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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    About 95% of my work these days is repairing gas fireplaces, and the remaining 5% gas furnaces.

    I've found that while there are lots of people installing gas fireplaces, relatively few people are interested in repairing them. Often, the fireplace shops that offer service do so only on equipment they sell, leaving a lot of people out of luck.

    So I've been working myself into specializing in gas fireplace repair over the past several years.

    I used to work for a gas utility doing repairs on gas equipment, but I left them three years ago in favor of devoting my time to my own repair service. This has proven to be an excellent decision.


    I'd be interested in whether other service techs are specializing in gas fireplace repairs, or doing such repairs occasionally among other work.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    245
    We get atleast 2 to3 fireplace calls a day rough on the knees & back but its $

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Lisle,Illinois
    Posts
    526
    I have received certification from both Majestic and HeatnGlow.I agree the market is there for fireplace specialists.An unfortunate aspect of the Chicagoland market is that in general fireplace services do not command the same profitability per hour on average as hvac.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Granite City IL USA
    Posts
    765
    I am just now starting to offer the service. I do need to find more info on the subject.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    245
    We work em in when time allows and charge a ridiculous amount. But they are considered a luxury at least in my book course I ain't got no book.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    ONE of the reasons I think HVAC techs don't like working on fireplaces is that we often aren't comfortable doing what can be a dirty job on someone's living room carpet.


    I've solved that problem by carrying polyester blankets purchased from thrift shops for use as a drop cloth. I generally wash these in a regular washing machine after each use.

    When working on gas log sets or gas fireplaces that are sooty, I find the key is to use a shop vax to vacuum off the soot before removing the log from the fireplace. This pretty much eliminates any bits of soot blowing around or getting on carpets. The logs are then set on my dropcloth/blanket ---so 1) the logs are cleaned before being removed and 2) that aren't moved very far at all.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    <<We work em in when time allows and charge a ridiculous amount. >>


    Well, Marc --- I don't generally consider large amounts of money to be ridiculous, so I figure you are charging $10/hour for doing repairs. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


    My basic rate is $85 for an hour or less, and I prorate that to the nearest minute after the first hour.

    Since my customer agree to that pretty eagerly, I'm probably not charging enough!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    245
    ridiculous to me but I don't have gas logs. $10 an hr. Ha

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    Anyone else willing to own up to being a fireplace tech?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    293
    No, but I'd consider it. Plans to move to colorado could be helped by some excellent fireplace knowledge.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,383
    <<No, but I'd consider it. Plans to move to colorado could be helped by some excellent fireplace knowledge.
    >>


    Actually, I think that would be a good specialty for a young HVAC tech to cultivate. A lot of people find it difficult to find good repair service, and you can make good money at it.

    It's also not all that complicated for the most part. You need to develope good skills at diagnosing milivolt control systems. Combustion problems can be tricky sometimes.

    The biggest barrier for new tech is probably figuring out how to take the freaking things apart! The second biggest barrier is the threat of doing what can be a dirty job on people's expensive living room carpets. I use blankets for drop cloths these days, and find they work well.

    I would suppose that most repair shops get a fair number of calls to repair fireplaces, which are usually refused because no one is prepared to do the work. The tech who can do that work is making his own job.



    Seattle Pioneer

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    20
    Seattle

    How'd you get yourself "specialized"? Self-taught or did you hit the books? Did you pick up manuals from the various manufactures for reference? What would you recommend? I'm thinking that this could be a good addition to my brother's HVAC company.

    Thanks for any info.

    Bob

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,745
    Seattle
    Since we are in the same area, send my your contact number or address or something and, if you want more business I may be able to refer some to you.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

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