Mastering the Art of Facilities Maintenance

managing time and resources effectively

The Right Lube for the job

The other day I was in a building and the maintenance guy sprayed a tight door handle with WD40. He smiled at me proudly when the door handle operated smoothly after a fresh shot. It got me thinking about our buildings, and I thought I would put together a small list.

Dry lubricants- such as graphite, and powdered Teflon, and tri-flow are designed for high-dust areas, and places where (like door handles and hinges) people might touch and get grease on their hands or keys. Never use a liquid lubricant on a door handle! They can actually cause more harm than good. Dry lubricants are designed specifically for the purpose of piling up, keeping dusts and other abrasives on the surface (away from moving parts) instead of mixing it in the way liquid lubricants do.

Grease- Sometimes it isn’t enough to walk by a motor or pump and top off a bearing with a shot from the trusty grease gun. Pump, motor, and gear grease needs to be the proper amount to keep metal from rubbing against metal. Over-greasing can cause hydraulic pressure to build up inside the sealed compartment and actually cause more harm than good, while under-greasing can cause metal friction. Wipe off grease ports and zurn fittings before you attach the grease gun (to keep from pumping dust or paint into the fitting.) and slowly add grease until you feel a slight resistance in the pump handle. Sometimes you can actually hear it in the bearing.

Do not trust grease fill tubes to deliver grease to the right place. If you are blindly walking up to the side of an air handler or other unit and pumping grease into a grease port, without verifying where that grease is going, you’re looking for trouble. Also watch for grease relief fittings leaving a pile of grease at the bottom of a motor base as well.

Belt Dressing- If you have a belt in a building that is squealing, and you have found that the magic solution is to hit it with belt dressing every once in a while, chances are that the belt isn’t properly aligned. Another sign of this will be that the belt is wearing out on one side while the other side still looks new. If this is happening the motor and the pulley need to be aligned.

Aluminum based lubricants- These should be used when applying a flange or door gasket that you know will need to be separated again. Aluminum-based lubricants provide a seal, and prevent the gasket from sticking to the flange face. It is common courtesy to the mechanic coming behind you (maybe me) to apply an aluminum-based lubricant to prevent hours of scraping and cleaning old gasket material from a flange face.

Silicone Lubricants- finally silicone lubricants shouldn’t be used on silicone gaskets and o-rings. The similar nature of the materials will cause a premature breakdown of the gasket or o-ring. Use a mineral- based lubricant.

After applying lubricant, make sure you wipe down the area, clean up, and don’t leave gobs of grease around the zurn fitting to prove to people that you are greasing the bearing. The proof will be in the fact that the bearings or gears aren’t overheating.

References on the web:

May 27, 2008 Posted by | facilities maintenance | , , , , , | Leave a comment