Wake Up and Smell the Folly

Four simple words are about to make you an expert at finding and eliminating odors. Of course you won’t be a real expert. Real odor experts have degrees in one or more sciences and have job titles like “industrial hygienist” and “environmental engineer”. Nevertheless, learn and understand these four words and you’ll be more of an expert than many of the repairmen who claim to be. They are moisture, heat, path and pressure. Continue reading Wake Up and Smell the Folly


“You can’t ever NOT think because if you could, how would you know?”

I didn’t come up with that little saying, but I do find it amusing. In a similar though more practical vein, a furnace circuit board that’s gone crazy doesn’t know that it’s gone crazy because… it’s crazy. The circuit board is the furnace’s brain. You can’t ask a bad brain to diagnose itself because how would it know? You know? Apparently they don’t know Continue reading Crazy

A Quotable Quote

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap…

That was an incredible moment, not that I was alive to see it live. ;^) Thankfully I was alive and heard the following from a homeowner today.

My experience with them is that they’d rather do installation than service work.

That quote will never make history, but I’ve been saying that throughout my professional history. The typical contractor’s primary goal is to replace your furnace and air conditioner. Continue reading A Quotable Quote

Shoo Fly Keeps Bothering Me

I was minding my own business fixing a furnace when, like a fly that refuses to be shooed, I get buzzed by that name yet again… “The Requisition Technician”

That’s a pseudonym of course. Someday I may go Bulworth and reveal his identity, but not today. Whatever his name, I hear it too often!

Anyway, as I was repairing the furnace I got to talking with the homeowner about the air conditioner. She happens to have old invoices, so I take a look-see. And what do I see? Continue reading Shoo Fly Keeps Bothering Me

Req Tech Wrecks Again

The Requisition Technician has a bad habit of wrecking pocketbooks.

This time Wreck It Req Tech was called to fix a furnace that was heating intermittently. Over the course of three service calls he replaced a thermostat, replaced a leaking hose and called it, well… not good. He didn’t call it anything because it still wasn’t working right. Instead he reckoned… ba dum tss… himself unable to deal with the problem because he’s “not trained in Carrier” equipment.

Too bad he didn’t say that before he made three trips to the home and charged the homeowner Continue reading Req Tech Wrecks Again

The Big Dig

The Requisition Technician looked at furnace today. I supposed that’s redundant since it’s winter and he is a furnace repairman. Anyway, Req Tech jiggled some wires and the furnace started working. RT then said that it would take a lot of work to dig into the furnace and figure out what was really going on, so he didn’t dig. Instead the homeowner dug into his pocket for $100 and handed it to RT who then left. The furnace stopped working again a half hour later. Continue reading The Big Dig

Lucky Number 700

There’s an old joke that goes something like this…

A man takes his VCR in and asks, “How much will it cost to fix this?” The repairman pauses for a moment and says, “Three-hundred dollars.” The man retorts, “But you haven’t even looked at it.” The repairman quips, “Yeah… but for $300 I can fix it.

It seems that The Requisition Technician has turned an old joke into reality Continue reading Lucky Number 700

Parting Ways

I’ve followed behind hundreds of parts changers. I’ve become all too familiar with the madness of their method. Through trial and error they learn which part usually causes the furnace’s or air conditioner’s symptoms. They quote the homeowner to replace that “usual part” and install it. If the broken unit starts to work, they assume their educated guess was right. If it doesn’t, they move on to the next part and inform the customer that they found a second problem while fixing the first. Cha-ching. Continue reading Parting Ways

Blame It on the Rain

This furnace had an intermittent problem. The Requisition Technician got the call to fix it. He blamed an incorrectly angled exhaust pipe. He said he doesn’t work on such things, but neither did he refer anyone that does. Req Tech then charged the homeowner $80 and left.

Getting soaked for $80 was bad enough. The fact that the diagnosis was so obviously wrong was even worse. Why obvious? Continue reading Blame It on the Rain