How Prepared Does Your Business Need To Be For Storms?

In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we are accustomed to the annual hurricane season that threatens our coastlines from June until November. While most businesses believe they are prepared for evacuation, they often miss critical steps that lead to damages that could have been prevented. Whether you live in a hurricane, snowstorm, fire, or earthquake-prone area, there are certain steps every business should take to prepare for disaster.

Five Steps to Disaster Preparedness

  • Update your evacuation protocol – If a storm becomes serious, you should have a plan in place to communicate closures to employees ahead of time. You should also provide the appropriate resources for evacuation including travel expenses or hazard pay and accommodations for employees that must stay (in places like medical facilities).
  • Stock up on essentials – If your facility must remain open during the storm or immediately after, make sure you are stocked with food, a backup generator, batteries, and other essential goods for those that will be present during or immediately after the storm. These items can also be used by the community after the storm has passed and people are in need of essential items.
  • Remove hazards from your outdoor facilities – Any merchandise or asset that is stored outdoors but not firmly secured to the ground should be moved away from the facility to prevent damage due to wind or flooding. This can include outdoor displays, trash cans, signs, vehicles, or other items that could be easily moved by wind or water.
  • Prepare your building as a shelter – If your building is a suitable storm shelter, make sure you have supplies on hand for rapid preparation. Boards to close up windows, emergency food stores, and sleeping cots should be available on short notice if your building is a designated storm shelter.
  • Renovate if necessary – Modern buildings are designed to withstand severe weather, but older buildings are not always up to modern codes. Storm-proof windows, roofing, and outdoor HVAC units are a must to ensure your building is still in working order during and after the storm.

MaintenX specializes in disaster preparedness and emergency maintenance service after storms. If your commercial building is at risk this season for storm damage, talk to us about more ways to prepare specific to your facility.

Electrical Requirements for ADA Compliance

ADA compliance is an essential component of commercial building design. Even for businesses that are not required to follow ADA regulations, it is wise to factor in accessibility to ensure everyone who visits your business has a positive experience. While most business owners know that entrances and exits need to be ADA compliant, there are many other elements of your building design that also fall under these regulations.

Your electrical system is one such design element that has specific ADA requirements for any building that is intended for public use. Electrical components that are required to be accessible include:

  • Light switches
  • Electrical outlets
  • Thermostats
  • Environmental controls operated on a frequent basis

These components are required to be installed in an accessible location, meaning they are positioned at a height that does not require one to reach up or down in order to use one. They should also be placed in areas without obstructions either on the floor or near the walls. An example of a non-ADA compliant installation would be an outlet that is placed on the floor (not reachable from a forward direction) or one that is installed on a wall obstructed by a wide countertop).

Some of these controls are not covered under ADA requirements. For example, if a comparable control is installed in an accessible location, then a control in an inaccessible location is allowed. You can see this in outlet and light switch placement, where multiple controls may be installed to provide access for all.

Other controls that are not required to be ADA compliant include:

  • Circuit breakers
  • Outlets dedicated to individual appliances
  • Appliance controls (such as knobs on an oven, as these are part of appliance design)

Understanding these compliance issues can help you create a better business for all. If you are redesigning your electrical system, talk to MaintenX about accessibility standards and ways to make your electrical system better for your business overall. We offer preventative care and affordable installations to businesses across the U.S.

What is a self-performing facility maintenance team?

MaintenX has become one of the largest and most reputable facility maintenance teams in the nation, in part because of our self-performing maintenance technicians. Unlike traditional facility maintenance teams who employ workers under the corporate belt, we hire subcontractors who independently perform HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair in 20 states across the U.S.

This is not the typical model, but it works well for us for many reasons. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our self-performing subcontractor network, and what you can expect from your MaintenX team:

How does a self-performing maintenance service work?

MaintenX operates under a self-performing contractor format, in which our contractors handle service independently based on their own skills and availability. Unlike a traditional office, we allow our workers the freedom and flexibility to take on service requests as they are able to, while utilizing MaintenX training, equipment, and service vehicles. This cuts out the middleman and allows for an enriched work environment where quality service is the most important part of the job.

How do we keep track of work orders?

Once we receive a service request, we are able to track the progress of your request every step of the way. We ensure a team is dispatched in a reasonable time frame and will receive updates to ensure your service request is completed to your satisfaction. Using a state-of-the-art Work Order Inception Center, we can also provide customer service support for issues with work order management.

How do we ensure quality control of service?

