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Cold--service calls

EBEBRATT-Ed
EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,863
Will see how many new posts in the next few days. I would expect a large number of "service calls" with the cold weather

Comments

  • 1Matthias
    1Matthias Member Posts: 148
    edited January 2019
    Yep. I've been writing up a post about a system I've been working on. Was texted at 7:30Am on a weekend by the owners, their heat had gone out. Managed to get it running, but discovered a few issues while I was there. Need to answer a couple of lingering questions here before making plans.
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,049
    -29* real temp in Wisconsin, 8:30am on my 5th no heat call already. Tomorrow's low -31, ugh.
    D
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 843
    Wow. And I thought it was cold here at +1 this morning! Stay warm everyone!
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,751
    I replaced this unit last night. I think it's been down since last year though, the AC was 'not working' last summer. The coil was melted.


    icy78
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,257
    We had record cold here in Maine in January 2009. -38F was the coldest I saw. Lots of electric stoves were left on with the oven door open! I was living in a small apartment with a propane Rinnai wall furnace. LP stopped vaporizing the tanks were too cold with the huge demand they'd had for several days.

    Just the normal -15F here now.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    clammy
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,549

    We had record cold here in Maine in January 2009. -38F was the coldest I saw. Lots of electric stoves were left on with the oven door open! I was living in a small apartment with a propane Rinnai wall furnace. LP stopped vaporizing the tanks were too cold with the huge demand they'd had for several days.



    Just the normal -15F here now.

    That's a lot better than gas stoves left on with the oven open.....
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Gordydelta TSolid_Fuel_Man
  • Docfletcher
    Docfletcher Member Posts: 476
    edited January 2019
    Some family's have poor heat, or even no heat, partially because landlords ignore the issue. In the 50's and 60's It was not uncommon for folks to huddle by the open oven door when the bitter cold left them little recourse.
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,170
    -33 ambient with -56F real feel in MN this morning. For whatever reason, I got 3 no-heat calls this morning for forced air units. I only do hydronics and do not do service. Was able to talk through one over the phone and get a Dairy Queen back up and running, that guy said I was the 25-30th call he made this morning. His exhaust was iced up on the RTU.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,267
    Only down to -5 here this morning.
    One call last night from the 1933 school, 50 miles away.
    The TRV sensor got broken off in a 6th grade room...."Not me" did it.
    No steam leaks but valve open 100% with no steam trap.
    Fortunately this was an orifice job I just did and that will only heat 60-80% of the EDR.
    So I got to stay home.
    ratio
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,178
    Man I can't imagine living on the other side of the country. Your weather is horrible!. Currently 28 degrees here and I was out working on a fuel tank line with just my t-shirt on. Of course, it is usually warmer in Homer than a lot of places in the states during the winter, so there is that.
    Stay warm guys and gals. B)
    Rick
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,170
    I spoke too soon. A guy I sold a pump to last winter called this afternoon saying his garage was cold and the flowmeters on 2 of his 4 loops were still. This is an atmospheric outdoor wood boiler setup with straight water in it that I tried talking him into making a pressurized system with glycol last winter but the price scared him off. I was able to get both loops thawed out and back in service luckily, doesn't appear they got cold enough to burst. One of those "I told ya so" moments that might turn into more work on the schedule soon
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,863
    I am a wimp I admit it. I have worked on RTUs when it was 0 out and no wind and it wasn't bad. The wind is a killer. Even 30 degrees out with wind is brutal.

    How some of you operate in -25 or-30...I just don't know how you do it. My hat is off to you..........no it's not!!! I'll freeze LOL
    GroundUp
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 678
    Had to work on a roof in DC today. Only got down to 15 while I was up there but man the wind was blowing. It was bone chilling. I couldn’t take these double digit negative temps.
    Never stop learning.
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 303
    This or working in an attic in Houston in July, decision, decision, decision...
    SeanBeansSolid_Fuel_Man
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,170

    This or working in an attic in Houston in July, decision, decision, decision...

    This, this, this... can always find a place to warm up or add more clothing. Can NOT always cool down. We're pretty versatile people here in MN but I, for one, would be just fine if I never saw 80 degrees again; much less 120 with 100% humidity in an attic. No thanks!
    Brewbeer1MatthiasSolid_Fuel_ManSteve Minnich
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,863
    There is an alternative to attic work though. Start work at midnight.

    You can't get away from the cold though
  • My hat's off to you in the Midwest and anywhere else where it's cold. I've never experienced the temperatures you're talking about. Hardy stock, all of you.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 303
    Saw the video this morning of firefighters holding fire hoses in -22, they are the heroes.
    CLambrick in AlaskaSTEVEusaPA
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,716
    I'm really glad i'm retired.
    BrewbeerIntplm.ratio
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,181
    We reall haven’t had a ton of calls. The cold October we had took out a lot of the low hanging fruit. Most calls have been frozen condensate lines from improper installations (attic condensing furnaces....sigh) or huge air leaks in a basement door 15’ from the furnace.

