On 29 Jul 2014
HVAC repair - weird industry,
Automan Empire said:
Being in the auto repair business and doing my own HVAC repairs, I can kind of relate to not wanting to fix just one thing on an older system. People think if you fix something and charge money, you have bestowed immortality upon the entire rest of the unit, and when something else goes wrong even years later, you get calls like "It's doing the same thing you fixed before, I expect you to come fix it NAO!!1!! and not charge me a dime!"
On a leased building, I nursed a 60s vintage Chrysler Airtemp roof unit along for three years. First the blower motor went, so I bought a new one for $39 from Surplus Center. While installing it, the special rubber mounts all broke, so I had to fabricate replacements. ALL of the hardware was rusted to heck, making every step a fight.
THEN the compressor contactor failed knocking out one phase and causing loud disturbing humming, I found a generic surplus replacement for less than $10. Lots of fun trying to troubleshoot using a schematic that is as brittle and incomplete as a Dead Sea Scroll.
A month or so later it "did the exact same thing" but this time the problem was the circuit breaker in the landlord's back room... someone did the "turn off every breaker instead of finding the one that's tripped" trick, and one of the phases didn't make contact when switched back on, which I couldn't resolve until they were open again on Monday.
Then the thermocouple failed so no heat. I found a suitable substitute on ebay that plugged right in, and during replacement EVERY piece of hardware was intractibly stuck, and a special little elbow for the pilot snapped off. I wound up fixing that using parts from a disused shop heater... hours of work to fix the pilot piping and get the thermocouple sensor installed.
Bottom line, it was a LOT of work on my part, but for under $100 plus time I kept that old piece of s#$@ running for the three years we leased that building, but the ineffectual dick of a building owner will probably end up dropping five large for a new one when something else breaks after not very long.