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HVAC book?


David C. Argabright
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David,

If you really want to learn, ride around with someone in the biz for a few days, or longer if you can.

I have a dear friend who has a Master's license, and the knowledge he's passed along to me could never be learned from a text.

I remember spending an hour in a funky crawlspace a couple of years ago, pulling a blower--a term which, by the way, labels us as rubes. People in the business refer to them as squirrel cages--and finding a crack in a heat exchanger. It was glorious.

It helps that he's kind and patient and my friend. He knows I want to learn as much as I can, and painstakingly explains everything he's doing, along with lots that he's not doing, because he knows I want to learn.

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Originally posted by Bain

David,

If you really want to learn, ride around with someone in the biz for a few days, or longer if you can.

I have a dear friend who has a Master's license, and the knowledge he's passed along to me could never be learned from a text.

I remember spending an hour in a funky crawlspace a couple of years ago, pulling a blower--a term which, by the way, labels us as rubes. People in the business refer to them as squirrel cages--and finding a crack in a heat exchanger. It was glorious.

It helps that he's kind and patient and my friend. He knows I want to learn as much as I can, and painstakingly explains everything he's doing, along with lots that he's not doing, because he knows I want to learn.

I had a mentor like that when I was starting out. Though he passed away a few years ago, I still hear his voice in my head sometimes.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by Bain

David,

If you really want to learn, ride around with someone in the biz for a few days, or longer if you can.

I have a dear friend who has a Master's license, and the knowledge he's passed along to me could never be learned from a text.

I remember spending an hour in a funky crawlspace a couple of years ago, pulling a blower--a term which, by the way, labels us as rubes. People in the business refer to them as squirrel cages--and finding a crack in a heat exchanger. It was glorious.

It helps that he's kind and patient and my friend. He knows I want to learn as much as I can, and painstakingly explains everything he's doing, along with lots that he's not doing, because he knows I want to learn.

I had a mentor like that when I was starting out. Though he passed away a few years ago, I still hear his voice in my head sometimes.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Yes, I hear you. He actually called a few weeks ago and asked what was up. I explained that my clothes dryer, which I bought when I got out of college and which is 20+ years old, had begun to ferociously clank and rattle over the weekend, so I was on my way to buy a replacement.

"John," he said. "You don't need a new dryer. They're simple machines, and pretty much consist of nothing more than a motor and a heating element. If you want a new dryer with lots of lights and sound effects, go buy one. But I can fix the one you have."

I said, giddy up. When I got home, I phoned him with the model and serial number, and he told me where the parts house was. He wanted to put the stuff on his account, of course, to save me some bucks. The next day, I went to the parts house, was handed a paper bag, and signed a receipt for fourteen dollars and some change. When I got back into my car, I looked in the bag. There were two rollers, a tensioner, and a belt.

My friend arrived the next day, and we went down to my basement. I turned the dryer around to remove the rear plate--something I'd done once it started clanking and rattling to see if I could figure out what was wrong. When I'd previously removed the plate, I pretty much surrendered immediately 'cause it wasn't readily apparent how things came apart, much less how they went back together.

Anyway, my friend asked what I was doing and I told him. "No, no, no," he said. "That's not how it's done."

I flipped the dryer back around and watched while he pried the top off of the thing. Then he showed me two screws that held the front panel in place and, since he's a teacher, told me to remove them. "But keep your knee against the front panel," he said. "So the drum doesn't fall out."

Once I removed the screws, I realized that the front panel was what held the drum in place. Together, we slowly allowed the front panel to swing out and down while hanging onto the drum, which ultimately simply lifted out.

I looked inside, and there was a motor, two rollers, the tensioner and a very cracked and worn belt. The heating element was inside a separate housing and couldn't be seen. My pal gave the rollers twirls, and one of them clearly had worn bearings. "See," he said. "There's your problem."

Five minutes later, all of the replacement parts were in place. I put the drum back into position while my friend installed the belt and looped it around the tensioner. The only tricky part was keeping the drum in place while the front panel was raised back where it needed to be, but it really wasn't much of a problem. I put the screws back in the front panel. We popped the lid on, inserted the plug, and my funky, yellowed old dryer began purring away the same way it did when I first bought it.

I realize it may sound a little silly, but the whole thing was tremendously gratifying. And not because of the money. Working with my friend was joyous, and I learned something I'll remember for the rest of my life. I didn't offer to pay him, because that would have been an insult to our friendship, and I hope he knows I'd take a bullet for him.

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