Change & Acceptance in Today‘s HVAC Industry

Written on: July 6, 2021 by Alan Mercurio

As I make my way back onto the pages of ICM (it’s been a while), I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and observations about how far our industry has advanced over the past several decades, and where it’s headed with today’s technology. I chose the title of this article because I want to talk to you about just that—change and acceptance. In future articles, I will go deeper into various systems and components, how they work and how to troubleshoot them.

Change – Many of us are often reluctant to change. The longer we’ve been in the industry, the harder it seems for some of us to keep up with those changes. My hope is that through this series of articles you’ll embrace these changes. If you have already, I hope you’ll be patient with those who haven’t and guide them by sharing what you’ve learned and the benefits to both you and your consumer, our customers.

Acceptance – Naturally, acceptance is the key to embracing change with anything in life. When we take the time to learn about any new system and/or component—this makes embracing that much easier, even for us stubborn industry veterans. I’ve been in the HVAC industry for 30+ years, and although I’m an advocate of advanced technology and improving things whenever and wherever we can, some of the changes have taken me outside of my comfort zone over the years.

Fortunately, I learned early in life that as long as you keep an open heart and an open mind, you can learn just about anything. As in industry instructor, I often share this advice with my students and I have witnessed it help both them and me embrace changes.

Technology in Today’s Industry – As I sit here sipping my coffee and writing this article, I think about how I can reach for my phone and in a couple of swipes on the screen, I can see in real-time how much oil is in the tank at the PPATEC HVAC training facility in Harrisburg, PA through the Beckett Link App. I can also monitor and even do some basic troubleshooting of the Regal furnace in the lab, through a Cloud-based application provided by NRGmax. These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many innovative and advanced controls we have today in our industry.

Readily available information – When I’m teaching classes or working in the lab with my fellow technicians, I often find myself telling them they’ve got it made today when it comes to troubleshooting equipment and components. I talk about the processes we followed back in the day to diagnose a system, and how with today’s advanced technology, many of those steps have been removed, making a techs’ ability to diagnose a system easier and less time-consuming. How, years ago, most of my technical troubleshooting guides and manufacturer’s installation and operation manuals were stored in a milk crate that was between the seats in my service van. By the time I was a senior tech, I had graduated to having two milk crates. It’s not about keeping everything you need to know in your head, but knowing where to find the information when you need it.

Today, you can have an unlimited amount of milk crates filled with valuable information, they just don’t have to be kept in you service van anymore; they are kept in folders on you Smart phones or other devices.

Trevor Brubaker, a fellow technical instructor, has the Evernote App on his Smart phone. It’s designed for note taking, organizing, task management and archiving data, such as technical notes, which can be quickly found just by using its keyword search function.

Among the advanced controls I look forward to writing in a future article is the Carlin Pro- X 70200 Primary Control. Michael Warn is a technical support specialist and fellow instructor who works for Carlin/Hydrolevel. He describes the troubleshooting feature of this control as not necessarily telling you what component needs to be replaced, just providing a roadmap of components you should check, and then determining what caused that component to fail.
In the next issue, I’ll take a deeper dive into this control, how it works and how to utilize its diagnostic fault history capabilities and control settings. I’ll also include a deep dive into the Beckett GeniSys.

Another quote I’m fond of sharing with my fellow techs and students is, “Once you understand the sequence of operation, troubleshooting is nothing more than the process of elimination.”

I look forward to sharing things I have leaned and continue to learn, and I thank my friends at ICM for providing me with this platform to share technically-relevant articles over the next six months. ICM