Bonus – Blue Collar Life & Experience w/ Ralph Wolf
Bryan talks to Ralph Wolf from T&N Services on YouTube and the Working Joe's podcast. We talk about blue-collar life, how the trade has changed for us, and what experience gives a tech that can't be read in a book. Ralph started off doing sheet metal work in the Navy before going into HVAC. He started as a sheet metal installer and learned most of what he knows about HVAC on the job.
Taking accurate superheat and subcooling readings have become much more important over the years. We can't get away with “beer-can cold” rules of thumb anymore, especially as MicroChannel and TXVs have evolved and become more prevalent. Efficiency is becoming more important as well, especially due to government mandates.
Blue-collar jobs have a ton of best practices for each trade. However, those who have been in the trade a long time typically know the appropriate times and places for those practices. (For example, you don't need to check static pressure on EVERY system, but it's a great idea when you're commissioning a system or working on a system with airflow issues.) As you gain experience, you'll know when to use best practices and when you can bypass them for the sake of time. So, you'll come across two types of senior techs in the trade: those who are plain lazy and those who simply know the exact times and places for best practices.
Even though the blue-collar lifestyle very much becomes a part of who we are, we each have a different relationship with the trade.
Ralph and Bryan also discuss:
- The practicality of best practices
- System longevity
- Airflow problems
- Understanding individual pieces of equipment
- Carbon buildup
- Leak sealants
- Ralph's YouTube journey
- Differences between old-school tradesmen and millennials
- Calling out dishonesty and poor quality