At some point in all of our lives, we’ve been put in a position at our jobs where we were deemed “green-as-goose-sh!t”. It’s a horrible feeling like you’re a child waiting for mom and dad to take you by the hand and help you out, but help never comes. But “green-as-goose-sh!t” is the best way to describe me when I first started installing and repairing air conditioners.
The company I was working for dropped me into the role on a large condo complex with zero previous instruction and no lifeline in sight. I learned on the fly from asking co-workers’ opinions on how to complete my daily tasks. While these co-workers offered instructions with the confidence of past experience, I eventually learned they had the same if not less experience than me. It was the blind teaching the blind to see. I had roughed in and hooked up about 50 air conditioning units in this complex when an outside subcontractor was brought in to do the start-ups. I still remember that first day they came to the site.
The two AC technicians showed up to begin vacuuming down the systems and releasing the refrigerant. I walked them to the first unit that needed activation. They hooked up their gauges and vacuum and waited….and waited….and waited. The vacuum was failing to create the negative pressure in the line set. Like it was even close. I knew things really weren’t going well when they bent down to get a better look at the work I’d done. That’s when the quiet whispering started happening.
Them: “Did you put t-tape on those joints?”
Me (with confidence): “Yup!”
Them: “And pipe dope!?”
Me (with even more confidence): “Yup!”
And then they broke out laughing.
I had broke an air conditioning cardinal rule; There shall be no foreign debris inside a refrigerant line set besides refrigerant – Duh!
Pulling a vacuum on an AC system is simply removing matter, mainly air and moisture, from inside the system so that the pressure drops below a certain micron level. The lower the micron level, the better the vacuum, the better the install. And leaving massive chunks of debris like pipe dope and Teflon tape will eventually be forced through the line set and clogged up the compressor.
But back then these are all things I had no idea about. That’s why before every cooling season begins Family Plumbing goes over all the steps for a proper air conditioner installation. We make sure everyone on the team knows and understands why using nitrogen while brazing and ensuring a deep vacuum are crucial to a properly working AC. These are often steps that are skipped by many HVAC contractors to get the job done as fast as possible and increase profits at the cost to the homeowner’s comfort and wallet.
I’ve learned a lot over the years and hopefully, nobody out there would still consider me “green-as-goose-sh!t”.
If you’re looking at installing a new air conditioner or simply need a tune-up of an existing one, give us a call today at 306-519-3722 to book an appointment.
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