Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Age Digital Tools

I am a big fan of tools that make my work easier. Tools that improve your efficiency not only make your life easier, they make sense economically. The most expensive part of a service call is the service tech. Your time is more valuable that most of the parts you put on. I don’t mean what you receive in your paycheck, but what you cost the company. You cost more than the parts. Saving your time saves the company’s money. I know one contractor that understands this. He does not want techs trying to work with worn out or inappropriate tools. He understands that the time they spend trying to work with the wrong tool costs him money. So his company supplies all the tools for his techs and even replaces them when they are worn or lost. Today’s technicians can benefit from a wide array of technology driven new-age HVAC/R tools. Digital everything! Now technicians can use digital tools to measure pressure, temperature, superheat, subcooling, vacuum, relative humidity, dew point, wet bulb temperature, weight, air pressure, barometric pressure,  air speed, CO, CO2,  and combustion efficiency just to name a few. I did not even include all the electrical measurements available with today’s multi-meters. Indeed, there are many tools available that measure several system characteristics. I must admit that when I look through a catalog of a company that carries several lines of these tools I feel like a kid again looking through the toy section of Sears Christmas catalogue checking off every shiny toy. I want this, I want this, …It would be easy to spend $10,000 on inexpensive digital tools. But since that exceeds the weekly take home pay of your typical service tech, we have to make some choices. The parameters I use in deciding are
  1. Does it do something that I need to do often?
  2. Is it really superior and faster than what I do now, or is it just digital?
  3. Can it do something that I can’t do now?

So by all means, arm yourself with an armada of new-age digital tools, but take time to assess what the new tool will do for you before you invest your paycheck. Otherwise, you could end up with a large collection of expensive digital toys.
If you would like to learn more about HVAC/R, check out Fundamentals of HVAC/R.

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