Maintaining records is important because each piece of equipment might require specific maintenance needs. But, what is the general rule of thumb after each use of equipment? While the manufacture’s suggested maintenance schedule should be followed, distributors offer the following tips as a rule of thumb:

Floor Machines (Buffers) – These machines should be wiped down after each use. Lubricant should be sprayed on the handle adjustment assembly and adjustments made as needed. Workers should remove pad holders from the machine and store them individually. Finally, examine and replace damaged plugs as needed.

Wet Vacuums – These machines require flushing. Workers should also be trained to wipe down equipment after use and lubricate moving parts as needed. If the machine has a front mount squeegee, then this would require cleaning and proper storage after use. Staff should also examine and replace vacuum plugs as needed.

Autoscrubbers – When finished with these machines, workers should rinse dirty water tanks and valves. Distributors also recommend greasing the fittings if needed, as well as maintaining the batteries.

Extractors – Just like autoscrubbers, workers should rinse dirty water tanks and valves. With extractors, though, it is also important that filters are examined and replaced as needed. Staff should be trained to remove debris from the vacuum shoe and brush compartment, as well as examine and replace damaged plugs as needed.

Dry Vacuums – According to distributors, these machines require minimal care. Workers should be trained to replace vacuum bags often and clean out debris from the brush compartment. Distributors recommend frequently checking equipment filters, brush rollers, pads and strips, and replacing as necessary. Lastly, examine and replace damaged plugs as needed and check batteries of cordless equipment.

Burnishers – “If using cord electric machines, staff should examine cords and plugs for damage, blow out motor compartment on a regular basis, and examine and replace dust control shroud as needed,” says Rothstein. On battery equipment, staff should also be trained to examine, test, clean and fill batteries.

Bohlman comments that one of the most simple, and yet overlooked, preventative maintenance procedures is the flushing of the recovery and solution tanks in floor equipment.

“If not properly cleaned and flushed, the tanks can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold,” he says. “Battery maintenance is another aspect of cleaning equipment that is often overlooked. Running batteries dry or overfilling can both lead to their premature demise.”

Cost Of Missed Maintenance

When a machine goes down for lack of preventative maintenance, it costs departments time and money. Parts and labor are a direct expense. But managers must also consider the high cost of labor as workers sit idle. Worse yet, overtime expenses can be incurred and cleaning schedules can be jeopardized. Even if managers opt to use another piece of equipment in the interim, workers can be putting additional strain on that piece, causing it to fail prematurely.

According to Scoles, taking equipment out of circulation impacts a manager’s bottom line in four key areas:
• Cost/time of resolving an issue includes the cost of insufficient cleaning
• Cost/time to schedule rework or remedy the situation
• Cost/time to complete the added task
• Cost/time to assess the rework to ensure satisfaction

Bohlman puts it bluntly, “I’m not in a position to know exact figures, but I would take an educated guess that billions are spent each year on repairs that could have been prevented. That is just the cost for the repair and does not include the residual costs associated with machine down time. Cleaning personnel are now spending extra time doing the same job. Hard floors or carpets are not getting as clean, which can lead to a less than desirable perception by building occupants.”

Not only would a consistent preventative maintenance program save departments valuable budget dollars, but there is also a positive sustainability factor regarding consistent equipment care. A building can only remain sustainable if it is operated responsibly and maintained properly. 

“Preventative maintenance, which results in properly working equipment, keeps the building healthy and reduces premature replacement of cleaning equipment,” Scoles explains.

For example, if departments are not regularly maintaining motor and exhaust filters, equipment may redistribute dust back into the air, resulting in a negative impact on indoor air quality. Better performing equipment provides a greater return on investment.

“Regular maintenance increases cleaning efficiency,” says Scoles. “Also, the longer you can keep your equipment working properly, the less chance there is that it will wind up in the landfill.”

Managers looking to extend the life of equipment with preventative maintenance programs should first look to the equipment manufacturer guidelines. Then, reach out to a distributor for additional suggestions and training. Following these tips will help keep departments profitable by reducing the cost of reactive repairs, keeping building occupants satisfied, and protecting the environment. 

Angela Watkins is a freelance writer based in Massillon, Ohio.

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Developing A Strong Preventative Maintenance Program For Floor Equipment