A Statistical Case For Maintenance

If you manage a facility, hopefully you know the importance of performing mechanical maintenance on your equipment. But do you know how large the financial payback can be for a good maintenance strategy? In this article we look at a maintenance case study done by the US Department Of Energy, the Building Owners and Managers Association, The New Building Institute and The U.S. Department of Energy Operations and Maintenance. Before we dive into a maintenance case study, lets go over the basics.


Reactive maintenance is similar to the theory “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. Maintaining your equipment this way will save money in the short term. However, it will cost you in efficiency loss and premature failure in the long term.

Time-based maintenance strategy ensures general maintenance tasks occur on a regular basis. This avoids larger, costly repairs in the future (quarterly, semi-annually, annually). While this maintenance strategy has a better payback then reactive maintenance, condition-based strategies can save even more.

Condition-based strategies focuses on run time and condition monitoring to determine a maintenance schedule. Condition-based maintenance may require the use of additional monitoring devices on your equipment. It therefore may have a higher upfront cost as compared to the other two strategies. This allows you to perform the mechanical maintenance when your equipment needs it instead of on a fixed schedule.

Maintenance Case Studies

A study done by the US Department of Energy evaluated the cost to operate equipment based on which maintenance strategy you followed. 

US Department Of Energy Cost Per HP Per Year Chart

 As you can see, there is a significant savings as you move from the left to the right. Considering your facilities major equipment will typically last over 10 years, these numbers can quickly make the financial case for implementing these maintenance strategies. Not sure if you trust this study done by the US Department of Energy? Let’s look at another example done by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA International). 

This study focuses on a 20-to reciprocating rooftop air conditioner with a 14-year expected life.

BOMA international case study on 20-ton reciprocating rooftop air conditioners.

As you can see, the poorly maintained unit (Curve 1) resulted in a 9-year life with degrading efficiency (rising energy use and cost) throughout. The well-maintained unit on the other hand (Curve 2) achieved the manufacturers expected life of 14 years, while maintaining a high level of efficiency. 

Boma goes on to say that the failure of the well maintained unit was caused by a compressor issue. The compressor was able to be replaced, which leads to an extension of the overall system by another 7 years. 


A study done by The New Building Institute examined mechanical maintenance strategies and their effect on equipment lifespan. This study concluded that reactive maintenance (run-to-fail) can increase energy use by between 30 and 60 percent, while shortening the lifespan of the equipment. These results were in line with the findings from the BOMA study discussed in the previous section. 

The U.S. Department of Energy Operations and Maintenance (O&M) released a study to help federal building managers make cost-effective mechanical equipment decisions. One of the key conclusions from the study was that energy savings can amount to as much as 18% when preventative maintenance is performed.

When your equipment reaches optimal efficiency, your company will benefit from an increase in fuel and energy savings. This means more money in your pocket while your aged equipment runs like new.

Keep your boilers running with our free boiler logs and maintenance checklist.


In the modern world, mechanical equipment costs are expensive. The better your company cares for its equipment, the longer it will last. Equipment that has routine maintenance will have a longer service life and will provide increased profit. This is evident in the number of maintenance managers making the switch to a scheduled preventative maintenance strategy. Preventative maintenance is the best approach to take with your equipment for optimal long term success. Not only will your equipment provide outstanding reliability, but your company’s persistent success will be proof of this maintenance ritual.


Talk to us about our preventative and predictive maintenance agreements and stop reacting to equipment failures. We hope this article and maintenance case study will help you make the financial case for maintenance at your facility. 

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