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Thread: just a rant

  1. #1

    just a rant

    ok.i`m not trying to be the "jerry mcguire" of hvac but i must say this.this profession dives me crazy.i will be the first to admitt that i am young in the industry.however,the fact that i am one of the only people that measures super heat and sub cooling,can realize that KD and wire flex can have drastic impacts on air flow, cleans coils during maintinances (this list could honestly go on for days).i work for a very reputable company but i am tired of being called a perfectionist and am equally sick of the customers(i do residential and alot of light commercial)complaining about system performance when they dont want to spend the money to do it right.honestly guys(and gals)i dont think i can take it anymore.i want to quit but i just feel like i am a good mechanic but nobody wants to hear it.i dont expect to resolve anything w/ this post but i just cant take it anymore.i dont want to quit but this crap is rediculous.im sure the conciensious mechanics feel me on this, will there ever be any resolution?or should i just quit now and sell used cars?i appologize in advance to the mods.i was not sure where to put this

  2. #2
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    Dec 2003
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    Most of us have felt this way at one time or another. It will pass. Keep doing it right and get some experiance under your belt and go from there either on your own or with a reputable company that appriciates your eye for detail.

    Realize that our customers know very little about HVAC they only know we are trying to screw them out of money because dateline told them so.
    Learn the art of explaining technical HVAC in everyday language.

    Your coworkers feel threatened and see you as overzelous (I can sympathize with you ). Keep it up soon you won't care about their comments.
    Quote
    “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own." Scott Adams

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
    Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    thank you so much for responding.i swear, sometimes i just feel like giving up.as far as my ability to explain things,not to pat myself on the back,but,anyone who can explain how a milivolt system works(gas valve and all)to a 90 year old woman in her underwear,can work next to me anytime.thanks again though

  4. #4
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    Residential and light commercial are just two segments of a vast trade. Largely because of what you outlined, the more conscientious technicians tend to migrate toward more technical HVAC applications, which require more skill to maintain and repair. The flip side is this tends to leave the resi and light commercial side full of mediocre techs, but there are wonderful exceptions to that rule.

    No matter where you are, you can shine. If others don't go along it's their loss...they are only holding themselves back and projecting that as resentment onto you. The most effective motivation is self motivation, and if they can't get a fire going under their own butt, they'll just sit there and envy yours.
    • 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.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shophound View Post
    Largely because of what you outlined, the more conscientious technicians tend to migrate toward more technical HVAC applications, which require more skill to maintain and repair. The flip side is this tends to leave the resi and light commercial side full of mediocre techs, but there are wonderful exceptions to that rule.
    That's one thing that has become evident from my participation in this forum! These "growing pains" that the OP is feeling are growing pains for the entire industry IMO. I'd like to think that in 20 or 30 or 50 years, there would be a "maturing" of how things work in resi HVAC and better/more consistently applied standards applied across the board, etc.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CottyGee View Post
    That's one thing that has become evident from my participation in this forum! These "growing pains" that the OP is feeling are growing pains for the entire industry IMO. I'd like to think that in 20 or 30 or 50 years, there would be a "maturing" of how things work in resi HVAC and better/more consistently applied standards applied across the board, etc.
    To this end, I see the manufacturers (OEM) of equipment becoming more involved in training the contractor base as the relentless drive to push the technological envelope further out continues. My understanding is that Nordyne does not let just anyone sell their IQ Drive system without training first. Trane already had Nordyne beat by a few years with their variable speed compressor system, but few techs out there knew how to work on it. That is one reason the unit pretty much died on the vine. Nordyne faces a similar outcome if they don't invest in constractor training.

    At one time in my life I might've run from that unit like I was fleeing a burning building, but now I'd really want to know what made it tick and how to keep it alive another day. Having a healthy curiosity is one thing that makes this trade a pleasure to work in. Far too often that curiosity is squashed when it should be carefully encouraged.
    I remember the old Lennox two speed compressor split system...first time I saw a unit with a five (or was it six?) pole contactor on it and the number of switching relays only beat by one of their older heat pumps, I freaked out. I saw that same unit sitting at the school lab the other day and thought, "Eh, ain't that complicated, after all. Just kinda clunky, if you ask me."

    Back on point, the industry is making efforts to bring itself out of the swamp, but there will always be hacks, just as in the auto repair business there are still hacks, in spite of their efforts to clean up their image. One thing that IMO would help this industry tremendously is a return to a widespread apprenticeship culture; the senior techs mentoring the newbies; that is, senior techs that aren't just passing along bad habits. It's a tendency of human nature to reach a plateau of comfort in one's knowledge and skill level and essentially skate from that point forward, but in the end it is more like stagnation than any thought of a comfortable sense of resting on one's laurels.
    • 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.

  7. #7
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    1,253
    I think forums such as this one are and will continue to provide a resource for homeowners that has never been available before the Internet. There is no way a homeowner could get to a point of having half a clue as to who was a hack without such a forum. Only over the last ten years or so has the Internet allowed such broad enlightenment.

    For myself, I look back on my past experiences and in every case that I have had interaction with an HVAC tech I now know what BS I was being served. Or more likely, a deep lack of knowledge. And of course, when I heard that they had been doing "it" for umpteen years I fell for it and didn't question the lack of testing and having hard information in order to make an informed decision. I didn't know any better.

    When a tech suggested that my new heat pump be larger than the one being replaced I did just that. Went from 1.5 to 2 tons just like that without so much as a questioned being asked or anything being measured.