With a self-performing maintenance team, you may wonder, “How do you know if your technicians are performing to your standards?” With our work order technology, we are able to track the performance of individual technicians and maintenance teams to compare performance against SLAs compliance and our own company KPIs. This gives you the peace of mind to know that no matter what team is sent to your door, they are performing to the MaintenX standard every time.

We believe that by empowering our maintenance team to do their best work, you can get the best service. To learn more about our self-performing contractor network and available MaintenX services in your area, contact us today!

Three Times You Don’t Need To Call Your Maintenance Service

At MaintenX, we always want our customers to call us first for repairs and preventative maintenance on their buildings. However, we also want to save our customers as much money as possible so they can keep coming back to us year after year. We strive to provide fast and affordable service, but there are some regular maintenance tasks we believe management can handle on their own if they want to save a few bucks.

If you’re looking to cut costs in your maintenance plan, these three services are easy and safe for you to DIY:

Cleaning the gutters or outdoor HVAC units.

These may be dirty jobs, but they don’t necessarily require a professional HVAC technician or roofer to complete. Gutters can be cleaned by janitorial staff as long as they have the equipment to safely go on top of the roof. Outdoor HVAC units can typically be cleaned of leaves and dirt along with landscaping service but should be serviced for mechanical maintenance annually by your HVAC team.

Unclogging drains (the first time).

Before you call your plumber for help, there are several options you can try for a clogged drain in the restroom or commercial kitchen. We don’t recommend you ever use drain cleaning solutions as they can be corrosive, but you can make a makeshift snake with a wire hanger or other piece of long wire as a hook. For hair or food particles stuck in the drain, you can sometimes fish out the clog or break it apart this way if it is close to the surface. You can also use a plunger if the clog is relatively recent and hasn’t been building up for some time. However, if you have tried these DIY measures and are still having a slow-draining sink or toilet, call a licensed plumber for help.

Paint interior rooms.

Unless you have unusually high ceilings, painting rooms within your facility should be a simple DIY project you as the owner or manager can do yourself. Painting only requires a few tools and a day or two of work per wall. But will save you hundreds of dollars and major headaches depending on the service available in your area. While you can hire a professional if you want to save time, this is an easy cost-saving project you can take on at your facility.

While there are plenty of other tasks you can complete on your own as a small business owner or manager, there are some areas where you should never take chances. Your HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair are some areas where it’s always best to call a professional, even if you think you can get the repair done cheaper by someone else. When it comes to the systems that keep your business open, don’t take chances and instead call MaintenX for fast, reliable service!

The #1 Maintenance Issue That Ruins Summer Service

Summer is here, which means it’s the busy season for many small businesses across the U.S. This is especially true at MaintenX’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, where the tourism industry is ramping up and won’t stop until mid-August. While we work on all sorts of maintenance issues in the summer, you can probably guess which is most common this time of year.

If you guessed HVAC problems, you are correct. Because of the increased demand for the HVAC system during the summer, we see an increase in service calls for overworked or broken down units. In the wintertime, this wouldn’t be a huge issue for service, but in the summer it can easily shut down an entire building.

An overworked HVAC system will ruin your customer experience.

Employees and customers don’t want to be in a building with no A/C during the summer. Not only will it create an unpleasant customer experience, but it can cause real issues for your staff if they’re working in the heat. A restaurant, for example, with no A/C or ventilation can quickly become too hot for employees to safely work. It is also very easy for a building to reach 100+ degrees in the summertime, which isn’t safe for anyone.

An HVAC system won’t last forever, but there are several ways you can prevent unexpected breakdowns during the summer that will ruin your business day:

  • Schedule preventative maintenance – Extend the service life of your system with regular preventative repairs. This will prevent performance issues and help you keep track of wear and tear so you know when it’s time to replace your units.
  • Don’t overwork your HVAC system – If your A/C can’t keep up with your temperature setting, turn it up in the summertime so your system can get some rest. In extremely hot and humid climates, it may be unreasonable to keep your building at 68℉ unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Replace when your HVAC technician tells you to – It’s better to plan an HVAC replacement than it is to wait until the A/C stops working unexpectedly. If this is the last season your HVAC system will perform at its best, listen to your technician’s recommendation and replace it.

Summertime should be a successful season for you – don’t let HVAC problems get in the way of that. To learn how you can prevent HVAC issues at your facility, contact your local MaintenX team today!

