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Plumbing Maintenance: Focus on Efficiency


I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, successful plumbing maintenance.

During product specification for plumbing system upgrades, maintenance and engineering managers need to consider the way technicians will maintain products and equipment they have installed in restrooms. Effective maintenance is a primary factor in limiting life-cycle costs and extending the product's performance life.

For example, technicians should know the location of every shut-off valve because, inevitably, fixtures wear and require replacement. If managers pay adequate attention to shut-off locations and ensure workers have easy access to them, labor costs will remain low every time workers have to inspect or repair the plumbing.

Managers also should specify shut-off valves for their ability to operate maintenance-free for long periods and, when needed, operate easily and close completely.

If managers fail to take valve materials into consideration, they will end up with valves that have a low first cost but freeze up or leak after closing, resulting in higher long-term costs. In such cases, closing or replacing the shut-off costs much more than simply replacing a faucet washer, and job time is greater, driving up the cost and causing greater inconvenience to occupants.

Managers also need to track advances in a host of other restroom products that will affect maintenance activities. For example, noteworthy advances in dispensers include: automatic soap dispensers; automatic toilet-tissue dispensers; sanitizers that require no operation, no electricity and no batteries; and automatic aerosol-spray units.

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