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
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.
Furnaces and Potholes
Rich Schuster has worked in many phases of the HVAC and plumbing industries since 1991, from apprentice to general manager in the contractor segment, and later as a rep for a large HVAC wholesaler. He has written two books with a focus on installation training basics, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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