Spring is on the way, and it is now time to think about all the tender love and care your office or home has been missing out on during the cold winter months. Instead of relying on reactive care or fixing a problem when it arises, why not take the initiative and maintain your equipment even while it’s running at its best. This will save you money in the long run, and often you will see immediate financial benefits as well.
Also consider that occupants of the building, whether they be employees, customers, your family, or anyone else, will appreciate being in a space that is safe, clean, and up-to-date. Even beyond financial, health, and safety reasons, don’t forget that the appearance of a building has an effect on people, some who may never even step foot inside the door.
We spoke with local Omaha experts in building maintenance about important reasons to keep your office, warehouse, home, or any other building running in tip top shape. The benefits of preventative maintenance are many, and in particular, we’d like to highlight three.
The first is that maintaining a building will save you money in so many ways. Buildings that are continually maintained are much less likely to need sudden expensive repairs. Buildings that are left unmaintained can begin having problems that create a snowball effect. First, a hole is left unrepaired, leading to a leak in the ceiling which causes mold in the floorboards which weakens the structure of the building, and on and on. No one wants to deal with these kinds of problems.
Thankfully, the solution is rather simple and much more affordable than dealing with the effects of letting a building go. Proper maintenance of any building includes regular inspections so that deteriorated elements can be discovered and repaired. Scheduled maintenance and system updates are essential to maintaining the efficiency of your building. Scheduled maintenance will keep systems operating at maximum efficiency, minimizing downtime for repairs and better maintaining optimum environmental conditions. Breakdowns can lead to expensive repairs and unscheduled downtime of equipment, which can result in a loss of revenue for businesses.
“What most people need to realize is that the price of doing nothing and relying on maintenance all the time is far more expensive than regular, timely, preventative maintenance,” Matt Rowe, building services sales engineer with Engineered Controls told us. “Despite the importance and relatively low expense of maintaining building efficiency, most building owners, approximately 55% in the United States, rely on reactive maintenance programs to care for their equipment. This means they wait until their equipment fails completely before initiating corrective action. Realistically, reactive maintenance is not maintenance at all and should be called repair work.”
As a leading building control technology contractor, Engineered Controls’ goal is to provide customers with products and services to create efficient, safe, and comfortable building environments. Engineered Controls offers complete turnkey building control solutions including system design, new construction and owner-direct retrofit sales, installation, repair service, and preventative maintenance work for smart buildings.
“Engineered Controls offers planned service agreements to assist building owners with these items,” Matt said. ”We customize these agreements based on building use and staff to assist in keeping these systems operating properly. There is a great benefit to having a trained technician looking into the system periodically. They can identify possible issues and provide solutions to them prior to them becoming a problem.”
Preventative maintenance should be important to business owners for a variety of reasons:
- Asset protection and preservation
- Energy use reduction
- Financial impact
- Staff efficiency
Maintenance costs take up a large percentage of expenses for most facilities, which means it’s worth looking into ways to optimize maintenance repairs to reduce unnecessary costs. Maintenance costs can amount to nearly as much as utility costs and even up to one-third of total operating expenses for a facility if not regularly maintained. If you maintain proper function for all your facilities through reputable workers, you will also have proper documentation for insurance and legal agencies. If someone claims to get hurt or injured due to improper building maintenance, that could lead to a hefty lawsuit. Maintaining your building maintains your reputation and credibility as a property owner.
Health and Safety Benefits
In their Operations and Maintenance Best Practices Guide, the U.S. Department of Energy states that effective facilities maintenance “is one of the most cost-effective methods for ensuring reliability, safety, and energy efficiency.”
They also list the following as being among the many health and safety benefits of proper building and equipment maintenance:
- Increasing the safety of all staff, as properly maintained equipment is safer equipment.
- Ensuring the comfort, health, and safety of building occupants through properly functioning equipment providing a healthy indoor environment.
In regards to health and safety, one of the most important aspects of building maintenance is cleanliness. Clean buildings have better air quality and surfaces free of harmful contaminates and contagions. Studies have shown that workers in a clean environment are more productive than their counterparts, which may in part be due to the fact that they feel better and experience a greater sense of health and wellness. Not only do you get to brag about the appearance of your building when it’s clean, but your employees will show an increase in morale and efficiency.
Another area of building maintenance to consider in regards to health, safety, and the happiness of occupants is your plumbing system. Poorly-maintained plumbing systems can cause unpleasant issues, especially when they’re backed up. No one wants to be in a building with smelly, messy plumbing issues. A plumbing malfunction can incur a wide-variety of costs, from water damages to days where the building is inaccessible. Lallenia Birge with Big Birge Plumbing offered more on this topic.
