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From the Inside Out
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A blog specifically created for RFMA intended to provide pertinent information on protecting company assets.


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How's Your Equipment Doing?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

Well summer is almost half way over. We've had another hot one in the Dallas area again. Do you know how your stores are doing? Equipment, especially refrigeration, take a beating during the hot summer months. It's extremely important to regularly monitor it's performance and condition. Failing to do so may put your store operations at risk by a main equipment failure. Mid summer is always a good time to see how things are going. A/C units are the number 1 priority item to check on. They have been running hard for the past 2 months. When was the last time the filters were changed? What condition were they in? Does the frequency of changing need to be more often during the summer? It's a very small price to pay to be overly conservative on this which minimizes a potential major failure. We've all had to deal with the emergency compressor or blower motor replacement when it's brutally hot out. It not only could potentially drive guests away with a hot dining room but if it's a BOH unit, the employees suffer. Take into account your local HVAC/R vendor is in their busiest period and it may take longer to repair than normal.

Obviously you can't be at all your stores to check on equipment conditions so it's imperative you have a plan with your local service provider to plan an extra visit or 2 to review equipment conditions. Besides A/C's some other items to check on are as follows:

- Irrigation controls: How is the landscaping and/or grass look? Still alive? Is the irrigation system operating properly? Is it coming on, turning off, and running the proper amount of time? Make adjustments as required. Are there any local water restrictions in place? Are all the heads working? Unless the area is in full drought mode, dead landscaping is not appealing to incoming customers. Keep it watered.

- A/C stats: Are the settings still correct for on/off times and the correct temperatures? Is the night setback operating? Some of you can remotely mange this. For those who can't, have store managers check and/or the HVAC/R vendor take a look at when they are there changing filters.

- Refrigeration: When was the last time the coils were cleaned, pressures checked? Summer is a killer of refrigeration equipment. Don't want to lose a walk-in during this time. Another high priority item for your contractor to check on.

- Roof drains: Late spring and summer produces strong storms. Are the drains clean and operating properly? Keep then free of debris.

- Exterior lighting: Are the parking lot and building lights coming on and turning off at proper times? Any bulbs need replaced? Very important for security's sake.

Summertime is brutal on your stores. PM's need to be completed and in a timely manner to save energy, R&M expenses, and minimize security liabilities.Stay cool!

Dover and out.

Tags:  HVAC  irrigation  refrigeration  roof drains  summer equipment check up 

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Are Your Stores Prepared For Warm Weather?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hello RFMA members,

It may be cold and snowy in your part of the country but it's the middle of February and warm weather will be here before you know it. Are you and your restaurants prepared? Are you contractors lined up for the proper PM's? Transitioning from winter to spring gives facilities professionals an opportunity to do what they are hired for, namely, protecting company assets in an economical manner. They are several items where inspections and actions are needed to prolong the life of equipment and to ensure the restaurants are ready to switch from cold to hot mode. Now is the time to begin preparation for the summer months in these areas:

- HVAC's, all units need to be professionally PM'd. Coils need to be cleaned for maximum performance and energy efficiency. Depending on the coil condition, chemical cleaning may be necessary as dirty coils will use up to 40% more energy. This is also the time to change the filters. Go with a pleated type or mesh that can handle the local environment and don't need to be changed every month. In harsh climates, these may need to be changed every 2 months. This is not an area to skimp on as it's relatively inexpensive to replace rather than having the a/c run longer and harder. Changing filters regularly provides a great ROI on maintenance costs versus saved energy and prolonging the life of the equipment. Refrigeration pressures need to be checked to ensure they was no leakage over the cold months. Have all electrical connections and amps/volt usages checked for the compressors, condenser and evaporator blower motors. Check with your contractor on their checklist of PM services. Lastly have the condensate drain lines blown out to be clean and free of debris. For a complete a/c maintenance list inspection report, visit the RFMA website under "Resource Library" and "Facilities Toolkit".

- Roofs, after a long winter a general inspection needs to take place to pick up all loose items, clean out roof drains, and check all roof penetrations for any gaps. Reseal as necessary. Check all areas where the roofing membrane and flashing meet to ensure there are no splits or gaps. Reseal as required. Due to the importance of a sound roof to protect the restaurant interior, it's recommended an inspection takes place every month.

