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Worst Technician Stories

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  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    The guy who comes in late first thing, says some reasonable excuse. Next day same thing, late, and some different excuse. Third day, late, different excuse.

    Same guy, tells me how well he did in school and how smart he is. He does have a lot of trivial knowledge. But when he tries to take journeyman test, fails repeatedly. Says he isn't good at testing. I ask how he "did so well in school". No reply....

    True story. The boss still has him on....
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,000
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    Geez yu-know. I wasn't going to mention this one but I just have to.
    One guy showed up to work one morning.
    He forgot his shoes.......no shoes. Couldn't believe it. Really! No shoes.!
    He was carpooling. He didn't like wearing his shoes in the car. He said he took them off while in the car seat with his feet outside. When he turned his body into the car he left his shoes outside. He didn't realize what he had done till he got to work.
    DZoro
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    When we did our dormer, the plumber's apprentice dropped his fitting brush into the wall, so he went around to the other side and cut out a section of sheetrock that measured two square feet so he could get his brush back. "It's my best one," he said. "I hope you know someone who can spackle."
    Retired and loving it.
    Solid_Fuel_ManIntplm.Paul PolletsAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Wow @DanHolohan that's incredible!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    I have to admit it was a very nice brush. And he was quite happy to get it back. So there's that.
    Retired and loving it.
    Solid_Fuel_ManErin Holohan HaskellethicalpaulCanucker
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    @DanHolohan , I think that one appears in "Screwing Up".......
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    Good memory! ;-)
    Retired and loving it.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
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    @DanHolohan

    For a fitting brush?!!!. I would have made him do the patch.....on second thought that would be a bigger mess!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    He didn't know how to spackle. He said he was a plumber, not a carpenter. I needed to get someone else. Then he rolled his eyes.

    Seriously.
    Retired and loving it.
    rick in Alaska
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    On the other hand... one of the guys I learned a lot from, many decades ago, was an older man (passed away a number of years ago) -- and an alcoholic. I don't think I ever once saw him sober, and he was smart enough to not drive himself anywhere, but he was a really really good plumber -- quick, neat, accurate, never had a call-back for anything.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
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    Guy could be real good then have his son die , and crawl into a bottle for years.
  • SeanBeans
    SeanBeans Member Posts: 520
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    One of the guys I learnEd from was a real piece of work.. he would do everything and have me do all the stupid stuff like sealing the chimneyS..

    Only thing was he would finish the flue pipe last and immediately turn on the boiler. I’d have to sneak around trying to seal the chimney with a scorching hot exhaust pipe next to my neck..

    Got burnt more than once.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,516
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    wow I was away for a day and found lots of great stories. One guy I worked with as an apprentice was thrown out of his house by his wife for drinking. He would get drunk and sleep in the company van in the back parking lot. When I would have to work with him, the truck would smell like stale beer, flatulence, and body odor. Truck was filled with open food containers and old wrappers. Not sure how he cleaned himself or his clothes. I would have to keep the window down the entire time I rode with him. Boss finally fired him when he forgot to put the truck in park and crashed into the tree behind the shop
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
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    "I have never seen a drip leg on a gas pipe going into an oil burner"...

    Understand but........ funny thing ....... with sludge in line that might not be a bad idea.


    Just how much sludge would be in a natural gas line that had gone through a regulator to get it down from 50 psi to 7", then through the meter then up about 10 feet to the ceiling of my garage, across the ceiling and then down from 1-inch to 3/4 inch to go through the shut off valve, then down to 1/2 inch to go into the boiler (where there is another drip leg)? I would expect the sludge to collect in the lowest part of the system: the gas meter.
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 914
    edited July 2019
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    Way back in the year 1970 the HVAC contractor I worked for sold a roof vent fan on every job. He had a roofer that would only cut the hole and install the fan on the roof . Someone else would go back and hook it up. Well, the homeowner came home from work, opened the front door and was met with the roof cut out on the entrance floor. The entrance had a 2 1/2 story vaulted ceiling. Not only did he get a nice view of the fan but also had a cracked/broken tile floor. This is only 1 of many stories I have. I could write a book on screw- ups
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,516
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    @retiredguy Would not want that call
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 696
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    I get a call on a Saturday a couple of years ago. I’m told that one of our customer’s buildings was filled with CO and had to be evacuated. It was on the news. 70 doors had to be busted down check for people. After it was cleared the company I worked for at the time had sent the on call guy to check it out. They had two large Kewanee firetube boilers. He gets in, fires the boilers back up, spends some time checking combustion. He gets low and high fire burning alright but mid fire is dirty so he reasons that a dirty mid fire is what caused CO to spread throughout the building. Last time I checked it’s all supposed to go up the chimney. Anyways, after a couple hours he calls in and says he isn’t feeling well and leaves. He later went to the hospital with CO poisoning. So they send another guy there. He also tries to fire the boilers up but after some time they start tripping low water (steam boilers). He can’t get the low water problem figured out so he calls me. This is when he tells me about the CO issue and what happened and sent me the news stories. I told him to stop what he’s doing and get out - it’s been literally all day and no one has checked the CO problem. I get there and verify there is no CO in the building. I get down to the boilers. Fix the actuator causing low water problems. Start the boiler up and check draft. Boiler had positive draft and was dumping out of the barometric damper into the boiler room. I opened the large hatch at the bottom of the chimney to check chimney draft and it was like standing in a wind tunnel blowing into the boiler room. So I shut everything down and investigated. Building had a supply and exhaust fan for the rooftop make-up air units. The supply fan had tripped the motor starter and the exhaust fan was running alone. Those should be interlocked... but anyways. Someone had also taken some ducting apart in the boiler room. So all the boiler exhaust was being sucked into the ductwork and distributed throughout the building.

