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The Drop Light
My first blog, posted on Excess Air January 2012, was my inspiration to start writing and sharing in our industry. You can tell it is a bit "rough around the edges", but I didn't want to alter it for sake of nostalgia...enjoy!

Well, the mild Winter couldn't last forever in New England - and so starts all the panic phone calls from those that did not have their equipment maintained. I used to dread waking up on days like today, something about snow that brings out all the crazy homeowners. Don't get me wrong, companies I have worked for made plenty of money while I ran around like a chicken with my head cut-off. I used to do well selling maintenance contracts on the first snow day, and the first scorcher after Memorial Day too! Imagine telling a homeowner that if they had completed preventive maintenance back in October they wouldn't have had to call you today - and would have been much more comfortable when trying to roll out of that warm bed this morning. As a technician, I started out not finding the value in maintenance or service contracts. But, I firmly believe that is because no one showed me how to correctly service a furnace, heat-pump, A/C, etc. The old man I first carried tools for was more concerned that I knew how to wrap up his drop light than teaching me how to set a heat anticipator! I just didn't see what the big secret was and set out to find out on my own.

When you get right down to it there is much more to maintenance than changing the air filter and kicking the ductwork while mumbling to yourself that "it's still here!". A lot of companies out there have what we call "A" and "B" techs. The "B" techs tend to be the ones doing the maintenance and are viewed not as profitable as the "A's". But, completing proper maintenance can take quite the load off of your Service Departments on these first days of snow. How many times have you had to go back to homes on days like today under warranty because the system was just serviced? If you are starting to count any number above zero than it sounds to me like you showed your "B" techs how to wrap up a drop light! Don't leave it as a mystery with these guys, start making your service department profitable: invest in them. We're not talking about increasing hourly wages here, we're talking updated testing equipment and knowledge. Completing proper maintenance prior to the heating and cooling seasons will free-up your "A"techs to respond to the emergencies, and give your staff the ability to respond to new customers at a time like this. We all have to start somewhere, and believe me when I say I can wrap a drop light with the best of them!