- Irrigation Systems, check to correct times and dates and the programmed start/stop times as there may have been a power outage that will require resetting. Turn on operation and check for any broken sprinkler heads. Replace as necessary.

- Parking Lots, in some areas of the country the lots take a beating from the long, cold winter. Check for any potholes and cracks that may cause vehicle damage or pose a safety risk. Repair asap to minimize liability. Check for worn discolored sealer and reseal/restripe as necessary. Having a nice looking lot is one of the first impressions on a potential customer.

- Other, check for proper time clock settings for all exterior lighting. Check t-stat settings for proper on/off times, temperature, and night setback functions.

These actions will ensure your restaurants will be saving utility dollars and keep your customers and employees safe and comfortable. It also greatly minimizes your Brand liabilities.

Dover and out.

Tags:  HVAC PM  irrigation systems  minimizing liabilities  parking lots  Roof drains  Spring start ups 

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Are Your Restaurants Ready For Winter?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

It's almost Thanksgiving and we just ended one of the warmest Falls on record. What are the chances of a record warm Winter? Probably very low. Mother Nature is not funny when it comes to weather. Are your stores ready for the frigid conditions? The freezing temps will be here soon and for a while. Several actions can be implemented now to prevent a plumbing or other facility disaster and keep the restaurants warm and employees and customers safe. Following are a few:

- All interior exposed plumbing on, or near, exterior walls above ceilings, and in attics need to be fully insulated for protection from freezing. It's very inexpensive to install pipe insulation. In extreme cold areas, use heat tape and/or a heat source (lamp or fan) to radiate or blow heated air to the effected pipes.

- If possible, keep cabinet doors open to exposed water lines in, or on, exterior walls.

- If temperatures are forecast to fall below 0 degrees, keep faucets on to a regular steady drip for both the hot and cold lines. This will reduce the chance of the pipe(s) freezing.

- Turn off and drain all exterior irrigation lines and equipment.

- Disconnect exterior hoses from their spigots and install an insulated, cone type cover over them.

- If temperatures are expected to remain below freezing for a prolonged period, reprogram the thermostat settings to a minimum of 65 degrees at night and eliminate the night setback feature. In extreme cold conditions, you may want to leave the daytime t-stat setting alone all day and night until warmer weather arrives.

- Ensure all roof drains are clean and not clogged.

- Have the HVAC furnaces professionally checked for proper operation. Service immediately if needed.

- Install weather stripping on all exterior doors and windows. Make sure bottom door sweeps are in place and in good condition.

- These actions will cost a few dollars but could prevent a major expenditure if a pipe freezes or a HVAC unit goes down caused by freezing conditions. The money spent is well worth it.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Dover and out.

Tags:  Fridin temperatures  frozen pipes  night setback  roof drains  weatherstripping 

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Cold Weather is Coming!

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hello RFMA members,

The temperatures may still be in the 90's but cool weather is right around the corner. Are you and your restaurants prepared for winter? Are your contractors ready to provide support to ensure equipment will perform effectively in cold weather? It's time to begin the work to ensure your stores are ready. Following are a list of activities to review and complete before the cold hits:

- RTU's. Is your HVAC service company scheduled for fall start ups? These units need to be checked for proper winter operation. Heat exchangers, blower motors, filters, wiring, and belts all need to be looked at and serviced as required. Now is still a good time to replace a cracked heat exchanger if needed.

- Building air balance. Are your building negative or positively balanced? After a long hot summer there may be some adjustments necessary to have a slight positive building air balance. This is extremely important during the frigid temperature conditions in the winter. A negative balance will waste energy and, more importantly, create drafts which will make customers and employees uncomfortable.

- Roof drains. Make sure these are clean and free of debris. With normal fall and winter precipitation, water needs to be drained properly off the roof. Check the flashings and roof seams for damage as water penetration then freezing will cause leaks and potentially expensive repairs.

- Irrigation systems. Have the lines completely drained and unhook all hoses from their spigots.

