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Thread: Worst/ most costly mistake you've made on the job?

  1. #21
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    Putting a new walk-in display cooler in a liquor store. Drilling the three-inch hole from outdoor condensing unit to the evap coils inside the cooler. Didn't do enough research when bidding the job... Turns out the liquor store used to be a bank and cooler was located in what used to be the vault.

    That one hole took 8 hours to drill. Brick, wood, concrete, steel, more wood, and finally the cooler. Penetration depth of about 26".
    If God didn't want us to eat animals... He wouldn't have made them out of MEAT.

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  3. #22
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    I started up a brand new Carrier 20 ton RTU, and burned up the compressor because it had no oil in it. Had to get the crane back out there to pull the compressor, and put in a new one.

  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    I never married a Sicilian woman.

    I was working with a former employee years ago, and we were splitting a coil on a Lennox GCS unit, and we hadn't opened the coil very much when it started to hiss....

    A few months ago, I was on a roof with a guy where we successfully cleaned a Carrier, also splitting the coil.

    I turned my back to talk to a guy from another company, leaving the helper to put it back together after removing the prop for the top. I said, make sure you put the screws back in the same places....

    Once again, hissing.....
    How was the Lennox unit resolved? Were you able to braze the leak? Or was a new coil necessary?

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

  5. #24
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    Jun 2016
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    Was unloading a very large exhaust hood off a delivery truck at our shop....forgot to drop my forks upon clearing the truck...i hit a low speed backing up and the hood rolled off the front. Doh!

  6. #25
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    Aug 2013
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    My installers spent all day installing a Carrier Infinity Greenspeed system. I stopped by to do a walk through with my customer, so I let the guys leave while I finished up charging the system. Took my gauges off and refrigerant started shooting out of the valve. I tried to tighten the Schrader, but it got worse. I stubbornly put my hoses back on as my fingers were getting covered in liquid 410a. All I could think about at the time (10-11 pm) was how much money this lady spent on this system, and how upset she will be if it doesn't cool tonight. Well, needless to say, as soon as I got the hoses back on, I looked at my hands and realized what I had done to myself. I ran over to the spigot and ran the water over my hands. The pain was intense!! I then went inside my customers house to the kitchen, and without saying a word, I grabbed a mixing bowl, filled it with warm water and put my hands in there. I stayed at her house for the next hour while my frostbitten fingers were thawing out. For the next 2-3 weeks, I had to have a helper with me on every service call I made, because I couldn't use my hands.


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  8. #26
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    Dec 2013
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    Had a former employer go to the house of a new gas-pack install on a no heat. No one was home so being a gas-pack he checked it anyways. The particular brand had a few recent high limit switches act up and he thought he found another. He jumped it out and sent me with a limit because I had one on the truck. I could smell burnt wires when I pulled up in the yard. You could have lost a fingerprint on that gas pack. The variable speed blower failed. Needless to say I was there ordering a new blower module, motor, and complete wiring harness for that beast. Everything melted down. Couldn't believe he did that! Needless to say I have moved on lol


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  9. #27
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    How much pay did it cost you for the door indecent

  10. #28
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    "Dated" a customer, she now wants free service


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  12. #29
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    Aug 2009
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    The costliest mistake was underbidding a job, half done and we were at what I had bid it for.

    As far as service goes. Way back in my early years, I cleaned a draw through evap on a heat pump air handler with "self rinsing" evap cleaner. The self rinsing part is very important to this story. I sprayed the coil real well, had it looking good, even sprayed it with some clear water but not enough to rinse the cleaner off completely. I started the unit up and the blower started making bubbles. Eventually it made enough bubbles to short the motor out. By the time I realized why the unit was making a funny noise the motor was already toast but still running.

  13. #30
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    Misread the scale on a blueprint for a large historical home complete restoration. I designed the mechanical for this lengthy build. After my installers were complete and the homeowner was in I got a call from the GC advising performance problems. I reviewed everything and suddenly felt sick finding my error of undersized design. End result was complete redo of the entire 3rd floor and north wings equipment and duct work.
    "The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  14. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by shellkamp View Post
    How was the Lennox unit resolved? Were you able to braze the leak? Or was a new coil necessary?

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
    It took some finesse to save the coil. We were able to do it, but it was in a drizzle on a mall roof, with a lot of babbling about how we should be someplace else that day....
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

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  15. #32
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    Mar 2015
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    Medford, N.Y.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodle Head Mikey View Post
    I'm almost afraid to ask her name. Was she ever married before you?

    PHM
    --------
    LOL,PHM.Let me think here,her last name ended w/ an O! And if I remember there was a Solan before that O.

  16. #33
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    Mar 2005
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    I was in the field for about three years. I was sent to a car dealership to acid clean a water cooled wrap around condenser on a carrier 20 or so ton stand up unit .
    You know the old carriers with two compressor's underneath, with the wrap around water cooled condensers .

    Anyway. There was an open type cooling tower on the side of the building on the ground . This was my first experience with anything water cooled.