    Other calls are plugged up intakes on condensing furnaces. Unless its a tight house, single pipe is the way to go. If it’s a tight house, single pipe and a passive vent, is still a better solution IMO. But... building codes.... We keep a Fernco and sawzall in the trucks.

    Otherwise the usual mix of pressure switches, HSI’s and the occasional control board.

    We will get a wave of calls when folks with heat pumps get their bill and realize it’s been in EM heat all month.

    Weather like this is why roof vents are a terrible idea on condensing furnaces. Side wall, 1 pipe, thank you.

    If the intake blocks up, you can just pop out the plastic plugs in the cabinet to get by. A flapper that made a whistling noise when it opens would be nice.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 877
    -3 this morning here. Most of the people we service regularly worked fine. Had an economizer on a RTU decide to open wide and say hello to the owner. The only calls we got was from people we only seen when their lack of maintenance bites them in the rear. I had to explain to some that heating systems are designed around 7 degrees here and when its below that, all bets are off. One customer had a 10 degree night setback and could not understand how the heat did not bring the space up to the setpoint for a few hours. You techs in the mid west are heroes. I give you credit Stay safe and warm
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    kcopp
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,863
    @RayWohlfarth

    Worked for a company once (in the 90s) that only serviced commercial accounts who bought a service contract. We had 6 or 7 techs and all of them were pretty good.

    Most of the stuff was maintained pretty good. It was amazing in the severe weather hot or cold we just didn't get many calls....the stuff just ran. If you had a problem it was usually a failure that couldn't have been forseen

    Unfortunately, no most companies run hit and miss, No inspection, do the minimum, belts and filters and run
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,257
    I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no sane person who puts heating equipment on a roof!

    A shovel shouldn't be part of a service call to an occupied building with no heat. I was too cold to take pictures. Nought said
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 678
    I’ve worked passed midnight 4 days in a row now, commercial. I wish we only ran emergency calls for PM contract customers. I’m beat. 658 hours of overtime in 2018. The call I just got home from puts me at almost 100 hours of OT so far for 2019.
    Never stop learning.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 877
    @EBEBRATT-Ed I stress to my people to do a good job onthe PM's so you are not on a roof in the bad weather.
    @Solid_Fuel_Man i agree 100% When that wind blows on the roof, it is cold.
    @Mike_Sheppard You need more techs I was alwasy afraid of wearing my techs out when working that many hours
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    Dan FoleySteve Minnich
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,049
    In our extreme temps, something I have never seen before. Frozen condensate inside the furnace, tubes/drains. But only found that happening with people running set backs. At 10:00 when setback occurs the furnace maybe off for a hour or so. At -30* outdoor temps follow into the furnace intake/exhaust, freezes, and never starts back up.
    Of course then there all the lack of maintenance issues...…
    Been a long week, so much looking forward to Saturday +35* whoohooo!
    D
    Dan Foley
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 678
    edited February 2019
    @RayWohlfarth we have 10 burner technicians and about 90 other mechanics in the field. When the other 9 guys leave on time and refuse to answer the phone I get stuck with everything.

    I get called the “yes man” ...
    Never stop learning.
  • icy78
    icy78 Member Posts: 397

    Man I can't imagine living on the other side of the country. Your weather is horrible!. Currently 28 degrees here and I was out working on a fuel tank line with just my t-shirt on. Of course, it is usually warmer in Homer than a lot of places in the states during the winter, so there is that.
    Stay warm guys and gals. B)
    Rick

    The Homer Spit! I camped there back in oh... let me think here 1980 I think it was , camped out there for a couple of weeks on The Spit till the cops chased us off! Was it Lands End Bar I frequented? Good times........🙂
    rick in AlaskaDocfletcher
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,178
    The spit hasn't changed much since then, except the campers are much more "refined". No more blue tarp tents. And, the city is more involved in charging people to camp there. Still an impressive place to be though.
    It probably was the Lands End bar, but most likely the Salty Dog!!! o:)
    Rick
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 877
    @Mike_Sheppard That's tough on you Good luck
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 303
    61 degrees right now, it was -13 just three days ago, amazing temperature swing.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,549

    61 degrees right now, it was -13 just three days ago, amazing temperature swing.

    Yeah....
    Concrete loves it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icy78
    icy78 Member Posts: 397
    > @rick in Alaska said:
    > The spit hasn't changed much since then, except the campers are much more "refined". No more blue tarp tents. And, the city is more involved in charging people to camp there. Still an impressive place to be though.
    > It probably was the Lands End bar, but most likely the Salty Dog!!! o:)
    > Rick

    Ah yes ! the Salty Dog! those are the times I don't remember so well LOL
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,360
    It was 22 here this morning and you would think it’s Armageddon in Seattle.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,616
    tim smith said:

    It was 22 here this morning and you would think it’s Armageddon in Seattle.

    22° is damn cold when your home is not designed for that. Or when electricity is unavailable. OTH people lived in cold climates with only kitchen heat.

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