The Benefits Of Advertising To Consumers

I was thinking about how much money brewers, auto manufacturers, overnight delivery services, soft drink companies, and such spend on Super Bowl advertising and how much HVAC manufacturers are spending. Do the HVAC companies only rely on the advertising that their dealers spend money on?

The only time I see national advertising campaigns for HVAC is in the summer and only on the least watched cable station in the world - The Weather Channel. How many people leave their TV tuned to that? It is good for local weather every 10 minutes, and then the channel is quickly changed.

Why not put the question to Trane, Lennox, Carrier, etc., as to why people know what kind of car they want and how often they need to buy one, while many HVAC systems are left running for years on end, way past their useful life. Could it be because they are pounded with ads for cars and trucks every time they turn on their TV? How much are the manufacturers spending to promote their new products?

I got a form from ACCA [asking] about how much of a contractor's budget is spent on marketing. It would be nice to see how much the manufacturer spends on marketing and if it is really working, making homeowners aware of the benefits of replacing their systems.

Tim Bruce
General Air Conditioning
San Antonio

OEMs, Manufacturers, And Compressors

I enjoyed Peter Powell's compressor articles [in the April 4 issue] very much, especially the way most of the correspondents danced around the root cause of the problem, as I see it.

I have often said, and do repeat here, that the problem of NDF [no defect found] compressors would be greatly reduced if the OEMs had stood by their stated warranty (workmanship and material for a stated period of time). But that is not the case. I wonder how many of those compressors were charged back to the original return source.

Looking at the article on amperage ["Troubleshooting With Compressor Amperage"], I wonder why the author took the long road for proper current draw data for a particular compressor, when the firm that manufactures that compressor has available charts that do not require any interpretation of any values; they are printed in five-degree increments.

I also wonder about the 10-percent plus or minus values talked about. Having been in the trade for years, my understanding of voltage is what you see is what you get.

While there are correction factors (for some broadband motors), the current tables provided tell you what you should be operating at (or near, depending upon the quality of the meter that is being used). I should also mention that several vendors provide those tables generally on the Web, and with a bit of diligence, any shop operator or owner could obtain them for their personnel.

Reference is made to check voltage at the compressor terminals. May I suggest that those terminals never be exposed in the operating mode? Check the voltage at the "T" side of the contactor, but keep that terminal area covered.

Now let me make these suggestions:

1. OEMs enforce their stated warranty (no deviation).

2. Training of technicians be put at the top of the agenda.

3. Technicians be compensated for furthering education.

4. Technicians are allowed (encouraged) to do quality work (not on a numerical schedule).

5. OEMs increase their educational programs in the geographical areas the technicians live and work in, and during the seasons when their employers can afford their time away from the job.

6. Technicians accept training at the employer's expense, while technicians take the courses on their own time. (Nothing is free, folks.)

Having said all of that, let me add that I, too, see the problem (very often in classes that I provide) but often wonder where my peers are and why they are not mentoring these young folks.

John Clark
Certificate Member of the
Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
Olathe, Kan.

Why All The Fuss About 13 SEER?

I can't imagine all of the fuss with 13 SEER. When the industry was mandated to comply with 10 SEER, people thought it would be the end of A/C all together. The idea that a 13-SEER unit can't fit in new construction is ridiculous. Any AHU [air-handling unit] can be broken down and brought into the attic space and reassembled with ease through any 16-inch on center joist/truss.

I guess that means dealers won't be selling any 19-SEER units to high-quality custom home builders to be put in attics since the units are too big. The only problem 13 SEER brings is to the HVAC company that tries to get the most profit without truly having the customer in mind.

I understand that a factory-rated 13-SEER unit won't get the rated efficiency with leaky ductwork in an improperly vented attic. What worries me is the contractors already looking for excuses to justify poor quality craftsmanship. The best unit on the market is only as good as the contractor who installed it.

As a service technician who grew up in the residential end of the industry for a company that only did first-class work and is now working on the commercial side, I saw time and time again other companies lie to unsuspecting customers, condemn things that weren't broken to get a sale (thank God for second opinions), feed on customers' fears ("Uh, you are right, ma'am, we probably won't be able to fix that old thing"), and misdiagnose the simplest of calls.

Since 13 SEER will be mandatory, perhaps the above-mentioned individuals will have to learn to fix things properly the first time and make the customer happy. I don't recall General Motors pounding their fists when more fuel-efficient vehicles were demanded.

David J. Cole
Service Technician
Linthicum, Md.

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Publication date: 04/25/2005