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What's Not In Stock?

HeatingHelp Posts: 366
edited April 1 in THE MAIN WALL
imageWhat's Not In Stock?

I asked a bunch of heating contractor friends what was missing from their wholesaler’s stock and how they felt about that. They had some interesting things to say and I thought you might want to listen in.

Read the full story here


  • Jackmartin
    Jackmartin Member Posts: 175
    We are having a hard time getting wet lubricated circulators, why I have no idea. The products to make electronic circuit boards are also in short supply, so my computer literate sons tell me, I have had long waiting times for replacement boards, in fact on one job I replaced the electronics with dry contacts in a a perf plate box after they said I had a four month waiting period, the temperature was 35 below, what was the customer supposed to do leave let the place to freeze and go back in the spring?? The other complaint I have is with the people the wholesales are employing, they take anyone off the street, the kid knows nothing and unlike the old days when the counter guys could come up with an alternate way to do what you needed, the current crop don't know what you are talking about. Ah well just an old phart complaining ,if you can't complain at my age when can you? Stay Well and Be Blessed, Jack
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,414
    This is another reason we don't recommend mod-con boilers. Nobody stocks parts for them, and there are so many different ones that there is no set of commonly-used parts that a contractor could stock. With a cast-iron boiler, we can often fix the problem right off the truck. With a mod-con we're often looking at a two-week lead time.

    This is not new. In the early days of oil burners, there was no standardization at all. This caused so many service issues that many manufacturers settled on a set of standardized, interchangeable parts that could be used to fix all or most burners. We see the effect of this today, since for example, the motor or fuel unit used on a Carlin EZ burner can also fit a Beckett AFG or NX. But then there's Riello................
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • BradHotNCold
    BradHotNCold Member Posts: 42
    Not exactly on point, but a similar issue on parts supply, to say nothing of experienced mechanics. We have a SAAB with 113K miles...!
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,840

    Everyone says Reillos are great burners. I worked on a lot of their commercial burners mostly gas and they are nice burners. I started up 11 boilers in a Boston hi rise. One boiler somebody had wacked the end of the blower motor by accident and the plastic housing was driven into the cooling fan into the plastic end bell making a racket. I pulled the fan and cover off and ran the burner enough to complete the start up then left that boiler down so the motor wouldn't overheat.

    Called reillo and asked for a cooling fan and plastic cover. 8 weeks later they shipped me a new complete motor, metric of course so the don't have motors in stock. Another job with a Weishaupt burner on a Buderus needed an fuel oil pump, metric. We had a school down with no heat while they flew a Suntec pump in from France. Not good. Everyone tells me parts are available but there not. These euro companies should have at least 1 wharehouse on the east coast and one on the west coast with everything in stock if they want to sell their equipment over here.

    I don't wan't any of t in my house

    And the Reillo residential I only worked on one all special parts.

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,840
    Has anyone looked at the price of copper wire or PVC conduit lately??

    Hold onto your wallet. PVC electrical boxes are in short supply

  • Rocky_3
    Rocky_3 Member Posts: 231
    Wow. Spot on. When I saw the headline, first two things that popped in to my head were American made pipe fittings and pipe, and knowledge. Then I read article and sure enough, it appears as if I am not alone. Then I thought about my wholesalers “brand swapping”, here today, gone tomorrow, and how I now have equipment in the field I no longer have support or parts for. Shazam! Looks like I am not alone again. Being in Alaska myself, I know too well how difficult it can be to get parts when we are literally at the end of the supply chain. At -40, we simply do not have the luxury of waiting 3 days minimum to get a part. In Fairbanks, “next day air” is not next day. Trust me on this. In the past with oil equipment, it was not so critical as there is always a way to get it to run until the right part comes in. With gas hitting Fairbanks the last few years and the amount of proprietary parts for these gas heating systems increasing exponentially, it makes it nearly impossible to service something in the middle of the night, or the next day, (or the next day, or the next day). Coupled with brand swapping, we are left to figure it out on our own. Thought I was being smart by utilizing a major US brand for our gas boilers, but the rep and manufacturer came to a parting of the ways and now no support in Alaska for this major brand. Beyond frustrating as we have several of these mod/con systems installed. Timely article, Dan. Thanks!
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,004
    When I ask the local supply house to stock stuff I like, their answer is ‘but your the only one who buys it’...I usually reply that I’d buy more if they had it. I would say that I’m now buying over 50% online with deliveries almost daily. I feel no sympathy for the local supply houses. They are doing themselves in.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,840
    @gerry gill

    100% on that. They are slowly killing themselves. The old local supply houses used to be pretty good. Now the giant chains like FW Webb & Furgeson they say they have everything and have nothing.

