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  1. #40
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    586
    Originally posted by newtradesman

    I have been hearing the term "plant operator" used alot in many of the buildings I am visiting.

    The guys with the title seem to walk around and look at stuff but I don't see any of them doing much labor type work.

    What is a plant operator?

    What do they do?

    What qualifications do they need?

    Is the pay good?

    What does a plant operator do?

    What do you do?

    A plant operator runs things, and is usually a master electrician, or boilermaker. Knows how to monitor and troubleshoot complex systems, and gets paid well for it. Sorry guy but it isn't something that you can just apply for.
    Installs, Changeouts, & Heat Stroke.....not necessarily in that order

  2. #41


    I'm new. I admit I am new and I need to learn alot more.

    I met a Plant operator at a building in down town Dallas who carries a clip board and calls contractors for everything he needs.
    He does not get dirty. Nor does he want to.
    I was sent in to change filters because they were required by the preventive maintenace schudule the plant operator guru had created.
    I change out the first 140 filters which were all in great condition. I mean like almost new. I could not tell how long htey had been there but this time I wrote the dates on the side of the filter so the next guy does.
    When I told the Plant operator about the lack of need he laughed and said that they change them weather they need them or not.
    He said that he created the schudule and he got it right out of the Titus manufactures recommended specs.
    When I looked on the Titus web site I did not find any requirement for filters to be changed every 8 weeks on a fan powered box or VAV.
    I also did not push the issue because I figure it is making my company a butt load of money doing this guys crap.
    I just can not understand how guys can throw money out the window. Is this a common standard?
    As I type this I look forward to my next visit to grease motors on his AHU's. Maybe I could get enough know how to get a job like this. I should be able to make my own paycheck back in savings and still turn a profit for the company.

  3. #42
    Welcome to corporate America, where many insecure people never change cause that means they were wrong in the first place. Nor will they seldom listen to those who are below them.....on the corporate ladder. I guess with your new boss, just shut up and do what he says for now.
    Hey cockroach, don't bug me! ©

    www.AskTheDiceman.com

    www.TheColdConspiracy.com

    www.Pennwood-HVAC.Com

    Bring Em Home....

  4. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fort Worth\Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    1,697
    Originally posted by Dowadudda
    Thats all good. I have met many a proffesional guy who has worked as an onsite dude in larger applications. But.

    They don't make the coin you would expect they should. I might have been or even into my future be inclined to go for that kind of inside job. Because I am certain it has some advantages over working for an outside contractor as a service guru. But they don't make good money.

    Before I went on my own I was trying to decide what to do. I was at the time doing light commercial. Resturaunts and small office buildings. I was going after a job that was for to be an in house guy. I did not have the skills needed but I tried to apply anyway. They were looking for a dude with deep deep knowledge of some 1000 tons of centrifical absorbers, JCI controls, VAV's, Towers, water treatment. The whole ball of wax. And they were serious about the fact that they were looking for someone who was very capable and not a gig where this fellow would be calling for help. All for like $21 bucks an hour. I was making like 80 a year doing nothing over 25 tons. I laughed at them.

    Lots of jobs available for in house guys. And they need to know what there doing thats for sure. But I honestly can't see how these sorts of jobs attract the kind of talent really needed with what they seem to pay. So they always end up getting the kinds of guys who think they know, and tell you they know, but they still don't know.
    It mostly boils down to benifets. I was a maint man, bldg engineer, whaterever you want to call it for 15 years for the same company. And pay was always my big gripe.

    Well I left 4 years ago and went to work for a Large machanical company doing all of there startup and warranty service making a significant more amount of money. But as the the old saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. For that increase in pay I lost 4 weeks paid vac, 6 months of sick leave at full pay and 6 months at half pay, A non contibutory retirement plan, and a thrift plan that put double of what I put in up to 3%.

    You know at the time that grass sure looked greener across the fence, but it really is not.

    I think alot depends on the person too. I know alot of guys who could not stand to work at the same place everyday.

    Really, most of the larger management companies offer good benifits, which you have to weigh against the financial compensation.

  5. #44
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,096
    Most of plant operators these days have to have EPA universal and knowledge of HVAC. Many times they are expected to have a stationary engineer’s license also. Funny thing about this job is, that if they fixed someone’s A/C, heat pump, or heater, they’re employer
    would not care about it at all.

  6. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Pekin, IL USA
    Posts
    700
    Originally posted by Diceman
    Welcome to corporate America, where many insecure people never change cause that means they were wrong in the first place. Nor will they seldom listen to those who are below them.....on the corporate ladder. I guess with your new boss, just shut up and do what he says for now.
    Hey, Dice. Replace the word corporate with the word republican and your statement becomes even more true!

  7. #46
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    2,089
    Originally posted by newtradesman


    I'm new. I admit I am new and I need to learn alot more.

    I met a Plant operator at a building in down town Dallas who carries a clip board and calls contractors for everything he needs.

