Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Why Meters Are Important
I am sometimes asked “Why should I buy …” (you fill in the expensive meter). Although I can usually come up with a good reason for any particular meter, the overall reason stays about the same: to make your job easier. Having the right tool makes all the difference. After you have beaten up a few fan blades and spent unproductive and frustrating time trying to bang blowers off of motor shafts, you realize that the money spent for a good hub puller is an investment in your time and sanity. The inexpensive socket sets from discount stores are common examples of tools that are not suited for heavy work. The handles are short, the ratchets strip, and the sockets crack. Yes, I have been there and done that. Having a quality tool that is rated for the job allows you to do jobs that just can’t be done with lesser tools. Meters and instruments are no different. You really can’t measure a vacuum without a vacuum gauge, and if you don’t measure it, you don’t know when or if you have a good vacuum. We deal in airflow, yet many technicians do not have any instruments for measuring airflow. Would you hire an electrician who did not own a volt meter? Good instruments allow us to do our job correctly, and more easily. They save time too. Rather than guessing what is going on, we can measure and know. I am not suggesting that just spending thousands of dollars on meters will make you a good technician, you still have to know how to use them. However, not having the instruments limits your ability to do your job. When considering a new meter or instrument, think about any potential time savings and what your time is worth. For example, if a leak detector does a better job at locating leaks, wouldn’t it be worth more to you than a less effective leak detector? There is another aspect of having good instrumentation – professionalism. Customers notice when you take measurements. When checking a low airflow complaint, I remember a customer remarking “the other guy just held his hand over the vent.” Having a tool and taking a measurement increased the customer’s confidence in me. It also allowed me to provide numbers showing the improvement in airflow. In a market that is increasingly customer service driven, using meters and instrumentation can help differentiate you from the pack.