How to Develop an HVAC Maintenance Checklist
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The purpose of an HVAC maintenance checklist and having a functional preventative maintenance system (PMS) is to be proactive versus reactive regarding system maintenance. The bottom line: HVAC equipment is mechanical and mechanical equipment can fail. Planning ahead and knowing how to properly develop a checklist and prepare PMS schedules is essential to timely scheduling, accomplishment, and documentation of work responsibilities. It is important to remember, though, that developing an HVAC maintenance checklist and its scheduling is only one part of PMS management. Knowing your systems end-to-end and being aware whether it’s time for coil cleaning, cooling tower maintenance, duct work cleaning and boiler cleaning is required as well.
A good first step to take in checklist development is to make a physical inventory of equipment and control devices in each system to be maintained. The inventory should provide data on manufacturer, model number, action, specifications, date manufactured and function in the system.
The best initial source of data for the inventory is from the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) documentation. OEM documentation such the manufacturer’s original diagrams, sequences of operation and recommended maintenance practices should be readily available. However, keep in mind that those documents may potentially not show the actual installed system components due to any changes made during the construction and installation phase, changes made during retrofit or upgrade, or changes made by maintenance personnel.
The creation of an effective checklist should be a joint effort by all maintenance personnel to establish a single, unified source of maintenance requirements across all systems.
Some points to consider are:
- A standardized, basic set of minimum requirements to be used by all maintenance personnel.
- Clear, concise technical instructions to ensure maintenance is planned, executed, completed and documented.
- A vehicle for implementing HVAC maintenance policies across all systems.
- A comprehensive set of process descriptions for use by maintenance personnel.
After you’ve completed the inventory of all systems and their associated parts, the next step is to develop individual equipment processes and procedures for the implementation of a Planned Maintenance System.
Let’s look at an example of an individual maintenance schedule for component devices within an HVAC system:
- Pumps & Strainers
- Motors & Couplings
- Duct Work
- Foundations & Blots
- Gears, etc…
You’ll also want to keep in mind the issues surrounding performance of a PMS task: timing, authorization, system integration, system requirements before performance of task, safety, personnel qualifications, MSDS, time required to perform the task, parts, materials, tools, and related support equipment.
To properly perform required maintenance, you need high quality, functional tools and equipment. Look for chiller tube cleaners, boiler tube and hose/pipe cleaners, descaler systems, test instruments, air duct cleaners, industrial vacuums, commercial pressure washers, drain cleaners and other maintenance related equipment from a proven supplier like Goodway. Based on my own experience, I believe that the right equipment is key to the success of your PMS and encourage you to research the product lines mentioned above.
One of the most important benefits of developing a maintenance program that uses in-house personnel is that staff’s institutional knowledge of the systems. Regular maintenance personnel have been working the systems over time, and they most likely know precisely what existing maintenance problems may be lurking.
In the development of your HVAC maintenance checklist, considerable effort should be spent to standardize work practices. You’ll also want to make allowances for changes resulting from new maintenance policies that may be implemented in the future.
I will conclude with an old Chinese proverb that has served me well over the years and I find applicable to developing and implementing a successful HVAC maintenance checklist: “I See and I Forget… I Hear and I Remember… I Do and I Understand”.
- Check out our learning center on Industrial Maintenance Cleaning Equipment.
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Goodway Blogging Team
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