Why Does The Office Heater Smell Like Its Burning?

Winter is just around the corner, which means you’ll be switching from air conditioning to heating pretty soon (if you haven’t already). In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we still have a month or so before our local clients need to turn the heater on every day. However, we want those in northern climates to be prepared with everything they need to know about heater maintenance this time of year. 


At home and at the office, you may have noticed that your heater has a strange burning smell the first time you turn it on. If so, we want to reassure you that this is completely normal. 


During the summer, your heater goes dormant for several months (even longer if you live in a southern climate). This means that dust can collect in the vents. When you turn on the heater for the first time in winter, the dust burns off and will cause an odor for a few hours until it is all gone. This is a normal part of your HVAC system’s cycle and is not a cause for concern. 


How to Prevent Winter Burning Smells

If you dislike the smell of a burning heater, or simply don’t want to make your customers uncomfortable, there are two ways you can prevent this smell: 


  • Schedule a cleaning with your MaintenX HVAC technician – If you want to prevent the burning smell altogether, call your HVAC technician to perform a cleaning before the first cold day of winter. They can clear the dust and perform a routine checkup to ensure that your heater is in tip-top shape for the season. 


  • Replace the air filter before you turn on the heater – While this won’t eliminate the smell completely, it will help your system to filter out the dust as the air starts to circulate and ensure that the burning smell is dissipated more quickly. 


Burning Smells That Are Cause for Concern


In most cases, it is normal for the heater to smell a little strange the first time you turn it on. However, if you notice the smell of burning plastic, rubber, or an electrical burning smell, turn off the heater and contact MaintenX immediately. 


These burning smells mean that something inside the HVAC system — a wire, electrical component, or piece of machinery within the heater — is burning. This can be dangerous in some circumstances and will guarantee a costly repair bill if you don’t fix the problem immediately. Don’t take any chances and call us if the burning smell is suspicious or doesn’t go away after a few hours. 


If you’d like to learn more about winter maintenance for your facility, contact us today!

5 Commonly Misunderstood Maintenance Terminologies

Like with any occupation, the maintenance industry is full of jargon that can be difficult for the outsider to understand. The average person may in fact have even less familiarity with maintenance terms than they do other industry-specific languages, with the exception of the rare handyman homeowner. This can cause communication issues between the maintenance team and facility staff, leading to lost opportunities for preventative care. If you want to bridge the divide, you may want to consider educating your staff on these common terms. 


Below are some common maintenance terminologies you should be familiar with, or should be sure to clarify before working with other departments of your facility:


Uptime/downtime – Uptime refers to the amount of time a piece of equipment is scheduled to run continually; downtime is the amount of time either scheduled or unplanned where a piece of equipment is shut off. 


Root cause analysis – Root cause analysis is the process by which maintenance technicians determine the underlying causes of maintenance issues. This is conducted before repair services are scheduled to prevent recurring issues. 


Component renewal – Component renewal is scheduled maintenance activities that are spaced out greater than 10 years. This requires careful planning and adherence to the manufacturer’s recommendations. 


Deferred maintenance 

Unlike preventative or reactive maintenance, deferred maintenance is maintenance that was not performed on schedule or was delayed due to reactive maintenance issues. This maintenance is typically first priority as it can cause long-term disruptions in your facility’s production. 


Current replacement value – The replacement value of a piece of equipment includes the parts, supplies, and labor cost weighed against potential resale value of parts on the replaced equipment. This also can include the long-term costs of maintenance in order to extend the equipment’s service life. 


This is not a comprehensive list but includes terms most important for upper management and facility managers to understand in order to make decisions with their maintenance departments. To learn more about preventative maintenance performance, visit our resource center

How To Better Communicate Maintenance Needs To Upper Management

How many times, as the maintenance manager or a technician, have you felt unheard by upper management? You desperately need a bigger budget for preventative care, new equipment, or greater staffing and yet your budget continually shrinks instead of expands each year. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Most maintenance departments are considered the last priority by upper management and business owners. While you may think that there’s no solution, you could have more agency than you think. 


