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Remember When...

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  • Remember When...

    You could call tech support and the individual on the other end had a clue about the product.

    I got a call on an A.O. Smith BTH-120 commercial water heater on Tuesday, this is a direct vent in the basement of a building full of doctors, physical therapists, etc. I run through the obvious senarios, no obstructions with the venting, powers on all the obvious steps.

    I call tech support and talk to this guy in South Carolina, friendly fellow, and explain what is happening, unit wont fire, flashing a code 11, blower wont even start, he tells me to pull a wire from one of the pressure switches and hit the reset, so I do this, what happens he asks, nothing I tell him... He comes back with " you need a control board, the one on the water heater is shot "

    Of course there is no control board on the west coast it has to come from South Carolina, so I overnight one in to the tune of nearly $500...

    Fast forward to yesterday, I gets my control board and start tearing into this water heater, by the way I had not seen one of these prior to this call, before I disconnect the last wire on the board I get to thinking about the code 11, "plugged inlet". I reach over and touch on the blower motor and its warm, so I tear the blower assembly apart and the cage spins like greased lightning, but it wont start on its own under power, I reach in and touch the cage while under power and it starts up. I figure at this point it must be the board not putting out the correct voltage, ( 120 ) I put my handy dandy meter on and fire it up and its reading 120... By this time its 4:30 pm I am livid about this control board, that thankfully I never opened or removed from the package, I caught up with an electrician friend at his shop at 5pm and we ran a few tests on the capacitor, yup it was shot.

    I got things all put back together last night and started it up, it went through its sequence and took off all on its own, and I was home by 6:30

    Lesson learned, not everybody is a trained professional

    Today I get to find out how much my supplier likes me.
    Last edited by U&I Plumber; 01-23-2009, 10:13 AM.
    sigpic
    www.uandiplumbing.com

  • #2
    Re: Remember When...

    I hear ya loud and clear. I called and ordered 2 limit switches for a gas furnace but was shipped 2 pressure switches for the cooling section.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Remember When...

      I assume you meant power vent.

      I don't know what it is about A.O. Smith and all of their voodoo engineering on power vents that cause premature problems. But yes, I've seen it too.

      I've found that the majority of manufacturers "tech" people aren't as good as plumbing friends locally or the ones you find on forums.

      J.C.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Remember When...

        Originally posted by U&I Plumber View Post
        I call tech support and talk to this guy in South Carolina

        Your lucky! Seems like whenever I call a 1800 number, I get a person in India, faking an American accent.

        I'm sure shipping jobs overseas is not helping the economy.

        Lenny

        Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

        I know, it doesn't make sense.


        http://www.hebertdraincare.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Remember When...

          Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
          I assume you meant power vent.

          I don't know what it is about A.O. Smith and all of their voodoo engineering on power vents that cause premature problems. But yes, I've seen it too.

          I've found that the majority of manufacturers "tech" people aren't as good as plumbing friends locally or the ones you find on forums.

          J.C.
          Nope, it's a direct vent, sealed combustion chamber, one vent for intake and one for exhaust.
          sigpic
          www.uandiplumbing.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Remember When...

            Looks like I don't have a clue about the product either!

            Can't remember if I've worked on one that large. Hmmmm... probably not.

            All I can recall is atmospheric type with a pilot. No control board, fan, or ignitor.

            But the power vent A.O.'s have been as aggravating as yours in my experience.

            J.C.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Remember When...

              Here's a little update,
              Called the supply house nice an early yesterday to get the ball rolling on returning the computer board and of course they balked.

              After three more calls by 1:30 they enthusiasitcally inform me that yup they can actually send the new un-opened part back for a minor 35% restock fee. I have no problem eating the $55 overnight on the shipping as well as whatever the return fair is as I was informed that I needed this part, and my customer was in dire need of hot water. If I had mistakenly diagnosed the problem then I would have kept the parts as stock.

              Now, I am a cash paying customer, no credit debt to the supply houses, when I leave there the material I needed is paid for, I'm not a major player, only 2 1/2 months back as an owner, but I do a respectable business and am fiercely loyal to my suppliers.

              But right is right I told them that I was finished with A.O. Smith water heaters and that as soon as we were completed with this little fiasco that I was going to have to take my business else where.

              Then the back peddaling started, I was informed that they were gonna call a "big dog" and see if the re-stock could be waived and they would have an answer by the end of the day, guess I'll find out on Monday.

              By the way as of yesterday afternoon the water heater is functioning flawlessly.
              sigpic
              www.uandiplumbing.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Remember When...

                Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                Looks like I don't have a clue about the product either!

                Can't remember if I've worked on one that large. Hmmmm... probably not.

                All I can recall is atmospheric type with a pilot. No control board, fan, or ignitor.

                But the power vent A.O.'s have been as aggravating as yours in my experience.

                J.C.
                And that is why we have the book and tech support, ummm ok we have a book.
                sigpic
                www.uandiplumbing.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Remember When...

                  If the part is unopened and sealed, I see no reason why they won't take it back, less the shipping and restocking fees. If it's opened, you own it.

                  We used to be a service rep for A.O. Smith. I would spend about an hour on the phone with tech. support every day. Got to know a few of the support staff pretty well and for the most part they knew what they were doing. I was able to talk one of the top techs to giving me his direct line. Made a big difference. He had real world expierience troubleshooting but the rest just read from a script.

                  Now, I hardly ever call tech support. It's faster and easier to download the service manual to my laptop while on the job and do your own diagnosis in the field. I'm much more comfortable with my results than someone 3000 miles away who has no financial stake in the matter. Great for finding part numbers too.

                  It's impossible to keep up with all the different versions of fan assemblies, Smart Valve Gas controls, ignition modules and control boards. Every single one has a different set of error codes to work through. The paperwork to service these heaters never seems to be left on site.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Remember When...

                    "But right is right I told them that I was finished with A.O. Smith water heaters and that as soon as we were completed with this little fiasco that I was going to have to take my business else where.

                    Then the back peddaling started, I was informed that they were gonna call a "big dog" and see if the re-stock could be waived and they would have an answer by the end of the day, guess I'll find out on Monday."


                    I'd have told them to shove their restock charge from the get go.

                    In general, when dealing with suppliers it's wise to develop a relationship with the branch manager. Since he's the guy with the power to go to the wall for you, he's the one you approach immediately with any problems. He'll either take care of you or he won't, so you don't have to waste your time going back and forth with an underling. And, if he doesn't take care of you, you take your business elsewhere.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Remember When...

                      Fergyworld tried to charge me a 30% restocking fee on a STOCK item. Needless to say I was not happy. I contacted Virginia (main headquarters) and the next day I got calls & emails with honey coming out of the local branches mouth. Still don't hardly ever deal with them because of it.

                      J.C.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Remember When...

                        I called Sloan a couple years ago for question I had. It was a terrific example on how to piss people off.
                        Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Remember When...

                          tyman

                          I called Sloan a few DAYS ago, after following one of their repair flow charts. It ended up the same way.
                          Mike

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Remember When...

                            Some things never change I guess, but I did. We have been installing Toto flush valves.
                            Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Remember When...

                              Well today I recieved a call from my local supplier on the A.O. Smith re-stock charge, seems that I am a valued customer and they are going to waive the 35% charge.

                              Still bent about the whole ordeal though, I do business as I expect business to be done, with honesty and integrity.

                              Anyway just figured I would let ya'all in on the outcome.

                              Thanks for all of the replies and kudo's that this thread recieved, .
                              sigpic
                              www.uandiplumbing.com

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