“What we mostly see is people will put off replacing or fixing small parts or issues in their plumbing system and then have a system failure later on. Ignoring the small issues that are actually quick fixes only leads to long, pricey repairs. There are also major health risks associated with bad plumbing systems. An inspection a year will hopefully prevent any issues while also allowing you to know that your building is energy efficient and safe for your occupants. Lack of care to your plumbing system can cause pipes to leak, which can lead to issues with mildew or mold, or even water contamination.”
Big Birge provides plumbing services to both residential and commercial buildings. This family owned and operated company prides themselves on having a close-knit team of respectful and fair plumbers. Whether your project is small or large, Big Birge has the person for the job.
If your home has a septic tank, it’s essential that you have it routinely maintained in order to keep your property operational. A poorly maintained septic tank has the ability to cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in a short amount of time, so routine checks and clean-outs are absolutely necessary. If waste escapes the unit, it can damage your property and your relationship with neighbors who have to deal with the aromas. Midland Pumping Service is a reliable pumping company that will provide the services you need to prevent any issues from arising.
“A plumbing malfunction inside of a home or a business is not just a costly inconvenience, it is also a health hazard,” Aimee Hoffman from Midland Pumping warned.
“With septic tanks and grease traps, you have to be proactive. Plan to pump your tank as often as two to three times a year if there’s a high volume of people in your home. We recommend to plan for a pump in the spring or summer. The snow melt and spring showers will add extra water to your system and possibly over saturate your drain field. You want to wait long enough to allow the tank bacteria to re-establish its population for next winter as well.”
Septic tanks and grease traps are a prime area where proactive rather than reactive care is crucial. Proactive care is also imperative in terms of heating and cooling units. You don’t want to be stuck without any heat when it counts. Ron Getzschman with Getzschman Heating is a firm believer in maintenance over repairs.
“Getzschman cares about proactive care so much, we created a special program to encourage people to follow through with their system’s maintenance needs. When furnaces and AC units receive their seasonal tune-up, their life and reliability increases. We started the G-Force Maintenance Club to reward clients who are committed to the life of their system. G-Force members get priority scheduling, discounts, and energy savings.”
Getzschman offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee that they back in writing. They strive to leave a lasting impression on all clients with competitive prices, excellent customer service, and hard work. Whether combating the heat or the cold, Getzschman is dedicated to bringing comfort to your home.
“Regular maintenance of your furnace prevents little problems from snowballing to major problems like a possible carbon monoxide leak or system collapse,” Ron said. “Avoid any safety risks by completing a tune-up at least annually on your HVAC system.”
As with many areas of home or business maintenance, there are safety risks if you decide to skip out on your needed check-ups.
Similarly, it is dangerous to ignore the condition and durability of your electrical panels, fuses, and wires. We spoke to Chris Langer, owner of Langer Electric, to learn more.
“Whether you’re trying to protect your home or business, making sure you have the proper electrical panels and wiring is imperative when protecting your property investment,” he said. “Maintaining your wiring and panels to stay up to date with the NEC (National Electric Code) is extremely important in protecting whoever may be inside the building. This is why we regularly perform panel inspections and maintenance to homes and businesses. To me, it’s extremely important that people can have access to an affordable electrician service 24/7.”
“Maintaining your electrical system will cost you a lot less in the long run. A panel inspection takes only 30 minutes or less and can save you from days without power, or worse—a fire. Don’t lose out on days of work because you put off your regularly scheduled maintenance! Whether during, before, or after office hours, we can ensure the safety and productivity of your office.”
Langer Electric is a licensed, bonded, and insured electrical company that ensures customer satisfaction with every interaction. They pride themselves on putting the customers’ needs and safety above all. They provide quality work, competitive pricing, and the best hours. From kitchen upgrades to security camera installations, they can help with any electrical needs.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), two out of every five fires in the cold weather months stem from electrical failure or malfunction. Electrical malfunctions are the second leading cause of U.S. home fires in the United States. With these statistics in mind, make sure you are getting your panels and fuses regularly inspected and also ensuring you are up to code if something does go awry. FireGuard, Inc. is a local, family-owned company that offers complete life safety solutions. We spoke to Meghan Sedlacek about the importance of fire and life safety methods.
