Michel Lecompte has a way of making a point.

He is president of RefPlus of Boucherville, PQ, Canada. The company makes condensing units. He was one of the speakers at the most recent Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) of Canada conference in Winnipeg, MB.

Lecompte was focusing on the importance of thoroughly troubleshootinging a system before taking any corrective actions. To make his point, he compared a service technician to a medical doctor.

A doctor, he said, conducts a complete examination of a patient. The doctor checks temperature, blood pressure, and a range of other aspects of the body using equipment that is up to date and accurate. Only then should the doctor make a diagnosis and determine what action should be taken.

In the same way, technicians start with temperature and pressures and get as much information as possible using properly calibrated equipment. Only after the information is gathered can a correction procedure be figured out and repairs made.

“You need to analyze the entire system before deciding what needs to be done,” said Lecompte. “Don’t just be a parts changer. How would you feel if your doctor was a parts changer?”

Lecompte’s point hit home because the technicians at the conference — who were willing to invest time and money to attend — know how important it is to service equipment properly.

A malfunctioning system is not just a system that does not provide enough heating or cooling. It is a system that has the potential to be unsafe or even dangerous.

The way a system is installed and maintained is a reflection of the installing contractor and servicing technician. A poor job could mean a negative reputation in the community, leading to future jobs lost due to bad word of mouth, resulting in decreased income.

An unhappy customer leads to callbacks and possible confrontations, which lead to aggravations and stress.

Hvacr is not an exact science, even though it is based on the exact laws of physics. Not all systems will work perfectly. Actually, no system will work perfectly.

The secret is to make sure a system is running as close to perfect as possible — just as you hope your doctor is the most perfect person you know when it comes to doing what is best for you.

Powell is refrigeration editor. He can be reached at 847-622-7260; 847-622-7266 (fax); or peterpowell@achrnews.com (e-mail).

Publication date: 06/03/2002