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Raisins & Turds...true story

DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,489
everyone takes the time to read this. Thanks, Robert.
Retired and loving it.


  • RB_2
    RB_2 Member Posts: 272
    Raisins & Turds...

    “How long ya been making variable speed drives”, asks the homeowner?

    “Well our first large scale variable speed drive plant started up in 1968, and just as a matter of fact, we won the 2000 Smithsonian Computer Award for our drive plant after being nominated by the world renown Xerox Corporation…why do you ask?”

    “Well my husband and I are absolutely convinced we need radiant floor heating and we are committed to putting it in…except for one thing…this fluid tempering stuff is throw’n us for a loop…no pun intended. We’re under pressure…oops…more punny stuff…. anyways we’re under pressure to make a decision …injection pumping or mixing valves…there is just so much information we’ve got ‘paralysis through analysis’ and the homebuilder and contractor need to know ASAP so they can order it all up.”

    “I sure empathize with you, especially because this evidently-important-decision has somehow taken priority over getting the kids fed, paying the mortgage and getting the oil changed in your car…so just out of curiosity, how did this become front and center of your day to day life and why do you care if it’s a valve or circulator responsible for tempering the fluid and while we’re asking questions…why is it important that you have tempered fluid at all?”

    “Boy, for someone in the business so long that’s a pretty stupid question, everyone knows you need to temper the fluid”, she says.

    “Yes and I have to admit we’ve been in the business a lot longer than that, 1933 to be exact. A long time to be stupid wouldn’t you agree? Anyways, the last time we checked the published research data most people in America ask for a HVAC system which is comfortable, efficient, affordable and as maintenance free as possible…so excuse my ignorance but can you explain to me what exactly it is you want? Is it to be comfortable, or is it to have tempered fluid in your system or is it to have a injection pumping or a mixing valve?”

    “Hmmm ok…I guess we’ve been seduced by technology…where ya going with this because we have a decision to make?”

    “I like that…cut to the chase…ok, lets pretend it’s the year 2015 and you have been through twelve or thirteen winters…and while we’re pretending to be in the year 2015 lets also pretend we’ve been hired to write two endings to this fairytale…one ending concludes with you and your family absolutely loving your system and the other has you divorced and fighting with everyone from the manufacturer to the contractor to the local inspector who approved the lousy system.”

    “I like this game, kind of a Steven Covey, ‘Begin with the End in Mind Approach’”

    “Exactly, at the end of the day, what we all really want is a comfortable, efficient and reliable system regardless of what makes it happen, would you agree?”

    “Yes, but isn’t it important to make sure the person responsible for my comfort install the right stuff…I mean everyone we’ve talked to has a different story…how can us, the average American tell who is giving us the straight goods?”

    “There are some great comfort contractors out there and I’m confident you’ll soon be working with one…if you want you can talk with many of them on Dan Holohans’, “The Wall” www.heatinghelp.com….anyways, let me ask a rhetorical question…if you had the chance in the next three seconds to slide into a Ferrari would you instantly become a skilled racer…probably not…the same is true with designing, selecting and installing an HVAC system…having a zippy control system in your home only matters to those which can understand it…the great comfort contractors have learned, trained and practiced their craft…you on the other hand…will own the wiz-bang racer and if you’re comfortable with this then put on your helmet.”

    Nodding she said, “I think I see where you’re going with this…hmm but not quite.”

    “Well let’s just assume for the moment that your new radiant system does in fact need some type of tempering device…do you really think that water molecule knows whether it’s been through a pump or a valve or a drive through at Starbucks?”

    “Probably not, just like I have no idea how my husband ended up in another city on the night of his stag!”

    “Exactly, you don’t know and he doesn’t know and it really doesn’t matter except for a mild case of curiosity…the fact is…he ended up in another ‘state’ by some method or means of transportation. Ok lets keep going…you appear to be…what twenty five old?”