    I went into Webb to get a gauge glass set and they didn't have them told me to make them up out of a separate gauge glass , washers and valves. They didn't have the valves and I walked out the door
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,647
    I recently stop Furgerson needing a simple pa404 not one on the shelve nor any steam safety valve among a bunch of what I thought where common items. Drove 20 minutes on the shelf of a non chain supply who would have guessed and cheaper also .But Furgerson did have a brass x copper ips x sweat when I ask how much They quoted over a 117 bucks i of course returned it went else where and got it for about 1/2 the price .personally Furgerson’s about 5 minutes from my home but I find more and more they have nothing and there’s pricing which was never the best has gone off the deep end ,with the shelves getting bare from the stock that was left from Blackman also there corona hours of closed doors at 4 has left me wasting my time drive else where I ll say that the counter guys are great at least where I went . As for the pricing every where all I can say is rewrite all your quotes w the lastest pricing I ve been caught twice and I paided dearly for it . Now it’s as though you have to add another 20 to 30 % just to cover the increases and let’s not talk about the price of pvc took a hit on that one and gasoline but it’s all ok the free money the gov gives he just charges the rest of us and as some realize the price will never drop at least I ve never seen the price of any thing ever in my life time ever drop back, why cause the people just gets used to it plain and simple . I would in all surety say that everything will continue to increase and there will be less and less choices to pick from .there will always be the cheap products with the most mark up available cause that’s smart business practice for large chain supply houses zero support and mostly garbage . Which for me doesn’t t mean much basically I try to deal w independent supply house which are still personal and they don’t care that I don’t do 500 grand a year . At least there there s no corporate and upper management and stocks and when I pay more that’s ok cause when I receive a bad part there no bull ,they go to the back and give me another one plain and simple . There’s only so many time s a place screws you before u realize they suck . Sorry for the long rant but in closing if most of us pulled this crap we would be in front of the board of lic and be hung out to dry for price gouging and over charging but Corp got it all covered , some one once told me you may work for yourself but in reality your working for the supply houses there usually the one making the $ selling Chinese fittings and pipe how American . lol peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,840

    I couldn't have done a better rant myself. All true
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,863

    When I ask the local supply house to stock stuff I like, their answer is ‘but your the only one who buys it’...I usually reply that I’d buy more if they had it. I would say that I’m now buying over 50% online with deliveries almost daily. I feel no sympathy for the local supply houses. They are doing themselves in.

    If you count the cost of your time, you can overnight it from a warehouse directly to you or the customer for less than the cost of dealing with the supply house twice.

    Not only are they doing themselves in by deciding what they carry only on profit, not on if someone will need this in an emergency, they also frequently give a homeowner like me attitude about not being in the trade or won't sell to me at all, or will sell at the fictional MSRP that the manufacturer sets so that they can tell everyone they are getting a discount.

    I needed a 4 11/16 2 toggle cover. I went to one of the local electrical supply houses. First they somehow didn't have it in stock, they had to get it from their Toledo warehouse, it took them a week to get it from Toledo to Ann Arbor, and they charged me $13 for it. I could have ordered it and paid shipping for less than what it cost to get it from them and I wouldn't have had to get there while they were open.
  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 678
    I went to a vendor on Thursday to grab two 1 inch 45s and two 1 inch couplings. Bins empty. No stock in the back. I asked them to check other nearby locations (Ferguson) there’s like 20 locations in the area. One location had a single 45 in stock and it was not nearby at all. Checked a few other vendors and same - no 1 inch 45s or couplings.

    Ended up getting them from Home Depot.
    Never stop learning.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 653
    I"m with Gerry on so much of this. We are extremely fortunate to still have some independently owned wholesalers in Chicago that actually stock the parts for the products they sell. They are the only companies I work with. The big chains carry nothing and thier pricing is obscene. However, for a lot of the extras we sell (i.e. stack dampers for boilers) or for the occasional hot water boiler we install, to get the products we want, we buy online. We install the simpliest cast iron boiler we can find, warning potential customers about the problems of the proprietary designs. We regulary get calls from folks that bought these "high'-efficiency" boilers and can't find anyone to fix them.
    We made the decision some time ago to almost exclusively work with steam, and one of the main reasons is that proprietary components are few and far between......we can fix almost anything with what on the back of our trucks or from a nearby wholesaler. One of the few places we use proprietary components is on our Carlin burners......We find that to be a good thing since the quality of the commonly used Honeywell components is beyond poor. Carlin, in thier Widsom, uses the same control components across many burners, making it easy to stock the components since no one else in Chicago does.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,286
    Hold on to your britches, it's only going to get worse as we move into the Greater Depression.
    Thanks for the good news, Homer.

    As I said in an earlier post, you better learn how to fix things instead of being just a parts replacer.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 2,863

    As I said in an earlier post, you better learn how to fix things instead of being just a parts replacer.

    There are lots of people that solve their lack of technical skill by making the part they replace the entire boiler or furnace.
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 728
    I needed 2- 4"groove x 4" thread nipples any length the other day. I called a wholesaler they said gotta wait til 8 when they open to call for price and availability! I said, fine. Next I here "yeah in stock, heres the price XX.XX" and I said how long do I gotta wait, they said 3 weeks!!! Then blamed the ship that was stuck in the canal. I was floored! I called around found them in stock at a different place.

    I wake up early and like to get going early, but my local wholesaler doesn't "officially" open til 7. They are inside working at 4:30 to stock and unload the CD truck. Typically I can knock on the door and they will let me get what I need. One of the more lazy individuals the other day saw me pull in and locked the door and hid. I was pretty unimpressed. I am currently going somewhere else for parts.
    Montpelier Vt
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