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Thread: maintenance

  1. #1
    Hello all, it's been a while since I posted on HVAC Talk. So long that I forgot my user name and password and had to start a new account.

    Things have been a bit stressful with family for about the past year, so I got myself a little maintenaince job at a local resort here in Panama City Beach, to relax a little bit. I'm not supposed to be doing HVAC just basic building maintenance. What in the world was I thinking. I start taking pictures today.

    Let me tell you how my job is going so far. When I first started working here a GOODMAN split HP blew a t-former above the game room. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why so I just popped in another t-former and went on about my business of servicing PTACs. the system ran about 45 minutes and blew the t-former again taking the circuit board with it this time. Now this seems to have made the supervisor loose faith in me just a little so he called a local company to come look at the system.
    When the tech arrives he wants to use my tools because he didn't bring his own. Now I guess this tech though I had been wearing a paper hat and flipping burgers before I started this maintenance position because he accused me of wiring the high voltage to the low side of the t-former. And the reason the system had ran so long is because the little circuit board didn't know the differance between low voltage and high.
    Anyway 3 techs and 2 days later it was discovered that some guys had been moving lumber behind the building and shorting out the control wiring at the outdoor unit.

    A YORK blew a compressor the other day. When I went to get the recovery equipment I found that all the recovery bottles had been marked with a permanent marker stating several differant refrigerants on each. So I have no idea what the contents are.

    Yesterday I found a 7 1/2 ton YORK A/H in a closet. It was completely disasembled. The disconnect was on, and the thermistat was calling. I asked the assistant supervisor about it and he said it hasn't ran in, get this, YEARS!!!!!!I checked the log books and a tech had mentioned it a year ago stating he could not find the low voltage.
    I found the condensor on the roof and found a broke low voltage wire coming off the t-former. That was it. The thing fired right up and runs great.

    As I mentioned before I service PTACs here. Theres a drop cord that has been ran for just this purpose. Once I plugged a PTAC in and it shorted killing power to my cord. I followed the cord to where it had been ran and found that the GE man (who also uses this area) has straight wired the cord across two legs of a 3-phase GOODMAN heatpump.
    The disconnect is non-fused so I went into the electrical room and checked the fuses in the disconnect that is clearly marked "GAME ROOM CONDENSOR". I find all fuses are good and I should be getting all three legs to the unit and power to the before mentioned extention cord. Now I'm kinda slow so it took a day and a half to figure out that the disconnects are marked wrong and find the one I was looking for.
    I mentioned to the supervisor that having the cord like this was a bad, bad, SUPER BAD, bad, bad idea. And that I would rewire the cord if he would get me materials. Lets see what happens.

    I'm told that the grill has been having problems with their A/C. I went to have a look and find that the condensor has been tripping it's breaker and the grill staff have been resetting it for god only knows how long. Both the evaporator and condensor coils are plugged solid so I clean them about 3 times.
    I go to replace the breaker and find that this has been going on so long the inside of the breaker box looks like it has been shot by the Star Ship Enterprise. It is completely melted. The only thing holding the bus bar in is the breakers. And the only thing holding the breakers in is the cover.

    A CARRIER package unit went out on the maintenance roof. Ofcourse It is tripping the high pressure because of dirty coils. I notice however that the board is flashing a rollout switch code. I remove the cover to the burner compartment and notice that all the wiring has been gutted. The purge is laying on the floor of the compartment and I found the little blower wheel under the unit. The log book says it's been like this for at least a year. A new purge was ordered and came in. Just never installed. No one seems to know where it is however.

    While I was looking at the CARRIER I walked past a YORK and smelled gas. I stopped and kneeled down by the gas line and felt what felt like a puff of air hitting me in the face. A reducer in the water line they had ran for gas had rusted nearly all the way through and was venting a steady stream of gas right at the exhaust and burner compartment. No telling how long it had been like this.

    Now I've noticed, as we all have, that something is wrong in the HVAC field today. All the problems mentioned above are very simple. Anyone with even basic HVAC knowledge should be able to avoid all this mess with a little common sense, PM, and troubleshooting. And believe me I have only scratched the surface. This place has an on property service man and access to a HVAC company. So why is a system down for at least a year because of a broken wire?

    I guess you could put some of the blame on the property. That doesn't really fly though because they don't know any better. Maintenance knows how to change out a toilet (or water closet as they like to call it), or repair a leaky faucet, and thats pretty much it.

    I've been working maintenance for about 6 monthes now. About a month at this resort. And as I sit here and think about it, I remember the kinds of installers and techs I've encountered in the field. Screwing 2x4's upright to curbs to mount disconnects. Folks who have never even heard of a drip leg for a gas line. People brazing 10 ton split systems with a turbo torch and can't figure out why ever joint leaks!!!!

    I'm going to start taking pictures today and show how the "HACKS" add up. I'm going to get back into HVAC here eventually, but right now I'm basic maintenance. My job is to run tv remote controls to peoples rooms or put up child safety nets on balconies. Not working over time going behind people and companies. I believe it has to do with HVAC companies biting off more than they can chew. They are so eager to get as much work as possible that they will hire anybody who walks through the door to install and service them. Maybe we can start something with this post. And figure out why we have the "WALL OF SHAME" to begin with.








