Sell The Sizzle, Not The Steak

I receivedThe Newsyesterday, read Mark Skaer's column ["Industry Can Learn A Lot From The NCAA," May 2], and agree with him. I take Skaer's fundamental point to be that we do not enjoy, nor do we promote, appreciation for what we, as an industry, bring to the societal table.

Without getting into a long dissertation on other examples - contemporary and historical - as I read his column, I was reminded of the sales adage, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak."

I mean, "National Indoor Comfort Week"? How about, "The Heat Is On" or "Cool, Baby, Cool" or "Hot Days, Cool Nights - Gotta Love It." We could get out there with something like, "BTU Week - Better Temperatures 4U" or "RU Cool? B Gr8ful!"

Somehow, National Indoor Comfort Week fails to speak to me passionately. Maybe it's just me and Skaer - and the rest of the U.S. population. I don't know.

Thanks for drawing our attention away from the mundane aspects of life as an HVAC contractor and helping us to focus - or at least think about - our businesses a little bit differently.

Steven Berquist
President (ex-HVAC exec in former life)
Fleet Impressions, LLC

Condemned Compressors: No Defect Found

The articles in the April 4 issue regarding condemned compressors were very good and accurate. So what else is new?

In 1959, when I started as resident engineer for Metals & Controls at Tecumseh Products, the second week there I had occasion to go to the repair and returns area.

Bill Damon told me and showed me how and why 25 percent to 33 percent of compressors returned had nothing wrong with them. All in-warranty compressors were inspected and torn down, with an analysis tag made out; thus, the results were accurate and easily tabulated.

Since that year, I have represented or worked for Tecumseh, Hupp, Prestcold, Danfoss, and Bitzer. Whether they were hermetics or semi-hermetics, the good [nothing wrong] returns average was about the same.

In an attempt to limit returns in the early 1960s, one compressor manufacturer had its wholesalers set up a returns testing area, which went over like a lead balloon, as far as cutting out returns of good compressors. Some wholesalers tried, but were bucked greatly by the dealers, thus the idea died.

To my knowledge, there was only one wholesaler, in New England and upstate New York, who initiated a test procedure.

If [a contractor brought in a compressor and it was] found to be OK, [he] had the compressor given back on the spot. At the same time, [the contractor] was given a lesson on how to check out a compressor when it was still in the system.

Back then, there were no digital ammeters, thus the analog ammeter was, and still is, the best instrument to check out a compressor while in the system. Depending upon which lead the ammeter was connected to, the needle's action answered what the situation was, regardless whether it was RSIR, CSIR, CSCR, PSC, or three-phase.

It should be remembered that upwards of 75 percent of the compressor problems were and still are electrical. Having given upwards of 50 RSES seminars on troubleshooting compressors over the years, I feel that much education on the total refrigeration cycle, as well as electrical, is lacking.

It is surprising the percentage of servicemen who do not know that there are two superheats and one subcool in effect in the cycle.

Harry W. Brown
H W Brown Engineering
South Egremont, Mass.

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Publication date: 06/06/2005