In tough economic times there just is not enough funds available to pay for every expense, in order to make ends meet some expenses get cut from the budget. In a lot of situations routine maintenance is one of those items. According to the FASAB deferred maintenance is when you do not perform maintenance when it was scheduled. Just like with every decision there is a cost involved, without the maintenance the machines will run less efficiently, less efficient machinery can lead to higher energy costs and can even cause the machines to break down which can result in a much bigger cost than the maintenance.
I have witnessed a lot of companies following the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” What are the true costs of deferred maintenance? How can you make informed decisions on when to perform maintenance and when you can defer to save money? The answers can all be found using real-time energy monitoring. As I discussed in the entry Faulty Appliance Hunting you can use real-time monitoring to find equipment that is running inefficiently, using this same method you can find and determine which equipment needs maintenance and which you can put off.
If a machine is running at 90% efficiency and maintenance is scheduled that is going to cost $200 dollars but the lost energy costs are only $10 a month you can defer that maintenance until a more cost effective time, also a machine running at 90% efficiency probably is not in any hurry to break down. Using the same theory, let’s assume you did not previously have real-time energy monitoring, but had been following the, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, if you have 4 machines one running at 40%, one at 50%, another at 75% and the last at 65% it makes it extremely easy to know where you need to start and which requires the most attention. After the repairs you can judge if the efficiency is good enough or if it would make more sense to replace the equipment altogether. Without real-time energy monitoring none of this would be possible.
I am not saying you should defer maintenance, a well maintained machine will last longer and run more efficiently, but at some point there may not be a choice. If you need to defer maintenance do it with real-time information so you know you are making the best choice. If you have been deferring maintenance getting real-time information can show you where you can improve your system and get the best return on your investment to actually save money in the long run.