    She replies, “Nice try bubba, my oldest is seventeen and we had him when I was twenty-seven.”

    I ask, “So just how did your husband feel when he was giving birth?”

    “Whadaya mean?” she stammered.

    I been listening very carefully to everything you’ve said and you said ‘we’…women always say ‘we’, but birthing ain’t a weeeee thing is it…never mind…ok, cause I’m a little slow, let me try to add this up…you gotta be at least forty something…but I won’t tell anyone cause you still look in your twenties…and that’ll put you approaching the gateway to the retirement years in 2015 right?”

    “Correctamungo again bubba, but don’t tell anyone.”

    “So lets go through the two different scripts…starting with some very good question. In the year 2015, middle of the worst cold snap ever. Your home appears to be at the fine temperature of a chilled Chardonnay. You start calling the local contractors and two things will happen. You’ll either get a get a busy signal or an answer. Realistically, in either case, after going through one of the largest construction booms of all time from 1990 to 2005 there was also a disproportionate declining pool of skilled mechanical tradesman, what do you think you’re odds are of getting someone skilled out right away?”

    You can see her eyes roll to the top of her head…“oh my…reruns of ‘Fear Factor’.”

    “Yes and there are three universal laws in heating…first, your system will need service during the coldest night of the year while you are entertaining guests, second, Mr. Wonderful will be busy for the next several hours, and the third universal law is number one and two never change. Reality check…the good contractors during a cold snap are always busy, yesterday, today and tomorrow…the challenge for you Mrs. Homeowner is in the year 2015, those talented contractors are going to be a rarer breed than today and worth every last dime they are going to charge you to repair the system…which incidentally is why becoming personal friends with a mechanical contractor should be on everyone’s priority list. Christams Gifts are a good start! Now the reputable firms will tell you any mechanical/electrical device is bound to need servicing or repair at some point in its life. So if it needs service or repair and it can’t be done immediately, what feature would you want in the system?”

    “Well, I guess given the option between freezing and not freezing, I’d want someway of temporarily controlling the systems until Mr. Wonderful shows up.”

    “Absolutely! So is it safe to say this ability to temporarily control the fluid to your floor is important to you?”

    “Yes, it is.”

    “…and Mr. Wonderful how about him?”

    “We’ll he just better get his you-know-what over as soon as he can!”

    “Yes, as soon as he can.” I agree. But what if he can’t…what if your home is in a remote location like the mountains of Colorado, Vermont or Alberta or perhaps you’re located in the cold prairie regions of Saskatchewan or Minnesota…what if Mr. Wonderful can’t get through to you…the worst case scenario…imagine it…let’s keep going…Mr. Wonderful does show up to fix your system and declares one of two things. “Ma’am, I’ve repaired it and here’s your bill.” or “Ma’am, it needs replacement parts.” If it needs parts…imagine what kind of stuff a contractor would need in his van to deal with the gazillion types of systems installed over the past thirty years…change is good except when it comes to replacement and repair parts. Then ask, “What are the odds of Mr. Wonderful having the exact parts for your 2001 Zippy System in his van at that exact moment in 2015?”

    “Ok, I’m listening but you still haven’t told me what to do yet.”

    “Let me quickly tell you a story about a truck I once owned. It was a brand new 1985 Ford F150. It had state-of-the-art ignition and I found out it had state-of-the art ignition when it failed while out camping with the kids, hundreds of miles from nowhere! To cut the story short the manufacturer swore it was a rare event and I was one of the few to have this happen. BUT, it did happen, AND one thing for certain, my lack of knowledge of ignition system meant I was glued and screwed…thinking back, it reminds me of a quote by famous investors Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger on the evils of stock speculation and technology…they said ‘when you mix raisins and turds, you still get turds’…so what did you say your knowledge is of heating controls?”

    “Absolutely none, zero, zip and nice story by the way…and ya better get to the point and tell me what to do.”