“FireGuard designs, sells, inspects, and services all types of fire protection and life safety equipment including, but not limited to: fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems, special hazard systems, fire extinguishers, fire doors, restaurant systems, and exit and emergency lights. Preparation is key; therefore, FireGuard also offers two options of OSHA compliant hands-on fire extinguisher training.”
FireGuard’s mission is to be devoted to the highest quality of design, installation, and service of all fire protection equipment providing Priceless ProtectionTM to prevent loss of lives and property.
“From small businesses to large corporations, school districts, healthcare facilities, and everything in between, our certified and professional team can handle all of your fire and life safety service, maintenance, and repair needs,” Meghan said. “Having knowledge and understanding of the current code requirements at your facility is extremely important for the safety and protection of the facility and people who occupy it. FireGuard is a 24/7 business, and we are here to assist you anytime you need us.”
Visual and Aesthetic Benefits
Not only does cleanliness and upkeep create a safe environment, it also enhances the appearance and impression of your building. First impressions can be difficult to change, and the image of a dirty building will definitely stick in the mind of a potential employee or tenant. Maintaining a clean and well-maintained work environment is something you won’t want to cut corners on.
Maintaining the appearance of a building provides benefits that many people don’t realize until a building suddenly falls into disrepair. You may have heard of the broken window effect, a theory presented in the 1980s that suggests that a neighborhood with one broken window will quickly become subject to abuse such as graffiti, crime, and more broken windows if the window isn’t quickly repaired. The idea behind the theory is that broken things attract more broken things. While one little broken window in the back of a vacant building may not seem like a big deal, it sends a message that no one cares about the state of that building, and people may respond by treating the building with little to no respect.
The good news is that the opposite can prove true as well. A building in good repair with shining windows, fresh paint, and a good roof sends a message that the owners and occupants of the building care—and not just about the building, but that they generally care and pay attention to details. Those who then enter the building are much more likely to treat it with care as well. Who wouldn’t want to send that message to the world!
While Morton Buildings specializes in reconstructive services and building maintenance at all levels (seen an unseen), they always do an excellent job making everything look tight, clean, and ship-shape—they take the appearance of your building into consideration whether or not the service you need is aesthetic. When you are looking for services to improve the appearance of your home or office, they are perfectly prepared to take the external appearance of your building to a new level or restore it to the beautiful state of its former days. Dan Nyberg, sales training manager, told us more.
“As the leader in post-frame manufacturing and construction, Morton Buildings specializes in new construction of residential and commercial facilities,” he said. “In addition, we also offer repair and renovations services for Morton and non-Morton brand of buildings. Both of these services use the highest quality materials to deliver a low-maintenance, durable, and energy-efficient structure. Our repair services team consists of experienced, local Morton crew members that use quality Morton materials on your existing structure to make it look new again. Popular repair and renovation requests include:
- Door repairs and replacements
- Door conversions
- Gutter repairs
- Trim repair
- Skylight installations
- Insulation packages.”
Morton Buildings is a 100% employee-owned construction company that focuses on every project’s long-term, stable plan. They have a commitment to being a leader through innovation, service, and quality.
“If you’re planning for a personal storage building, horse barn, farm storage building, home, office and warehouse, insulated workshop, a commercial facility, or anything in between, now is the time to take advantage of discounted pricing on new buildings until February 29!”
Renovating your building, remodeling your office, or even just changing out some of the decor keeps your workspace fun and exciting for tenants and employees. The same can be said for your home. Maintenance can also include updating your home with the latest technology for your family’s personal enjoyment. If your home is starting to feel like a blast from the past, it could be beneficial to consider lighting or entertainment upgrades.
“While some people may think of new technology as an upgrade, I consider it maintenance because of how quickly our society is making advancements in home technology,” Doug Dushan from Echo Systems said. “At the end of the day, maintenance is all about making sure all parts of your home or business are operating at maximum efficiency. An old technological setup prevents comfort and ease.”
Echo Systems is the residential and commercial automation and lighting division of Echo Group, Inc., which has more than 60 years of experience in the Nebraska community. Their impressive showroom allows customers the opportunity to view countless options for making a home more comfortable, from lighting control and motorized shades to a home theater system.
“One of the most popular additions I’ve seen lately are home theaters,” Doug said. This is not a trend I see fading anytime soon. The demand for home theaters has grown steadily for the past few years. People also want better HD television and audio options for everyday use.”
The turning of the seasons from winter to spring is a great time to offer your home, office, or other buildings some extra attention, though we recommend continual maintenance throughout the year! Turn to local building maintenance experts to get the best-quality service and guidance on keeping your buildings well-maintained and optimally functioning.