Oftentimes the problem is in the communication between maintenance and management, not simply the refusal to invest in preventative care. As for maintenance managers and technicians we thoroughly understand the problem of not keeping up with preventative maintenance. We see the issues that surface later, and know almost immediately why and how they could have been prevented. But, your management does not. 


It is easy to assume that management will understand what you’re talking about in your reports and proposals for increased budgeting. However, you may be using unnecessary technician jargon and numbers that don’t mean anything to your management team. While they all have extensive experience within the operational sectors of the business, most won’t have any maintenance management experience. What they’re looking for is impact, not facts and figures. It is up to us as maintenance experts to communicate the real results that occur when investments are made in better maintenance. 


When communicating with upper management, it is essential to illustrate the true impact of your preventative maintenance programs. It is what they will understand best, and what will motivate them to treat your maintenance department like an integral part of the operations team — not simply an afterthought. If you want to make the most of your maintenance programs, communication is key. 


Tips for Better Communication Between Maintenance and Upper Management: 


  • Increase interactions between departments. It is difficult to effectively communicate when you have no rapport between departments. By increasing your presence outside of the maintenance department, you can become a more integral part of the decision-making process. 


  • Bring up the big picture. No management leader is going to want to increase your budget based on theory or statistics. However, if you show them the real-world potential for catastrophe if preventative maintenance programs are not sustained (such as equipment shutdowns and long-term expense increases), then you’ve incorporated your numbers into the bigger picture.


  • Meet face-to-face. Audio or written material carries very little emotional weight or impact, which makes them ineffective tools for relationship building. Not only is it easier to reject a written proposal than it is an in-person one, but by making that extra effort, your upper management can see why the issue at hand is important to you. 


MaintenX works hard to build relationships with our clients so that we can both effectively communicate and compromise to create a truly effective preventative maintenance program. To learn more about what makes MaintenX stand out from other maintenance contractors, contact us today. 

The Cost of a Preventative Maintenance vs. No Maintenance Strategy

At MaintenX, we strongly encourage our clients to invest in preventative maintenance. These services — from regular tune-ups to cleaning and manufacturer’s recommended parts replacements — help to keep your facility’s plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems intact. However, we rarely discuss the potential benefits and costs of the no-maintenance strategy. 


What is a No Maintenance Strategy?

Some companies implement a no-maintenance or reactive maintenance strategy, which simply means that repairs are not scheduled until a breakdown occurs. There are some unique advantages to this maintenance strategy. While the cost of breakdowns is typically more expensive, these companies do not pay for unnecessary preventative repairs or services. They also typically have a lower monthly budget for maintenance that is easier to sell to upper management than a more costly preventative care schedule. 


The Hidden Cost of a No-Maintenance Strategy

While a reactive maintenance strategy is cheaper today, it is exponentially more costly once a breakdown actually occurs. Think about it this way: is it more expensive to perform routine maintenance checks on your HVAC system every quarter, or to have to replace your entire system at the drop of a hat when something major goes wrong? 


Oftentimes the cost-savings of preventative care are not apparent because they work in preventing these sorts of breakdowns. You may not even realize the potential hazards you are escaping from investing in preventative care. But, we as maintenance technicians have seen them happen, which is why we push preventative maintenance service for all of our clients. 


Combining the Best of Preventative and Reactive Maintenance

The best solution for a maintenance team is not to choose one over the other, but rather to choose which systems need more preventative care, versus which ones can operate on a run-to-fail system. Older appliances and pieces of equipment naturally need more maintenance in order to perform. However, a brand new system may not need any preventative care until it reaches a certain stage in its life cycle. 


Maintenance strategies are nuanced, which is why we work collaboratively with clients to ensure they get the best value for their dollar. To learn more about our preventative care strategies and services, contact MaintenX today.

