Unsung Heroes


I swear that the guy who invented roof top units never lived in a northern climate area in winter or the deep south or southwest  in summer. Since I am a northerner, I especially have a great dislike for the person who invented roof top heating equipment.

Just think about it — a heating unit that can only be worked on  outside in whatever mother nature has to offer. It could be 40 degrees or 40 degrees below zero and the poor service tech has to get the unit working for the customer despite concern for his own comfort and well-being. He may have to trudge through snow on the roof, and , depending on the make, lay down in the snow to work on the heating section — not fun.

Now I deal with contractors in Chicago, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, and we all know what a northern mid-west winter is like. I worked 25 years in the field as a service tech before becoming a tech support person for a manufacturer, and I know what it is to have to get on a roof in a mid-west winter and get the heat going. Even as a manufacturer tech support person, I still go on roofs and help  contractors who can’t seem to solve a problem.

Now, this winter has been especially brutal on service techs in this area.  It is the 3rd snowiest winter on record in Chicago and one of the coldest winters on record in Chicago, yet, despite setting records, the service tech still puts on his insulated coveralls, his Sorel insulated boots, his long under wear, his thermal socks, his knit hat and whatever else he can do to try to keep warm on a roof at 10 degrees with a -30 degree wind chill but the problem still remains of trying to keep his hands warm.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t seem to work with heavy warm gloves on.  I have to be able to touch and feel things and see what is happening. Because of this, the hands  become the most vulnerable part of a service tech working on a roof top unit in winter. Yet despite this, they manage to do their jobs and get the unit working and the customer warm.

So, I dedicate this post to all the service techs who brave the elements, climb up the ladders, trudge through the snow, carry a lot of winter weather clothing gear in their trucks, and get the heat restored for their customers without regard for their own comfort.

These are the unsung heroes in our industry.  These are the persons who take care of their  company’s customers. These are the personnel who have committed to being the best.

To borrow a line from the Marines — these are The Few, The Proud, and The Strong and I thank every one of them for their commitment to our industry despite some (probably well meaning) engineer who thought it would be a good idea to put heating equipment on a roof in winter and cooling equipment on a roof in the hottest of summers conditions and developed roof top equipment.

All of you who work on this type of equipment are my heroes !!!

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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 Unsung Heroes

  1. dsomerv says:

    Is it feasible to have a tent or similar cover to offer protection, either a permanent shelter or an easy to erect temporary one ?
    Haven’t I seen utility workers protected by tent-like structures while working in harsh weather ?

    • if yopu know you are going to be on the roof for a long time — theter are portable shelters that can be used but most service does mot justify the time to set it up and take it back down — It’s easier to just “dress for the cold”

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