PED's for an HVAC Technician?

  An acronym for what is synonymous with all that is bad with the American Pastime, Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's) have been proven to inflate a ballplayer's performance.  Most important in contract years, a player's performance is measured in specific statistics.  So, what if there was a pill, or cream, that an HVAC Technician or Salesperson could take to inflate their numbers.  Make them perform at the top of their field and get them the highest pay in the industry?  Would you take it?  Even if a doctor prescribed it?
  We all know there is no such thing out there, but that we are all human and would at least entertain such an idea.  Imagine what this would mean for a small business: no more call backs, closing sales at the highest rate, and no chance of burn out.  Sounds like the perfect solution for an industry that is understaffed and generally technically deficient.  As an owner or manager, would you question such high performance?  Likely not,  in the same way the blind eye was turned in Major League Baseball.
  In the fast paced world of contracting, performance enhancers could take many forms.  Most importantly to note, none of these solutions are a drug and work immediately!  So, let's change that last word to "Performance Enhancing Development".  I want to share a few things that could improve your performance, all that are legal and will not get you arrested!

1.  Digital Tools; Large advancements have been made in tools over the last (5) years in the HVAC industry.  Investing in digital tools will make your job easier, faster, and more concise.  Take digital refrigerant analyzers for example, you now can see Superheat and Subcooling in real time, without the need of math or charts.  These gauges will do to A/C what Combustion Analyzers did to the heating industry: easier, faster, and more concise!

2. Customer Relations; Listen to what the customer has to say, no matter how busy you are.  They are always going to tell you what is wrong with the system, maybe with some incorrect vernacular.  Remember they live with this system every day of the year, they know what is out of the ordinary.  By listening, and responding to their needs, you will build trust.  Also, you are the expert in the house, they called you and agreed to pay for the expert.  Many technician's demise root cause was poor Customer Relations.  Maybe next time you sign up for a class, it doesn't need to be about a piece of equipment.  Try Customer Relations, no customers equals no business!

3.  Read The Manual; If everything were installed per manufacturer's recommendations, there would be more time to take on new customers instead of chasing call-backs.  Every technical class you have attended, or plan to attend, is probably based on a manual or two. Trust me on this: before you install the next piece of equipment, or even sell one, read the installation manual.  I believe most can even be found via the Internet, compatible with most smartphones these days.  Specifying equipment for a job?  Are you aware of the local code and proper system design?  Yes, there are manuals for this too.

  Some very simple investments (both time and money) can increase your performance in this industry for the long haul.  Anything that promises a quick fix or immediate results will likely fade and break down over the years.  A wise Drill Instructor (oxy-moron?) once told me that "Knowledge is Power".  I have come to realize that he may have been on to something.  You see, no matter where you choose to work, your personal tools, knowledge, and skill go with you.  With these tools, knowledge, and skill  over time comes experience and confidence.  This is what will improve your performance, but it takes time.  So have some patience, and invest in yourself.  There is no magic pill or cream...

A/C a Necessity in New England?

  I remember not all too long ago, yes I am still on what I hope to be the first half of my life, that Central Air-Conditioning was a luxury.  Like the radio, then the television; next the telephone, and now the cell phone, Air-conditioning has become a necessity.  What was before Air-Conditioning?  What did the weather people (yes, politically correct here on Excess Air) say to the elderly before they would recommend "staying inside, out of the heat"?
  I remember what I used to do when I was a kid.  We didn't have the house in the Hamptons, that is for sure!  I remember visiting my Grandmother very often to swim in her pool.  Or maybe the family would head to the beach for the day.  This seems counter-intuitive in my household these days, but it has to be cooler with that breeze off the water, right?  The ride was close to horrible, as we did not have a car with A/C either. 
  I remember spending countless summer days outside playing baseball, golf, or whatever neighborhood game du jour.  I never passed out, got a skin burn, or even remember it being too hot!  But this weekend, when taking a picture of my daughter in her tiny swimming pool, I told her to, "Smile!"  To my surprise she replied, "Daddy, it is too sunny to smile..."  This from a three year old, a very aware, smart, and means the world to me three year old.  The next day, my built-in A/C, essentially a window unit, failed.  So, being the "ACE Technician" I say I am, I pulled that thing out of the chassis and remembered I couldn't even get a set of gauges on it!  How can you fix an appliance when you can't even use the right tools?  Needless to say, the new unit was "installed" a few hours later, to my household's delight.
  This made me think, long into the last few evenings, about what has become of the HVAC industry in New England.  No longer can a family wait until morning to have their A/C diagnosed, but yet it is no problem if they have no heat in the dead of Winter.  No longer can an elderly person take a stroll on a nice Summer day.  No longer do cars cost more with A/C as an option, as it has become "standard".  So, in a time of expendable appliances, how long before I cannot diagnose and fix a central A/C and it becomes viewed like a Refrigerator - just another necessary appliance that is cheaper to replace than fix!  I think we all may forget, some of us only a little, where we came from.  I admit, I once told an old woman who called me years ago on Independence Day to open a window!  She complained and mentioned she didn't see how she would be able to make it through the night.  I still feel a little guilty today, but I genuinely believed it and might have been a little bitter after being in Iraq the previous year.  Did the world really get that much hotter to which we as humans can no longer bear (some experts may argue yes here), or have we taken a luxury and turned it into a necessity?