The Right To Self-Determination

[Editor’s note:The following letter is in response to Charlie Greer’s guest editorial titled “Debate Rages About 24-Hour Service,” Aug. 11.]

I’ve never read anything so laughable in a tech magazine. I never imagined anyone could get so up in arms about overworked HVAC technicians. The restaurant analogy is a good one to bring up because it brings to light that this is a market issue. If techs don’t want to work 24/7 and your company does, guess what, they probably won’t work for your company. If there’s enough demand to have 24-hour service and a company feels like they can profit from that, such a company will exist. Obviously someone likes to eat at lower quality 24-hour restaurants or they wouldn’t exist at all.

The techs have a free will, and Mr. Greer reveals a mindset that underestimates the decision-making abilities of the technicians. We aren’t talking about child slave labor here. Lots of people work odd, uncertain hours. It’s a choice they make. If you have the ability to sell “add-ons,” and you can find people who are willing to work under those conditions, and you have a market demographic to support this, then there is nothing wrong with going for it.

Richard Sullivan
Junior Engineer
Kinsman & Associates
Richardson, Texas

Blackout Tale

We have a new customer whose condenser caught fire when the power came back on. By the time I went to do the estimate and sizing, there was burned flour all over the condenser, as the homeowner had thrown kitchen flour on it to dowse the fire. The fire had been so hot as to melt the manufacturer’s plate beyond readability. We are now working with an insurance company for the claim.

As we are right in the heart of the initial problem in the Cleveland area, our own computers, power, and phones went down. We could call by our linked cell phones to one another, but we temporarily lost our phones, and people could not even call us. Fortunately, we worked with the phone company and at least had the phones back on in two to three hours.

I had been to Fort Wayne, Ind., the previous week to visit my sister and ended up returning with three of her children after she went into the hospital. My husband Pete and I have six of our own children at home aged 9-1/2 to 15 years old, and now we had three of my sister’s. Fortunately, I sent four of ours and two of hers to soccer camp with the Force, Cleveland’s professional soccer team. But on Friday [after the blackout], I learned the camp was closed since there was neither power nor water.

Thus, I had nine hot children at home.

I bought the last of the bottled water off the grocery shelves (of course I had half a cart). Pete came home and took creek water to flush the toilets. We had a second power failure several hours after power came on, then power went off briefly a third time. Hot, dirty, tired. That’s how that day ended for me.

Roseann Cyngier
Cyngier Heating & Air Conditioning

Opportunity Gained

Bravo! We can’t agree more with Norm Christopherson’s comments [in his letter “The Untapped Sales Force”] expressed in the July 28 edition ofThe News.

In fact, we have been educating contractors that they have been sitting upon one of the greatest “untapped sales forces” for years. They are credible professionals that are in consumers’ homes, seeing firsthand the opportunities for providing more comfort, health, safety, and piece of mind than any others in the industry. With that said, we are interested in spreading that message even further. Here at Aprilaire, part of our “go to market” strategy is to educate contractors on new and better ways to build their business. Certain products lend themselves to sale while a technician is in the home, which provides sale opportunities and more value to the call.

Joe Hlavacek
Product Manager
Research Products
Madison Wis.

Schools Compare Notes

The article [“Geothermal Goes To School”] in the August 18 edition ofThe Newson the geothermal systems used by the Fayette, Mo., high school was very interesting. I would, however, respectfully point out that there are some schools operating at less than the 10 kWh/square foot/year quoted by the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium. We have schools with geothermal systems in Lincoln, Neb., operating at about 6.5 kWh/square foot/year for heating and cooling, plus a minimal amount of gas for reheat. At this time, the Lincoln Public School District has 15 school buildings heated and cooled with geothermal heat pumps.

Darrell Brewster, P.E.
Senior Engineer
Lincoln Electric System
Lincoln, Neb.

Utility’s Response
There are many schools in Missouri that are big proponents of geothermal technology, none of which have come close to achieving the kind of results we have experienced at the Fayette High School. As a utility, we promote geothermal applications wherever we can. I have been encouraged by Darrell Brewster’s response [above] and would like to hear from any utilities or schools that have metered their GSHP [ground source heat pump] usage.

We had those skeptics that didn’t believe that geothermal would work and that it would be too costly to operate. I believe after having metered it ourselves and documented the use over the past school year (1.7 kWh per square foot per school year) we have silenced the critics and have opened the eyes for many as to the potential savings that can be achieved when using geothermal systems.

Richard Fowler
Howard Electric Cooperative
Fayette, Mo.

Publication date: 09/15/2003