Monthly Archives: May 2012

At some point it seems as though it happens to all of us….we’re dealing with somebody; perhaps it’s a customer, or perhaps we are the customer, and, all of a sudden, the other party seems totally unreasonable for no good reason at all. And, being human, we pretty much set this odd behavior aside and, for a while at least, keep on keepin’ on along the same path we started on, because, after all, what’s going on just doesn’t make any sense. I sometimes refer to this as “banging your head up against a brick wall”, which isn’t a very smart thing to do, but, like I said, we are all human.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you  are in a B to B situation and you have a wonderful product to sell that will absolutely result in a higher profit margin for your customer. So, you pitch along that line because, first of all, it’s the truth, and second, the numbers are difinitive and easy to understand. And, after presenting to your customer, you don’t get a positive reaction. Maybe it’s just indifference, or maybe even a negative reaction. Whatever it is, it isn’t what you expected.

And, you don’t get it. It just doesn’t make sense. There’s just no intelligent reason to say no to your proposal. All the facts are there, and it should almost be able to sell itself. But the response isn’t a “yes” this sounds like a good idea. So, you ‘keep on keepin’ on’ and ‘banging your head against a brick wall’…for a while. And then it hits you. This person must have a different agenda than the one I’m explaining and making perfectly clear to them. What could that agenda be?

Well, Seth Godin a well-known Internet entrepreneur, recently wrote about this subject from the perspective of selling a product to a business, and the person disseminating the information, and who will be making the decision, is a non-owner. Godin’s take on this is something he refers to as “A Hierarchy of Business To Businees Needs…kind of along the line of the familiar Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs that simply and directly explain a lot about human behavior. Note the illustration below….


As this illustration shows, from Maslow’s perspective, if the needs at the bottom of the pyramid are not taken care of, then an individual cannot (and will not) focus on the next level of needs and achieve the wonderful things at the top of the pyramid that make a person, well, a really good person to be around.

In Godin’s opinion, the heirachy of needs for the non-owner we mentioned above in a B to B situation are as follows:

First and foremost, avoiding risk…then, avoiding hassle…and then, gaining praise…and then, gaining power….and then, having fun….and, finally….making a profit.

So, there you are, hammering away at “making a profit” and all the time, what’s going through the non-owner’s head is “…what if there is some risk here that I can’t see, and something goes wrong, and I get in trouble, and I lose my job, and then I can’t make my house payment, and I lose my car, and then I can’t pay my kid’s expenses to go to college, etc….etc….etc…

And, until you figure this out and guide and explain things to your customer so they can get through the first 5 things that are more important to them than the one thing you’re focusing on, you might as well be banging your head up against a brick wall for all the good it’s doing you to explain the one thing that actually makes sense in this situation.

So, it does us all good to remember….if we’re dealing with somebody, or some company, or some institution, and what they’re saying or doing seems to be simply unreasonable, or out of the realm of common sense, or even ludicrous, or maybe even downright stupid, it’s a good bet that you haven’t yet figured out what the real agenda is in regard to the situation at hand.

Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look forward to tomorrow


We spend a good deal of time “on the road” and that means that sometimes, whether it’s healthy eating or not, it’s often easier after a day of travel to order delivery to our room. And, as you would expect, this generally works out OK…the food is usually of a good quality, delivered warm if it’s supposed to be warm, and we’re able to relax and have dinner without having to go out to a restaurant. But, I learned something the last time we ordered delivery from a Pizza Hut in Scottsdale, Arizona…pizza delivery has gone high tech at this restaurant and is accomplished with precision, resulting in customer service of the highest order. Here’s how it went…..

When I dialed the number, the first question I was asked after the greeting “Thank you for calling Pizza Hut”, at… (their address, which I confess I don’t remember)… was “Will this order be delivery or pick up?”

“Delivery,” I answered, which led to the next question; I was asked for my phone number.

I explained that I was calling from my cell phone, and once I gave the number, I was asked a question that surprised me. “Is this Jim?”

I stumbled a bit, but answered yes, and then I was asked if  I was still at a certain address. (As it turns out it was the last place we stayed in the area, but this time we were staying at a different location this time around nearby, and since I wasn’t certain of the actual address, I just told them the name of the place.) “OK, and which room are you in?”