  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    123
    A little lengthy, but a good read and right on the money. I couldn't agree with you more. As a ex service manager of mine used to say, all techs are glorified housekeepers, the main thing is to keep those units clean. Repairs will happen naturally, but if you keep the stuff clean, they won't happpen as much.
    It's better to have people think you're an idiot, than to open your mouth and prove them right.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    68
    Where are the pics!
    We have done so much for so long with so little, that we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    OK
    Posts
    2,144
    Around here many of the maintenance men are learning HVAC on the job. As they learn enough to properly do the work, they leave for a 'real' HVAC and the process starts again. The end result is the the property rarely if ever has a knowledgeable HVAC man on site.
    Never knock on Death's door. Ring the bell and run, he hates that.

    Views expressed here are my own and not neccessarily those of any company I am affiliated with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,302
    When the tech arrives he wants to use my tools because he didn't bring his own. Now I guess this tech though I had been wearing a paper hat and flipping burgers before I started this maintenance position because he accused me of wiring the high voltage to the low side of the t-former. And the reason the system had ran so long is because the little circuit board didn't know the differance between low voltage and high.
    Anyway 3 techs and 2 days later it was discovered that some guys had been moving lumber behind the building and shorting out the control wiring at the outdoor unit.
    Sounds to me like the "techs" called out to your building were more likely freshly removed from wearing paper hats. A circuit board not knowing "the difference between low voltage and high"?? What a line. Make a mental note: always check all control wiring associated with a transformer for shorts or grounding before installing a new transformer. I found out a long time ago that the "smoke test" is kind of a pricey way to test a low voltage circuit.

    By how you describe the electrical fiascos at that place, you might drive into work one day to find the place missing...i.e burned to the ground, if your employer doesn't address these electrical problems soon.

    Your experiences with local HVAC techs notwithstanding, I'd say there's also a lion's share of burden to place on the building's management. Coordinatesales made the point that maintenance guys learning HVAC take off once they get a little knowledge of the stuff going for them, which is true. However, building management ought to know what's going on with the facility as it is, whether it involves finding competent contractors, or willing to pay one of their in-house staff who's sharper than average a bit more money to hang tight and lead the facility out of trouble. A good in-house person can save a facility far more than what is spent on his salary, IMO. Especially if he picks up the vibe from his bosses that they appreciate his efforts and that his work matters. All too often maintenance guys are treated like necessary evils vs. a potential benefit to the organization (sadly because many of them are just not much more than necessary evils, seeing their own jobs that way and just wanting "beer thirty" to roll around).

    Yes, there are many people of questionable skill and knowledge out in the HVAC field...just remember a lot of them came from maintenance jobs. That being said, there are other techs who also came out of maintenance jobs who are damn good service technicians. It all depends on personal attitude.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Raleigh NC
    Posts
    146

    Inline fuse

    Sounds to me like the "techs" called out to your building were more likely freshly removed from wearing paper hats. A circuit board not knowing "the difference between low voltage and high"?? What a line. Make a mental note: always check all control wiring associated with a transformer for shorts or grounding before installing a new transformer. I found out a long time ago that the "smoke test" is kind of a pricey way to test a low voltage circuit.



    And if you install an
    inline fuse it sure is easier to just replace the fuse and cheaper too...

  7. #7

    Exclamation Listen Up

    Snagledorf, I was the tech that came out to fix your mess, so let's set some things straight. You performed a repair on a air handler above a ceiling that caught fire and smoked up a kids arcade room due to your lack of experience in servicing and repairing HVAC equipment. Then, you disconnected all the wires in the air handler so I had no idea what wires you put where. I had to fix the original problem, repair your mistakes, and rewire the air handler. I repaired that unit the same day. You endangered the lives of your coworkers and guests with your mistakes, and instead of trying to learn from your mistakes, you slander others.

    Listen sparky, your repairs were the reason that unit caught fire. I carry my own tools but If your going to follow me around, I will put you to work and use your tools. As far as hacks are concerned, you speak about yourself. But let's pay attention, I am responding because of your lack of respect for people that bail you out of your own mess. However, when I concluded that you did not crosswire the unit I informed you and your boss. Instead of condemning you and your work, I tried to show you how to repair ac systems. If you want respect you must give it.

  8. #8
    I removed the t-former to replace it. You need to learn to read a wiring diagram. I didn't follow you, you wanted me to follow you. And if you had tools I sure didn't see any when you walked in. And I know the HP got shorted, I saw the wire nutted t-wire were ya'll had left on the ground, And was told what you had done. And why was that unit set a clear 20ft away from the disconnect any way? I've been doing this for a long time Big Boy. Why do you think I took a maintenance job?

  9. #9
    Repair it yourself next time.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,666
    Its a small world afterall.
    Its a small, small world.

    Walt Disney.

    Both of your profiles say your in maintenance. I thought quicksilver worked for an hvac co.



    [Edited by oil lp man on 09-02-2006 at 09:14 AM]

  11. #11
    I am in HVAC. Maintenance is the last post topic listed in my profile.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    661
    Sounds like the primary coils opened up as the result of a short in the secondary, and someone decided to play the blame game.If it was wired backwards it wouldnt have lasted very long. Neither would have any of the 24v components.

  13. #13
    There is no blame game. He burnt it up. I repaired it.

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