    “ Let's finish up...if I were you in the year 2015 and still happily married with grand kids, enjoying the comfort of my coccon, I’d imagine what a happily married women would be saying… do you think this person would say, ‘I’m so glad we chose a contractor who had the smarts and foresight to have us soon-to-be-old folks in mind back then.’ I’d be saying to my close-to-retired husband, ‘remember that cold nasty night in 2005, when you were away on business in Florida and the house was getting cold and grandma was upstairs with the flu, remember how I called up Mr. Wonderful and he told me over the phone how to manually operate the system until he got there the next day.” “I’d be able to say one cold day in 2012 Mr. Wonderful came by to service our system and he had all the right parts because the stuff he installed years ago was timeless.” “I like to be able to say to my grandkids that Mr. Wonderful company had installed Granddads system, our systems, your mom’s system and hopefully someday your system…heck everyone of us knows what to do in an emergency so no need to worry about getting cold.” “I’d be able to say that over the years we have owned the home, the heating system provides us with the lowest operation cost for equipment available at that time.” Would you like to be able to say these things about your system and contractor…. in the future?”

    “Why of course and I’d be telling all my girlfriends…Mr. Wonderful would have a whole gaggle of customers like me!”

    “I believe Dear Mrs. Soon-to-be-the-owner-of-a radiant-floor-heating-system, that you have then defined exactly the criteria you need to tell your contractor…and if he says he can meet your needs of comfort, efficient, reliability and budget…and has a list of loyal customers to prove it…then he’s your man…. because the really good Mr. Wonderfuls of the world, those who’s businesses have survived through thick and thin, avoided the seductions of technology, learned how to properly size and select timeless equipment which is right for you.”

    “Raisins and Turds …wow, nice pitch mister…so you’re a variable speed pumping guy or valve guy?”

    “Yes and yes, our company has engineered, manufactured and distributed HVAC controls around the globe for over sixty five years. We’ve learned every home owner or building operator has different needs and we’re in no position to tell you what we think is important, its your home and your family, so ask yourself, ‘what end results do I need?”

    “Should I make a list?”

    “Absolutely! So many of the best contractors have invested countless hours in training and we, like many of the reputable manufacturers in America, have been privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in their careers…the great contractors know how to properly apply the different technologies, so their customers, customers like you, feel like they get what they need, not what others want you to have. So to get what you need, define the end results…share your list…. tell the contractor, ‘Mr. Contractor imagine the two of us are having a conversation in the year 2015 or 2020 and we’re still communicating even after a few close calls and I am still happy to recommend you to our grandkids’, and ‘like the other past generations in your business, I know you will do right by us today’.”

    “Ok any last words of wisdom?”

    “One last story, my dad would take us into the barber every third Saturday morning for a haircut and the standard greeting to Mr. Barber was, ‘Hey Bill, whadda ya think, kids need a haircut’, Mr. Barber always replied, ‘sure do, kids can always use a haircut’. So be careful from whom you ask advice, some folks only know how to use scissors.”

    Mr. Wonderful understood what the CEO of a famous manufacturer of men’s razors meant when he said, “Every man lives in his wife’s home” and he trained religiously by Mr. Lubes motto of “We are Fluent in all Fluids”…he knew what she wanted today based on her needs of tomorrow…and the last I had heard, this wonderful woman (and her husband) purchased a system for their home, from Mr. Wonderful’s company knowing it would provide reliable, efficient comfort well into their retirement years.

  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162

    bed time story(G). HEY! If only someone would get their "band in a box" over here and add a modem connection, then in 2015 it wouldn't matter where that lady was located. We could service or reprogram her control from the comfort of OUR own warm cacoon. By then, we probably won't even need a hard wired line - the controls will have their own cell number(G).

    Nah, forget that - she wouldn't want to pay for the service!

