From your HVAC system to the physical structure of your facility, regular maintenance can help keep everything running smoothly and ensure your tenants stay happy and healthy. Expensive systems and equipment don’t last forever, though. Each of the important components in your facility has a distinct lifespan, and you should expect to have to replace each piece eventually.
How Long do Assets and Equipment Last?
You should have an idea of the age of each of the important components in your facility; if they were in place when you purchased the building, there should be records from the facility management team that reveal what equipment you have, when it was purchased and even its likely lifespan. When it comes to the important pieces that keep your occupants safe and comfortable, you should know exactly what you have, how old it is and what state of repair it is in. If your building is new, or you have recently replaced the HVAC, roof or other significant component, the information should be readily available.
The lifespan of your assets depend on what they are and how well your building management team has taken care of them. Systems that have been neglected, that have not been cleaned and that have delayed maintenance will have naturally shorter lifespans than their well cared for counterparts. In general, a commercial air conditioner can be expected to last up to 20 years, according to the United States Department of Energy. If the unit is well cared for by a facilities management company with a commitment to regular maintenance, that 20 year target is an ideal guideline.
If that same system has been neglected, repairs have been deferred or delayed and the components are filthy, the lifespan will be significantly shortened. Because both the age and level of care impact the lifespan of your facility’s most expensive pieces, you should be able to determine about how long your systems will last. This information can help you plan ahead for the eventual replacement. While you will have to replace the major components that serve your facility eventually, the way you care for them in the meantime can have a significant impact on your costs and the lifespan of these major purchases.
Preventative Maintenance vs Reactive Maintenance: What’s the DIfference?
You have two options when it comes to maintenance for both the big, expensive parts of your facility and the more moderate ones. You can either plan ahead and create schedules that prevent damage from occurring to your systems, or you can wait until something goes wrong and attempt a repair:
- Preventative Maintenance: This form of maintenance is performed regularly as part of an integrated facility management plan. It ensures your facility and equipment stay in peak operating condition and can help prolong the life of these essential components.
- Reactive Maintenance: This approach assumes you are more comfortable with risk; reactive maintenance means you use an item until it breaks, then repair it when possible.
Preventative maintenance is the lower risk approach, and ensures your equipment and facility are always in peak condition. When systems are regularly maintained, a skilled professional member of building management is very familiar with the pieces you own and can usually spot any signs of trouble early — before they can develop into larger, costly issues.
Preventative maintenance also helps you get a firm grip on the status of your equipment and helps you to plan ahead for looming capital expenses. Surprise bills are never fun, but one of these “surprises” can run into the thousands — a shock to your budget if you are not prepared. Preventative maintenance ensures your facility equipment runs at peak efficiency. Pieces that are not working well may use more energy or work less effectively than those that are cared for.
Reactive maintenance can cut down on the amount of time it takes to care for your facility, but you’ll eventually need to deal with something that no longer works. When you defer maintenance until something goes wrong, you do save some time short term — but you could end up damaging expensive equipment.
Reactive maintenance on some internal equipment and systems can cause an inconvenience if the piece in question breaks, but deferred maintenance on a piece of equipment used in manufacturing or handled by employees could lead to an increased number of injuries in the workplace. To keep everyone safe and to prevent liability issues, don’t rely on reactive maintenance for any equipment used by employees or on any part of your facility that could harm someone during a breakdown event.
For most facilities, a preventative program provides more benefits than one that is reactive. You can better plan not only your capital and replacement budget, but your regular expenses as well when you regularly maintain your facility. You’ll also dramatically reduce the risk of injury and ensure that the pieces that keep your facility operational stay in peak condition. If an interruption of your business would be a problem, then caring for your most important systems with a preventative maintenance program is the best approach. Your facilities management company should take your needs into consideration and fully assess your building to determine the best course of action for each of the important systems and items you own. To learn more about protecting your facility with a robust and targeted maintenance plan, get in touch. Our team can help you make the most of your space and every system in it.