    When a new home that I bought in 1988 was cool but damp feeling I could not get anyone to tell me what was wrong. They checked refrigerate levels and pronounced all well. A good friend, an owner of an HVAC company, never mentioned about doing a Manual J to see if the system was oversized. When I recently asked him why he had not suggested it to me all those years ago he admitted he has never done a Manual J. He sizes by "experience" and based on his experience the size I had seemed about right. Based on the run times on a design day I think I had about 1.5 tons too much A/C. Now it is my former wife's problem.

    I think as the homeowner becomes more educated it will force an improvement in the trade. Also, with techs having access to forums they can move beyond the "always done it this way" mind set. As long as "good enough" is good enough there won't be anything better.

  8. #8
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    That will take a long time. I bet most techs don't read internet forums.

    In a related vein, as a homeowner I've had similar experiences with deep well pumps and swiming pool pumps. On both items I was sold incorrect parts by people who "have always used that". When they didn't work as expected (they worked, but not as expected) I visited the manufacturers websites and downloaded spec sheets and sizing charts and figured out what they were doing wrong. Of course the retailers weren't interested in learning anything new when I tried to tell them what they'd done wrong. The deep well pump I couldn't do anything about (or wouldn't - I wasn't pulling up 110' of pipe a second time) but the swiming pool pump I could, and it was running better than ever when I finished. There is no way I could have ever gotten that information without the intardweb. Lord knows the people selling me the parts didn't know (the well guy didn't just sell parts, he'd been installing wells for 30 years that way).

  9. #9
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    i have seen a lot of changes made in the past few years. Most resi units are more high tech and require a better trained tech. As time and trend continue alot of those guys that just roll with the flow will drop to the wayside and be having trouble keeping thier jobs or going and learning hopeing it isnt to late

    I see a lot of 2stage heating and cooling with v=drive motors and higher tech damper systems with cfm and blower control. boliers or hydronics hive also gone high tech also with infloor and fan coils

    As me move ahead so most the tech or be gone. Hang in there if your keep striving to improve while the others just lay back you will be the one that gains

    As far as th coustomers the wont listen well if the system still works they turn a deaf ear but when it is time to replace in most case that deaf ear sundenly remembers what it heard and want the problems solved
    keep advising them you may not see it but the more you show the better off they are in the end

    Shophoud you are so right about that trane unit. I used to realy enjoy working on them. Was great when one was comdemed and i would finr a broken low voltage wire and they compresor would ramp up and run sweat and quite

    i have the book for them if you are interested i will make copies for ya
    and try to email them to you

  10. #10
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    Utah
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    As someone that is in the middle of building a home, I have to say that I am very disappointed (maybe even angry) with all of the crap I have heard from so many HVAC people. I still haven't found one local company that does Manaul J calcs on every install (or even on a regular basis) - a prerequisite for them to get my business. I think the only people that do calcs are the 15-20 pros that post on this board.

    One thing I have wondered about is the tremendous amount of energy that is being wasted in this country by oversided HVAC systems. If we got rid of all of the HVAC hacks and put in correctly sized systems, we could reduce this country's energy consumption tremendously.

  11. #11
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    Now that I've been a professionally trained HVAC&R techncian for over 30 years I remember one day I was cheerful that day because it's sunny and A/C enjoyed with my friends with talking a lot all night yesterday I can't suppose tomorrow's things more again. Well, that's anybody, huh?

    Jabs


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlas man View Post
    who can explain how a milivolt system works(gas valve and all)to a 90 year old woman in her underwear,

  13. #13
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    So why is the industry so bad? How about the wages guys. If you go to a General Paracticioner for a physical and he finds a problem and sends you to a specialist, do you think the specialist charges the same rate as the GP? So why is it that the average hack get all his work based on price alone? That only happens because the industry allows it. Consumer's Report did a study on gas furnaces. They rated the reliability and therefore the VALUE of the equipment based on CUSTOMER responses. Never mentioned the need for a Manual 'J' calc. Never mentioned the fact that a gas furnace is NOT a commodity to be purchased over the internet and installed by the cheapest bidder. Anybody can learn to do a Manual 'J' calc long form. All you need is a tape measure, a magnetic compass, and the appropriate HTM's for your local. The rest is plain math. I did them for years. Now I use Wrightsoft. The suite costs about $4,500 and I don't have to do any math but the calc are accurate and I have any reports I want for the client, including a long form! But can I compete with a low ball bidder? No. Can a tech who's spending 100 or more hours a year keeping abreast of the trade afford to charge the minimum rate for his work and skill? Most of the HVAC techs submitting responses here are obviously among the brightest and the best. But isn't that the same with the schools you attend? Don't you consistently see the same people there to better themselves? Where are the hacks? And when will we ever see manufacturer's who have a bright yellow CAUTION sticker on the equipment that says THE LOW BIDDER IS NOT THE ONE WHO SHOULD INSTALL THIS PRODUCT. You'll never see it because the manufacturer's only interest is in moving product. They could care less who it's sold to as long as it goes out the door and they get paid for it. If you don't believe that, look at Trane. Hooked up with Home Depot and in our area, invited every hack that's out there to sell their product.

    Hang in there Atlas Man. There's a good company out there somewhere who'd love to have you, with just one additional proviso. It's okay to be a perfectionist but you musn't sacrifice efficiency. That is to say, you must be able to do your job in a profitable way, whether you're working for yourself or someone else. Some hacks will spend and hour on a job and do nothing. Another tech will spend that same hour doing awesome work. I guess it all depends on the individual but if we could get just one word into the consumers mouth with understanding, it would be VALUE. Value is what the job is really worth. If the client doesn't understand it and the tech can't explain it, then it all does boil down to price. And that my friends is where we're dropping the ball as an industry.

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