Comments on MORE BASICS!

If you normally don’t look at the comment on posts, this one stirred a little emotions.

One respondent wrote: I agree that training is essential, however I believe many manufacturers of hvac equipment fail in their electronics packaging and modularity. Seal the controls, make errors more comprehensible, and improve labeling on sensors and wiring.

Automotive electronics and sensors made this leap decades ago, using sealed modules and connectors, standardized diagnostic ports, check engine lights and standard tools. High reliability results.

Instead in hvac we see exposed pc boards with spade lugs, perhaps one or two LEDs for trained tech diagnostics. We see high voltages on the same board with logic power. Wiring is often laced over these boards, making access difficult. Worse is that every manufacture uses a different setup, even though the compressors and motors are standardized.

The auto industry in the U.S. almost folded before adopting quality (although Ford was ahead of the U.S. curve by decades). Let’s see better packaging, sensor quality and wiring along with training. Add a dose of innovation like mini-split performance features in standard, retrofittable replacement units and the next Toyota/Tesla of the hvac industry will emerge.”

Yet another respondent said;  ” Amen…… Training, on a regular basis, is the best investment a service tech can make for his/her future. I always set a goal that I would attend a minimum of 2 training sessions a year. Over 20+ years later, I have over 80 certificates with NATE certification in 4 disciplines. All that means is that I have challenged myself to keep learning or my knowledge will become obsolete. Today’s equipment is changing at such a rapid pace that it takes continual training. I have been teaching for 12 years now and try and tell my student that if he isn’t willing to continue to read, go to as many classes as possible, and continually learn then he is in the wrong field. We have a choice, to work to become one of the best technicians (not parts changers), or be a Jake leg mechanic.”

I do lean more to the second comment as I have always believe in training. What differentiates one manufacturer from another in the HVAC industry? It is who is leading in the technology and who is following. Our industry is still in it’s “infancy”.  Who knows where it will go? Can standardization and sharing of technology  become important? One problem with leading the technology race is that the product may have GREAT innovations but, if the average Tech can’t work on it, we are back to my post on why training is needed.

People need to remember, unlike the auto industry where people can “bring their cars to a dealer and the dealer has ready access to tech support”, most techs in our industry  are out there “on their own” trying to solve problems an get the heat or cooling back on” and they have the homeowner looking over their shoulder, unlike a car dealer where  the car has been dropped off and they can ‘take their time” finding and fixing the problem.

Let’s hear what others may have to say on this topic.


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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4 Responses to Comments on MORE BASICS!

  1. trachsel says:

    I thought your article would generate a response, but unlike a few, I am in complete agreement with your post.

    I have been a tech for 30 years and only on the distribution side for the last 4. Nowhere has it become more apparent than here, on the distribution side, of a tech changing parts or blaming the equipment first, followed by a more thorough diagnostic second. Regardless of the technician’s skill level in the field, a homeowner looks at the tech as an expert and the tech is under pressure to respond in kind, whether he understands what he is working on or not.

    I always fall back to the old adage, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

    I hope we all can add a few more mental tools to our toolbox in 2015!

    Thanks again for your thought-provoking articles.


    Dan Trachsel

  2. Steve says:

    If the homeowner wants to look over my shoulder, that’s fine. I talk out the problem, out loud, ask them to pass me tools, hold the light or go make the coffee. I find most of them happy to participate and at the same time, gain an appreciation of the complexity the Tech has to deal with. Or, they become bewildered and realize they are paying for slowing you down and then leave you alone. I’m good either way. If I am stumped, I tell the customer that I have a backlog of work to do (true), will get back to him shortly, (same day) and will consult with a colleague re -his particular problem. That way it doesn’t cost him while I scratch my head and consult. I can also get to the long wait list of jobs. By admitting that you don’t know everything, you may lose an occasional customer but most appreciate the honesty. After all, that is why I subscribe to this site, for the info, the sharing of knowledge. It is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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