Stephen Rushmore Jr.
I do have some answers to Ancient Mariner’s questions, with the addition to boring additional information.
I do believe lack of supervision is a major part here. The president of the company used to be out in the field all the time. He used to mark out houses and inspect our work. With the collapse of the housing market and our branch out into plumbing and electric, he now spends more time at the shop. He’s trying to keep us working.
One of my responsibilities when I set AC’s is to inspect the basement and the rough (if the house isn’t in drywall). If I find problems (wrong way fall on the furnace venting) or excess material in the basement, I call in and report it. I also suggested they give me lot numbers of recently completed roughs or basements. I could inspect them when the AC is pumping down. Nothing came of it. The punch guy has similar responsibilities when he punches the houses.
The firing of hacks has been very inconsistant. We had one that did piecerate. His work looked like something I can’t say here. When he did 90% furnaces, they all had backwards falls. In one subdivision alone, he had seven basements fail final. Guess who got to repair all seven. The superintendant told me on number 7 (I was initially there for a no heat call), that if he saw this person, he would throw him off the project. I do believe this homebuilder had a part in this hack getting fired. Then again, some didn’t last a week.
We used to put all new hires with more experienced people to show them our way of doing things. When I was hired, I had only done repair, retrofit and replacement. New construction was new to me. After several months and many mistakes, my pass to ding rate was disproportional. I was rarely getting dinged. I moved back to service when we went back. Burnout was also a major factor.
To cut to the chase, lack of supervision and training are playing major and expensive parts.
We’ve also gotten burned on the service end. We were a five person crew, now just 2 1/2. The half one day took 14 hours to move an AC from the back of the house to the side. He was moved back to rough installation, but used in service as needed. Our lead tech quit. I’m now back in the service end as well as setting AC’s.
We had one tech (fired last year after less than a year), who I think literally read "Elmo does HVAC." If he fired off an AC, we could make book that a no cooling call would come in. It was either severely undercharged or overcharged. This dingaling once programmed a communicating thermostat to recognize a two speed AC. Problem… the AC installed was single speed. The indoor coil kept freezing.
Another tech (fired this summer, hired in December 2006), condemned a good thermidistat (Bryant’s trade name for a programmible thermostat and humidistat that can do all kinds of things). From what I saw, he didn’t open it up. If he had, he would have seen that the leads for the outdoor sensor weren’t connected. If he had gone down the basement and opened up the furnace, he would have seen the leads weren’t spliced to the ones going to the AC (we use five wire, two were for the contactor). He would have also seen that the cleaning crew threw out the outdoor sensor. If he had bothered to check the subcooling, he would have also seen that the AC was 14oz undercharged. If it hadn’t been as hot as it was, the AC would have froze. This same tech had a family scared to run the AC.
Maybe it was just bad luck that we had some hack techs. I will have been with my company for seven years this coming March.
Now, as far as furnaces konking out on the coldest day of the year, or the AC on the hottest, it’s a conspiracy. Actually it’s luck. Today’s equipment simply has more parts that can go wrong. Glowplugs are like the light bulb in the hardest to reach place. It will go when it’s needed most. Bryant has had some issues with the 90% furnaces. These,25,338127.036,1,26233,188.8.131.52
338162,338127,338127,2007-10-30 08:52:50,RE: Am I the only one slowing down?”