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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kennesaw, GA
    Posts
    953
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    My first cooling season

    Well guys the cooling season seems to be kinda winding down. Well at least for me. The weather has been a tide bit cooler then what it was 6 weeks ago in GA. I told my self when it was all said and done I was going to post what I experienced. For me being new in the field it made it very hard to acquire a position. Literally no one would hire me. I don't know if it was because I couldn't give a full 40 hrs to the position ( work in another field and not ready yet to go full time to hvac) or because I had no work experience with any company ( even though I did a lot of stuff on my own). Even with all the technical info on my resume no one would hire. LOL, WHO knows why!

    Well eventually I got hired as a helper for per diem or as needed. My first day on the job I saw how techs handle customers. I learned you gotta stay quiet and don't give too much info to alarm the customer. I also learned a lot of techs just do anything and ignore proper SOP. We go to install a dry unit. The dry unit had a 3/8 LL connection and the lineset LL size was like 5/16. Lead tech didn't care. When we were ready to charge up the unit I mentioned to charge by superheat. He replied : " You see when its between here and there on lowside its all good". And then he goes on telling me the suction line is beer can cold. I really though we just joke about that here on hvac-talk but there are techs out there that do that ****. I had to control my self from bursting out laughing. LOL! It was fine and dandy . Customer didn't care and didn't know . He was happy the unit was cooling.

    Anyways few days later I was tagging along with a new lead tech. We talked technical stuff and eventually he became upset at me when I mentioned about proper charging techniques ( SH or SC). " Man, when your in the field you don't got time for that crap" . “ You'll see ! You'll learn!” I was like ok whatever. I went on with him to a job he is finishing up . OMG, this guy just because we didn't have a power outlet available ( home owner wasn't home either, so no power access from inside), he didn't pull a vacuum after changing out a compressor. He just dumped freon in based on the units name plate weight and more or less added a couple more pounds for lineset and evaporator . I just looked the other way . Anyways we did more installs and things just moved on. Eventually I built up a good level of trust with them. They we're confident in my work. I was asked one day to even charge up a unit. I grabbed my sman3 and charged up the unit based on superheat. ( piston metering device).

    As the summer was moving along I was called in as needed ( kinda slow and most weeks it was dead). Then suddenly I start getting calls on my own ( back to back almost 12-15 in total) from people I don't even know. People that don't even live near me. I got calls from people from my cultural background (mainly muslims , who heard of me through someone ). It was mostly easy stuff like bad caps, bad ODM, bad IDM, and low charge.

    Some were interesting like one call I get where this lady calls me and tells me her compressor keeps turning off and tripping the breaker after running for about 1 hr. So I go out there. First thing I see is the wires from the compressor terminal to the cap/contactor are connected but with 2 different wire size. Starts with one size and ends with another. From cap/contactor it looked like a freakin #6 or might have been a #8 then to the compressor terminal it became a number #12 . The common wire at the terminal was burnt a tidebit also. I told the customer you need new wires (terminal repair kit) . They asked me to just do whatever I can for time being ( it was Saturday afternoon, JS was closed already). So I just cut off the burnt section and installed back the wire. I turned on the unit. OMG, the pressures were ridicules high. Subcool was like 42. The unit was grossly overcharged. I recovered some charge. Eventually I couldn’t get the superheat and subcool in line. I also cleaned the outdoor unit. I figured out the piston size was too small and starving the evaporator if I tried to adjust the charge. I left the unit at 30 superheat and 30 subcool. LOL, the compressor also was pulling over the RLA at about 25 amps and it was rated to be at 21. I am sure its because the unit was still overcharged. I give the customer a quote to change the piston and wires and such to make the unit run properly. She declined. Paid me and I left. It was funny though because the unit ran and didn't turn off on OL anymore. I even called to follow up and she said it was running fine.

    I also found out how this happened. The lady had her indoor system changed with new furnace and coil and new ducts during last winter. The company didn't change the piston and left whatever was in the coil ( 3.5 ton). I think when I checked the piston size based off the coil model the manual said it will have a 67 and she needed a 84 or 82 size piston size ( rheem 4 ton R-22). She also had someone put some freon in the system earlier in the summer. They probably overcharged it to bring up the pressures on low side.

    Another crazy repair adventure I had was at a car dealership a friend of mine owned. He called and told me if I wanted to take a crack at it. I go to his dealership which he just bought last year in winter. Indoor the vents are kicking out 84 F. I go check the pressures on the unit. Suction was high ( 105 PSI R-22) and head (290) was high. Outdoor was like 85 F. Superheat was high and subcool high. Suction line was sweating like crazy. I go look at the indoor unit which was a furnace and coil on top of it. Literally all the ducts were disconnected at the boot boxes. The plenum was leaking and one duct was ripped open and disconnected from its collar at the plenum. I told my friend lets go to HD and get some ducts and I can rebuilt some of these ducts. He is like ok lets do it.

