Did you see the photos from the explosion in an Indiana neighborhood that happened late Saturday November 11? A suspected gas explosion leveled a couple of homes, burned a bunch more and damaged around 80 homes. 30 of the homes may need to be completely destroyed due to the extensive damage.

Indianapolis Explosion, Courtesy of Matt Kryger
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Photo: The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger / AP

Given the power of the explosion, authorities initially believed it was a gas explosion. However, inspections of gas lines so far have not revealed any leaks. Some are now suspecting a faulty furnace may have been the cause. However as of today, authorities still do not know the cause.

As tragic as this situation is, it sends a clear message to all homeowners, HOAs, municipal governments and utilities companies that now is the season to perform inspections and preventive maintenance on equipment and assets that could possibly go BOOM or cause extensive damage.

Why Maintenance and Inspections Should be Performed Now

The fall is the ideal time for everyone to inspect their assets. The change of seasons gives homeowners and maintenance management the opportunity to check summertime wear and tear as well as make sure all assets are ready for the rigors of winter.

Use maintenance to counter the effects of summer heat

Inspections are critical as the heat of the summer causes the expansion and contraction of metal. The summertime temperature changes can also cause condensation. All these events can cause cracking, leaks, pressure losses and allow corrosion to set in.

On top of a loss of operating efficiency; cracks, leaks, and faulty valves can lead to asset failure or in a worst case scenario an explosion. For example, left unattended over the winter, corrosion can destroy a piece of equipment and generate significant repair or replacement costs before they can be used again.

Indianapolis Disaster, courtesy of Matt Kryger AP
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Photo: The Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger / AP

Use inspections and preventive maintenance to prepare facilities and homes for the winter.

At the same time, the fall is when people and facilities start up their furnaces and fire places. Assets should always be inspected for leaks (especially natural gas) and their operating condition before being used. All fuel lines and valves should undergo inspection. A buildup of gas can easily cause the type of destruction just witnessed in Indiana.

The same principles of inspections and preventive maintenance apply to any asset or piece of equipment. From snow removal equipment to heat pumps or gutters, a little preventive maintenance can prevent major headaches.

One example affects both homeowners and facility. It is important that leaves should not be allowed to collect in gutters. A clogged gutter can cause water to back up and enter a facility causing very expensive water damage.

Scheduling preventive maintenance and inspections now has other benefits too. As the temperatures start to hit the freezing point, clogged gutters can also create an ice dam forcing water into facilities as well as causing roof and/or structural damage.

One last task for every facility or home is to ensure that all water is drained from hoses, sprinklers and pools. Insulation should also be checked on water lines. A burst pipe can be very expensive and a nightmare if it should happen to water utilities.

The EAM CMMS Connection to Better Maintenance

Municipal governments and utilities have hundreds of thousands of asset to care for. Keeping track of the location and condition of each asset can be daunting if maintenance management does not have computerized software to record data and schedule inspections and work orders.

The functionality of an EAM allows maintenance management to work with asset planners and manage assets over their entire lifecycle. Better lifecycle asset management lowers operating costs as well as reducing the amount of money needed for capital replacements.

CMMS, which is the core of any good EAM system, enables maintenance management to schedule work efficiently and effectively. Using a CMMS solution can ensure that all equipment is scheduled for inspections and generate reports on the results of all work performed (or if the work was nor done as scheduled).

Clearly, now is the time of the year where a little maintenance and a few inspections can prove to be priceless to life, limb and pocketbook

Our hearts go out to the residents in the Indianapolis neighborhood whose lives have been turned upside down by this tragic accident. We hope that they recover soon.

Share with us how you are preparing your facilities this fall. If you liked this article you may also enjoy reading:

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