Ice Breaker: The Difficult Service Call

December 6, 2010
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We all, at one time or another, come upon a system that is quite difficult to repair or to troubleshoot. This can be a very stressful experience. Different technicians have different ways of handling this stress.

Some throw tools. (Not a good method.) Some talk to themselves. (Could be a little embarrassing.) Some simply give up and blame the manufacturer for building a poorly designed system or blame the previous technician on the job for messing up the system.


All of these methods will leave a bad impression with the customer and/or your fellow employees. A better way of handling this stress is to first take a break. Leave the job site and get your mind off the system you are working on. Go get a soft drink, take a walk, do something to free your mind from the problem at hand.

When you arrive back on the job with a fresh outlook, you will be surprised how much better you will be able to handle the problem. You still may not be able to repair or diagnose the problem, but at least you will be in a better mindset to handle the situation.


And remember, if you need help on a job there are several sources to call. An excellent source is the manufacturer of the equipment. Most manufacturers have an inâ€'house technical support staff to assist technicians in the field. Larger manufacturers have toll-free numbers available. Even if the manufacturer does not have an 800 number, the cost of the long distance call is well worth the money. Resolving the problem in a timely manner - and, more importantly, in a correct manner - outweighs the cost of a simple long distance call.

If unable to contact the equipment manufacturer, there are several other sources a technician can call on for help. Local parts and equipment wholesalers usually have technical support personnel on staff. Although they may not be as experienced on a particular piece of equipment as the manufacturer, they usually have a solid general knowledge and can answer most, if not all, of your questions.

When calling for help, it is good to have as much information as possible readily available. Be prepared to supply the following information:

• Model and serial number of the equipment;

• Running suction and discharge pressures;

• Amount of superheat at the outlet of the evaporator and inlet to the compressor;

• Amount of subcooling at the outlet of the condenser;

• Ambient temperature;

• Box temperature;

• Any applicable amperage and voltage readings.

This information will aid both you and the technical advisor in troubleshooting the problem.


Another good source for technical advice is your supervisor or co-workers. They may have come across the same type of equipment or have had a similar problem and can easily answer a question.

So when dealing with those difficult service calls take a break and call for help if needed. With all the possible sources available for technical help, you should be able to get to the root cause of your problem.

Publication date: 12/06/2010

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