…somebody’s watching me.

somebody's-watching-me-2

Is a laid up photographer watching? Nah. Besides, the Jimmy Stewart classic couldn’t have been made in an era of widespread central air conditioning. How about the NSA? Probably. The IRS? I’m sure. Who else? My customers! As stated on the homepage, you’re invited to stick around and watch as I work. It’s a great way to learn about your heating and air conditioning. You’ll learn even if you’re not mechanically inclined. While the specifics of my profession may be complicated, the concepts most certainly are not.

I’ve been educating homeowners about their equipment for over twenty years. I enjoy it. And it builds trust in a number of ways. First, whatever the diagnosis is, you won’t have to take my word for it. You’ll see it for yourself. Second, if you fear gas and electricity then you’ll fear no more. Or at the very least, you’ll fear less. Understanding negates fear. Third, by hanging out while I work you’ll be there for the rare surprise. Surprises are indeed rare, but when it happens I want you there to see it. For example…

A few years ago I turned off a gas valve (identical to the one pictured below) in order to service a furnace. When I turned the gas valve back on it no longer worked. I removed the on/off switch (the black plastic portion) to inspect it. I had expected it to be a simple mechanical switch, but to my surprise it has resistors inside. There was no visual evidence of damage, so I put the switch back. The valve then started working again. In other words, simply turning the switch off and on “broke” it. Removing the switch and putting it back “fixed” it. It was almost as if removing the switch rebooted its very simple electronics. Explaining that to the homeowner after the fact might have been difficult, but then I didn’t need to. He was keeping me company the whole time.

A few weeks ago I had a surprise of a different sort. I was called out to repair the furnace pictured in slide two below. The furnace had a bad gas valve and a bad fusible link. I had those parts on the van, so the furnace was up and running in no time. Then, after running the newly repaired furnace for several minutes, the exhaust fan started to short cycle. It turns out the exhaust fan’s control board (slide three) was also bad. The control board had run fine prior to repairs, but started acting up (slide four) after the furnace had run for some time.

I would not have enjoyed calling the homeowner back to the furnace to explain the additional expense, but then I didn’t have to. He was right there. When you hang around a stranger who shares information about his profession and even himself, he’s not a stranger for very long. That was my customer and me. Having the second problem manifest after the first problem was repaired wasn’t a happy event for either of us, but neither was it contentious. He and I were in it together from start to finish, just as you and I will be in it together – that is, if you hang around long enough to be in it. So hang around!

And, of course, it didn’t hurt that I discounted the new board. What can I say? I’m a soft touch. ;^)

Clicking the picture will bring up a larger picture.

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