HVAC Maintenance

How Your Team Can Streamline Maintenance This Year

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Summary: Understand how to better organize and strategize your maintenance program for multi-families.

Highlights:

  • What is the best way to communicate maintenance issues?

  • Streamline processes with equipment and system warranties.

  • Use a combination of education and preventative maintenance to prevent bigger problems.


Overseeing a property comes with a lot of responsibilities—maintenance being one of the most important. Making sure everything is functioning correctly in a multi-family building or single-family home certainly isn’t an easy job. But with preparation and teamwork, the maintenance process can be smooth and efficient. Here are some tips your team can use to streamline maintenance.

Train your team on communicating with residents

Maintenance problems are one of tenants’ most common complaints. Not only are people unhappy when things in their home aren’t working correctly, but they also don’t like when they can’t get in touch with the maintenance team. Unfortunately, communication can easily fall through the cracks when multiple folks are relaying different messages.

It’s important that your team has strong communication with tenants so everyone has a good understanding of the process and no one feels out of the loop. Regularly host a team meeting to get on the same page with your crew on priorities, issues, and best practices. You should also frequently check in with tenants and request their feedback. This will help you maintain a healthy relationship with all parties involved, which in turn enhances a sense of understanding when problems arise.


Keep your team up to date on the latest trends in the industry

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Any time you’re working with a team, it’s extremely important for everyone to be in the know on what’s new and changing in their own company, trade, and profession. Conducting periodic trainings to make sure your team members are up to date on the latest procedures and best practices can help ensure uniformity in the maintenance process. This can also be a great time to answer questions and get feedback on how everything on each property has been going.

Protect your property with a warranty

Looking for a way to cut the cost of major repairs that may be necessary on your property?

Property managers can purchase home warranties to cover most—if not all—of the cost to repair and even replace certain appliances and home systems. These plans can be good investments for occasions when you decide that it’s better to outsource service instead of having your team deal with the maintenance issue directly. It’s especially helpful if you have a small team but many properties.

Educate tenants on how to prevent maintenance issues

Although tenants don’t like maintenance issues, they may be inadvertently causing a lot of them. Fortunately, many of these problems can be prevented with a little education. Informing your tenants on routine maintenance, like how to properly use and take care of their appliances and what not to flush down the toilet or garbage disposal, may reduce the number of service requests your team has to deal with.

Emailing tenants online guides or mailing them resources once a month will aid both in communication and preventative maintenance. Some resources they may find helpful include: how to troubleshoot a broken appliance, seasonal home maintenance checklists, or easy adjustments to reduce utility costs.



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Offer regular preventative maintenance

Addressing a small problem before it becomes a big issue can save you lots of time and money in the long run. Creating and sticking to a schedule to regularly check appliances, smoke detectors, and other items on the property will make your tenants happy and help your team stay ahead of the game. For example, proactively cleaning sewer pipes can prevent costly issues such as major blockages. Note: depending on the age of the building, you may want to do preventative checks more frequently.

Bring out the best in your property

Streamlining your maintenance process will do more than just make things run smoothly behind the scenes. It could also positively influence your tenants’ experience on your properties and help you earn more business in the future.

Written by guest contributor Paige Mitchell.

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Season is Changing - What do you need to do for your HVAC?

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The season is changing.  At my house, on any given day, I could go from feeling my heat kick on in the morning and find my air conditioning on when I get home from work.  Both systems are getting to work, and both systems need to be maintained.  Your air conditioning just had a hard summer of work and your furnace is just about to start up its hard season.

So, what should you do? 

1.  Change your filters.

Air filters filter out airborne particles from entering the system and clogging it.  Dirty filters cause the furnace to run less efficiently.  There is a pressure drop, which leads to low air flow.  The system needs to work harder to function.  Any system that needs to work harder than necessary will burn out quicker.  Changing filters will keep the system working efficiently.

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2.  Test for Carbon Monoxide

When you are doing your winter preparation maintenance, you should complete a carbon dioxide test.  Anything above 15pmm is dangerous.  However, many CO detectors don't even register that low.  Carbon Dioxide can cause SIDS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ADD, loss of hearing, loss of sight, loss of speech, kidney disease, respiratory disease, heart disease, and other illnesses just from a small amount of carbon dioxide.  15pmm is the first level that can cause illness in people, and 30pmm effects most people.

3.  Clean Blower

A dirty blower can reduce the blower assembly air flow rate and increases heating and cooling costs.  It can also cause operating failures.  Inspectapedia measured that the difference in air flow and found a 50% or higher improvement in air flow in the blower unit when dirt is cleaned from the blower fan assembly.  It doesn't take much dust or debris to fill the curves of the fan blades.

4.  Check Gas Pressure

Improper gas pressure that is too high can cause the unit to overheat.  Gas pressure that is too low can cause lockouts on the flame sensor.  On the inlet side, too much gas pressure can cause gas valve failures.  Too little inlet pressure can cause sooting in the heat exchanger.

5. Clean and Balance Fan

If your filter is dirty or not installed, it can reduce your airflow.  With a reduced airflow, energy efficiency is reduced and cost goes up.

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6.  Check Bearings

A furnace blower motor has bearings that will eventually wear down.  Each fall, you should have your bearings checked to see if they need replaced.

7. Duct Cleaning

The EPA recommends cleaning ducts if there is mold or excessive dust/debris in the system.  However, unless your ducts are clogged, had mold, or vermin, they do not need to be cleaned routinely.  

8. Clean coil in Air Conditioning

The AC coil should be cleaned at least once every six months.  A good rule of thumb is to to do in the spring, in preparation for the summer heat and fall, in preparation for the AC shut down for winter.

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