Tech Tips: Diagnosing a Front Cover Switch

On a recent cold afternoon, I received a call from a frantic service technician. He diagnosed a faulty gas valve in a gas furnace, arrived on the job site with a new gas valve, taken time to ensure the new valve was installed properly, and then observed in horror as the exact same failure to ignite happened with the new valve. Now, let us all be honest with ourselves … after all, nobody is watching … we have all been that technician. We have all experienced the horror of realizing our diagnosis is wrong. Not a good feeling … and far worse if the furnace is in a closet and the homeowner is standing over your shoulder.

After the technician took a few deep breaths and regained composure, we began to go back through the furnace together.

Continue reading “Tech Tips: Diagnosing a Front Cover Switch”

Tech Tips: Surge Protection

Power surges are commonly blamed when controls go bad on high-end units. I am not sure how often this is an accurate diagnosis versus how often this is just an easy scapegoat for unexplained parts failures. Plus … let us all be honest for a minute and acknowledge that as technicians we have all been guilty of condemning a control board because the system was operating abnormally and we did not understand what was happening … so therefore it must be that fancy looking control board.

Continue reading “Tech Tips: Surge Protection”

Tech Tips: What’s in Your Bag?

When I was first starting out in the HVAC Industry as a new technician, it was a common joke at my first company that you could tell the longer a technician had been in the industry by looking at his tool bag. The joke was that while newbie technicians such as me had a tool bag loaded with tools, the veteran technicians had a mostly empty and worn bag that had a few things here and there in it. Granted, I learned a lot from the senior technicians at that company, but I did not carry that habit with me. If you want to do a job correctly, then you must have the correct tools.

Continue reading “Tech Tips: What’s in Your Bag?”

Series: Pro Training – Troubleshooting An Inverter Driven Compressor

Pro Training Blog Series

Robert Frost once famously fretted over which two diverging roads in the woods to take. He presented the case of a traveler that has come to a crucial decision that must be made. The same theme often rings true in HVAC diagnosis. The technician finds themselves at a diagnostic crossroads, if you will, and a choice must be made: 

  • The variable-speed blower motor will not run. Is it the board or is it the motor/module? 
  • My inverter system is throwing an error code. The service manual says it could be the compressor or the board. 
  • My HVAC system will not communicate. Is it the indoor control board, the outdoor control board, or the wiring? 

Today I am going to review troubleshooting an inverter compressor and the control that drives it. Often in analyzing service manuals you find flow charts that look like this: 

Continue reading “Series: Pro Training – Troubleshooting An Inverter Driven Compressor”

Series: Pro Training – Non Disposable A/C Units

Pro Training Blog Series

I don’t know about you, but I can say comfortably that I do not find myself in the position of having thousands of dollars I want to dispose of. If you find yourself in a different position, please contact me and I will be happy to help you relieve yourself of those burdensome funds. I am using that statement because I know we can all never agree on the exact “average” cost of a Ductless AC installation, but I feel confident we can all agree that the number is over $1000. My point being that the price point means I am not interested in just “throwing it away” at the first sign of trouble. These machines or appliances are not disposable. They can be maintained, and they can be repaired. However, both of those concepts must begin with us doing something that many of us feel uncomfortable with … opening the machine up. 

Continue reading “Series: Pro Training – Non Disposable A/C Units”

Tech Tip: Slime Time in Summertime

A common service call that arrives in the latter days of summer is a clogged drain line. It is par for the course in the Southeastern United States; we have warm temperatures combined with high humidity. Air conditioning systems work to address both the temperature of the home (sensible heat) as well as the humidity of the home (latent heat). As the HVAC system runs it absorbs both heat and humidity from the home into the evaporator section of the unit. The heat is transferred outside via the refrigerant lines and superheated refrigerant while the humidity is transferred outside the home via the HVAC system drain line.

Slime in a drain is a universal problem. It occurs in shower drains, sink drains, and even appliance drains.  There are many variables that can increase the likelihood and frequency in slime forming in the HVAC drain system. However, two key ingredients are always present: food and moisture. Food is provided by dust or dirt that manages to get into the HVAC system. This dust and/or dirt will contain some organic matter which will serve as a food source. This will combine with already present moisture from normal cooling operations and provide a moist environment with a food source. The result will be a slimy gunk that will easily clog the HVAC drain line. The drain lines in an HVAC system are not under any pressure, therefore it does not take a large amount of resistance to block the drainage of condensate.

Continue reading “Tech Tip: Slime Time in Summertime”

Multi-Zone Systems: The Good, The Bad, and The Conflicted

Zoning. The concept makes perfect sense, different areas within a location usually have two different attributes:

1). The thermal gain or loss differs between areas inside the same building envelope.

2). The occupants of the space have different comfort levels.

Therefore, the ability to control heating and cooling independently is a very appealing concept. The devil however lies in the details. Traditional unitary systems are designed for generally larger areas. Zoning incorporates the ability to isolate areas of the duct system and control the flow of conditioned air to those areas. One main flaw with this is that while the areas requiring conditioned air may vary, the capacity of the system remains the same. This can become a major issue when you have a system producing 1000-cfm of conditioned air, and one zone requiring only 300-cfm of conditioned air is calling. What do we do?

Continue reading “Multi-Zone Systems: The Good, The Bad, and The Conflicted”

Are you a Smart Home Addict?

Hello, my name is Matt and I fear that I am an entry-level Smart Home Addict. I’m not full-blown mind you … more of recreational user that can see the eventual descent into hopeless addiction. Now, in full disclosure, none of the above is meant to make light of serious addictions or anyone who suffers from one. Rather, the point I am making is that smart home products start with just one often time and then can quickly lead to many. Now I am not what anyone would consider a “techie” person, despite being a millennial. I do not Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram, or… Myspace. I know how to use computers and smartphones, but outside of using them professionally, I am not one to be found casually utilizing technology.

Continue reading “Are you a Smart Home Addict?”

Series: Learn How To Use Our Website Like A Pro – Tip #6 View & Download Spec Sheets

East Coast Metal Distributors provides tools that you need to successfully complete a job. Start viewing and downloading specification sheets like a pro today! View and download specification, installation, warranty documents, consumer literature, and parts lists straight from our website or mobile app.



Continue reading “Series: Learn How To Use Our Website Like A Pro – Tip #6 View & Download Spec Sheets”

Series: Learn How To Use Our Website Like A Pro – Tip #5 Find AHRI Matchups

Save time by using our AHRI matchup took like a pro

Our website is a one-stop shop for creating an AHRI matchup. Skip the hassle of visiting multiple sites and find a matchup in one place. You will also be able to filter multiple matchup results, view matchup pricing, and add to cart.

Need to build a system while working in the field? Download our mobile app and build systems like a pro while on the job.



Continue reading “Series: Learn How To Use Our Website Like A Pro – Tip #5 Find AHRI Matchups”