I gave the room number, and then was surprised again when I was asked, “Would you like to repeat your order of a large pepperoni and mushroom pan crust pizza?”

“Ummm…” (that’s me stumbling again), “well, yes, that’s what I would like to order.”

But, wait, this story gets even better.

Once my phone order was completed and I answered the question regarding payment that it would be a cash transaction, the person taking care of me thanked me for my order, and then said, “Your order will arrive by 7:58 PM.”

Now I was really intrigued. “No kidding, 7:58 PM you say? What time is it now?”

“It’s 7:18 PM,” she answered.

Well, I’ve placed a lot of delivery food orders in my time, and I’ve often been told that I can expect arrival “between 30 and 40 minutes”, or “within the hour”, but this was the first time anybody told me that the absolute latest my delivery would arrive would be specific time. I couldn’t wait to see how this was going to turn out.

When it got close to the deadline time, I checked my phone rather than my watch because, after all, no matter where you are, even if you travel through time zones, your phone is accurate. I noted the time….7:56 PM. And, believe it not, when shortly thereafter there was a  knock at my door and I checked my phone  as I got up to answer it, it was, yes, 7:58 PM.

The smiling person who was holding the insulated bag containing my dinner in one hand, greeted me enthusiastically and handed me napkins and seasoning packets with the other, then confirmed the dollar amount of my order. I handed him the cash, which included his tip. He slipped my pizza out of the bag and handed it to me, said “Thank you sir,” bid me goodbye, and that, as they say, was all there was ’cause there wasn’t any more.

To review…..I called a Pizza Hut that I didn’t even remember that I had called before when I was staying in that particular area about six months earlier, but they remembered me. Not only that, they knew what my preference for pizza was, and even though I wasn’t sure at the moment exactly what I wanted to order, they made it easy for me to place my order. And, then, to top it all off, they gave me an exact delivery time, then hit it, and the person who did the delivery was as precise and friendly and helpful as the person who took my order over the phone. And, my pizza was done right.

Which brings me to a simple question….the next time I’m in that neck of the woods and Jonesin’ for a pizza, why would I even think of calling somebody else?

Until next week…..

Learn from yesterday…Live for today…Look forward to tomorrow.



Survey after survey has shown that a large percentage of HVAC systems are not operating at peak efficiency due to insufficient indoor air flow. And, the chief reason for that condition is a problem with the supply air duct system. In many cases the heart of the problem is a leaky duct system that needs sealing, or, in some cases, the problem is a combination of a duct system problem along with negative factors regarding the building envelope.

In Figure One, we’re showing an elementary indoor air handling system and a simplified living space that should be able to handle air properly and maintain the desired comfort level in the building while operating efficiently.

Figure One

It’s a simple process to understand the fundamentals of an air handling system as we’re showing it here, with the trunk and branch duct, along with the register boxes and diffusers delivering air on the supply side of the system while the air intake, duct and plenum on the return side allow for air to get back to the air handler with a little resistance as possible. Taking a simple approach to understanding the process of moving air throughout the structure also requires a more refined understanding of a supply duct system. For example, consider the two velocity bonnets shown in Figure Two.

Figure Two

In both cases, the design shown here is considered to be sufficient to allow air to be propelled from the air handler into the duct system in the proper volume and velocity, the first step in ensuring proper air flow throughout the building. To put it simply, either of these two installations would be considered ‘good’. In Figure Three, though, our two examples illustrate a different point.

Figure Three

In this case, one of these two static take-offs would ensure that the duct system would be off to a good start, while the other may not. The illustration on the left is considered a ‘good’ design, while the one on the right is only ‘acceptable’.

The point to consider here is that an overall evaluation of the performance of this system may show a temperature drop across the indoor coil that may be slightly higher than it should be, or ‘acceptable’ (indicating that the volume of air is not a sufficient as it could be) while it should be ‘good’ in order to ensure an efficient operation of the system. And, the follow-up point to understanding this situation is that it may not take a major modification to the duct system in order to get to ‘good’. Consider the two illustrations shown below.

Figure Four

In Figure Four we’re showing a supply duct system that is in trouble due to the fact that the design called for a static take-off very close to the elbow. And, as you can see, there is a problem with turbulence in this elbow, resulting in an air flow problem. In Figure Five, the problem is solved with the addition of turning vanes that will promote proper air flow, not only in the first branch of the duct system, but also throughout the entire supply and return air duct system.

