Reactive maintenance: How to spot issues before they impact on your business

When it comes to reactive maintenance, problems can sneak up on you and, if left unresolved, those seemingly small issues can quickly escalate into something much more serious.

Unresolved issues can become very costly and have the potential to bring your entire business to a standstill – affecting your valued customers and profit margin. So, knowing what to look for is of paramount importance, this will help you to identify and solve any issues before they escalate to the point of reactive maintenance.

reactive maintenanceFacilities Management provider, MSL has listed their most common maintenance issues for businesses to be on the lookout for:

Mould, mildew and rot

These can be key indicators of long-running leaks, which will not only cause visible issues, such as mould but can also start to impact the internal structure of your building.


Leaks are a huge red flag that there is an issue within your building – this should be investigated and dealt with immediately.

Blocked gutters

Having blocked gutters can cause untold damage to your business. Once the gutters are full of debris, rainwater will overflow from the gutter and splash against the bricks below. Overflowing gutters can cause damp, which can affect your respiratory health. The easiest way to resolve having issues with the gutters is to have them cleaned regularly. Cleaning gutters out at least once per year is usually sufficient.

Visible pipe rust

Monitor any rusting on pipes within your building. If you spot rust, ensure that those pipes are replaced immediately. Rusting pipes will soon start to erode, causing the pipe to burst, which can cause chaos in the workplace, forcing you to replace items damaged by the flood, as well as costly cleanup fees.

Cracks in walls or ceilings

Whilst some cracks may just be cosmetic in nature, others might indicate that there is a structural problem with the building. Any areas that start to show cracks should be investigated immediately.

Unusual noises from AC unit

Most AC units should be relatively quiet, so be aware of any odd noises, such as whirring or clunking. These can indicate that the system is not running optimally, and a full inspection is necessary.

Slow draining water

Whether the sink is slow to empty, or you notice the external gutters are struggling to drain, any issues of this nature should be inspected immediately to check for blockages. Specialised drain cameras may be needed to fully investigate as the blockage may be deep in the pipes. Obstructions should be cleared quickly, failure to do so can cause pipes to flood or burst.

Running a business is difficult at the best of times, and when juggling so many to-do lists – it’s easy to forget about vital maintenance monitoring. This planned maintenance checklist has been created to help ensure that all aspects of your building are running smoothly for the entire year without being reactive:


  • Plumbing systems should be checked annually, paying close attention to leaks, odd noises, mould, mildew and water spots.
  • Lubricate water boosters and circulation pump systems annually.
  • Look for signs of limescale and corrosion on plumbing pipes.
  • Check your buildings water pressure – it should be between 80psi and 40psi.
  • Check and replace all safety and shutoff valves.
  • Check the water heater temperature to ensure energy efficiency.
  • Check drains to ensure water is running through them efficiently, this can be done using a drain camera.
  • Annual backflow testing must be carried out to stop water from flowing backwards, which can lead to contamination.


  • Roofs should be inspected at least twice a year, and after severe weather conditions, even if you have a new roof.
  • Clear roof drains of any debris, and check that drains are fixed correctly to the roof/wall.
  • Check for any damage around the roof, including sections that have been repaired.
  • Look for buckled, deformed or missing shingles.
  • Replace any missing or cracked roof tiles.
  • Check and fix any roof-to-wall connections.
  • Look for signs of flashing including cracked caulk and rust spots.
  • Check any chimney stacks, looking for damage.
  • Look for corrosion on metal roofs – often caused by rooftop HVAC unit condensation.
  • Carry out a moisture survey every 5 years.
  • Internally:
    • Look for signs of leaking (dark stains and discolouration) and fix them immediately.
    • Mould, rot and mildew in the ceiling can indicate severe internal leaks, which can lead to structural issues.


  • Check heating and cooling equipment (at least twice a year).
  • Lubricate pumps annually, inspecting couplings and checking for leaks.
  • Check electrical connections.
  • Inspect heat exchanger.
  • Check operation of fan and blower motor.
  • Check for adequate airflow.
  • Inspect ignition and burner assembly.
  • Clean and replace air filters regularly.
  • Check conditions of belts and pulleys, replace if needed.
  • Clean condenser and evaporator coils using a coil cleaner.
  • Inspect the settings of the system: compressor, refrigerant charge and thermal expansion valve.
  • Check thermostat operation and other controls.
  • Clear drain lines and pans.
  • Check all the systems moving parts, ensuring they are working properly and lubricate if necessary.

MSL advise businesses to take action immediately if any of the above issues occur – for further information on facilities management MSL operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, right across the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe: