Hidden Financial Drains to Avoid: Inadequate Facilities Maintenance
When I purchased a house several years ago, I had no clue what it took to maintain my home and property. Several months after moving in, I noticed the air filters were a bit on the brown side. I hadn’t replaced them yet. Replacing air filters, hiring a professional to perform maintenance on my A/C unit, and more were all new concepts to me. With all the paperwork I signed for the mortgage, you’d think they could include a one-pager on how to maintain the house!
As you know, a well-maintained home is more energy efficient, the appliances run better (and longer), and you’re less likely to have expensive repair bills down the road. The same concept applies to our church buildings and property. Yes, you’ll have to spend some money to keep your HVAC units operational, gutters cleaned, parking lots pothole free, and more. However, the cost of replacing your HVAC units is much greater than keeping them well-maintained and therefore lasting longer. Clean gutters can prevent water damage to your building, so a little money spent on supplies and labor isn’t that big of a deal.
Seeing as I’ve already confessed to my ineptness at facility maintenance, you may wonder how I can write on this topic (no worries, I’d wonder the same thing if I were you). That’s why I’m bringing you information from the experts in the tips below.
Tip #1 – Conduct Seasonal Checks & Maintenance
Changing weather conditions will impact your buildings, pavement, and grounds differently. Snow and ice can be an issue for your roof (snow buildup!), more rain can give your roof and gutter as workout, and more.
Tip #2 – Consider Long-Term Planning
Timothy O’Malley, facilities manager for The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, in his article for Worship Facilities recommends developing a five-year and a twenty-year maintenance plan for your church facility. This long-term planning helps your team present a facility that reflects a sense of purpose and excellence. Planning also gives you the opportunity to budget appropriately to repair or replace equipment as needed.
Tip #3 – Conduct an Energy Audit
There are many steps we can take to reduce energy costs at our church facilities. Simple practices such as adjusting the thermostat or turning off lights when we leave a room are easy to implement. However, there’s certainly more we can do to reduce our utility bills and save our churches money. That’s where an energy audit can come in handy. Start with a simple walk-through of your facilities looking for cracked caulking around windows, leaky faucets, and such is a good place to start. For a more comprehensive review, consider hiring an expert firm to review your utility bills and conduct an inspection of your buildings. You’ll have some upfront costs to implement their recommendations, but you should end up saving money in the long-term.
Regardless of the size and complexity of your church facilities, maintaining them is an important aspect of stewarding the resources God has entrusted to your congregation. Implementing routine maintenance, planning for the long-term usage of your buildings, and working to reduce energy consumption can save the church money and headaches down the road.
What has your team done to reduce facility costs?