- Exterior lighting. Going to be getting darker earlier. Make sure all parking lot, building, and walkway lights are working and turning on and off at appropriate times. Reprogram the timers as required.

- Exterior doors. Are the sweeps in good condition? Change as necessary. This will keep the cold out along with pests.

- Snow removal. Who is responsible for the snow removal at the restaurant? If it's not handled by the landlord, do you have a contract in place for snow and ice removal? Is it updated? What are the parameters when they need to come out to plow? After 2 or 3 inches? Work out the details now or the facilities liability may be increased.

- Thermostats. Reprogram accordingly for winter operation.

- Pest control. Colder weather drives pests inside where it's warmer. Schedule your restaurants accordingly for a treatment and review their report to correct any minor facility issues to keep pests out.

Getting ready for winter now saves money, time, and increases customer and employee satisfaction which always helps your brand.

Let me know what other items you do to prepare for cold weather.

Dover and out.

Tags:  exterior lighting  heat exchangers  pest control  roof drains  Winter conditions 

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Are You Prepared For Winter?

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hello RFMA members,

It's the middle of September and the weather is still warm but winter in right around the corner. Now is the time to ensure your facilities are prepared for cold weather. Following is a brief list of items to review and complete prior to the freezing cold:

- HVAC, make sure your stores are scheduled to be professional serviced for heat start-ups on the HVAC's. Wouldn't want a cracked heat exchanger noticed when it's needed most. May be a good time for new belts and air filters too.

- Roofs, make sure all roof drains are clean. With the increase moisture and freezing, want to make sure all water is being drained from the roof. Check the flashing and roof seams for damage. Freezing moisture will cause leaks in theses areas.

- Landscaping, drain all irrigation piping and unhook all exterior hoses from their spigots.

- Snow/Ice removal, do you have a current contract in place for snow/ice removal. Get it updated or your store will be last on the list for plowing when the weather hits.

- Outside lighting, it will be getting darker earlier. Check all outside building, walkway, and parking lighting to ensure they are working and check the timers for proper programming for on/off times.

- Thermostats, adjust programmable stats for winter operation accordingly.

- Exterior doors, check sweep conditions. Replace if needed.

Planning ahead now will save money, time, minimize business interruption, and increase safety at all your restaurants.

Have a great Fall.

Always looking for feedback.

Dover and out !

Tags:  heat exchangers  irrigation piping  roof drains  snow/ice removal  Winter Preparation 

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Summer Check Up

Posted By Jeff Dover, CRFP, RFMA, Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hello RFMA members,

We are about halfway thru the summer. Seems like a good time to check on a few maintenance items. With the rooftop a/c's running constantly for the past several weeks, it may be time for the filters to be changed. Surely they are clogged up, minimizing the efficiency of the unit. How do you ensure the filters are changed in a timely manner? Do you have the contractors notify you with "before" and "after" photos of the filters? Do you track by the invoices received for the PM service? Are the filters dated with a sharpie when installed? Realizing you can't be at all your stores every month to check, it is essential to have a plan with your service provider to communicate when the filters are changed and how often they need to be changed. Usually in the summertime, they need to be changed more often as the unit is running more. Recommended frequency would be every two (2) months, minimum, during this high volume time.

Other maintenance items to check on are:

- Roof drains, are they clean and free of debris. The summer storms can clog these up quickly.

- Landscaping, how is the irrigation frequency working out? Should it be adjusted? Are the shrubs, grass, and plants still alive? It can be a very expensive option to replace the landscaping if left dry and dying.

- Walk in equipment coils clean? In the summer, the refrigeration systems on the walk in units are stressed due to high temperatures.The interior and exterior coils need to be cleaned frequently for efficient operation.

- Interior t-stats, do the settings need adjustment? Is the night setback programmed properly? Lowering the thermostat by one (1) degree can increase the overall electric consumption up to 3%.

Summer provides a tough environment for your facilities. Preventative maintenance done timely and properly can save literally thousands of dollars in R&M and energy expenses. What other items do you check on during this tough time? I'd like to know.

Stay cool....

Dover and out.

Tags:  coil cleaning  filters  HVAC  PM service  roof drains  Summer check list  t-stats 

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