Do You Take Maintenance Cost Increases Seriously?

At MaintenX, we talk a lot about reducing maintenance costs for facility managers. In most preventative maintenance plans, there is an underlying goal of reducing expenses as maintenance efficiency improves. But this does not mean that your maintenance budget should continue to decrease indefinitely. In fact, as your systems and equipment age and as different outside contributors change, you can and should expect your maintenance budget to increase. Here’s why:


Preventative maintenance reduces cost by preventing emergency repairs and extending the service life of certain parts and pieces of equipment. It does not, however, decrease the overall need for maintenance as a system ages. The older a piece of machinery, the more maintenance it will need to continue performing at an optimum level. This means that maintenance budgets should increase as the system gets older — the difference is that it won’t do so as rapidly as it would if no preventative maintenance was performed. 


Think about the maintenance of your car. You expect repair costs to go up as the car gets older, even if you are diligent about oil changes and tune-ups each year. This doesn’t mean that your preventative maintenance schedule isn’t effective — it just means that your car needs more TLC as it reaches the end of its service life. 


The same logic applies to your facility equipment, but unfortunately, upper management has the tendency to cut maintenance budgets regardless of the age or shape of facility equipment. This actually leads to increases in emergency costs and the need to replace aging systems earlier. With another piece of equipment, this logic would never be followed through (as you would never budget less on car repairs for an older model than you would your brand new ride), and yet this is often par for the course for facility maintenance departments. 


As the facility manager, it is essential to advocate for maintenance budget increases when you need them. Whether it is because of an aging system, increased labor costs, or supply shortages, you need to adequately provide the resources for your facility to thrive. This ensures that over the course of several years, even decades, your maintenance department is meeting their goals and can help prevent the truly costly maintenance services like early replacement of assets and emergency services for total shutdowns. 


MaintenX can help you prioritize your maintenance and prevent these costly repairs with our comprehensive preventative maintenance services. Contact us to learn more about what our maintenance team can do for you!

Increasing Facility Maintenance Safety With Proper Training

At MaintenX, safety is our #1 priority every day. We take the time to give our technicians the best training possible and ensure that the equipment they use and the protocols they follow are up to the highest industry standard. It is this commitment to employee and subcontractor safety that puts us at the top of the list for facility maintenance service nationwide. 


However, it’s often not enough for our contractors and technicians to be trained in proper maintenance safety procedures. We encourage all facility managers to train their employees for proper equipment usage and repair. Even simple maintenance tasks like cleaning out A/C vents or snaking a clogged drain can cause issues down the line for your facility’s health. 


Benefits of Maintenance Training for all Staff

Your staff may not be responsible for maintenance on a regular basis, but an understanding of the different systems and the maintenance needs of each can help maintain a productive facility. For example, if your staff knows what types of sounds and odors could indicate an HVAC issue, they will be more likely to report it. Below are some of the benefits of training your staff in basic maintenance and safety for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical system:


  • Increased reporting of potential issues
  • Ability to do minor cleaning and repairs, thus saving on maintenance service
  • Greater autonomy of staff within the facility (they don’t have to rely on a plumber to unclog a drain or an HVAC technician to replace an air filter).
  • Prevention of injury due to electrical issues


What Your Staff Should Know 

Depending on the skills and demands of your staff, different training is required for different positions. However, all staff within a facility should know these things about HVAC, plumbing, and electrical maintenance:


  • How to change vent filters near their desk
  • How to detect signs of mold or mildew within the facility
  • What chemicals are safe to use for a clogged drain vs. when to call a plumber
  • What common electrical symptoms could be signs of a serious electrical system fault
  • What sounds, odors, or visual cues could identify problems within any of these systems
  • When to report a more serious issue to the maintenance team


Maintenance training doesn’t have to be complicated for it to be effective. By simply training your staff to detect problems, you can increase the likelihood of catching problems early before they become emergencies. 


