Articles by Jim Johnson

Troubleshooting Challenge: A Tavern Owner's Request for a Second Opinion

By Jim Johnson
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This month’s troubleshooting situation involves an under-counter refrigeration unit in a commercial application. The first technician explained to the customer that the compressor needed to be replaced. After that technician left, the customer called the office to request a second opinion.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Rooftop Unit That Won't Shut Down

By Jim Johnson
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In this month’s troubleshooting situation, our customer has called to say that the older package unit that heats and cools his office is managing to warm up the area, but then seems to cool down too much before providing heat again. When you arrive, the first thing you note is that the indoor blower motor is operating, and you check the fan switch setting on the thermostat.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Heat Pump That's Not Operating

By Jim Johnson
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This troubleshooting situation is a look ahead to the upcoming cooling season. Our customer has called to say that their heat pump “isn’t cooling at all,” and while the outdoor temperature is only in the mid 80’s, it’s quite uncomfortable in the house. You find that the underlying reason is that the compressor and outdoor fan motor aren’t operating.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Gas Furnace That's Heating Intermittently

By Jim Johnson
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When the customer calls for service, he tells you that when things got very cold in the house, he disconnected the power supply to the unit, and then, after turning the 120-volt service switch back on, the operation seemed normal and the house got warm “for a day or so.” But the failure repeated.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Small Room-Size Heat Pump That's Not Heating

By Jim Johnson
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In this troubleshooting situation, we have a customer who has called to say that their 12,000 Btu through-the-wall unit is “blowing cool air even though it’s set for heat.” The unit is a heat pump with a three-speed motor. It operates on 240 vac.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Follow-Up on a Restaurant Cooler

By Jim Johnson
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Your role in this month’s troubleshooting situation is as the follow-up technician on a problem that was made worse by the technician who preceded you. When the restaurant manager originally called for service, the complaint was that their small walk-in cooler “wasn’t keeping as cool as usual.” Now it’s “hardly cooling at all.”
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Condensing Unit Problem

By Jim Johnson
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This time around our problem centers on a split-system air conditioner. The condensing unit is 240-volt, single-phase, and the indoor air handler (which our customer is able to tell us is “blowing warm air”) consists of a standard gas furnace and an A-coil housed above the furnace plenum.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Refrigeration System With a History of Compressor Failure

By Jim Johnson
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Your troubleshooting situation this time around relates to a walk-in refrigeration system in a busy restaurant that has experienced a compressor failure… specifically a mechanical failure. And it’s not the first time.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Modular A/C Unit That's Not Cooling

By Jim Johnson
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In this month’s troubleshooting situation we’re taking you to a modular classroom with a heating/cooling unit that employs resistance-type elements for the heating mode, and a direct expansion system for cooling. The complaint is that there is “very little cooling” being accomplished.
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Troubleshooting Challenge: A Furnace That's Not Heating the Whole House

By Jim Johnson
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In this troubleshooting situation, we have a customer who is complaining about one of the bedrooms in their home, specifically that the gas furnace doesn’t warm the room properly. When you arrive, you find that the bedroom in question is the furthest from the furnace, and that the duct system is an extended plenum system.
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