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  1. #14
    gasman Guest
    I do annual inspection on all gas furnaces and elec. a/c. You all know Murphy's law, break down coldest or hottes times.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    108
    I to go along with the two year method. But at 7-10 years old I encourage the changing of blower relay, compressor contactor.

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    i totaly agree with steeve. didnt track any calls but can say most of my overtime and straight time emergencie calls could hve been prevented by routine maintence. all systems should be serviced every year heating and cooling. coils need cleaning mainly outside coils and motors.flame sensera blower wheels inducers heatexchangers and a moltitude of other parts need service to.in most cases if you read the manufactors warenti it states this or they can void the warenti. ten years no maintence you are lucky but keep in mind what you saved on service over the years cut down on the life of your unit. like steve said 90 bucks now or 190 plus parts for me to knock on your door after hours later is it worth it to you.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Originally posted by tinknocker service tech
    ...most of my overtime and straight time emergencie calls could hve been prevented by routine maintence.
    Bah! Bleh! Piffle! And last but not least: Humbug!

    That's purely speculative. Making up a list of commonly failed components shows the folly of such assumptions:
    -Relays: Virtually all are sealed and can't be inspected in any meaningful way.
    -Contactors: There's certainly an opportunity for visual inspection. But there's little correlation between a contactor running hot (the typical precursor to failure) and how it looks. Few techs bother checking the voltage drop across the points. But if you do you'll find that how it looks and how hot it’s running has no solid relationship.
    -Motors: Virtually all are sealed and not oil-able.
    -Gas Valves: Sealed. It works or it doesn’t. You can't prevent a thing.
    -Ignition modules: The same as above.
    -Circuit boards: The same as above.

    Yes, yes. You can come up with 100 exceptions to the rule. But in the end it's a fact that most** parts, especially sealed parts, don't readily give up the reasons for their failure. And even when they do, the reason is usually one part clue and one part speculation. As such we can’t really know what would have happened had maintenance been performed more regularly.

    **We can argue what "most" means. But whatever it means, it's not 93% in either direction.

    I will concede that the single greatest maintenance failure does also lead to a lot of equipment failure. Namely, customers who don’t change their filters cause lots of problems. BUT I very purposely parse that out from other aspects of maintenance because most customers can take care of that themselves – if they only would.

    Just an opinion (which I happen to love sharing more than most would care for ).

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Near Philly
    Posts
    96
    Thanks to all of you for your responses. Not quite a consensus on the issue, but I'll likely get someone out to give it the once over. Now, if I only knew who to trust...

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Trust the competent technician that charges more and speaks plainly.

    Referrals from others cover at least some of that. NATE and RSES certs are a clue about their competency. It's not hard to figure out if they charge more. And speaking plainly, well – let me put it to you this way. The larger companies have weekly Kool-Aid drinking sessions that teach their technicians the art of prevarication. There are scripts that they use to get you to fill out survey forms that are quite literally chanted until memorized. There are formulas for determining alleged energy savings that would do the "liar, damned liar and statistician" quote justice. And of course, there's enough IAQ propaganda out there to scare a witch doctor straight and make a phrenologist look credible. When you talk to one of those types, you get a feeling. That would be the non-plain talker.

    I'm having way too much fun today.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    700
    I agree with very much of what Irascible says, yet I do a heck of a lot of maintenance checks, and promote them, and feel it gives a valuable service.
    I'm looking for the things I can find that might cause a service call in the next year, such as water leaks, restricted drain lines, dirty flame sensors, dirty pilots, restricted or deteriorating vents or chimneys, etc etc. I believe most failed heat exchangers are detected during maintenance inspections.
    As well, it's an opportunity to discuss related issues with the HO regarding programming the stat, what type of filter to use and how often to change. I'm also attentive to other things I see, plumbing leaks, bare wires anywhere, overfused elect panels, insulation probs, combustion air, cleanliness, fire hazards and so on. I see a lot, and most folks are glad to have these things brought to their attention.
    I like to clean the equipment up, it is something visible the HO appreciates, I believe it cuts down on problems, and if it's necessary to service the unit, anyone would prefer to work on a clean furnace rather than one an inch thick in dust and lint.
    What is hard to explain to a HO sometimes is that many things can be checked in a very few minutes. From the minute I turn the furnace on I'm listening to and looking for the sequence of events, smooth ignition, appearance of flame, sound of the fan, chimney venting, signs of water leakage, position of duct dampers, odours, and so on. These things give me an area to focus on. But to the HO I probably appear just to be standing there doing nothing.
    I do think this maintenance service heads off many service problems, but I think peace-of-mind that someone has inspected the equipment is the biggest value.
    Re the new Infinity, certainly a check after the first year, then if you're content with every second year after, then I'd be content too. Just CHANGE THE FILTERS AS REQ'D.

    Question authority!

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    73
    Question. Do most manufacturers require yearly maintenance checks to keep the warranty in effect?

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    As they said in some forgotten decade jetstream, I can dig it. What you said is right on. I too look beyond the furnace and have often helped customers with many non-HVAC related items. I've replaced batteries in smoke detectors for elderly folks on more than one occasion.

    I suppose my biggest beef is with the marketing. There are a lot of misconceptions out there and most big shops do nothing to dissuade people from them. A lot of the advertising out their in fact promotes the myths. If one can market maintenance contracts with honesty and still sell a bunch of them then I'm all for it.

    They could try and always threaten to do so Nick. The reality is that OEMs often bend over and take it in the rear. At least that's been my experience. It's often cheaper for them to just pay it than to do any real investigation as to the cause of the failure. And on those occasions where they do actually look, they have to have really solid evidence before they'll deny a warranty. The court system is so anti-business that they don't usually take chances. Even those disclaimers about warranties on equipment obtained on the internet don't have any real legal foundation. It's a legal bluff.

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    39
    But the real HVAC maintenance question is how many in the HVAC business floss and see their dentist regularly or wait until the tooth hurts.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    St Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    3,468

    Tinknocker and I say:
    Originally posted by tinknocker service tech
    ..."most of my overtime and straight time emergencie calls could hve been prevented by routine maintence."


    And then:

    "Bah! Bleh! Piffle! And last but not least: Humbug!

    That's purely speculative. Making up a list of commonly failed components shows the folly of such assumptions:"

    comes from Irascible.

    To which I say:

    Bah! Bleh! Piffle! And last but not least: Humbug!

    Although I agree with much of what Irascible means, I have been on too many late night service calls on old and new
    equipment to not believe that many repairs are due to poor maintenance.

    And I have NEVER found a homeowner who ALWAYS changes their filter regularly. And changing a 1" filter monthly does little to prevent crud buildup inside the furnace and on the A coil. And a motor too hot to touch is a motor on it's death bed. And that faint smell of gas? "Won't be a problem, it's only a loose fitting."

  12. #25
    gasman Guest
    I agrre with jetstearm. that is the way to do a full inspection. prevents alot of recalls.

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