Top Three Maintenance Issues That Drive Customers Away

For most small businesses, appearances are everything. The way your building is presented makes just as much of an impression on the customer as the quality of products and services. This is true for any business, whether you’re a retail or restaurant space, medical facility, or industrial complex. To make a great impression on clients, it’s important that your building is clean and in peak working condition every day. However, maintenance issues can easily get in the way of this goal.

Below are the top three maintenance issues that customers will automatically notice, and how you can prevent them from ruining your reputation.

Leaks in the restroom.

Restrooms are a critical part of your building’s operation. They often serve as a representation of how you operate your facility – if it is clean and tidy, your clients will know you take pride in your building. However, if the restroom is dirty, low stocked, or has leaking faucets, they will know you aren’t interested in maintaining a clean appearance. Don’t let something as simple as a faucet leak ruin your reputation with a customer. Call your MaintenX plumber instead to fix the leak the same day.

An overworked HVAC system.

In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, many of our clients struggle to keep up with the A/C in the summertime. If they have an older or outdated system, they may have to run the A/C to keep the building cool at all, and it is typically still noticeably warm to customers. On a hot day, the last thing your customers want is to walk into a hot building. Make sure you schedule regular HVAC preventative care services to maximize your HVAC system’s performance.

Dirty flooring.

You may think that floor cleaning can be put on the back burner because it’s not at eye level to your customers, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It doesn’t matter what type of flooring you have – carpet, hardwood, marble, or basic tile – customers will notice if it is scuffed or stained in any way. Investing in daily cleaning as well as a high-quality floor installation can ensure your building looks presentable to customers.

MaintenX offers preventative maintenance, repair, and installation services for businesses across the U.S. If you are looking for ways to improve the customer experience, talk to your MaintenX team about a preventative maintenance program that can improve efficiency and performance across the board.

Ask An HVAC Tech: Three Most Frequently Asked Questions

HVAC maintenance is a top priority for most facility managers. It is one of the most important cost-saving services you can schedule and will improve the overall health and indoor air quality standards of your facility. Despite how important this service is, many facility managers don’t know enough about their HVAC system to maintain it properly. 

Below are the most common questions we receive from clients, and what you need to know to improve your HVAC maintenance plan: 

How can I reduce my heating and cooling costs?

This is the most obvious, and most frequently asked question our HVAC technicians receive. Most people expect answers like changing the thermostat setting or turning off the system at night. However, our technicians know that the best thing you can do for your HVAC system is to care for it. Neglecting to perform air duct and vent cleaning, preventative maintenance checks, and outdoor unit maintenance will shorten the service life and cost you due to decreased unit performance. If you want to save, invest in proper HVAC care. 

Should I zone my HVAC system?

Zoning is the process of setting up sectioned HVAC systems that control temperature and humidity for different areas of your facility. This can allow you to customize the heating and cooling for different needs and therefore lower your energy costs for large buildings. However, it is not recommended for smaller offices or buildings where climate control is not a top priority. 

Does the size of my HVAC system matter?

In commercial HVAC maintenance, size matters more than you think. If your system is too small, it will be constantly working to try and heat or cool the facility. This will lead to premature service problems and inefficiencies in system performance. If the system is too big for the building, however, the system will have trouble controlling humidity. A commercial HVAC system needs to be sized properly for your building and adjusted when building remodeling and additions are made. 

MaintenX specializes in HVAC maintenance for commercial facilities across the U.S. To learn more about our services and technicians, contact your local MaintenX team today!

Why Is My HVAC System Making That Noise?

Your HVAC system is one of the most important systems throughout your entire building. It is responsible not only for the comfort of your employees and tenants, but can preserve indoor air quality in businesses that need it the most. In a commercial kitchen, medical facility, or industrial complex, indoor air quality is of the utmost importance for tenant health and long-term safety. 

 

When your HVAC system starts making strange noises, you should immediately contact your MaintenX team. Even a slight issue with its performance can cost you thousands in repairs if not addressed immediately. If you hear any of these noises coming from your ents or outdoor units, give us a call. 

 

Squealing 

A squeal or screeching noise could mean the fan belt needs replacing, or the motor needs lubrication. These repairs are fairly simple and inexpensive, but neglecting to do them can cause permanent damage to your HVAC’s mechanical parts. 

 

Clicking 

A clicking noise on the first cold day of winter may be a good noise – it means your furnace is working after being out of commission for several months. However, if that clicking noise continues (especially if you’re having issues with climate control), it could mean your ignition system is malfunctioning. Call your technician if the clicking noise continues for more than a day to ensure further complications don’t occur. 

