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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Houston area

    Low airflow, maintenance contracts, no kidding

    Sometimes life never ceases to amaze me. I was asked to "look" at a problem system today. I really can't believe what I found. A little background - a run of the mill 3 1/2 ton elec heat split system with continual complaints of poor airflow, hot spots and general lack of comfort and cooling. All this in a commercial building setting at a shoe string budget non-profit charity organization. Here's the rub, they had a maintenance contract with a reputable company that had made numerous service calls with no resolution. 3 weeks ago a young kid comes by, listens to condenser and declares it needs "freon" and adds some. The old "gas n go". Problem worsens, calls made. Boss man comes by, shoots some inside temps with laser IR termometer and says "it's all good". Money wasted, billed for extra service calls. Another week elapses, another tech comes by, checks indoor unit, nothing wrong here.

    I went by this morning and found this:
    Attachment 199272Attachment 199282

    I had a tech with me and instructed him on what to look for. It's a bit hard to see at first on the air handler but notice the insulation has come off and is completely blocking the blower inlet on the right side. Did I mention a tech previously came by and checked the indoor unit? The pic of the blower wheel speaks for itself. I'm not sure if I've ever seen one so dirty and clogged and folks I've seen a million of them. I don't even want to get into the filter situation, another catstrophe that we got resolved. all that mess cleared up and went outside. The tech recovered 2 lbs 3 oz of excess refrigerant on a fixed orifice critically charged system!!! We thoroughly went over everything else and corrected a few nick nacks here and there like ceiling registers being closed in occupied offices!

    I'm not asking for advice, I knew what to do. I advised the charity org to cancel the maintenance agreement effective immediately and wrote a supporting report which was submitted to their attorney.

    It just dumbfounds me that any company would do this. Was it utter incompetence, utter greed or a combo of the two. I dunno but I do know one local company with a blackeye and another with some new business.

    And to the true professionals on this site, I am not sugesting this is common practice by any means. I believe in the preventive maintenance part of all this. It's just really dis-heartening to see a non-profit that helps needy human beings that can barely afford to pay it's staff and keep the lights on being taken advantage of so callously.

    BTW - Im just venting here too, thanks for listening.
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

    `. .` .>(((>

    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Can see it better here.
    Contractor locator map


    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southeastern Pa
    Good job! Atta boy!

    (we never get "atta boy"s where I work, so I thought I'd give you one)
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Western NY
    Caveat emptor.

    Lets hope they stick with you and not the FBNs before. True technicians take the time troubleshoot, which is what the customer is paying for.

    Cheers to a job well done!
    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
    -Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Wake Forest, NC
    It does feel good to solve a problem for a customer that no one has been able to solve before...

    Good job!
    It's not rocket-science...

    It's electromechanical thermodynamic engineering

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    I had a similar experience this past week. It wasn't a charity organization, it was a plant, but I was amazed by what I found. The guy with the hvac maintenance contract had told them they needed a whole new system for an office area. He had replaced the TXV and the system still wouldn't cool well or maintain proper SH. Had a brand new furnace and an evap coil that was only a couple of years old. The condenser was 6 years old. I spent literally over an hour cleaning the spiny fin condenser coil. I haven't seen a spiny fin that dirty in ages. Went around and cleaned or replaced all the stopped up air filters. Unit turned out to be 5 lb low. Topped it off. Head pressure dropped from 389 psig originally (with dirty air filters in place) to 269 psig after "maintenance" and the TXV began functioning perfectly. The space temp had already dropped 4 before I got my gauges loose. The maintenance foreman said he was going to see if he could get us to take over PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Beatrice, NE
    Thanks for the report. This is a good post for owners and service managers to show there techs with a stern reminder to check "everything" when on a call or service agreement. How many blowers do you think there could be like that?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    wow! good find. it's amazing what you can find, by just looking with your eyes open!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    S.W. Missouri
    Quote Originally Posted by thes View Post
    wow! good find. it's amazing what you can find, by just looking with your eyes open!
    They didn't want to find it. That would have meant they would have had to pull it and clean it.

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