, the heat associated with summer months can affect your property in a number of ways. Because of that, it is always a good idea to give your facility (and the equipment inside it) a little extra TLC during these hot months.
When we think of summer, the first thing that generally comes to mind is your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) unit - and with good reason. The worst thing that can happen to your building is for the heating and cooling system to break down. This is especially true if you have frequent visitors or residents on the property, such as at a hotel or hospital. Not only does an HVAC unit provide necessary comfort, it plays a part in safety as well, as the young and elderly (who may be residing in your facility) are particularly prone to heat stroke.
As summer rolls around, be sure to perform some preventative HVAC maintenance. Change out your filters, give the system a tune-up, and make sure there are no leaks in your ventilation system. You may also wish to do an inspection of your intake(s) and vents and ensure there is nothing blocking them that would interfere with airflow. These simple steps will make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently, which, in turn, increases its effectiveness and its life expectancy. An added bonus is that the above steps will also help reduce energy waste and resulting energy bills - a win-win for budget-conscious facility managers.
Water heaters are another area that you can look at, even though you don't typically think of them during hot months. The truth is, we use hot water every day. Manufacturing plants may use them for processes or for the cleaning of equipment, while a school or restaurant might use them for food prep, laundry, or other activities.
If your water heater"s thermostat is set to 140 degrees (a common manufacturer default), consider lowering it to 120 degrees. No one will notice the difference, and the change will help prolong the life of your unit. It will also help cut back on energy waste as well. Another tip is to drain some of the water from the water tank (a few gallons) to help rid it of sediment that has built up at the bottom. Again, this will prolong the unit's expected life and help it run efficiently.
Lawn maintenance is another factor to take into consideration. Adjust your sprinkler system timer to avoid running your sprinklers during times of the day when the sun is too hot (the reflected sun and steam can kill your grass). Take into consideration any local droughts and schedule accordingly. Check for any signs of leaks or broken sprinkler heads, as this can drive up your utility bills and ruin the lawn you worked so hard to make lush and green.
If you operate a seasonal business (one where you tend to be busier during the summer) take this into consideration as well. If your manufacturing output ramps up during this time, be sure to schedule extra time for machine maintenance and be prepared for possible breakdowns due to wear and tear. If you run a summer camp, take into consideration any equipment that may experience more use than normal - plumbing, HVAC units, and so forth should all be inspected and maintained.