Ice Breaker: Troubleshooting Difficult Systems
Knowledge is important; wisdom is knowing when to ask for help
With so many types and designs of refrigeration equipment on the market today, it’s common to come across a problem you are unfamiliar with or unsure how to resolve. This can be very stressful for a technician and a problem for the company he or she represents as the customer is looking for an answer and the technician may not have one.
What can you do to solve this problem?
It has been my experience to call for help when in doubt. Sometimes, we get caught up in needing to be a know-it-all. We all know this is impossible. One person cannot be an expert in every type and design of refrigeration equipment in the industry. Even the most experienced technicians have questions they need answered. It’s always better to ask for help than to spend hours working on a problem and not resolve it or — even worse — to change out parts randomly until you change the right one. This can be very expensive for the customer and certainly would not present a professional image for your company.
Who can you call for help? Usually, the best source for technical information is the manufacturer of the equipment. Most manufacturers have an in-house technical support staff to assist technicians in the field. Most manufacturers also have useful information published on their websites. A quick visit to their websites might provide much-needed answers. Developing a list of manufacturers’ technical support phone numbers and Web addresses can be a valuable resource for any technician.
If the equipment manufacturer does not provide the answer, 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. Another good source for technical advice is your supervisor or coworkers. They may have come across the same type of equipment or have had a similar problem and can help answer a question.
When calling for help, it’s best to have as much information, such as the model and serial numbers, 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, and any applicable amperage and voltage readings, readily available. This will aid both you and the technical advisor in troubleshooting the problem.
With all the possible sources available for technical help, don’t go on with unanswered questions. Call for help when in doubt. It will save you and your company both time and money as well as enhance the professionalism of your service.
Publication date: 12/7/2015