Quality? Responses

The last 2 posts — This is not your father’s furnace” and “Quality?” have stirred a good discussion.  I encourage you to read both and to scroll down to the bottom of each and read the posted comments.

One consensus was the distribution will sell to anyone! Unfortunately, that is a sad truth today.  Manufacturers are pushing for more market share and they are pushing their distribution chain to sell more.  Because of that, the perceived  quality of the equipment suffers because now there are people who haven’t a clue buying and putting the equipment in.

The biggest problem here is too many of these guys are  what I call “set and run” contractors.  START-UP? They don’t know the meaning.  They buy a curb adapter, lift the old unit off, put the curb adapter on  and set the unit on it.  Hook up the gas and electric, turn it on, and leave.  Now if there is a problem, they don’t know what to do other than change parts.

Thos brings me to some of the other comments the posts received and that is the poor quality of components.  I track warranty very closely.  One trend I have seen is an “increase” in the warranty to sales ratio.  A good number is 2% (+/- 0.2 — 1.8  to 2.2%).  Recently, that figure has climbed to 3.13%.  WHY?  It comes back to these “parts changers” who skew the warranty to sales rations because they buy only a few pieces of equipment but have a lot of warranty claims on what they buy because they don’t know service and are just part changers until they get the unit working — never figuring out waht was actualy wrong. If that don’t work, they either walk away or tell their customer that the piece of equipment is a “lemon”. then they let them deal with the manufacturer and they are gone.

This could become a whole discussion in itself.  All I am trying to say is:

  • I know today’s equipment is a lot more efficient and safer that “my father’s furnace”.
  • todays equipment requires trained personnel to service and install.
    • Don’t ever stop learning. Technology keeps changing and either you keep up with it or you will be left behind.
  • Components used in the product are pretty reliable but there will always be some issues and that’s what warranty is for.
  • I know that manufacturers have set up warranty parts failure analysis and work closely with vendors on this.
    • and if they can’t correct, new vendors are found.
  • Lastly —  a very good point was made about LICENSING. For an industry that deals with electricity, gas, pressures,  and do this for the public in their homes and businesses, it is scary to think that there is no one out there regulating these people.
    • Some states or municipalities do, but there are a whole lot more that don’t.

So as I stated at the end of “This is not Your Father’s Furnace” post:

Yes, it is sad to see old reliable go its way, but today’s technology assures us that these products are going to help conserve energy for future generations and provide us with the utmost safety in the process.

Remember, also, that this new furnace can be just as reliable as your  father’s furnace if you take care of it and have it maintained yearly by a qualified service agency  Then you can have the best of both situations – high efficiency, safety, and reliability!

Thanks to all that commented and responded.  This has been a learning experience for me and I did have to take the “blinders off” and understand the true feelings expressed by  some of the comments.   As I’ve said many times, I don’t know it all and I will always try to keep learning.

                                         This says it all!now hiring

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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3 Responses to Quality? Responses

  1. S Smith says:

    I just had to replace the ECM motor for the fan on my York furnace which is at most 10 years old. I’ve been searching the internet for info on it and found your blog. It cost $1039 for the motor. That seems excessive to say the least. Have I been had? The supplier and installer is reputable and we bought the furnace from them and have always had good service. Even the installer seemed embarrassed about the price. Thanks.

    • Dear Mr. Smith — though I cannot discuss pricing as a manufacturer’e rep, I can tell you that ECM Motors are not “cheap”. Usually, the motor does not fail but, rather, the electronic module on the end of the motor. Sometimes, that is available as a seperate component which helps reduce the total cost. Sometimes, the whole assemby is all that is available .
      You say you trust your dealer and he has been good to you for all these years, then I would continue to trust him.

  2. Bamboo says:

    Modern equipment is complicated, has processors and other controlling/monitoring circuitries all over the place, but… “Today’s equipment requires trained personnel for service and install” is a correct statement, if and only if we take into account a consistent lack of self-monitoring and adequate reporting of the HVAC system in order to ensure it operates *the best* for the environment it runs in, not in the ideal world it was designed for. Speaking of cars — a car will never stop in the middle of the road if injectors become dirty. All modern equipment is contains processors (often — many of them), so it is not a “binary” (on/off) system anymore. Monitoring supply and return air temperatures in order to confirm that heat exchanger will not corrode due to condensation when air is too cold is easy to do. Checking temperature of heat exchanger to ensure it will not over-heat and crack is also doable, and all these safety checks are really easy to implement with current technologies. Even speaking about voltage — most of electronics work out of at most 5 volts DC, so 22VAC is more than enough to provide power to the CPU which then can detect under-voltage (or even phase imbalance) and report it back to an installer to draw his attention to the problem.

    Adding exhaustive monitoring/run-time diagnostics will not blow prices up by more than $1K top, but will increase customer satisfaction and will make installer’s/service man’s life easier. It seems that manufacturers are not interested in making things reliable using a potential provided by modern technologies (as it will negatively impact their business, a business of installers and servicing), and because there is no dependent lives on HVAC, having avoidable failures seems to be a norm.

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