Contact MaintenX today or visit our resource center to learn more about HVAC, plumbing, and electrical maintenance care and prevention. 

Layered Goals for Preventative Maintenance

At MaintenX, our main goal for clients is simple: we want to help you create a safer and more efficient commercial space. We do that through both preventative and emergency maintenance services and by providing exceptional customer service every time. When our clients trust us, we can get the job done faster and more efficiently, learning our clients’ unique needs along the way. However, there is more to preventative facility care than simply getting the job done. 


Maintenance goals and strategies are often layered. Your goal to get your maintenance team on a set HVAC repair schedule is about more than improving the efficiency of the system. It’s about improving the building’s energy efficiency, reducing long-term costs, and educating your staff. As a facility manager it’s important to see the whole picture, so you can put the pieces together and create real change through preventative care. 


Below are some of the most common goals we set for our clients, each with their own set of higher resolution goals that can be effectively carried out by a maintenance team. As you can see, the everyday tasks you may think of as unnecessary are actually the most important actions you take to improve your facility’s performance: 


If your goal is to reduce stress on facility equipment, you need to:


  • Create a schedule for preventative maintenance that improves facility equipment without overservicing
  • Prepare for optimal times to replace equipment (when repair costs exceed equipment value)
  • Train employees on proper equipment handling and basic repair skills 


If your goal is to optimize facility productivity, you must first: 


  • Improve maintenance management processes such as maintenance dispatch and creating simple service request processes for employees
  • Facilitate work-order flow by investing in the proper technology
  • Improve facility maintenance checklists and preventative care schedules over time


If you want to optimize energy efficiency by the end of the year, your maintenance team needs to:


  • Implement clean energy sources when possible
  • Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment over time
  • Reduce usage of high-consuming appliances and equipment


You cannot reach lofty goals such as net-zero energy use without ground-floor action from your maintenance team. By working with MaintenX and communicating your goals, however, we can make it happen. To learn more about the benefits of preventative maintenance strategies, contact your local MaintenX team today. 

Why Janitorial Maintenance Is Essential For Employee Satisfaction

Trash cleaning, floor mopping, bathroom sanitization… the work of the janitorial staff is the hard labor that makes a commercial facility safe and healthy for others to use. This often thankless labor is obviously necessary, but it is not always seen as an integral part of a facility’s customer service or employee satisfaction. However, we at MaintenX understand the importance of janitorial work for our clients. 


Many of us don’t see janitorial staff or notice the hard work they do. However, after years of working alongside the janitorial staff of our clients, MaintenX has learned that they are key to the success of any commercial building. Our repair services help prepare you for the worst, but janitorial service is what curates a functional workspace on a daily basis.


Janitorial service helps to maintain employee health 

In the wake of COVID-19, janitorial services have increased to help stop the spread of disease. This has not only led to the minimization of COVID-19 cases but cases of cold and flu as well. Our janitors help us to reduce the spread of illness which cuts down on sick days. With the help of your MaintenX HVAC technicians who help keep your indoor air quality clean, the janitors are there to help every day to keep your employees healthy. 


A clean environment increases productivity

A clean environment at the start of the day is about more than just appearances. Tidy office spaces help employees to be more productive, especially those more orderly who are bothered by mess. When the office space looks neat and tidy, your employees can focus on the tasks at hand. It also helps to create a calming work environment for high-focus projects and assignments. 


Establishes company expectations

Most of us have likely worked at a company where the expectations were lax. It’s acceptable to call in unexpectedly, or leave a messy desk at the end of the day, or to not finish work on expected deadlines. These companies often had subpar cleanliness standards as well. In contrast, at a company where excellence is expected, the work is reflected in the appearance of the facility. When employees give their best, so does the management in keeping an office space that is clean and organized. If you want to raise the expectations of your company as a whole, start with janitorial maintenance. It makes a bigger difference than you think. 


