Never Too Old To Learn!

To give you a little story about me, I started in this business in 1966 (that is not a typo) as a 16-year-old kid.  I was fortunate enough to be “taken on” by a contractor who took me under his wing and taught me the basics.  He also made sure that I attended any manufacturer’s training if it fit the schedule.  I owed this man a lot. From there, I made sure to take classes and attend training every chance I got.

Of course, back then systems were a lot simpler.  Back then there were no S.E.E.R. ratings — just E.E.R. ratings and a good unit was around 6 E.E.R..   Furnaces were rated by “steady state efficiency” and EVERYTHING was 80% efficient by that rating. That applied to both commercial and residential products.

Air conditioning basics haven’t changed that much but how the units are controlled sure have.  Staging has been added and even “inverter technology” allowing for compressors to operate as “variable speed” to match the load to the unit taking S.E.E.R. ratings up into the 20+ area (a log way from 6 E.E.R.).  Heating has gone from simple thermocouples and heat activated fan controls to solid state boards, ECM motors, flame rectification and so on.  Commercial products have very sophisticated controls, internet capabilities via BACnet, or MODbus, or some other “language” along with the capabilities to be hooked up to computers.  Even simple thermostats are now becoming WI-FI enabled so people can check on their system from anywhere in the world and make changes.  We have come a long way from the “dark basement”, “cold roof”, or hot back yard  — All because of new technology.

So, now I am in a position to try and assist techs and try to teach them just as my original employer/mentor did for me.  I just came back from our factory where I was for a week of training.  We have a lot of new and exciting products coming out soon and I was there to learn about them so I can help people when they call in for assistance on that product once it is released.  I can’t tell you about it yet, as it is proprietary information, but it is very, very, exciting.

All I am trying to say with this post is we all need to continue to learn if we want to stay in this business.  Too often I have techs tell me — “I’ve been at this business for over 20 years.  Why are you asking me that question?” And I will occasionally respond to this comment — “There are 2 types of people in this business, those with 20+ years experience and those with 1 year experience 20 times over — which are you?”

So now I’ll ask all of you the same question — do you attend training regularly or do you avoid learning about the new technologies coming out? Do you truly have 20 years (or whatever) experience, or just the one year 20 times over?

WE ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN if we truly want to succeed in our industry.


About yorkcentraltechtalk

I have been in the HVAC industry most of my life. I worked 25 years for contractors on anything from residential to large commercial boilers and power burners. For the past 23+ years I had been employed by York International UPG Division ( a division of Johnson Controls) as a Technical support/Service Manager but I am now retired. One of my goals has always been to "educate" dealers and contractors. The reason for starting this blog was to share some knowledge, thoughts, ideas, etc with anyone who takes the time to read it. The contents of this blog are my own opinions, thoughts, experiences and should not be construed as those of Johnson Controls York UPG in any way. I hope you find this a help. I always welcome comments and suggestions for postings and will do my best to address any thoughts, questions, or topics you may want to hear about. Thanks for taking the time to read my postings! Mike Bishop
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2 Responses to Never Too Old To Learn!

  1. Bruce Porter says:

    I could not agree more, my mentor asked the question if “are you a one screw or a two screw mechanic?” Meaning do you take shortcuts and leave out one screw or do you take the time to show your craftsmanship and put all the screws back in? Kind of applies to training, if you do not keep up you WILL be left behind. The new technology will make you job so much easier it’s shocking.

  2. Whit Perry says:

    I wish all of the industry had the same attitiude as you two. Most people don’t want to read and take the time to learn all they can anymore. They want the easy way out and there isn’t one. It is hard work to go to the classes to stay up to date on the latest technology, read all you can, and to read the installation instructions fully before installing, etc. But that is what it takes to be the best. Thankfully we have had people in our lives who took the time to learn the proper techniques and stayed abreast of all the technology then took us under their wing mentoring us along the way.

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