 

Thumping

If you can hear a rhythmic slapping or thumping sound within your outdoor unit, there may be something stuck in the motor or fan blades. This can cause significant wear and tear over time, which can lessen your system’s performance ability and cause other repairs down the line. 

 

Rattling or banging 

This noise is another sign that something is loose or broken within the fan components of the system. This sound often signals more extensive repairs, so the sooner you call your HVAC technician, the better. 

 

In most circumstances, an unusual noise coming from your HVAC system should be inspected by an HVAC professional. Even if the repair is minor, it’s better to fix it now rather than wait for disaster. To learn more about HVAC repairs and maintenance for your facility, contact your local MaintenX team today!

Three Things Your HVAC Technician Wants You To Stop Doing at Your Business

MaintenX specializes in commercial HVAC repair, maintenance, and installments across the country. We strive to educate our clients as well as provide service to them, to ensure they make the best decisions for their facility. However, we still see plenty of HVAC mistakes from our clients when working on their preventative maintenance. 

 

Below are three things our HVAC techs wish you wouldn’t do, and what you can do instead to avoid these mistakes:

 

Changing the temperature every day. 

Thermostat wars are common in office buildings. When you have one employee that’s always too hot, and another that’s always too cold, it’s common to have the thermostat change almost daily. However, this overworks your system and causes a higher power bill than what you would have if the temperature was stable. It’s okay to change the temperature according to seasonal changes, but try to maintain a consistent setting throughout the summer and winter to ensure your HVAC system runs properly. 

 

Neglecting your air filters. 

Air filters need to be changed once a month for your HVAC system to run efficiently. If not, your air quality will be affected as well as your HVAC unit itself. The dirt and dust that isn’t trapped will continue to circulate and back up into the system. It will also make your HVAC system work harder to push air through the dirty filter, which in turn raises your power costs. 

 

Assuming bigger is better. 

At MaintenX, we do a lot of HVAC upgrades in older buildings. Oftentimes our clients want to upgrade to a bigger system, thinking that they’ll have better climate control with a larger system. However, a larger system on a building that is small will only make your HVAC system run less efficiently. Focus on the technology and energy efficiency of the system rather than the size when choosing an appropriate upgrade. 

 

MaintenX offers HVAC repair, preventative care, and installations for businesses across the U.S. To learn more about our services or to schedule a repair today, contact your local MaintenX team!

Five Commercial HVAC Terms You Need To Know

Talking to a maintenance technician can be just like talking to your mechanic. You only understand half of what they say, and you never really know if you’re getting your money’s worth on repairs and services that they say you need. This can lead to quite a bit of frustration, especially when you’re working with several management positions and a tight corporate budget. While it’s typically best to listen to exactly what your technician recommends, it can be difficult to explain why you need expensive repairs if you don’t know the terminology that goes with them. 

 

In order to facilitate HVAC services and better understand your system as a whole, learn about the different terms HVAC technicians use every day. These five are a great start to beginning a dialogue with your HVAC technician that is productive and can speed up your service requests:

 

Load Calculation

Load calculation refers to the calculation of heat gain and loss of a building. This is affected by insulation, sunlight, weather and climate, and building usage among other things. The load calculation is used to properly size your HVAC units and is therefore important for you to understand when upgrading equipment. 

 

Airflow

When your HVAC technician mentions airflow, they’re not talking about how fast your HVAC system can cool or how well it ventilated. They’re referring to the amount of air your system is capable of moving through the ducts, measured in cubic feet per minute. The larger the facility, the more important this measurement is. 

 

EER

Energy Efficiency Ration (EER) is the efficiency calculation used to rate your heat pump and A/C unit. Typically, the EErR is calculated in BTUs and is important when upgrading your system. The higher the rating, the more efficient and therefore cost-saving the system. 

 

Zoning System

Zoning HVAC systems are incredibly beneficial for large-scale building installations. They allow the temperature to be controlled by zones rather than setting one temperature for the entire unit. This can make your system more efficient and practical for buildings that require different temperatures for different operations. 

 

MERV Rating

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) helps to rate the efficiency of your air filter. This rating is more important in medical facilities, where trapping small microbial and viral particles is of the utmost importance. However, a higher rating can help improve indoor air quality for all types of commercial buildings. 

 

The more you understand your HVAC technician, the better you can plan maintenance now and in the future. To learn more about HVAC maintenance for commercial facilities, visit the MaintenX resource center.