September 23, 2022
Maintenance Horror Stories
It's nearing Halloween, which means ghost stories around the campfire, binge-watching scary movies, costume parties, trick-or-treaters roaming the neighborhoods, jack-o-lanterns on the porches, and one of my neighbors going overboard on the amount of seasonal 'stuff' dominating his lawn.
However, since many of my posts center around the topic of maintenance and a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), I thought I'd share some maintenance horror stories, the last two assisted after the fact by a CMMS. So, turn off the lights…if you dare, cuddle up in your blankets, hold the trembling hand of your significant other, and edit out the really horrific details when you read this to the children.
The first nine incidents were experienced by one family living in two houses over a period of forty-five years. Why they didn't enlist the services of an exorcist to rid the houses of the maintenance demon, I'll never know.
1. In a room addition to the house, they installed a wood-burning stove. For years, the family would come back from shopping or an evening out and discover the room and most of the dining room/kitchen full of smoke. Something was out of kilter with the flue, the chimney pipe, or else an evil spirit possessed the stove. It wasn't a fun time blanketing the doorway and opening the deck door to get rid of the smoke, especially in the dead of winter. Finally, the malevolent stove was replaced with an electric one.
2. The family lived on the edge of town with farm fields to the north and west. Every fall, the western property owner erected a snow fence that directed Mother Nature to dump snow high enough one could walk from the back yard down four houses, over property fences, without touching the ground. Snow blew around the house constantly drifting and blocking the driveway. It drifted high enough that the kids could climb up onto the garage roof. It drifted so high and weighed so much, that the front window cracked.
3. Tragedy struck one morning when the oldest child discovered the family pet had died. Later, the cause of death was determined to be from fertilizer from the farm field.
4. One time, the kitchen stove caused a fire that resulted in not only a new stove but a replacement of all the cabinets.
5. The town's water was hard enough to eat through concrete if left long enough, so it's no surprise that over fourteen years, the water heater was replaced three times.
6. At least once or twice a year, the sump pump failed, flooding the basement.
7. After the kids grew and moved away, the parents moved. However, years later, time, the elements, and the return of the maintenance demon took their tolls. The driveway developed cracks, bulges, and dips, and had to be repaired.
8. Cracks in the concrete garage floor were discovered early enough that major problems were avoided.
9. Finally, the entire foundation of the house had to be stabilized as it was sinking.
Now that you're good and scared, remember this all happened to one family. In fact, the incident with the garage occurred only this year, so the horror continues to plague them.
Oh, you want to know whose family has suffered these maintenance terrors to this day. You'd like to avoid associating with them lest the curse be transferred?
The family is your humble writer's. Yes, I survived all these terrible incidents growing up.
Two other incidents occurred to my sister and her family. An air conditioner became possessed, and water ended up leaking all over the basement office floor. The second was my sister herself was taken over by an evil spirit (or it could have been her faulty memory and being distracted), but she left water filling up a bathtub, forgot about it, and sat down to dinner. At one point, she rose from the table and stepped in water that had come from the bathroom down the hall and soaked the kitchen carpet. They ended up using all of the towels and a company's thirteen industrial-sized fans to dry out the place.
If you haven't pulled the blankets over your head and are sobbing in fear, or you haven't run from the house in sheer dread and shock, and you're willing to read further, let me offer two other horror stories that might give you nightmares for weeks, if not longer.
The first is one where you can breathe a sigh of relief in that further suffering was averted because of a CMMS. Still, the potential problems may haunt you for a while.
A government entity responsible for ice removal and salting of one of its building’s steps and parking lot had a claim filed against them, stating that an individual fell due to improper removal procedures. The economic disaster was averted by showing, via the CMMS, that the stated activities were done according to procedure.
The second story could have come direct from a scary movie where a supernatural force wreaks havoc in a house, or in this case, a business.
I can only imagine that an evil entity took over a generator in this company. The generator overheated and caught on fire. The fire, so hot and fast-moving, it traveled up the wall burning the power cable. The fire proceeded along the cable and across the ceiling to a huge hanging monitor hanging. This was no ordinary monitor, but a huge 60" display panel tied into all the production equipment, showing their operating time and so forth. It was a custom piece with special programming, and of course, the fire destroyed that, too. While it was sad enough to lose a $1,000 generator, the destruction of a $10.000 monitor was crushing. The new monitor is now separated and is on its own power circuit.
Looking at the CMMS asset Attachments, pictures tied to Equipment, and reviewing the work that they did, one could see the big black rectangular char on the wall where the generator used to be, the black trail going straight up and over to the former monitor. It was an eerie sight, as if the walls would start melting and crumbling with the advancement of whatever evil entity yet remained. (Okay, that might be a bit of an embellishment, but rumors are people still shiver in fear whenever they see it. I mean, wouldn't you?) The whole incident was documented per requirements. A bar graph report of Monthly Equipment Costs showed one bar almost off the chart. The others remained steady as usual—a little up a little down—but this one looked like the Sears tower. That’s going to show for years to come, too. They learned a valuable and expensive lesson. Keep valuable equipment isolated on its own circuit (and perhaps keep a vial of holy water handy). It is worth the cost of extra protection in the long run.
All right, I think we've had enough spookiness for one post. I hope I haven't frightened you so much you'll have problems breathing for the next couple of hours.
While a CMMS might have aided my family with its decades-long peril, it certainly assisted the two aforementioned businesses.
In fact, the specific system was the one developed by Mapcon Technologies. The above two stories are solid proof of the power and efficacy of MAPCON. Call 800-922-4336 to discuss details of how MAPCON can help your company avoid its own maintenance horror stories.
We at Mapcon wish you a fun and safe Halloween…what was that banging on the door? A raging monster…or a broken gutter being blown by the wind.
For heaven's sake, don't open that door!