For lack of a better word, power tools are powerful. For most professionals in construction, power tools are entirely essential to building the large, complex structures that are in demand.
The last thing a construction professional needs is for their power tools to fail — which is why everyone needs to put in the effort to maintain their tools properly. Here are a few tips and tricks for power tool maintenance, so professionals can trust in the functionality of their most-used power tools.
Table of Contents
Allow Hot Tools to Cool
Power tools draw a lot of energy to provide the immense power professionals need, and that energy can cause motors to overheat. Heat is a serious threat to the longevity of power tools; high temperatures can cause delicate components to break or become misshapen, reducing the power of the tool or preventing its operation entirely.
Overheating often occurs when a tool is used to work with a difficult material or when a tool is used for too long a period without a break. Professionals should check their tools frequently for high temperatures and allow tools to cool down periodically to improve functionality.
Clean Power Tools Regularly
Construction sites are rarely clean spaces, and power tools tend to become covered in dust and grime in a matter of hours, if not minutes.
After every shift, professionals should take the time to clean the tools they used, wiping away dirt with a cleaning cloth and using a brush or compressed air to remove debris from interior spaces. The more religiously professionals complete this end-of-shift ritual, the longer their power tools are likely to last.
Sharpen Bits and Blades Often
No bits or blades last forever. These hardworking components of power tools should need replacement much more frequently than the tool itself.
The continued use of dull bits and blades will put unnecessary stress on a power tool, which will need to work harder to achieve expected results. In some cases, bits and blades can be sharpened to prolong their life; as long as this is cost effective, professionals should continue sharpening these components.
Lubricate Moving Parts
Moving parts almost always benefit from some extra lubrication. On construction sites, dirt and grime can cause friction, which results in greater effort from power tools and can cause lasting damage.
Professionals should consult the manuals of their tools to determine which tools need regular lubrication — and which types of lubrication to use.
Replace Worn Parts
It is tempting to replace an entire tool when one part wears out, but it is possible and often cost-effective to take the tool apart and replace the worn components. It might be useful for professionals to develop positive relationships with local power tool repair shops, which might decrease costs and increase speed of service.
Calibrate Precision Tools
Many power tools are precision instruments, meaning they have a number of moving parts that must remain in alignment for the tool to function as needed. After a certain number of hours of use, almost every power tool requires some degree of recalibration, which professionals can follow using the schedule found in their user manual.
Understand Battery Maintenance
Many commercial-grade power tools are corded, but some professionals do prefer some tools to be battery powered.
However, batteries are power tools of their own which require their own special maintenance. Because replacement power tool battery packs can be expensive, professionals should try to care for batteries as well as they can. In general, this means maintaining a charge between 20 and 80 percent, avoiding overcharging and keeping batteries out of extreme temperatures.
Store Tools in a Clean, Dry Space
After every use — after the cleaning regimen — tools should be carefully placed in a storage solution that keeps them clean and dry. Truck boxes are excellent storage locations for professional power tools which must be accessible on job sites, though professionals might opt for lockable boxes that will keep their power tools safe from theft as well as the environment.
Power tools may seem strong and tough, but the smallest mistreatment can make them utterly unusable. With proper care, power tools can continue functioning well for decades, so professionals should put work into keeping their tool investments well maintained.