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Service calls

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Meat Plow, Feb 11, 2007.

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  1. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Anyone got any weird or strange experiences when doing in home service?
    Back in the early 80's when I did residential HVAC, I had so many that it
    made me not want to do it any more and I switched to commercial.
  2. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Do tell !

  3. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    One was where I was dispatched to a home to check an electronic air
    cleaner. I enter the home and introduce myself to the woman of the house.
    I ask how do I get to her furnace and she shows me the way. On the way she
    picks up a newspaper and as I opened the door to go into her basment she
    hands me the newspaper. I asked her what the newspaper was for and she
    replied that I could use it to cover the dog poop so I wouldn't step in it.
    I handed it back to her and told her to clean the poop up first and I
    would be back when she called the dispatcher saying it had been cleaned up.
    We never got a call back. Another time I was called out to look at a new
    heating system we installed that wasn't working. As I entered the home
    there was a strong smell of something that had died. Braving the smell I
    opened the back of the furnace where the air handler was located since
    there was a loud hum when I switched the blower on. I found a dead mouse
    wedged inbetween the belt and the pulley Removing said rodent fixed the
    problem. Other homes I have entered had cockroaches marching single file
    up and down the walls and all sorts of disgusting things. Lots of times
    the dispatcher would advise me if a previous tech found poor conditions on
    a previous call but there was no way to know on new calls and we weren't
    forced to work amongst filth and vermin.
  4. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    The guy that I served my apprenticeship under back in the seventies, was one
    good-looking dude, and there was one female customer in particular that used
    to insist that it was he that called out to her. Every time he got to the
    house, and took the back off the set, there would be a smashed valve sitting
    there, and she would be leaning over him, jugs on his shoulder. Eventually,
    it got so embarrassing, that he refused to go any more.

    We also had another customer who used to ring about once a month complaining
    that she had problems with the " colour bleeding through ". There was never
    anything wrong, but this same guy always managed to sweet talk her into
    thinking that he'd done something, and it was now fixed. However, on one
    occasion, I was with him, and she had the usual complaint. After having the
    back off, and engaging in his usual pretence of adjusting things, he
    declared it all ok now, and asked if she was happy with it. " Oh no ! " she
    cried " that's awful now - much worse ! There's a big yellow patch in the
    middle ! " When we went back around the front to see what she was on about,
    the picture was a nice green cricket pitch - with a big yellow area in front
    of the wickets where the batsman stands. No amount of remonstrating with the
    customer, would convince her that this was just worn out grass, not a colour
    error ! We finished up taking the set away and driving around the rest of
    the day with it in the back of the van, before returning it to her late on.
    When we put it back on, she declared it to now be absolutely fine, and
    delighted in telling us how much cleverer the workshop boys were at setting
    her TV up, than we were !!

    I could go on for ever about the eccentric customers we had ...

  5. We had to rewire the conduit in an old house which was shared by several old
    people. The conduit was below the bathroom, and it seems the 'gents' weren't
    too good with their aim because the conduit was soaked in urine.

    Shit happens -- and so does piss!

    I went out to a meat packing works to fix a temperature controller. It was
    in the rendering plant where they boil down all of the scraps for fats and
    such and the smell would make a maggot gag. I never did a repair job faster
    in my life and as I was rocketing out of the place one of the inmates
    grabbed me by the arm, complimented me on my speed and observed that he'd
    never seen the same tech twice from our company. I know I never went back.
  6. A fellow TV tech related this one to me:

    An elderly customer complained that her TV set wasn't working properly but
    she couldn't explain the trouble over the phone... at least not so anyone
    could understand it. A service tech arrived on site and she demonstrated
    the problem.

    The "problem" turned out to be this: On the game show "Hollywood Squares,"
    the long-time contestant Paul Lynde, who for ages had always occupied the
    center square, was now for some reason sitting in one of the other squares.
    The customer saw this and concluded that it was a problem with her TV set.
  7. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Oh brother!
  8. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Had my fill of old people. Once called social services because I was
    concerned about the welfare of one old gent who live in total filth. This
    guy had shit stacked to the ceilings and a narrow path from his sofa to
    the bathroom. I couldn't even get at his equipment to service it.
  9. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    LOL, so could I.
  10. Guest

    Back in the 90's the shop had one where the customer called JVC to
    complain that the tube had a pinhole in it because they had to clean a
    thick ring of black soot off the tv to see it every day. Where they
    got that information no one knows but the customer sounded quite off
    when they were contacted to schedule the call.

