With so many types and designs of refrigeration equipment on the market today, it is easy to come across a problem with which you are unfamiliar or unsure on how to resolve.

This can be stressful for the technician and a problem for the company. The customer is looking for answers and the technician doesn’t have them.

What can a technician do to solve this problem?

It has been my experience to call for help when in doubt. Sometimes service technicians get caught up in needing to be a know-it-all. However, we all know that 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 is always better to ask a simple question 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 to the customer, and certainly would not present a professional image for your company.

Who You Gonna Call?

Usually the best source is the manufacturer of the equipment.

Most manufacturers have an in-house technical support staff to assist technicians in the field. It is wise for a service technician to take advantage of this support. Most larger manufacturers have toll-free numbers available. Even if the manufacturer does not have an 800 number, the cost of a long distance call is well worth the money.

Resolving the problem in a timely manner, and more importantly, in an accurate manner, outweighs the cost of a long distance call.

It is a good idea for a service technician to keep a list of manufacturers’ telephone numbers in the service truck.

When calling for help, it is best to have as much information as possible readily available. Have available:

  • The 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; and

  • Applicable amperage and voltage readings.

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

    Additional Sources

    If you are 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.

  • 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 easily answer a question.

  • There also are several excellent sources for manufacturers’ phone numbers, in case not having the number on hand is holding you back. One is The News Annual Directory & Source Guide Issue, which lists the major manufacturers and wholesalers in the industry.

    With all the possible sources available for technical assistance, do not go on with unanswered questions. When in doubt, call for help. It will save you and your company time and money, as well as enhancing your professionalism.

    Marchese is a service technician with Arctic-Air Refrigeration, Pittsburgh, PA.

    Publication date: 09/04/2000