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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    152

    Jack of all trades

    So this goes out to Hearthman who is pretty much the most knowledgeable guy on this forum subject Fireplace/Hearth products. Appreciate the info and rest of the guys DV, nagagas etc.. Same goes to y'all. The question I had is after a year and small change doing pellets, gas, chimney, and spa calls. I talked my boss into doing light service/A/C furnace work. Nothing to major to trigger a permit and or title 24 reg ( California) code for hvac work, but enough to utilize my hvac trade background to keep things interesting in the spring/summer when it's slowing down. I love the work and have researched companies that perform hvac/hearth products but most on the east coast, font hear too much in my area. I just want to know do you guys do A/C as well as Hearth stuff and doing all those types of service is wise or am I asking for trouble? I enjoy the challenge and have all the right tech gear but was wondering do you guys know of companies dabbling in both? It only seems right since your in the home doing fireplace service to perform preventative A/C work etc.. Since your already there. Any feed back welcome you all have a cool one

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Charlotte Area NC
    Posts
    203
    Ther are companies doing both, but I don't. I prefer to work on a/c and furnaces (or airhandlers and heat pumps) solely. There get to be too many parts for me to carry if you service every appliance in a home. You can know a lot about a specific subject, or a little about a lot of subjects... IMO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    columbus, OH
    Posts
    1,865
    I know of an AC and fireplace shop very close to me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,056
    Well, you'll need your EPA card to do A/C service but otherwise, it can be rewarding for you and the company. You see, having the cross-pollination btw HVAC and hearth compliment each other. While on hearth calls, you can find HVAC leads and vice-versa. Need to cure a smoking fireplace? Might just wind up selling a weatherization and duct sealing package along with service/ replacement of the HVAC. When I service fireplaces, I insist on inspecting the foundation and under the hearth extension whenever there is 'access' as required by NFPA 211. This leads me to where the heater is, which ALWAYS has something wrong/ poorly done. I end up selling packages of chimney liners, correcting the vent connectors, adding spill switches, low level CO monitors, correcting gas piping, electrical bonding, boiler controls such as LWCO, backflow preventer, replace PRV, etc, etc. I don't run all over town like most companies but the ones I visit usually are well educated on what they have and need so its an educated decision on their part what to do or not. I hit them with everything and let them choose. Sure, I scare off some but hey, that is an informed decision so I transfer the liability back on them.

    Just get as much training in whatever fields you work in. HVAC training is NOT qualification to sell; install; service hearth appliances nor is hearth training qualification to do HVAC which is not training to do weatherization which is not training to do CO and combustion analysis for the most part and none of those are close to qualification to inspect chimneys and venting.

    HTH

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Fresno, CA
    Posts
    152
    Thanks Guys for the replies, It just made sense to me. I know its more work but that's what I was trained for. I love the hearth and home side, but must admit when I am on a roof inspecting a chimney or doing a sweep etc.. I walk the length just to take a peep at the condition of the Package unit or hear for compressor issues or when I walk by a customers condenser and see build up from lack of maintenance and for the most part the last couple A/C jobs I have sold have went well coil cleans and diagnostic checks mostly. I am not a licensed contractor, have the excess training, A.S degree (major HVAC), Universal EPA, Industrial Tech program Cert, 34 + other contractor HVAC courses related to system diagnostics, performance, and maintenance. Still super green but doing my best to learn as much to be somewhat competent in our arena. My boss is the general contractor/licensed/bonded sweep etc... so he has been the best boss I have ever had in my life, and is very receptive in jumping in the A/C aspect especially sensing that the wood burning restrictions in our area have gotten well very restrictive. So yeah HM, and the rest of you guys was kinda questioning a couple things because majority of the HVAC companies here in my area do not touch fireplaces or pellets etc.. but in the east coast or other areas in the west I see that its advertised and promoted that cool/heat/hearth shops are well rounded interms of doing it all pellets/AC/gas fireplaces/wood etc.. I guess it would be a liability issue. There are 3 other major fireplace shops in my area and for the most part they do a pretty good job as we do, were all dealer specific Lopi, Avalon, Enviro, Quadrafire, Mendota, breckwell etc... so in respect to working on each others brands the other shops are pretty good at referring them to us and I do the same. I will work on their products if its not under warranty and explain that dealers have keys to the kingdom in terms of parts/warranty and non authorize service providers could void their warranty etc... But to my knowledge none of them perform HVAC, I am sure one does solar but none do HVAC. Again liability is a biggie and quality of work. After a year and some change in, it seems hard to find a good installer/technician mainly because someone fresh off the street has to be trained/hand holding/ read manuals for months on end just to get a sniff of whats really cooking with this area of hearth products, throw in HVAC and all the restrictions title 24, and other refrigerant specific handling practices I could see why some wouldn't want to do it. But I find it challenging and fun, just to throw it out there the pure awesomeness of probable future service tags could go like this. walk into a home and service a fireplace, then explain that we work on spas, A/C's, Dryer vents etc.. sell a coil clean and a dryer vent and your already half way through your day without moving the truck, less gas, less travel, have the truck stocked for all services and your good. In my veto pro pac XXL-F I carry a M500 megger, Fieldpiece HS 36, Craftmans Bolt On Drill with all the attachments in the truck, single head High/Low side gauges, SHR2 wetbulb meter, temp probes 2, field piece k type clamp, way too many hand tools, bits, drivers, picks, wrenches, its crazy but that bag just makes doing all these services easier less trips but back on the more you can do in one home just makes sense and hopefully more money for the shop. On the install of condensers/indoor units/package unit/ducting or major compressor changeouts were not doing that just yet, As I build my knowledge base on service and maintenance that will grow as well, and I don't want to overstep my boundary on jobs that need permits, 3rd party verification, and or a license to do so. Title 24 is a big thing in California and keeping a good reputation with customers and the law are a big priority. Sorry for the long post, excited, truck and equipment in order and ready to roll have a cool one.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,056
    Let's all spell together now: p-a-r-a-g-r-a-p-h-s

    dude, that was brutal! Not sure what all you said but the little I could read just seemed to ramble. Just trying to help you man.

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