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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    11
    I am in Memphis, TN and have had recently had a bad encounter with a HVAC service person.

    How can I find a great HVAC service person to do a check up/evauluation of my system?

    I see in the yellow pages the companies that service/set up my brand of equipment (Lennox Value Series) - but their are several to choose from?


    Thanks,
    beepee


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Zelienople, Pa
    Posts
    2,965
    Ask neighbors, friends and relatives who they use and if they like them...
    How tall are you Private???!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Nieghbors and friends aren't qualified to know.IMHO,they can tell you who they have had a bad experience with,though even then they may be wrong.

    90% of all service work is relatively easy,it's the other 10% where top companies and techs shine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304

    Just an idea from a HO

    I wonder what would be the result if you asked for someone to do a real thorough evaluation of your system. The result would include a report with measurements and numbers; I am no expert but would think it would include pressure measurements, temperatures at the critical points, and possibly airflow. I have heard it is not too difficult to generate a report showing the actual cooling BTU delivery to the house, and that often that number is far below what the machine is rated for. BTW I would never expect this for free, you will pay for a good job (and it's worth it to some people).

    My thinking is no hacks would accept such a job because they aren't good with theory and numbers, and would hate the idea of objectively checking the work. Only those with a pretty good education and experience would consider this a natural request. While performing the test is a special skill, when looking at the report you may be able to distinguish which reports look more professional. I say if it looks professional, it probably *is* more professional.

    I am a homeowner, so this is just a tentative suggestion. What would the pros think of this idea?


    Best of luck -- P.Student

    [Edited by perpetual_student on 06-02-2005 at 12:44 PM]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    18
    I don't know if I agree with the "check with your friends" advice. Lots of people like their AC guys, but there are lots of stories on the wall of shame where I'll bet the maintenance techs were well liked until they were exposed. Most of my neighbors don't pay much attention to what the techs do when they visit.

    I think you need to get educated about the technology and operation and theory as best you can, and basically kiss a lot of frogs until you get lucky. I always hang around, and ask questions, and refer to my notes in hand. I check the responses against the phrase list.

    http://toad.net/~jsmeenen/phrase.html

    When maintenance is performed, I use a checklist and make sure that the service call includes A-Z, and that they actually do it. I look at the readings on the pressure and temperature guages. I watch him clean the evaporator. It is more trouble at first, but it sure does weed out the bad guys fast. It may take a couple of years to find a guy you can trust.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    160
    It's easy..... if the guy is a jer....a member on this board, he's good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Originally posted by mightycpa
    I don't know if I agree with the "check with your friends" advice. Lots of people like their AC guys, but there are lots of stories on the wall of shame where I'll bet the maintenance techs were well liked until they were exposed. Most of my neighbors don't pay much attention to what the techs do when they visit.

    I think you need to get educated about the technology and operation and theory as best you can, and basically kiss a lot of frogs until you get lucky. I always hang around, and ask questions, and refer to my notes in hand. I check the responses against the phrase list.

    http://toad.net/~jsmeenen/phrase.html

    When maintenance is performed, I use a checklist and make sure that the service call includes A-Z, and that they actually do it. I look at the readings on the pressure and temperature guages. I watch him clean the evaporator. It is more trouble at first, but it sure does weed out the bad guys fast. It may take a couple of years to find a guy you can trust.
    That's a very poor list of phrases,that spell trouble.I'd want our guys to inform the consumer,and it seems a lot(not all) of those do just that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,316
    That's a very poor list of phrases,that spell trouble.I'd want our guys to inform the consumer,and it seems a lot(not all) of those do just that.
    I agree. I read through it and was waiting to find the counter example of the "proper" phraseology one would expect but it was never revealed.

    When I ran service I had to learn the customer's ability and tolerance for technical terms. I'd put out a few and if I didn't sense any distinct hesistation or didn't get that "glazed over eye" look, I'd proceed. If they looked lost I'd use some of the terms found in that list, but try to be as specific as possible; i.e. "Ma'am, your compressor has failed due to an internal electrical short."