    OK, forget the controls, mixing valves and/or variable speed do-dads. When's the last time we saw a standing pilot millivolt boiler for manual over ride operation?

    Back to the future!

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • John@Reliable
    John@Reliable Member Posts: 379
    Great Story

    Great story RB, hopefully most who read it will get it!Idid thanks
  • Steve Levine
    Steve Levine Member Posts: 106
    Raisins and Turds


    You are absolutely correct. How about going back to basic good comfort. Atmospheric boiler, with baseboard radiation. I think that comes closest to providing for the year 2015.
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Arby, you're a funny guy

    You must be "off the road" or something. Great post :)

    hot rod

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • keith
    keith Member Posts: 224
    out smarting ourselves

    Yeh thats the ticket, Thanks for sharing Keith
  • RB_2
    RB_2 Member Posts: 272
    I knew I was off something....

    Road, rocker, ...road-rocker?medication....off yes.

    Been home for holidays few weeks...reacquaint myself with the family again.

    Must say despite my hectic schedule?I really love what I do, the last two years of travel across North America doing seminars will be a highlight of my career and one, which I will fondly remember into retirement.

    Great industry - great people!

    Looking forward to seeing many again at ISH & Wetstock.

    Happy fall fishing to all you anglers out there?watch out for the bears!

  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    raisins and turds.....food for thought:)

    thanks Mr Bean........quite the "provacative"yarn:)

  • RB_2
    RB_2 Member Posts: 272
    Still slice'n & dice'n

    Hey Mike...(my youngest son is a Mike...we call him Miko (meeko)...all his wake/skate and snow boarding knarly dude bro's think its so cool)...ahem...how are ya?

    Still slic'n and dice'n up the English language and melting it back together into its original thick unpublished form...eh?

    Update for ya...We've been grown the bizz and just under half of our team are musician...we're cranking the tunes out the sound system all day...one of our tech assemblers is a 65 years old a studio guitarist with a superb bluesy Tom Waits sound (but better)...a pro in the shop and a pro on the strings...he can stick around as long as he wants...guys are playing desk top drums and air guitar in the cubicles...working nine to five we are not!

    Some cool radiant stuff happening for the 2003 AHR Expo in Chicago...yours truly will be presenting for the first time an ASHRAE Short Learning Course on the Fundamentals of Panel Heating and Cooling. Been a year and half project...had some great influence from Larry Drake, Gary Hayden, David Springer and watching my back at the seminar, just in case some of the wizards show up...Dr. Kilkis is riding shotgun...my job...take some very techno stuff and keep it simple...his job...take the techno stuff and wow the wizards.

    Also, during the week several committees will be discussing the "Request for Proposal on Hybrid Systems-1221".

    Highlights: Title: Development of Rating Parameters For Hybrid HVAC Systems (1221-TRP) Sponsoring Technical Committee: TC 6.4, In-Space Convective Heating Budget Range: $100,000 may be more or less as determined by value of proposal and competing proposals. Scheduled Project Start Date: April 1, 2003 or later.

    For all the details visit the ASHRAE web site follow the yellow brick road...

    go to www.ashrae.com

    go to Research

    then Research Projects Ready to Bid

    then scroll down to 1221-TRP, Development of Rating Parameters For Hybrid HVAC Systems, TC 6.4, In-Space Convective Heating.

    read...take two asprin and see us at ASHRAE.

    Take care and hope to see you soon.

  • RB_2
    RB_2 Member Posts: 272


    Let me guess...those pics from our visit to your Consulate Mansion Reno...we're in your stolen camera...

    Awesome project by the way...when do we get to see the boiler room?

    See you at ISH.

  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    Mr Bean

    You're a legend in your own time man.........gotta love the Waits!

  • RB_2
    RB_2 Member Posts: 272
    Would the real Legend please stand...



    Dan's the guy on the left...can't believe this guy works for me...he's the real Legend...I'm just a pathetic wanna be!

This discussion has been closed.