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Ken C.
Ken C. Member Posts: 267
Let's say you are called to replace a circulator, and you give the customer a price up front. They're fine with it, so you replace the circulator. When you go to purge the sytem, when you notice the temp/pressure gauge is stuck. Obviously, you need to replace the gauge to get an accurate reading for purging/filling the system. You purge the system and get ready to fire the boiler, but then you notice that a boiler drain keeps dripping, and tightening it with pliers doesn't stop the drip, so the system needs to be drained down again, so the boiler drain can be replaced, then purged again. My question is, how do you present this to the customer when you go to settle the bill? We know that old valves tend to leak if they haven't been operated in a long time, but some customers don't care - their attitude is, "It didn't leak until you touched it," so they don't think they should have to pay. How do you handle this type of customer? Ken


  • kevin coppinger_4
    kevin coppinger_4 Member Posts: 2,124

    you make the changes do you ask first? Hose caps work well...A safety device like a gauge would be a bit different....if the customer would not be understanding that you are working in their best interest ...that would be the last time I would do any work for them....kpc
  • Glenn Harrison_2
    Glenn Harrison_2 Member Posts: 845
    How about quoting the valves ahead of time.

    Just automatically assume that the valves will leak and quote them to replace them. Or how about a test drain? Open the drain valve for 30 seconds to test it, and if it drips, then you know you need to replace them with the pump and can quote appropriatly.

    The gauge is a tougher call, but if you show them that the gauge is bad after you drained the unit, but before reilling, you should be o.k. Just explain that the gauge looked o.k. at filled pressure, but obviously draning the sytem shows the gauge is bad. Or you could just quote the gauge too as part of the pump repair, and then make them happy with a reduced bill because you didn't have to replace it.
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    Tricks of the Trade....

    Let me go at this a little backards. First off, you should never have to completely drain a heating system for something as simple as replacing a T&P gauge, relief valve or drain cock. Shut off the make up valve, isolate the expansion tank if you can, then releive the excess pressure, close any autopmatic air vents that might decide to become a vacuum breaker.

    Pre-prep the replacement items. Replace them one at a time and lose maybe a gallon of water. Spin em off, spin em on. Zip, zip. GLug, Glug. I usually keep a large powerful water vac immediately handy just in case...

    Trust me when I tell you I've had my share of boiler room showers.

    Now, how to explain these things to the consumer. Explain to them that their heating system is not too much unlike their automobiles. It requires special skills to be worked on, and trouble shooting is rather difficult because there are so many parts to their puzzle. As an automobile for example, you found the car with a flat back tire, you fixed it. You started the car (if it will) and put it in gear, only to find out that the spider gear in the rear end pumpkin is busted. You replace that, restart the engine (if it will) and find out that the transmission shudders something fierce under a decent load. Bands are loose and need tightening. You fix the tranny, only to have the fuel injection system crap out, and you haven't even left the curb yet!

    Boilers are like that...

    Just as you described. Complaint starts as one thing and then EVERYTHING goes south. If you could predict all of these things, you wouldn't be doing what you're doing...Which IS an honerable thing:-)

    If you had assemble a bid covering everything that you touch as going to go bad, you woulldn't have gotten the job in the first place, and some other poor sucker (possibly ME) gets to be the bearer of bad tidings. Then you become the REAL villain they THOUGHT you were:-)

    You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    All you can do is be as honest as you can, and they'll understand. $#!t happens man...

    All you can do is the best you can do, given the circumstances...

  • Vernon P. James
    Vernon P. James Member Posts: 42

    For those of us die hards that haven't converted to "flat rate" there are no extras just time and materials for service.
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