    "Failed" was one of the words on that list. I have to wonder what terms are acceptable?
    • 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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    emerald city, sc
    Posts
    1,469
    that is absolutely one of the worst list i have ever seen.
    1. "It can fail at any time"
    i have used to describe a leaking capacitor
    2 "It is old"
    3 "It is getting old"
    4 "It is too old"
    5 "It is too old to repair"
    6 "It is too old to get parts"

    all term i used last week while getting info for a service contract, 4 oil furnaces the newest was 51 years old.
    7 "It is about to fail"
    8 "It is about to go"
    9 "It looks like it is about to go"

    see # 1
    16 "That company is out of business"
    sometimes this is true
    17 "It has some rust"
    i owe to my customers to tell them if rust is present. what happens when the unit rusts out. the customer knows that it didn't happen over night
    18 "It has seen better days"
    19 "It is inefficient"
    20 "It doesn't work as well as it used to"
    21 "A new one will work so much better"

    are you suggesting a customer is better off to repair a 20 year old unit, than to replace it?
    [/i#25] "I can't get parts"[/i]
    see the answers to 1 thru 6, and 16

    now a home warranty company will tell you rust can be cover by duct tape.
    i wanted to put a picture here

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    San Luis Obispo County, CA
    Posts
    215
    Originally posted by beepee
    I am in Memphis, TN and have had recently had a bad encounter with a HVAC service person.

    How can I find a great HVAC service person to do a check up/evauluation of my system?

    I see in the yellow pages the companies that service/set up my brand of equipment (Lennox Value Series) - but their are several to choose from?


    Thanks,
    beepee

    You have just asked the million dollar question.

    If we could find a complete, concise answer to that question, the good techs would all have more work than they could handle, and would all be making a good living. The bad techs would soon be looking for a new line of work.

    I don't know where the answer will come from, but myself, and a lot of other people are working on the problem.

    Someday, finding a great HVAC tech will not be the crap shoot it is now.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,311
    Good luck

    A NATE certification would be one to consider. THose that are NATE certified at least show some level of competence. On the other hand, though, there are many which do not want to fork over a few hundred dollars just to show they know their stuff.

    A homeowner may be pleased with a tech but that doesn't mean the work was performed correctly. Recently I had a discussion with another tech who told me that an AC w/TXV is overcharged if there are no bubbles in the sight glass... Yet then stated that expansion valves always fail. Customers look up to him because he is friendly and a good communicator; However that won't stop their AC unit from getting killed.

    Asking a tech if he knows his stuff won't do much good. After all he doesn't know what he doesn't know. Years in the trade isn't a sure sign - I've seen guys still doing it incorrectly after 20 years.

    Ok, here's a possibility - ask the guy what tools he has for a start. Most guys I've seen that don't know much about refrigeration don't own a thermometer, they don't have a micron gauge, they dont have a psychrometer, and they don't have a bottle of nitrogen. Most want-to-be techs that work on furnaces don't have a thermometer, don't have a manometer, and don't have a meter that measures microamps.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Westlake, Ohio
    Posts
    2,470
    Originally posted by beepee
    I am in Memphis, TN and have had recently had a bad encounter with a HVAC service person.

    How can I find a great HVAC service person to do a check up/evauluation of my system?

    I see in the yellow pages the companies that service/set up my brand of equipment (Lennox Value Series) - but their are several to choose from?


    Thanks,
    beepee

    I could recommend at least three for starters that go the extra step in measuring system performance-Precision, Conway and Hibner. Would like to know what kind of problem you had?
    captain CO

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    11

    Ok, I thank you all for the responses.

    The problem I had was with my previous home, in which the condensing unit outside froze up. I had the home for 6-7 years, Goodman unit, and had never had any service done.
    The guy came up, used his leak detector and didn't find anything in or around the coils for the first 5-10 minutes.
    The detector then beeped, he immediately closed it up, called in for a quote to replace coil - and I think it was $1500. I was suspicious. I called the company back and asked to send out a more experienced tech to confirm. They did graciously, and the tech found no leak. He did add a bit of freon, which he said it was a bit low.

    The system hasn't had another problem yet.

    I am looking at purchasing a home built in 2000 with a Lennox Value Series system. I was interested in getting the system evaluated and an annual service done.

    "I could recommend at least three for starters that go the extra step in measuring system performance-Precision, Conway and Hibner. Would like to know what kind of problem you had?"

    Do any of these service Lennox?

    Thank you.
    beepee



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