Thinking Twice About Stealing Unit Parts

[Editor’s note: This is in response to the article “Copper Prices Rise, Units Damaged,” Dec. 25.]

I can see the problem trying to catch the thieves, but when they do, shouldn’t they [the thieves] also be charged with “intentional release of refrigerants” just like a service technician would be if they cut the lines on these air conditioning units? The Clean Air Act does not specify that the only people liable for releasing refrigerants are just service technicians, it says “any person.”

If the thieves are convicted, would that also make the local police departments eligible for the $10,000 reward leading to a conviction in federal court? I think if the public was aware of all the possibilities associated with stealing this copper, the fines and prison time involved, this might stop most of the stealing. I know it will not stop all of it, but maybe it might make some people think twice about stealing the copper.

Steven Karow
HVAC Instructor
Fox Lake Correctional
Fox Lake, Wis.

Accessibility Improves Quality Installations

Mike Murphy’s “Quality Installations Being Questioned” [Jan. 22] is great. I’d like to think of myself as being in the 10 percent who are thermostats and do the job almost perfectly all the time.

Before, or at least in conjunction with, preaching about quality installations, we need to preach about mechanical equipment location and accessibility. How can we expect quality technicians like me (NATE certified, etc.) to perform quality installations and then do service work if we have to work in hard-to-access and/or filthy locations? How can we encourage young people to become HVAC people if we expect them to work in hard-to-access and/or dirty locations?

I’m working toward asking the International Code Council to revise the mechanical code(s) so as to better describe what adequate equipment locations look, smell, and feel like. For residential construction, I’d like to see no mechanical equipment in trussed attics, crawl spaces, or any place a technician can’t access from a 6-foot stepladder.

Alex Walter
Furnaces, A/C & More
Aurora, Colo.

Mechanical Inspection and Enforcement

Mike Murphy is on the money with the column [“Quality Installations Being Questioned,” Jan. 22.] inThe NEWS. We here at Accu-Temp Inc. in Macomb, Mich., do it right. All of us here are NATE-certified and Bryant Factory Authorized. We also implement very strict guidelines for installation like Manual J and D on every job or we don’t do it.

A lot of the bigger companies around Southeast Michigan do not follow these guidelines. But isn’t it code? So I also blame the mechanical inspectors for not enforcing the mechanical code. We see so much poor workmanship and have so many pictures of bad workmanship, it’s a great selling tool.

The problem we are running into is the cheaper guy is getting the job even though he is doing it wrong. How come most municipalities are not enforcing the heat calcs to be presented before installation? Troy and Royal Oak are the only two that do around here.

Mike Kosmalski
Vice President
Accu-Temp Inc.
Macomb, Mich.

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Publication date:02/26/2007