    We get there and he calls his brother before buying the ducts. His brother actually tells him not to bother as he ordered a company to come out and install some temp AC systems ( big freestanding units). So my friends like lets just get some tape and tape it up to get by ( or attempt to fix it). I said fine. We grab a roll of UL-181 tape and head back. I do a pretty good job taping everything up. Some of the ducts also had some portions where they were missing the insulation and silver wrapping cover. I saw one old discarded duct. I took the insulation from there and re-wrapped the ducts without insulation. I properly hung up some of the ducts that were sagging, resized some ducts that had too much slack in them and made best of it. I also re-attached the ducts that weren't connected at the boot boxes. When I was almost done the company that had the temp AC system shows up.

    The company owner was talking to me and said if I get the system up and running then they won't bother installing the temp ac. I felt this became a challenge to me. I go back down and check pressures and superheat and stuff. I removed some charge before turning the unit on as I was expecting it to be overcharged. Unit is ON now and superheat was like 5-6 degree. The suction was still kinda high ( 90 PSI, went down to like 88ish PSI eventually). Subcool became normal and high side looked normal ( might have been slightly high also, don't remember exactly, but nothing like 290 before). I didn't check based off charging chart. I think the unit was still overcharged with 5 degree superheat. I checked his vents and I was getting like 65-66. Wasn't good enough in the end. So then I started wrapping up and I went to go check the furnace to get model number. I opened the front panels and WTF. The gas burners is on. Its not like fully blasting but they are ON in some sort of low burning flame. I really don't have too much experience with gas furnaces but it was obvious this wasn't RIGHT! LOL so I just put the gas valve in the OFF position. I rushed down to check the vents again and now its shooting like 62-63. I told my friend if he lets the unit run then it should bring down the temp. They wanted cooling and they wanted it now! LOL, so they went ahead and started installing the temp ac systems. In the end I was still happy as I know I did my best and was able to do a fairly good job with whatever I had. I also was happy that whatever I learned in school and also on hvac-talk helped me get through in making the repairs. It really boosted my confidences. I now can go up to any unit and start diagnosis without any butterflys in my stomach.


    The last unit I repaired that was also a crazy adventure was a Trane condenser. It had the aluminum fin coils. The unit had a leak. I found the leak and I wasn't thinking and I attempted to repair the leak with my torch kit ( oxy and acely) . Well big mistake (rookie mistake? Lesson learned) and it got messy. I also have a Turbo torch kit and I brought that out but I couldn't do a good enough job to make the repair ( used Al-Solder 500 from Harris). The customer was very patient with me and didn't get upset. Anyways I told him lets just replace the unit or give me some more time to come up with a resolution. The customer who ran a meat shop said he will ask his refrigeration guy to take a look at it. ( He was thinking this is obviously going over my head)

    The refrigeration guy also attempted to repair the coils with his torch kit and destroyed more aluminum tubing. I actually took the back seater after the refri guy was called in to make the repairs. I just didn't want to impose my views and ways on someone who had more experience. Just out of respect. So in the mean while I found out ( thanks to hvac-talk) about a coupling you can buy from Trane to make the repair. I told the customer about it. At the same time ( day later or so) the refri guy brings out a older and larger condenser unit to install for temp fix until he fixed the Trane unit. He installs the unit and for maybe 1 or 2 days the unit runs before losing all its charge.

    I called the customer to see what was going on and if his system was running. I told him ok let me try with the coupling. He was also having trouble getting the refri guy to come back out and fix the issue. It opened the doors for me to make the repair. I make the repair after a little trouble figuring out how to install the coupling. Coupling is installed and holds good pressure at 150 psi with nitrogen. I remove the old unit and install back the Trane. I pull a vacuum and get it down to 350 microns. I also installed a new filter dryer ( there actually wasn't one on the unit!). I charge up the unit based on superheat. Few days pass and I call back the customer he tells me the unit is running awesome. He later on referred me to 2 more people for repairs.

    So it was really an adventure for me. It was also kinda funny because I did more work just on my own then with any company. Now I am starting some work with a Gas/fireplace company. I am going to learn about gas furnaces and other things like checking for gas leaks. I think eventual I will learn enough to get on my own and open a company. So that’s the end of my stories. LOL, I hope this was good read to you guys. I just wanted to share with you guys what I experienced in my first cooling season in GA.
    wHen I diE I hOpe gOd haS mErcy oN my SiNful LifE

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Midwest USA
    Posts
    348
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    Please continue...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    29
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    Nice read

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Clearwater, Florida, United States
    Posts
    23
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    I cut my HVAC teeth in S Florida, A/C is on a whole nuther lvl and pace there, find the old smart guys and listen to them. I personally gotta check out this coupling. ive been fixing those train leaks with a couple flares and a union, and if its the bottom aluminum coil where the high and lows side go under and rub leaks into them, I eliminate the bottom mixing coil from the header , where its copper and can be fixed easily,v(ive been told its only a mixing circuit) this works ive personally done it like 20 times and have a most of them still running and cooling after several years. I must admit I practiced it on friends units and at the shop on the weekends before I felt confident enough to sell it.

