Energy Management and Lighting, Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

This Halloween, Protect Your Facilities from Energy Vampires, Creepy Crawlers, and More Scary Problems!

Although it’s time for Halloween, don’t be frightened by energy vampires, water witches, scary ghosts, and creepy crawlers. Here at Facilities Management Advisor, we want to give you a treat (and it’s not a candy bar). We know that what might scare you the most is not the bogyman, but high energy costs and the real creatures, like rodents and bugs, that go bump in the night or even during the middle of the day! Let us give you tips that even the scaredy-cats can follow to eliminate these terrors.

Energy Vampires

What causes terrifying electricity bills? According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), it could be energy vampires. Energy vampires are devices in your facilities that use energy and drain power even when they are turned off. They are also known by the spooky term “phantom loads.”

Facilities managers should sleuth their properties, like an old-fashioned detective, looking for the largest energy vampires, especially problematic in big facilities, which include:

  • Desktop computers and laptops
  • Speakers, scanners, printers, and chargers
  • Space heaters
  • Televisions, cable boxes, and DVR boxes in game rooms and breakrooms
  • Kitchen appliances found in breakrooms and commercial kitchens

These can add up to big costs, so don’t let them continue to suck your budget dry. Slay those energy vampires by unplugging them or plugging them into a power strip that can be easily switched off when not in use. Consider reducing the pain further by switching to ENERGY STAR-rated energy-efficient products for devices that cannot be easily unplugged.

Learn more about ENERGY STAR by checking out the article “Back to Basics: How Businesses Can Participate in the ENERGY STAR Program.”

Also, don’t forget solar outdoor lights help ward off creatures lurking in the shadows outside.

Water Witches

While water witches, also called diviners, use a forked stick or rod to locate underground water, which is quite popular during drought conditions, today’s facilities managers are looking to reduce water usage inside their buildings and lower energy costs. They can ensure that water witches won’t spoil their workday by installing low-flow faucets to prevent leaks and save water.

Be aware of the most common leaks in commercial buildings, which can be the result of worn-out components and, if left unattended, can cause extensive water loss and scary water bills:

  • Toilet leaks
  • Faucet leaks
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Basement leaks
  • Roof leaks

Clogged drains can be another problem, but not one you need to fear. To learn more, check out “Back to Basics: Preventing and Dealing with Plumbing Clogs at Your Facility.”

Scary Ghosts

The DOE wants facilities managers to be forewarned that air leaks can cause ghosts in the form of chilly drafts. They should look for leaks in the following places to prevent them from haunting their facilities and the bottom line:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • HVAC duct work
  • Near utilities such as wires, pipes, and conduits
  • Building structural holes, cracks, or gaps

Creepy Crawlers

Do you hear things scratching the walls? You might have pests! Why are they bad? Well, rather than just scare you, these creatures can do the following:

  • Damage your facility by chewing through glass, cinderblock, aluminum, and wire
  • Spread disease through droppings, saliva, urine, and blood
  • Increase the risk of fires
  • Be bad for business

Pests can include rodents like rats and mice, cockroaches, bed bugs, and flies. According to Pest World, these creatures are especially problematic for the lodging, retail, school, healthcare, food processing, and food service sectors. To address these creepy crawlers, facilities managers should have an integrated pest management plan and work with a pest management professional. 

Be sure to check out “How to Launch an Integrated Pest Management Program.”

Speaking of rats, is your facility located in one of the “rattiest cities in America“? According to Orkin, the following cities have had the most rodent treatments between Sept. 1, 2021, and Aug. 31, 2022:

  1. Chicago
  2. New York
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Washington, D.C.
  5. San Francisco
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Baltimore
  8. Cleveland
  9. Detroit
  10. Denver

Whether your facility has energy vampires, scary ghosts, or creepy crawlers, take steps this Halloween so that your property doesn’t become a haunted house!