    The first guy almost killed himself. The second guy almost did the same thing - he tuned the boiler up and was about to leave when it tripped the low water. If the low water hadn’t tripped, he would have left the building and put all of those people right back into the same situation endangering their lives.
    Never stop learning.
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 722
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    Sounds like nobody did much of an investigation until you got there, @Mike_Sheppard Do you know if they implemented any procedures to prevent a future occurrence?
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,516
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    @Mike_Sheppard That is so scary. We had a university do the same thing. The makeup air fan tripped on low temperature. It was close to zero and the exhaust fan kept pulling Now code requires the makeup air fan and exhaust fan to be tied together.
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
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    Had a service tech who claimed he was God's gift to plumbing. On a boiler replacement that was time sensitive, he was to be at work before 8am. I was at the site at 7:30 and of course he didn't show up. When I called and asked of his whereabouts, he said he "was on his way". 2 hours later when he didn't show, I drove to his apartment and found him playing video games sitting on a gaming chair made entirely of unistrut (guess where the strut came from). Fired on the spot and had friend drive service truck back to shop.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    Wow! @Paul Pollets

    I dont understand people who cannot show up to work on time, we all have our days. But, that is incredible.

    Hmmm, a Unistrut chair doesn't sound all that comfortable. Silly gamers.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 839
    edited July 2019
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    Many years ago hired a plumber on Thursday, telling him, he can start on Monday.
    He says I will start tomorrow, on Friday. So he comes to work the next day, and at noon shows up in the office. Surprise surprise, he wants his check. I explained to him that checks are cut every 2 weeks, and he should not come to the office in the middle of the day to pick it up. So, he quits on the spot. Shortly after I get a letter from unemployment insurance, that he collects around $3 and change, as unemployment from me, every month.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,426
    edited July 2019
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    You know @gennady, NYS labor laws state that physical labor employees are required to be paid for every 40 hours worked (weekly) 😉
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,516
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    @Solid_Fuel_Man I agree I would not want to use a unistrut chair LOL
    @gennady Seems like a cheap price to pay for keeping him out of your company
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • lager
    lager Member Posts: 56
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    Late 1980's
    pulled in to shop parking lot noticed 6 refrigerators in a lean to behind our loading dock.
    Asked Warehouse foreman what's up with the refrigerators ? (we never purchased or installed kitchen appliances)
    Welllllll,,,,,,,one of the plumbers in an effort to hook up the ice makers had cut the refrigeration lines and soldered the copper water line to them,,,,,,,,,,,,did a good job though because he tested them and they did not leak !
    Owner wanted to keep them (since he had to buy them) and have service department replace the compressors.
    Moral of the story if you give someone a task, it may be best to make sure they understand how to perform such task, remember no leaks, :)

  • Jellis
    Jellis Member Posts: 228
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    I was called to a job for a water leak. When I arrived the lady showed me the leak which was on a piece of baseboard in the middle of the living room, burst from freezing. I went downstairs and shut off the water supply to the boiler and opened the boiler drain to drain the system, I leave the boiler draining and go back upstairs to start repairing the leak, the split is still gushing water with pressure even though the boiler had drained almost all its water.
    Turns out she had hired some "plumbers"to replace leaking pipes in the basement they connected the domestic water to the baseboard for some reason and the water was running through 8 feet of old baseboard before reaching the kitchen faucet! They forgot to turn the boiler back on too (luckily) since it was so low on water it never would have heated anyway.
    After i explained everything the lady she calmly said "that's what i get for hiring drug addicts"
    HVACNUTSolid_Fuel_ManJean-David Beyer
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,628
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    Ray I at one time had 106 techs working for me under my supervision at the gas company. I could tell you 106 stories that is for sure. I will have to do some thinking to pick the one that would be most interesting.
    MikeL_2
  • BoilerBoss
    BoilerBoss Member Posts: 5
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    One of my guys was supposed to bring a threader back to the shop the morning after the piping job was done. When I asked him where the threader was, he said he forgot it at home.

    This guy was always a troublemaker and I didn't trust him. I called his home phone and hacked into his message machine. There was a message from his neighbor thanking him for loaning "his" threading machine to him.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,516
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    @Jellis That would have been a head scratcher LOL
    @Tim McElwain I m sure you have lots of crazy stories Cant wait
    @BoilerBoss Wow you are like one of the detectives on TV
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,516
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    When I worked for a large control company as an apprentice, the journeyman I worked for used to like visiting the stripper bars. Rather than take his personal car, he would take the company van with the logos which reflected the headlights. Instead of parking in the back of the building, he parked in front and the branch manager was riding past the bar with his family when his young daughter yelled out, Daddy, that's where you work, pointing at the van. Needless to say, the tech was fired on Monday
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    ratioSeanBeansIntplm.