Guest Blog

Furnaces and Potholes

February 8, 2011
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One of the things that I love about working in this industry is that it’s never boring. The next chronicle of jobsite bedlam is likely just moments away. Now, what emotion you choose to inject into that anecdote is another story. Some will make you angry, many are just plain scary, but, as you know, I like to (lovingly) laugh and point fingers at the enemies of common sense and professionalism.

This week’s episode begins with a part time contractor who works for the highway department full time. This guy installed a furnace in a rental house for a regular customer of his during the month of June. He replaced the existing propane unit with a 95 percent, variable speed version with all the bells and whistles, then after the electrician did his part, went on his merry way.

Fast forward to Christmas in the frozen, tundra-like, New England territory where a frustrated and ice-covered tenant is moving out and threatening to sue. Of course, there is no heat in the house again/still, who knows. What we do know is that to this date the part time contractor has replaced the circuit board, variable-speed motor, pressure switch, gas valve, etc. Now he wants to return the unit to the distributor because “these things suck”, and the top of the unit is burnt and the PVC vent pipe is distorted from overheating.

With little prodding the “technician” offers that the first time they hooked it up “it went ‘poof’”, then when they wired it correctly it wouldn’t start. Hmmm; imagine that. Next, he said the gas valve was bad because it never went to second stage, so he replaced it, but that one didn’t work either. When asked if he had used a two stage thermostat or changed the jumper to stage by time, he replied that he doesn’t fool around with that stuff, and didn’t touch it. Let’s go back to the “fool” part.

Lastly, let’s discuss the burnt section. The contractor insists that he installed the LP kit, and that the gas company confirmed the proper gas pressure. Well, the supplier insists that there is no record of an LP kit being purchased, and the customer seems to have lost not only the receipt, but the kit too! What a coincidence!

I hope that you can relate to this guy only as being your competition and not a mentor. As for our part-timer, stick to filling pot holes and leave the “complicated” stuff to us.
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