Janitorial maintenance is a major contributor to company success. To learn more about regular maintenance and preventative care, contact your local MaintenX team today!

How To Handle Water Intrusion Quickly And Painlessly

Water intrusion is one of the most common problems we see at MaintenX. A leak in the roof or burst pipe can quickly lead to a partial or complete shutdown of your facility. If the ceiling is compromised or mold starts to grow, you can’t safely have employees or clients inside the building. This leads to loss of productivity that is detrimental to your business. 


If you are experiencing water intrusion, it’s important to follow these four steps to minimize damage and ensure you’re back in business ASAP. The sooner you begin repairs with MaintenX, the less constantly it will be for your facility. But, here’s what you need to do first:


Notify your insurance.

Your insurance company needs to know immediately the cause of the issue and how invasive the water problem is. Take pictures and provide a complete history of the problem. This will increase your chances of insurance covering some or all of the cost of repairs. 


Call MaintenX about drywall repair. 

You will most likely need to replace any drywall affected by the water intrusion, which can be costly if the leak is major. WHile you’ll need to repair the leak first, it’s wise to contact MaintenX about drywall replacement as soon as possible to get the repairs on schedule. 


Notify your MaintenX plumber.

If the water intrusion was caused by a plumbing leak, you need to call your MaintenX plumber immediately in order to stop the leak. Even a small one can lead to major water intrusion. The sooner your plumber arrives, the sooner you can stop further water damage and get to work on repairing the drywall. 


Dry out the room.

Run fans, A/C, or leave windows open (if it is cool and not humid outside) in order to increase circulation. This will minimize the likelihood of mold and mildew growth. Once mold or mildew starts to grow you’ll have to cut out more of the drywall. Even a plug-in fan can work to help dry out the area and reduce additional damages. 


Once you’ve followed these four steps, you can rest assured that your water intrusion problem will be a quick fix. To learn more about plumbing and roofing leak maintenance, contact your local MaintenX team today!

COVID-19 Health & Safety Starts With Your Maintenance Department

COVID-19 has brought chaos to all American industries for almost two years now. This pandemic, which has taken millions of lives, is slowly but surely coming to an end. However, we still have a long way to go in the fight to stop the spread. By taking a proactive approach at your facility, you can help maintain the health and safety of both employees and staff. 


At MaintenX, we want to do our part in helping you to protect your facility from COVID-19 breakouts. Below are three ways in which our maintenance services can help you to keep a cleaner and healthier facility:


HVAC cleaning and maintenance for better ventilation.

Your HVAC system is responsible for ensuring clean indoor air quality throughout your entire indoor facility. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, your HVAC system can circulate germs and bacteria, leading to what we in the maintenance industry call “sick building syndrome.” This same principle can apply to COVID-19. If your HVAC is running inefficiently, you may be unknowingly circulating COVID-19 throughout your entire building. During this time it’s important to be vigilant in your HVAC cleaning service to prevent this. 


Plumbing maintenance to preserve sanitization services.

Your plumbing system may not be making a fuss, but it still needs regular TLC to ensure proper sanitization. Your hand-washing stations are getting extra use, and it’s more important now than ever to ensure they are working at all times. If you neglect to schedule pipe cleaning services, you could end up with plumbing problems that interfere with employee health and sanitization. Don’t let this happen during the pandemic — make time in your maintenance schedule for regular plumbing maintenance. 


Preventative care to reduce loss of productivity.

Preventative maintenance should be an integral part of your maintenance budget. It not only helps to extend the service life of equipment, but it can help prevent unwanted downtime due to emergency repairs. At a time when many employees must take 14-day periods of sick days due to COVID-19, your business cannot afford more downtime. By investing a little extra in your preventative care, you can ensure to weather this storm with as few disruptions in productivity as possible. 


COVID-19 has been a hardship for all Americans, but MaintenX believes we can get through it together. If you have questions about how we’re committing to disease prevention and COVID-19 safety, contact us today!