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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    53

    Thumbs down And this is why you do not hire a plumber to repair your a/c

    Okay, where I am from there are quite a few guys who do the heating but don't know how to install an a/c. That's perfectly fine and so they hire me to hook em up and test em or repair ones they had installed recently that aren't working or never worked from the start.

    I've been doing work for this particular contractor for about a year now and I've taken good care of him and his customers, but I guess I charge too much because recently he's hired a plumber to do some work for him. I've never messed anything up on his jobs so it's not a workmanship issue. I got a call from one of his friends' to repair their a/c unit. Upon arrival, the homeowner told me about the other tech who diagnosed the condenser fan motor. Well the capacitor was bulging and I tested it....of course this was the only proble. 45 and 3 microfarad by the way, try finding one of those...

    Got another call on the same day to look at another a/c for this contractor. Apparently this other tech(the plumber) had diagnosed a "completely plugged suction line" AND it needed some sort of part. Well, I like to start from scratch and went to the condenser. I found the schrader valve stems removed, the service valves open. So the system had been open to atmosphere for a few weeks apparently. Good grief. Anyway, I replaced the drier, nitrogen, vacuum, charged to specs. High head pressure and low suction. hmmm.......Go inside and have a look at txv. Bulb was loose and un-insulated but that was minor in comparison to the fact it was an R22 coil on an R410a condenser system.

    This ain't gonna be a cheap fix. A lot of billable hours.

    I am not God's gift to the trade and I've made my mistakes in the past but come on now, let's not hire a plumber to repair an a/c system.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tallahassee, FL
    Posts
    5,821
    Well at least he didn't run his snake down the suction line trying to clear that clog.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    Quote Originally Posted by HomesteadHVAC View Post
    but I guess I charge too much because recently he's hired a plumber to do some work for him.
    It's not a workmanship issue.
    What must he believe for him to hire a plumber?

    He wants to save some money but he doesn't yet know the downside?
    He wants to save some money and he doesn't care about any downsides?
    He is experimenting and waiting to see what happens?
    Assuming the plumber does something right some of the time, is it worthwhile in a business sense?
    He wants to first throw a plumber at the problem and if that doesn't work out he will then throw you at the problem?
    He believes a plumber may fix things but at least will not cause catastrophic damage?
    Other?

    In any event, document these cases: names, dates, places, problem encountered and outcome, problem difficulty, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Boston/Cape Cod
    Posts
    66
    I always get a kick out of "plumbing & heating" Once they get the plumbing ticket, they are heating experts too, as far as a/c, must be the copper piping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,585
    Quote Originally Posted by southshorejohn View Post
    I always get a kick out of "plumbing & heating" Once they get the plumbing ticket, they are heating experts too, as far as a/c, must be the copper piping
    We do plumbing and heating and if I had a dollar for everytime they want a furnace check and have a plumbing issue oh and they only want one person. Same with the plumber, they want him to look at the furnace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    Just for my own education, what are all the disadvantages to the HO of sending an HVAC for a plumbing job and vice versa?

    We're assuming that no one wants to admit that a job is over their head and that is a good assumption.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,585
    Quote Originally Posted by WhoIsThat? View Post
    Just for my own education, what are all the disadvantages to the HO of sending an HVAC for a plumbing job and vice versa?

    We're assuming that no one wants to admit that a job is over their head and that is a good assumption.
    They don't want to pay for 2 service calls, they want the hvac guy to also figure out there plumbing and vice versa, saves them money and annoys me lol.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,673
    Quote Originally Posted by Joehvac25 View Post
    They don't want to pay for 2 service calls, they want the hvac guy to also figure out there plumbing and vice versa, saves them money and annoys me lol.
    Yes, the advantage to the HO is only one service call. What are all the disadvantages to the HO of sending an HVAC for a plumbing job and vice versa if the person sent does not want to admit that the job is over his/her head.

    Then let the HO decide if he/she wants to take the risk of having the tech 'fudge' it.

    The HO gets what he/she pays for and you're telling him/her what all he/she might get, with your company or with any other company. If the HO wants a jack-of-all-trades he/she should pay more for such a person.

    This is how the real world works and you are reminding the HO of Reality, with a capital R.

    Let 'em think about it.

    I would probably refuse a customer like that, but I don't particularly need the work. I've refused several customers who didn't "smell right" or came up on the Web with the occupation of "Lawyer."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,585
    I usually blow them off, its hard enuff to carry a ton of hvac parts, hand tools, install tools, fittings, controls and other stuff let alone a whole other trades worth of stuff.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    53
    Joe, you're right about that. We try to carry so much so that we don't make extra trips at our cost. I mean, it's not the HO's fault that I don't have that control board. So trying to carry plumbing tools, fixtures, and whatever crap they carry? Forget it.

    I think that if they're looking for quality and experience, they should be looking for a specialist, not a handyman.


    WhoIsThat, it's difficult for him. There are 2 contractors that used to use a different guy but he died in March. Now they use me and I have found that the installs from 1 to 3 years ago are having issues. Leaks, wrong pistons, wrong coils, txv capillary tubes rubbed together and broke, major airflow problems, the list goes on.

    We have stopped the bleeding because now we install the units for him and there are no call backs. That's the goal. So, once we've fixed all the old problem jobs, it'll be good but he may need to take out another mortgage.

    I got a couple or few more jobs from him today. fairly new units having issues of course, but at least I know I'm getting his work again I got 2 kids to feed so I'll take it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Upper Michigan
    Posts
    3,585
    That's good that he is learning that he has to send the right guy for the job, even we're I work they want to send you out to do stuff that you don't know about, I just say no thanks i don't want to waste time and money but if you want to send me with a senior tech I would love to learn.

    Our plumber was on vacation a while back and I had to run his emergency calls for him and of course I always seemed to be missing just one thing and would have to make a run. I tell customers it's hard to have every part in the world especially a control for a furnace we don't even deal. They just think you suck lol.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    110
    One of the first things I learned when I went into business for myself was to refuse jobs I wasn't qualified to do. The bulk of my work was oil service and installations since I'd been doing that for others for quite a few years. I never did A/C and once new laws went into effect requiring a license for same that reinforced it.

    I did do a lot of faucet and toilet repairs and replacements, seems that the local plumbers for the most part didn't want to be bothered with the small stuff. I have a friend who is a licensed plumber who was working in a small plumbing retail store at the time so I'd pick his brain from time to time. Most of the fixtures in the area were the same few makes so repair parts were minimal.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    East tx
    Posts
    154
    Quote Originally Posted by SBKold View Post
    Well at least he didn't run his snake down the suction line trying to clear that clog.
    That's what i would have expected lol

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