Preventative Maintenance Critical Component: Consistency
This post is the last in a series that covered what I call “critical components” — processes or physical items that are must-haves for your preventative maintenance program. One of the things that I have often observed when looking at preventative maintenance programs is a lack of consistency. Basically, when performing preventative maintenance (PM), or other maintenance processes for that matter, one of the keys is to do it exactly the same way every time. That is the only way to get accurate data in the future.
Often times you’ll hear one technician complain about another, saying something like “He/she isn’t cleaning that coil correctly.” What they really mean is that the other person isn’t doing the function the exact same way that they do it. This is a major issue - regardless of which person is using the better approach.
The best way to combat this is to have a set of Standard Operating Instructions (SOI) in place for each PM procedure. Write down each step necessary to complete the task. Once you train your staff in these steps, the expectation is that they will all do the preventative maintenance the same way. That isn’t to say that you can never change the way you do something. Set a review interval that makes sense for each process, and look at the SOIs then. Pass them around to members of your staff and see if they have any suggestions for improvement. Revise the SOIs as needed and retrain your staff. The idea is that the process is consistent within the department.
Speaking of intervals, another key to consistency in PM management is ensuring that the PM process is occurring at regular intervals, such as quarterly, monthly, semi-annually, etc. On non-critical equipment you can let the interval slip, but your data will be skewed. Also, if slippage occurs, you should start your interval from the time you actually performed the task. If you don’t, your interval is off on both ends.
Even consistency in the time of day can be important for many routines. For example, you should perform boiler chemical tests or check stack efficiency at the same time of day as much as possible, so that as many of the conditions as possible will be the same.
In short, if you want a successful PM program - with useful data and less downtime - consistency is the name of the game.
What else can you do? Check out these resources:
- Check out our learning center on how best to maintain your facility’s existing cooling tower.
- Subscribe to our blog to stay informed on the latest HVAC maintenance news and insight.
- Work smarter by using inspection and test equipment to better understand system performance and efficiency.
- Stay up to date on facility maintenance tools such as chiller tube cleaners,boiler tube cleaners, hose/pipe cleaners,descaler systems,industrial vacuums,commercial pressure washers, and drain cleaners.
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