Figure Five


Learn From Yesterday…..Live For Today….Look Forward To Tomorrow…



At the root of any study that compares human beings to all other animals on earth is the simple understanding that the one thing that makes humans different is their ability to reason. And, of course, that’s a good thing…..most of the time. However, after a lifetime of study of how human beings think, I’ve come to the conclusion that, in certain situations, due to the ability to reason, people sometimes uncessarily complicate somethng that isn’t complicated. For example, I recently presented the following troubleshooting problem, which is straightforward and not complicated:


In this troubleshooting situation, our customer’s description of the problem is “not cooling” and “blowing warm air”, and the equipment that is supposed to keep this residence comfortable is a split system that has been in service for sixteen years. The service history of this unit includes several electrical repairs, and in one instance, a leak in the sealed system was found and repaired.

When you arrive, you find the following conditions:

  1. The indoor temperature is near 85-degrees.
  2. The thermostat set-point is 70-degrees.
  3. The indoor fan motor is running normally, and you determine that the indoor air flow is sufficient.

When you go to the condensing unit to continue your evaluation, you find that the outdoor fan motor and compressor are operating on this R-22 system, and, after confirming proper air flow through the condenser coil, you measure an ambient temperature of 90-degrees. When you connect your gauges to the high and low side access valves, you read the following pressures.

  1. Low-side pressure: 90 PSIG.
  2. High-side pressure: 170 PSIG.

To complete your diagnosis, you apply the pressure readings to the temperature scales on your gauge set, and you also measure the current draw of the compressor as lower than normal.

Your troubleshooting question:  What is the specific failure that is preventing this system from cooling properly?

I received a variety of answers to this question, most of them incorrect. And, like I said, I’m convinced that the underlying reason for this is the tendency of people to complicate something that is straightfoward and simple. In this case…..troubleshooting an HVACR system that’s not performing as it should…. the simplicity lies in two fundamental processes:

1. Troubleshooting is always a systematic elimination of the possibilities.

2. Knowing what right is in the first place so you’ll know what wrong is when you see it.

On the first point, we accomplished a lot of elimination in the description of the problem. The indoor air handler was operating…indoor air flow was sufficient, which proved that the evaporator coil wasn’t dirty…the the outdoor fan motor was operating and the condenser coil was clean…and the compressor was running. So, we eliminated all of the possibilities in regard to the air flow and electrical systems, which means that the problem lies in the refrigeration system.

And, that brings us to the second fundamental process…knowing what right is in the first place.

In our problem situation, we stated that the low side pressure reading was 90 PSIG. When you apply the fundamentals of the operation of a comfort cooling system, knowing that what you’re looking for is an indoor coil temperature of approximately 40-degrees, and you apply that knowledge to reading the R-22 scale of the gauge, what you find is that the low side operating pressure is supposed to be approximately 69 PSIG.

So, the conclusion here is that our low side operating pressure is higher-than-normal.

Regarding the high side operating pressure, we stated that our gauge showed it to be 170 PSIG. Again, consulting the R-22 scale on a gauge and adding 30-degrees to that figure to allow for the heat of compression (after all we did say that this  unit was in service for 16 years, which means that it is a standard efficiency unit, so 30 is the number we add to the amibient temperature to calculate what the high side should be on this particular system), you’ll find that the operating pressure in a 90-degree ambient is supposed to be approximately 260 PSIG.

So, the conclusion here is that our high side operating pressure is lower-than-normal.

And, when you put our two conclusions that are understood from the fundamental perspective of knowing what right is in the first place….a higher-than-normal low side pressure reading and a lower-than-normal high side pressure reading… together, along with the other fact we stated (the current draw of the compressor is lower than it should be), the diagnosis is that the compressor is not working due to a valve failure. When comperssor valves fail to seat properly and no longer internally separate the low side from the high side, the compressor cannot pull down properly on the low side, nor discharge properly on the high side. In essence, it’s “not pumping.”

A simple and un-complicated conclusion, arrived at by applying the two simple and straightfoward factors we stated above.

Learn from yesterday….Live for today…..Look forward to tomorrow.






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