    The slang name for someone like is "Roledex Chief". And they give the trade a bad name. They are just hackers.

    I like this profession. You have heard the expression, A jack of all trades and a master of none. A good stationary engineer has to be a jack of all trades and a master of most. It makes the job fun.
    Len
    Old snipes don't die they just loose their steam

  8. #47
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    Some of you need to reread my post.

    My god I was not insulting any of you. I never meant that to be the intent of my post at all.

    What I am saying is, that, given your expertise, that those sorts of jobs do not pay well. I don't care if your doing a trillion million btuh boilers with 7 zillions tons of asborber chillers. I am saying even if your doing that, those types of jobs do not pay that well. It's not a cut on you. It's a cut on the people who think it's not worth MORE than it is.

    That was why I said I was doing pittilee a$$ $hit for more coin. Garunteed at that time, you could probably be 10 times smarter than I was at the time.

  9. #48
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    2,089
    Dowadubba,

    I think the pay is OK. $32.29/ hr, Over $5.00/hr in retirement, Full medical and dental cost the company around $850 per month. 40 hours every week, and I do not have to be a salesman. This year I get 3 weeks paid vacation + holidays. No on call and if I do 1/2 time pay.
    I have looked at traveling maintenance and I prefer to be stationary. It is my plant and I should be able to take pride in it's condition (bad employeer and chief not letting us do our job).

    But like every trade there are those in it whho should not be.
    Old snipes don't die they just loose their steam

  10. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Posts
    2,990
    Originally posted by snipe70e

    It is my plant and I should be able to take pride in it's condition (bad employeer and chief not letting us do our job).

    But like every trade there are those in it whho should not be.

    Here Here! You found a decent way to deal with that? I could say oh well what the ---, but I don't want to have that attitude. Problem is if I try my best, I get frustrated. They're calling in a guy to look at a rumbling burner (only .5 million btuh) I'm saying "shi+ man, thats our job. I want to do it. I want to learn. Shoot, here I go again...
    TB
    Everyone knows something I don't.

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

  11. #50
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    2,140
    My last experience with a stationary engineer was when I was called to check 'bad' low water cut-offs on boilers at a high rise apartment building. I was met by the recently hired engineer who boasted his credentials and experience as a plant operator at a local pharmecuetical company before it moved out of town. His problem was that when he blew down the low-water cut-offs EVERY morning and logged his activity he was concerned that the burners on 2 boilers were not shutting down. It seemed that every morning for several weeks he would blow down every control on the boilers.

    I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.

    I dont mean to knock on any of you guys but around here it seems that most of my experiences with plant operators or stationary engineers usually goes something like this.

  12. #51
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Buffalo N.Y.
    Posts
    1,571
    Originally posted by dapper
    My last experience with a stationary engineer was when I was called to check 'bad' low water cut-offs on boilers at a high rise apartment building. I was met by the recently hired engineer who boasted his credentials and experience as a plant operator at a local pharmecuetical company before it moved out of town. His problem was that when he blew down the low-water cut-offs EVERY morning and logged his activity he was concerned that the burners on 2 boilers were not shutting down. It seemed that every morning for several weeks he would blow down every control on the boilers.

    I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.

    I dont mean to knock on any of you guys but around here it seems that most of my experiences with plant operators or stationary engineers usually goes something like this.


    Why not just replace the blowoff lines, I don't see much sense in trying to punch out some piping when it would be wiser to replace out. Cleaning doesn't seem like a long term solution if they were that plugged.

    Just out of curiosity, where were the lines draining to?

    By the way, do you know the ASME code on proper spec'ing of blowoff lines? min pipe size, max pipe size? type of pipe required?

    To each his own.

  13. #52
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    2,089
    Originally posted by dapper
    My last experience with a stationary engineer was when I was called to check 'bad' low water cut-offs on boilers at a high rise apartment building. I was met by the recently hired engineer who boasted his credentials and experience as a plant operator at a local pharmecuetical company before it moved out of town. His problem was that when he blew down the low-water cut-offs EVERY morning and logged his activity he was concerned that the burners on 2 boilers were not shutting down. It seemed that every morning for several weeks he would blow down every control on the boilers.

    I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.

    I dont mean to knock on any of you guys but around here it seems that most of my experiences with plant operators or stationary engineers usually goes something like this.

    Dapper,
    No offence taken. We all know that there are "stationary engineers" who should get into another profession. He was blowing down the boilers for several weeks with the low water control not working. the first time the safety failed it should have been fixed that day, he was no engineer just a handyman. I hope it was a low pressure boiler, high pressure should be blown down at the begining of each watch.
    The really sad and dangerous thing a liecence may not be required. I believe there should be a federal licience requirement to operate equipment that cause major damage or kill people. And a guy who keeps firing a boiler with a faulty low water cut out should loose his.
    Len
    Old snipes don't die they just loose their steam

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