    Turned out the TV service tech who was sent had years previously
    worked at an HVAC company.
    Soon as he walked into the house he called 911 and informed the owners
    they needed to leave the house immediately.

    Black soot all over the gas forced air vents and tv set, the family
    pet was laying in front of the door with heavy panting.

    Anyone want to guess what was really the problem?

  11. Oil heat?
  12. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Cracked heat exchanger, blocked air mix to the burner resulting in sooty
  13. Guest

    It was both a blocked exhaust vent and cracked heat exchanger on an
    old furnace. Turned out the house was drafty enough that the CO
    levels above the basement were not quite lethal, but still high enough
    to be dangerous. The old fart was lucky the person who went out knew
    what was going on because it was only November and if the furnace had
    been running more often the levels could have been lethal.
  14. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    I've worked on my fair share of coal conversion furnaces. Seen many cast
    dougnuts with gaping cracks. Did 3rd party service calls one year for the
    local gas provider when they went out on strike. Put red tags on many CO
    hazards in my time.
  15. clifto

    clifto Guest

    I was about the fifteenth tech sent out to this little old lady's house.
    I was told outright I was just another warm body and this lady wouldn't
    be placated, her set was perfect and the company was just waiting out
    the remainder of her service contract. I got there, and sure enough,
    the set was about as perfect as a set could be back then. I prodded and
    twizzled and asked questions hoping I'd find out what the problem was,
    and all she could say was "it's fuzzy, it doesn't look right."

    Killing time and thinking, I figured for the heck of it I'd check the
    range of the customer controls. Color up, color down, tint purple, tint
    green, etc. I hit the brightness and turned it most of the way down so
    that only little splotches of the picture tube lit up. She just about
    screamed, "What did you do?!" I told her. She said that that was the
    best her set had looked since it entered the house. I looked again and
    couldn't make out what the picture was supposed to be. I had her play
    better-worse-better as I adjusted it in small increments, got a setting
    she liked, got her to sign the paper and left. She called in to tell
    the bosses what a great tech I was.

    Then there was the picture tube install, at 5 PM (quitting time) 12 miles
    from the office. When I got back to the office the next day, the boss
    asked me how I got along with the Bickersons, and I knew exactly why
    he called them that. (The picture tube was being replaced in a brand-new
    set because one of them put their boot through the old one.)
  16. Reported in one of the tech journals.

    In Australia, little old lady got her first phone. The exchange called after
    a few weeks to check on it. Lady said it was fine but now her water tasted
    funny. Much hilarity with the techs.

    A week later a tech swung by and took a look. In Australia a lot of homes
    collected rain water from the roof in big tanks. When they installed the
    phone, the tech put the insulators right over the open access hole to the
    tank and the birds perched there and crapped in it. The tech replaced the
    cover and solved the problem!
  17. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Yuck. My grandfather used to collect rain water but to wash clothes with
    and not to drink.
  18. Guest

    About 10 years ago, we started noticing a bad smell in the laundry
    room, couldn't quite localize it at first. As the smell got stronger,
    we decided it was coming from the dryer. Started tearing the dryer
    apart, found a dead bird wedged in the squirrel cage. The door flap on
    the outside dryer vent was stuck open, bird got in, went the wrong
    direction, ended up dying in our dryer.

  19. t.hoehler

    t.hoehler Guest

    Hmm, I've had problems with squirrels in my bird feeder, but a bird in a
    squirrel cage! Wow, will wonders never cease! :)
  20. quietguy

    quietguy Guest

    Doing TV service calls - nice old lady with no pic and no sound on her TV.
    Wanted me to fix it, but refused to let me take the back off the set
    'because you might get a shock and I'd be upset'

    When I couldn't meet her request to fix the set with the back on, and depite
    my explanation of why I needed to do that, she sent me away saying she would
    try another TV repair firm.

    David - who didn't have the heart to charge the old dear for the wasted call
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