Steve, me and GB installed a "dry" R22 13 SEER condensing unit yesterday
for a customer. The unit had no R22 in it but was pressurized with
nitrogen. Have you been purchasing any of these type replacement units?
The guys at the supply houses have told us they sell out of them fast
and have trouble keeping them in stock because of demand.
Have never purchased or installed one... There is no point.
The dry units are 13 SEER, A/C only, and when mated up with a 10 SEER coil,
where the original system is grossly oversized, and ductwork is grossly
undersized, your not gaining anything, and the warranty sux. Then add to
that the HCFC (R22) phase-out...
Your not doing the customer any favors.
We install complete new R410a systems too if the customer has the money.
There is also a TXV kit I use that does a lot to increase the efficiency
and help when components are mismatched. The warranty on the unit we
just installed is 5 years. Perhaps in 5 years, the economy will have
recovered enough for the customer to be able to afford $10,000.00 worth
of new R410a AC equipment, duct work and labor? There seems to be quite
a demand for the darn things and a lot of somebodies have a different
opinion than you and I value your opinion because you're one of the few
posters who knows the difference between superheat and superman. Since
this was the first of these that we purchased, I'll know more on the
next hot day that comes up so I can do a proper test and post the
Even with the state of the economy being what it is, I had a 33% increase in
gross reciepts last year. I look at it like this... even with the
unemployment rate of 15%, that means that 85% are still employed. Flat rate
is a good thing... the only variable is the refrigerant charge. Customers
like it when you can give them a price of repairs *before* you start working
on the system..... no surprises.
*HINT* to compensate for the high price of gas, raise the "labor" rate in
your flat rate book $15 - $20. Folks are feeling enough pain at the pump
without adding insult to injury by adding a "fuel surcharge".
There are literally half of the HVAC companies in the phone books than there
were last year. All of the low bidders are being weeded out. I had training
friday for Airflow Charicteristics... there were probably 20 other guys
there. A couple of them were whining about they weren't able to make any
money, and putting in systems for $500 more than the cost of the equipment,
and they could only charge $35 - $50/hour for labor. I told them that it was
their own fault for not charging what they were worth instead of trying to
under-bid everybody else so they could work at a loss. I think what pissed
them off was when I asked "How many cheap installs does it take to pay for
one bad one?" :-)
I do have several used condensers that were running when I took them out
stacked up in the back of the shop. If need be, I can install one of those
to keep them going until they can get their finances together. I have also
installed used ones once I have a deposit check to keep the customer
comfortable until we can get the new system installed. ("Will you have us
install a new system for you if we can get you comfortable today?")
Any time I install a used one for temporary use like that, I spray paint the
thing so it looks ugly as hell.
Yup, it's worth its weight in gold. FWIW, when I install a used unit for
somebody that has to scramble to get financing, I put a 6 month warranty on
it. The grand they spend on the used replacement is credited towards the
purchase of a new system if they make the jump within 90 days.
As a side note.... When there is a failed condenser or heat pump, and I tell
them that I can get them comfortable *today*, until I can get a new system
installed, the closing rate is almost 100% and pretty much guaranteed that I
will walk out with a deposit check, and a signed contract.
Having a very loyal customer base is a good thing. High percentage of
service agreements too.
My customer base is currently averaging in the neighborhood of 600.
They also appreciate the post cards I send at season change to remind them
its time for service.
That's the way to do it, there's no way me and my buddy GB could handle
any number like that even 20 years ago when we could walk without
wobbling. I Emailed a lawyer a few days ago to find out about a case I
gave a deposition on involving an HVAC outfit that cold called my friend
JA's elderly mother. This company was offering a Spring tuneup for some
small sum and two of their techs showed up at her house to "tuneup" her
HVAC system. When my friend JA drove up, he saw a big cloud of smoke
drifting over the top of the house from the back where these two
scumbags had sabotaged one of the AC condensers. They had arced the
start winding getting the compressor so hot that the hermetic seal for
the leads melted, blew out and allowed the Freon to escape. They told
JA's mother that she needed $5,000.00 worth of new equipment because
everything was shot and leaking. JA called me, I took a look, took him
to my suppliers and let him buy all the necessary materials I needed to
replace the compressor. I flushed out the condenser coil, replaced the
compressor, capacitor, dryer, repaired the wiring and drew a deep vacuum
which showed NO LEAKS, charged it up and it's been running fine
for the past three years. The HVAC crooks decided to settle before the
court date. I'll never understand why some businessmen have such a
predatory, dishonest way of doing business especially when it comes to
the elderly who are such easy targets. I suppose that's how they get
those shiny new trucks. :-(
I hate that there are "techs"(?) out there like that. I figure that *MOST*
of that kind of stuff around here will go away when they impliment manditory
licensing, and code enforcement outside the city limits. Most of these hacks
think their EPA card is their "license".
The guys have all that stuff. The state now requires all kinds of
paperwork, continuing education and regulation probably because of
people complaining about being ripped off and running to the state
demanding that something be done. :-(
I would welcome that here. I do the continuing education and training....
just had an 8hr class on I have the correct licenses, bonds, insurance, and
all the paperwork to go with it....as well as my company is incorporated,
company logo is copywrited, and a registered trade marked.
Thursday. I have no worries about any of my customers complaining... they
know that if they're not happy, I will make it right.
I do my level best to far exceed their expectations, which is why most of my
new customers are from word of mouth referals.
I believe I congratulated you before for running a good business. Most
of the work I do is small commercial stuff but I have worked on control
systems for chillers in the 4,000 ton range. The dry unit me and GB put
in was at the home of one of my commercial customers who owns a pizza
joint. The kids working at places like that beat the crap out of the
make lines and sandwich units, they abuse things and don't even realize
it. I often fix mashed in condenser fins and low refrigerator doors
that they lean on when open like they were hand rails. I really like big
commercial AC units better than home systems because to me, they're
easier to service, the same with commercial refrigeration. I know a lot
of HVAC guys who couldn't fix a refrigerator if their life depended on
it, it's really kind of funny to me. ^_^
Me and GB have a friend who's an American Standard dealer so we send him
the rich folks who want expensive stuff. I designed a cooling system for
printing presses some years back that has an ultrasonic
humidifier built in and I always wondered if it would be suitable for
cooling flowers since I understand you want high humidity to keep the
flowers from drying out. I got my broadcast engineers license over 30
years ago but never worked on any TV transmitters but plenty of radio
transmitters. I may still have my RF shielded jock strap somewhere. :-)
Flower coolers are a special breed... you want to keep them running 34 - 38F
@ 90 - 95%RH
I got tied into the TV station stuff by a friend who is a broadcast
engineer......The current TV station project is re-configuring the chillers,
chiller piping and controls from the old analog transmitters that will
eventually be coming out, and tie it into the new stuff to create cooling
system redundancy. Its a "green" job... I recycled 800lbs of 2inch copper
pipe from the project. :-)
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