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13/03/15 The real cost of reactive maintenance

Maintain your heating system and your reputation

When weighing up the price of preventative maintenance versus reactive maintenance, are you including all the costs? It's easy to think of a maintenance contract as a type of insurance against systems breaking down, but in reality, a properly managed maintenance contract can save you money – and your reputation.

The heating breaks down at a business that has invested in a preventative maintenance contract. An engineer is called who already knows the system from their planned maintenance visits and, because the company is on a contract, the call-out is prioritised. They've managed an initial diagnosis over the phone and know what spare parts to bring. A couple of hours later, the heating is back on and the business has continued operating without any serious downtime.

The other scenario is the business who thinks they have been saving money by not having regular maintenance checks. An engineer is called. They're busy. Another engineer is called. Half an hour later an engineer who has never seen the system and has no idea what they're going to encounter agrees to come over later that afternoon. Meanwhile, the business has had to suspend part of its operations to cope with the lack of heating and hot water. The engineer arrives, diagnoses a fault and has to fetch a part in order to fix it. They'll be back tomorrow. Probably.

TSS Facilities starts each new preventative maintenance heating contract by carrying out an asset survey so that they have a list of every part in the heating and gas system, from the smallest valve to the largest boiler pump. "This full inventory allows us to equip our engineers with all the information they need, such as which spare parts might be required, before they've even stepped on to the site," explains Andy Tugwell, Managing Director of TSS Facilities in Hove.

For those who choose the reactive route, engineers are reacting to the unknown when they are called out. "The costs can escalate," warns Andy. "Often breakdowns happen in the midst of winter and for commercial ventures, rest homes, hotels and hospitals, the consequences can be dire."

After a regular maintenance visit, the client receives a report that includes details of any parts that may have reached the end of their lifecycle, along with their cost. Replacing an old pump, for example, could greatly increase the efficiency of a boiler, which will save money on running costs.

Improved efficiency, reduced costs, reduced downtime, better service response times and improved carbon footprint... The benefits of planned maintenance are apparent, and that's before the legal implications are considered. When a system is maintained by TSS, manufacturer's guidelines are always adhered to as well as those of various legislative bodies. "If businesses don't follow guidelines and maintenance recommendations then the potential consequences range from loss of income and reputation to more severe legal penalties," says Andy.

Neglecting to maintain a heating system could result in more than an expensive call-out. To book a free, no obligation maintenance survey now, call 01273 719111 or email

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