More For His Money

It is hard for me to believe that John Hall got all he thought from his 30-minute Sears furnace check [“Sears Service Deal Makes a Good Impression,” Oct. 29]. Did the technician remove the blower from the furnace and check to see how clean/dirty the blower wheel was? How did the tech lubricate the blower motor? Is it an older belt drive or a newer direct-drive blower? Did the Sears tech mention anything about a more extensive check of the heat exchanger to determine if it has any leaks? Did the Sears tech measure the temperature rise?

Alex Walter Furnaces, A/C and More Aurora CO

Don’t Rush The Job

I read John Hall’s article about his service call from Sears [“Sears Service Deal Makes a Good Impression,” Oct. 29]. I was surprised how happy he was with the job performed by the appliance technician.

The technician said he cleaned the burner — How? Oiled the motor — How? Hall never mentioned any safety switches being checked or checking for loose screws around the exchanger. Most blower motors have two oil ports that cannot be accessed without removing the blower, which needs to be cleaned as well.

As a business owner and service technician, I find it very hard to do a good job in less than one hour, unless there is a customer that I have serviced previously and know that the safety switches were checked and that heat rise is correct.

I agree that some furnaces are easy, compared to others. I charge by the hour for clean and checks. It is very important not to rush this process. I always allow the furnace to run for at least 10 minutes to check for proper operation — which would only allow 20 minutes to clean the furnace [in Hall’s example].

I know I am missing the boat on the low-cost clean and check by trying not to do quantity over quality; but I feel I am doing the best thing to bring craftsmanship back to this industry.

Rhett Schaller All Service Heating and Air Rockford, IL

The Problem With Cap Tubes

Years ago, shortly after arriving back in America from Vietnam, I went to work for my father in the refrigeration service industry. Dad serviced the first R-12 cold storage plant in Panama when he was chief electrician in the U.S. Navy when World War II was going on fast forward.

In the early 70s, the United States space program was in its embryonic period, as was my career in the industry.

Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, MI, was awarded the contract to supply freeze-dried food for our men in space; we serviced the freeze driers, Hupp low-temp units, using R-13B2 (-80¿was a good temp). R-13B2 was rough on the compressors. Then they got a new unit that was R-502 two-stage. Wow! It worked very well. Then it stopped working. We had to resolder all the joints. It never dawned on me that manufacturers could make a mistake, but that’s in the past. Thirty years ago, I was surprised that it had happened.

Along with servicing the freeze driers, we installed a walk-in freezer to store some of the freeze-dried food. NASA wanted something like -25¿ no problem with a 3-hp Copeland water cooler and R-502. When we were working on the installation, an older gentleman was around, and he was a guy who had been around the industry for more years than my dad. He was a real pioneer in the industry, and something was said to the effect that he helped the “Big Guy” invent ice. Anyway, I don’t remember much about what they talked about, but I do remember one thing they both agreed on: Cap tubes don’t work! They work well with the cost accountants, the power company, and the compressor manufacturers.

They ensure lots of service. Some may not agree with me, but after doing this for almost 35 years, I kind of agree with my dad and the refrigeration engineer that cap tubes don’t work! They work enough to get you by. We will never see them go away on very small applications, but maybe we can dream.

Dean F. Slowik Slowik Refrigeration Benton Harbor, MI

Publication date: 11/26/2001