Month: November 2016

wire_rubout

There are a few important things that I suggest checking on every service call to reduce callbacks and increase customer satisfaction. One of them that often gets missed is preventing wire rub outs.

One of my area managers and experienced tech Jesse Claerbout shot a video showing the simple step he takes to prevent major damage.

We also just release a new podcast episode today that you can hear in any podcast app or by listening HERE

Cheers!

–Bryan


In order to maintain combustion (burning) you need three things, fuel, heat and oxygen. If you have all three in the proper proportion you can maintain a continuous state of combustion.

Remove one (or reduce one sufficiently) and the triangle of combustion can collapse.

In a common NG gas furnace the heat is the igniter, the fuel is Natural Gas and the oxygen is provided by combustion air.

Combustion air is literally just the air needed to provide a continuous supply of air for proper combustion (burning).

All gas fired appliances must have both a flue / chimney to exhaust the leftover products of combustion (outlet) as well as combustion air to provide the oxygen for burning (inlet).

In high efficiency furnaces the combustion air is generally piped in, directly from the outside straight into the combustion chamber. This creates a dedicated source of oxygen and also a cleaner install as no other provisions need to be make for combustion air.

In 80% furnaces the burners usually have “open” combustion and they rely on air being drawn into louvers on the furnace cabinet. In this design the space on which the furnace resides must have open communication to the outdoors or other “uncontained” space.

Not to get into the specifics of code, but you must have a dedicated method to get significant air to the furnace . If you do not, the real possibility exists that the furnace could begin burning improperly creating an unsafe condition for the occupants due to Carbonmonoxide.

Different parts of the country provide combustion air in differnent ways, but you MUST have some method of providing unlimited fresh air to a furnace or to the room in which the furnace is located. This means when a furnace is in a tight space, ensure you have some sort of significant combustion air.

— Bryan

Grounded_240v

One of the most common questions we get from techs is about using a volt meter to diagnose a high voltage circuit. It’s especially tricky when a tech is used to working on Low voltage or 120V circuit where there is a clear “hot” side of the circuit and a clear “grounded” side of the circuit. In 120V you have one hot leg and the other side is neutral which is actually connected to ground back in the panel. Most (but not all) 24v transformers have one hot leg and the other leg is grounded. A car has one 12VDC Hot and the other side is grounded to the chassis.

All of these cases cause techs to get used to putting one meter lead to ground and “walking” the other lead through the circuit, looking for where the voltage is lost. While this is still not the best idea even on these circuits, it usually works.

However…

in 240v or 3 phase diagnosis it doesn’t work. Here is why –

The other “side” of the completed circuit is not grounded at all. So when you check to ground, you are checking to a point that has literally NOTHING to do with the completed circuit you are diagnosing. Even more important is the fact that you will often read “120v to ground” even when the leg you of power you are attempting to diagnose is open.

Here’s an example

Simple_Schematic_240v

Let’s say you are trying to see if the IFR contact is open. So you put your meter from L1 to ground. Good news you have 120v. So now you are feeling confident and you read from IFR terminal 2 to ground and you still have 120v. So now you think, “The IFR terminals are closed because I have 120v on each side”…

WRONG!

You will have 120V to ground on IFR terminal 2 regardless of whether the contacts are open or closed. If they are open you will be reading 120v backfed through the motor from L2, if they are closed then you will read L1.

In other words it’s a pointless test.

Take a deep breath…

This next part is gonna take some focus to understand. If you don’t intend to pay careful attention to these next paragraphs you won’t benefit.

Instead read from L1 to L2 and confirm 240V then read from IFR1 to L2 then from IFR2 to L2. If you have 240v on IFR1 and not IFR2 then you know IFR is open…

An alternate method if you are DEAD SET on reading to ground is to check IFR1 to ground. If you have 120V then check from IFR1 to IFR2. If you read anything across the contacts you would then know they were open.

Remember..

You will read potential (voltage) so long as a path and difference in charges exists, across a load and across an open switch. You will not read potential (voltage) across a closed switch because a closed switch has no potential difference across it.

Final notes –

You are encouraged to check both legs to ground for safety purposes to confirm. disconnect is actually off and open.

Checking to ground can be a way to check the ground itself, although in that case a de-engergized ohm or megaohm test can often be a better test.

–Bryan


I walked in to my first real job interview in the A/C business. The manager was a guy named Ernie and he walked me out to the warehouse.

Quick warning.. guys named Ernie are tough. Don’t mess with dude named Ernie.

Anyway..

He walked up to a box, snatched a pen out of his shirt pocket and scribbled a circle, 3 dots and three numbers on it while grunting “which is common, start and run”

I was in luck….

While I may have had almost zero practical knowledge of air conditioning, this was one thing I HAD actually learned in school.

I marked the terminals and I got the job.

Before you say that this information is useless let me stop you. 

It isn’t useless. It may not be something you use every day, but I have needed to ohm out a motor or compressor a handful of times and it got me out of a pinch.

So here it goes

The lowest ohm reading is between Common and Run

The middle ohm reading is between Common and start 

The highest ohm reading is between start and run

Common is just a point between start and run and therefore the common to start and run to start readings will add up to the run to start reading.

Here is how I remember this (let the mockery begin)

Starting is hard… so it has the highest resistance 

Running is hard also… but not as hard as starting, so it has a resistance less than start.

Common is easy… being common requires the lowest resistance

So common to run is the least and start to run is the most.

Understanding common, run and start is uncommon… so it requires a lot of resistance… so start… knowing it

OK I’m done. 

Happy Thanksgiving ? 

— Bryan

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