Keep Your Facts Straight

I would like to support the letter in your June 23 issue [“A Failure To Communicate?”] from Gary Stults about the heat pump article in the May 19 issue [“A Heat Pump Failure Investigation”].

Even after reading the author’s response, I am trying to figure out who this article was directed toward. If it was intended for the general public, this is the wrong forum, and it did not give enough detail.

This newsmagazine goes out to thousands of HVACR professionals, for whom it is intended. Errors in terminology here are immediately noticed — “expansion valve,” the term valve usually refers to something adjustable; there is nothing adjustable about a capillary tube or fixed orifice, only the pressures across it will change the flow. And in all the hydronic heat pumps I have serviced, I have yet to see a “thermocouple and relay” used as a freezestat. They are usually a “thermo-o-disc” type of control, which is nothing more than a circular bimetal, which operates a set of contacts.

I respect the author’s intention, but if he wishes to write for a professional audience and keep our attention, he should keep his facts and terminology correct.

Art Dobson, Educational Coordinator, MacDonald-Miller Facilities Services, Seattle

Inspiring Employees

[Editor’s note:This letter is in response to Charlie Greer’s July 7 guest editorial, “Do You Really Want 24-Hour Service?”]

It is very rare a customer needs immediate service. Usually the customer is satisfied being assured a tech will come quickly the next day. Explaining the cost of after-hours service vs. next-day service and that supply houses are usually not open for nonstock parts helps convince the customer to wait.

There is the issue of the “promise” made while closing sales that the customer’s comfort will be provided by your company. For that reason, we customarily provide “round-the-clock service” during the first year after installation.

The more pertinent issue raised by Mr. Greer is how we as owners/managers fulfill our promise to our employees. Do we lead and encourage them to grow to their maximum potential so they can be fairly rewarded through regular raises, benefits, and performance incentives that make them want to fulfill their duty to their customers?

In too many cases, owners/managers fail their employees because they were themselves abused as entry-level techs laboring under circumstances where Friday was payday, and the boss was an SOB. Entry-level people with the brains to succeed in our increasingly sophisticated industry have more choices for career satisfaction than many of us offer with hard labor and a paycheck. They need the tools, encouragement, and leadership to be more as a team member than they could as a solo player.

We all need to think about motivation techniques that reward professional development and performance directly. We need to convey an attitude that supports and encourages our people to do well, do better, prosper as a team, and — dare I say it — have fun.

Dirk Rettberg, Rettbergs Inc., Divernon, Ill.

Publication date: 08/04/2003