    Now for the screw up : Instead of calling in for advise or even trying to comprehend what I was reading on the gallon jug of acid , I dumped the whole gallon directly in the tower sump !

    The directions on the bottle said " let the acid pump run circulating the solution thru the condenser and into the catch bucket " or something to that effect.

    Well , I thought : what's the difference? A pump is a pump !
    The tower pump is a pump , so let her rip ! I put the tower pump starter in hand .

    Sooo..... I circulate this acid sump for about a half hour . I start getting people from the showroom asking me what the pungent smell is all about ?

    No worries , I say . It's just a cleaning solution.
    Well . After about an hour the paragon time clock in the equipment room clicks and. THE WHOLE SYSTEM STARTS UP !
    No worries right ? I let this thing run . Well..... The tower fan starts !
    BLUE BUBBLES Start flying all around the lot .

    Yup ! You guessed it : Acid bubbles landing all over every car on the lot !

    That and the smell ! Oh boy !
    I finally got the bright idea . Maybe I should shut this thing down ?

    Well . After a long time flushing , filling , draining and repeat, I finally got the situation under some sort of control .
    I bet I cleaned the storm drains pretty good !

    Turns out my company ended filing a pretty hefty insurance claim to pay for a ton of property damage ! Something like 25 new cars trashed and a bunch more for repainting .

    Looking back . I thank God no one was hurt, and it really took a long time for me to regain my confidence. I remember thinking that I was for sure going to get fired , but I didn't .
    The service manager and the owner sat me down , chewed me out for not calling in for help , but I continued working there for another year or so.

    I learned a very important lesson from that day : No matter who you are , no matter how smart you think you are , always : ASK FOR ADVICE BEFORE YOU GET INTO SOMTHING YOU'VE NEVER DONE .

    BTW : There were many more screw ups from me along the way . But if I had to talk about the worst , but probably the luckiest ever ! This was the one .

  17. #34
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    Working at IBM, in a huge Comp. room. Two 90 ton chillers feeding two air handlers over 15, 20 ton Lieberts on the floor, Liebert package chillers serving the main frames. Tower on the 50 floor room on 7th, almost 200 Lbs of water pressure at the units. I was running high Head on a unit not getting enough water. There was a garden hose bib in the line, and for some reason I decided to crack it open. The next thing I know the valve let go, tons of water going under the floor. I take off like a bat out of hell, run to the building guys to open a shaft door and close the valves to the riser. I wet vac the water, and know one even knew it happened. What saved my azz was that the chillers to the main frames were not in those lines. Cause a minute and a half without the chillier and the room dumps.

  18. #35
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    Mar 2005
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    GREAT STORIES GUYS !
    Many thanks to the o.p. !

    I say we let this thread run for a few days then vote on the best war story.

    In other words : which story by popular vote wins as the worst screw up ever !

    What do ya think ?

  19. #36
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    Co worker had the fire dept dispatched on him after he changed a heat exchanger, forgot to block off the supply and didn't cycle it to burn off the coating of oil...lol that was funny.

  20. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by psehunter View Post
    Co worker had the fire dept dispatched on him after he changed a heat exchanger, forgot to block off the supply and didn't cycle it to burn off the coating of oil...lol that was funny.
    Sad to say I have not done this once, but actually three times. Every time fire department came. Now I know


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  21. #38
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    Mar 2005
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    " I'm here to service your Liebert in the data center "
    Halon Release !
    I'm on the phone with my tech : " What happened Chris ? ( Name changed to protect the stupid ) " You know we have a company policy "
    " All server rooms have to have fire protection systems on test before we do any service "

    He says : " Yeah man , I'm sorry but it was the last call of the day and I got plans tonight ." " Figured I'd crank down on the leaking head bolts on the. 06D and juice it up real fast and come back in the morning "

    " You know how it takes forever to get those guys to put the system on test " " Yea man , I started cranking and all of a sudden she started spewing ! "

    Cost the company $18 k

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  23. #39
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    Feb 2007
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    Fremont, Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11crv View Post
    This was a friend of mine

    He had a help relocate the tstat to a hallway. He was in the basement doing other work. After a long while the helper came down and said there is some weird insulation in the wall. My friend checks it out, starts pulling on the cloth like insulation. He stopped walked down the hall into a bedroom to take a look. The HO moved the closet and didn't sheet rock it yet and the helper and my friend where tearing and pulling on his guys shirts hanging in the closet. The image of my friend swearing and pulling the shirt through that tiny hole still cracks me up.
    Spit out my drink reading this.....bwahaha

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  25. #40
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    Not my screw up, but still funny.
    I serviced a printing company. One of the press chillers had a solenoid problem. It would not pump down and shut off. It would keep getting colder and finally go off on freeze protection. I ordered the part and told them it would need to be out of service for several hours. They didn't want to take them time. This was in the winter and the humidity was low. Fast forward a couple of months and a warm front. The humidity goes way up and I get a call to come fix it. Because the water was getting too cold the underside of the press was sweating, and dripping on the prints. They were sticking together when the press stacked them. 20,000 sheets of high quality prints were ruined.

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