    Best thing you can do IMO is get outta the hack shop, quality shops are busy year round. They also tend to have YODA like mechanics to learn a lot from.

    I recently moved from Sarasota Fl to Kokomo Indiana, I don't miss the heat, but I have a decent resume, interviewed with like 10 companies, everyone of them basically begged for me to come to work for them. The first and most important question I had for each company was "how many mechanics have you had for more than 5 years, and how long has each mechanic been with you?" Run like Forest from companies with high turnover for employees.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Medford, N.Y.
    Posts
    929
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    You sure don't sound like a 1 (not even)summer guy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    24,901
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    GA predicts MOFO tech will start a company and be successful... he has the attitude I believe is necessary to succeed!

    MoFo... I will be doing recert in Carbon monoxide/Combustion Analysis this fall...
    If you want... I will get you the info on the NCI class... IMO the best class out there.

    It is 3 days, last day after lunch is the test. I think you could handle it if you wanted to.

    Hope we get to do another shoot-off this fall... would like to catch up.

    GA
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    4,761
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnierandall View Post
    Please continue...
    Yeah...you really need to open up more

    Sounds like you packed a lot into your first cooling season!
    "...and pray it works, pray to God it works."

    ---Nick's Handyman

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGllepZY2HE

    I use Sta Kon

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Medford, N.Y.
    Posts
    929
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    GA, I agree! IF mofo is a "not even one summer "(3-4 months) and he says/speaks/understand as he said , then I am duly impressed and the world is in trouble, because he is here. No insult said/meant/sent/intened/ect( I seem to have to say that). I would like to work with you mofo.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville FL
    Posts
    2,078
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    Good to hear it's getting off to a good start. Btw...never drink the bold roast at Starbucks after 5.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Dover, DE
    Posts
    4,045
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    My first summer didn't go quite this good......
    “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas Edison

    “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” - Vince Lombardi

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Atlanta GA area
    Posts
    24,901
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    I wish I had known MoFo was looking for work this summer...
    I would have put him to work... many a day!

    Atlanta was short techs and installers this year...
    Too many lean years.

    MoFo... maybe this fall...
    GA-HVAC-Tech

    Quality work at a fair price with excellent customer service!

    Romans Ch's 5-6-7-8

    2 Chronicles 7:14

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kennesaw, GA
    Posts
    953
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMD74 View Post
    I cut my HVAC teeth in S Florida, A/C is on a whole nuther lvl and pace there, find the old smart guys and listen to them. I personally gotta check out this coupling. ive been fixing those train leaks with a couple flares and a union, and if its the bottom aluminum coil where the high and lows side go under and rub leaks into them, I eliminate the bottom mixing coil from the header , where its copper and can be fixed easily,v(ive been told its only a mixing circuit) this works ive personally done it like 20 times and have a most of them still running and cooling after several years. I must admit I practiced it on friends units and at the shop on the weekends before I felt confident enough to sell it.

    Best thing you can do IMO is get outta the hack shop, quality shops are busy year round. They also tend to have YODA like mechanics to learn a lot from.

    I recently moved from Sarasota Fl to Kokomo Indiana, I don't miss the heat, but I have a decent resume, interviewed with like 10 companies, everyone of them basically begged for me to come to work for them. The first and most important question I had for each company was "how many mechanics have you had for more than 5 years, and how long has each mechanic been with you?" Run like Forest from companies with high turnover for employees.

    I am originally from Miami. I miss Miami so much. Born and raised there. Ya hopefully in the future I will find a good shop to work for. Below is a pick of the coupling I used from Trane.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    wHen I diE I hOpe gOd haS mErcy oN my SiNful LifE

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kennesaw, GA
    Posts
    953
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechmanTerry View Post
    You sure don't sound like a 1 (not even)summer guy.
    LOL, been lurking on hvac-talk since 2009. Went to tech school from 2011 to 2013 down in South Florida. Did alot of gigs on my own. Did some jobs with some contractors as helper in GA. This year was first I actually got hired. I read alot here. I swear half my knowledge came from school and the other half was cemented in from hvac-talk. It was funny last night at my other job I was reading everyone's post. I was laughing and I wish I could have posted back quickly but I was very swamped at work.
    wHen I diE I hOpe gOd haS mErcy oN my SiNful LifE

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