Made in The USA?

Like many of you I have listened to all of the presidential hopefuls talk about how they in their own way will make America strong or great. I have throughout my life always looked at the United States as the strongest of all the countries, anyway.

However, as I think back to my younger days, like some of you I remember our first TV. It was an Admiral, and then came Philco, Zenith and GE to name a few. Of the cars I recall Ford, Chrysler, Packard, Crosley, Studebaker and Chevrolet. There were also many burners I can recall: the Winkler, Williams Oil O Matic, Carlin, Beckett, Wayne, Detroit, Desoto and of course the famous Rotary burner. Can you guess what they had in common? If you said that they were all made in the USA, you are correct. Which is just my point.

Today, it’s hard to find anything that doesn’t have a foreign label attached. China, Japan and Romania are common examples. I have often asked myself and others why, and the answer I get is always the same: cheap labor.

I recently heard that one of the large U.S. air conditioning manufacturers has moved out of the United States to Mexico. Other than labor cost I have not heard another reason for the move. Could they produce a better product there? I guess we’ll see! I feel sorry for the many workers who I’m sure were dedicated employees for years, who lost their family income.

I have also heard that other U.S. manufacturers are outsourcing their products for the same reason. Quality has been something that I have tried hard to maintain throughout both my personal and professional life. I always felt that quality, rather than quantity, was most important. Even GE would always advertise that “at GE quality is the most important product.”

Recently I had an experience that left me with a queasy feeling. I met with a property manager who had installed several wall-hung boilers in a large condo complex. They were all equipped with a specific brand service ball valve and after two years when he went to shut of the valve for servicing a unit the handle broke off, which also left the unit inoperable.

He found that the valves were made in China and packaged in the United States. I will say, however, there was a positive ending to this situation. The company that made the valve put in their literature that the product has a lifetime warranty and they shipped new valves to the property manager at no charge. They also took back the bad valve to look for the cause of the failure. I think that products manufactured out of the U.S. lack some degree of quality control, and, yes, I will agree that even in the United States quality sometimes comes into question. I have also heard from many of the wholesale suppliers that it is not unusual to have a product returned that has nothing wrong. This is generally caused from lack of knowledge pertaining to the product. In the case of electrical components, “plug and play” has become the answer to this type of issue.

As I close out this article, I want to thank all the U.S. HVAC equipment manufacturers who deliver their products with quality and pride and, in doing so, support American families.

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