The time for celebrations, picnics, B-B-Q’s, and tune ups



Last time we talked, I was saying how I approached the most boring service call, the annual tune up.  Just to re-cap, my tune-up started a block before I arrived at the customers’ house.  I would look at the chimney and see if anything was going bad.  After greeting the customer at the front door, I would ask to go into the boiler room via the back entrance.  After spending the first five minutes or so speaking with the customer and asking them how everything went last winter or if they heard any funny noises, I would now get down to the task at hand. Remember, that tip depends on how the customer feels about you! 


Something I mentioned in the last paragraph is worth mentioning again, can you guess what it was?  If you said, ‘asking the customer if there are any strange noises,” congratulations.  If not, you need to listen.  You see, you are in so many homes and for such a small period of time, you simply can not know of any noises that are not normal to that home.  Your customer is an invaluable source of information and if you don’t ask them the questions, you won’t get their help.


            Ok, now that you are at the heating plant and everything is protected, I always started with the oil fuel unit and oil lines.  This to me is the heart of the system.  The amount of time spent on a tune up, I probably spent half of that time on the fuel unit and the oil delivery system.  I feel that it is that important.  In this day and age, it is important to do the tune up thoroughly!  I know the temptation to ‘hit and run” is strong, but that attitude will only cause you to be back again in the form of a call back.  To do the proper tune up takes time!  You can not possibly do it in 30 or 45 minutes.  Remember, the oil burner is not something that should be a source of explosion, let’s leave that for the celebrations on the Fourth of July.


              Most of the boiler rooms of today are really boiler closets, right?  So neatness is even more important.  And why is it that they always have a 60 watt bulb?  Did you ever notice that?  You should bring in a drop light with a 100 watt bulb so you can see what you’re doing.  I’m sorry, but you cannot do the proper job with a flashlight stuck in your mouth.  Did I hear you laugh at that?  Impossible you say?  Trust me, I have seen mechanics do just that.


            I have heard from many technicians that how they look should not affect how they work.  I agree.  However, it will affect who you work for.  You will not have the chance to show how good you are if you can’t get into the customer’s home.  Tattoos and body piercings (any visible), and unusual hair styles make a lot of people nervous.  I know that your individuality is important to you, but how the customer perceives you is important to your bottom line.  If you have anything permanently affixed to your body, cover it up.  Tattoos covering both arms? Wear long sleeve shirts.  Holes in your ears or nose? Not in my home!  Show them off at the proper location and that location is not when greeting your customer. 


            A few months ago, I offered to send anyone my list of basic tools needed to be in any technicians’ possession.  The response has been tremendous.  Anyone who would like a copy needs to just ask.  This is the basic list and by no means should you think that these are the only tools needed.  This is the list of tools to be used as the starting point for your collection.  If you missed that issue and would like a copy, drop me a line.  And as always, send me those war stories to I truly enjoy every one.


            One final thought, don’t spend all your time working this month.  This is the summer and you have deserved a break from last winter.  Go have a picnic, go enjoy the beach or the lake, go boating, play golf, or go fishing.  Most of all, enjoy the family because you never know what the next day or minute will bring.  ‘Till next time, I hope.



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