List of Heating and Air conditioning catch phrases.
This page is dedicated to phrases
that we use or others use to describe problems with our heating and air
conditioning equipment or other systems.
Some phrases are very useful and others
show a lack of intelligence or will. Some when used by repair or sales
people are just scare tactics to make a sale and a "quick buck" Make that
"a lot of quick bucks". This page will be reviewed and updated on a regular
basis. Your help is appreciated.
Phrases to avoid:
Variations of "Kick": like "kicks on" "kicks off" "kicks
in" these are very vague terms used in speaking to avoid going into detail
but when writing they will poison an explanation. Like saying "my furnace
won't kick in" instead of saying "the burners won't light".
Describing the object instead of the
problem: Like saying "my furnace or heater won't run" instead of "the burner
won't light" (more detail is nice).
Destinations: I have noticed a lot
of reference to this abstract destination, such as going, gone, out, gone
out, went, last legs, about to go, ect. When someone has to resort to phrases
like this then you know that they are most likely "up to no good" (another
Adding to the problem: I one read this
in a question "My oil burner won't fire off the thermostat" I am not sure
what this person was thinking but the thermostat doesn't fire off the thermostat
and it doesn't fire from any where for that matter. Was there somewhere
else it could fire from? The thermostat doesn't produce fire any way. He/she
could have just said my "oil burner won't run when the control signal is
present". They actually wanted to say it won't work but just added to the
These are my favorites. The ones used by the greedy repair
person turned sales person who needs another car/truck/house payment. Here
are some of the classics with more to be added. The word "it" or "one"
usually referees to your system in general and not to any specific part.
Otherwise these phrases would have no meaning and the sales person would
have no sale.
"It can fail at any time" (one of my favorites, if not the
"It is old"
"It is getting old"
"It is too old"
"It is too old to repair"
"It is too old to get parts"
"It is about to fail"
"It is about to go"
"It looks like it is about to go"
"It has gone out"
"it is gone"
"I can't get the exact parts"
"I can't find the exact part number"
"No one else will fix it" (some times there is a lot of truth
"I can't work on that brand"
"That company is out of business"
"It has some rust"
"It has seen better days"
"It is inefficient"
"It doesn't work as well as it used to"
"A new one will work so much better"
"You need a new one"
"It must be replaced"
"It is no good"
"I can't get parts"
"You will save a lot of money"
"You will save money"
- "You might as well"...
"Your system is not matched" (translates into: I don't understand
refrigeration and couldn't fix it anyway if I wanted to, which I don't).
Watch out for the word "matched" it usually means that someone is trying
to tell you something that they can't come right out and say but you should
be able to figure out. Once again someone is usually up to no good.
One word non descript terms:
I have noticed that when ever you hear these words as a sole
diagnoses that rest assured that bullshit proceeded and will follow the
non descript word. These non descript words have cost consumers more than
a fortune in fraud.
Random Terminology: Using different terms at different times
to identify different components with the same words. Sometimes in the
One of my favorite themes is where customers and service
people invent new words for components or use different words in different
sentences to describe the same parts or interchange names of components.
This will cause endless problems when trying to diagnose
More to come...
Definitions of quantities:
1. Blower: usually a squirrel cage centrifugal
air moving device. Will move large volumes of air relatively quiet. Will
energy with more back pressure.
2. Fan: a paddle type air moving device
used where noise is not a major consideration. Will use more energy with
3. Combustion blower: A blower used on high
efficiency furnaces or oil burners to move combustion air. usually 1/20
4. OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.
5. Horsepower: 746 watts (ENERGY OVER TIME)
6. KW Kilowatt (1000 watts) or 3400 BTUs
per hour. (ENERGY OVER TIME)
7. KWH kilowatt-hours (1000 watts for 1
hour) or 3400 BTUs. (WORK)
8. RPM: revolutions per minute.
9. Service factor: the extent to which a
motor can be safely overloaded beyond its name plate ratting without over
10. Air over horsepower: The rating of a motor
assuming air flow through the windings usually as a result of the air moving
11. SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers.
12. Ton: 12,000 btus of cooling per hour the name
comes from melting one ton of ice per day.
Definitions of parts:
Compressor: The part that pumps the refrigerant not to be
confused with the condenser or outdoor unit.
Condenser: The coils that change the refrigerant gas to liquid
not to be confused with the compressor.
Condensing unit: The whole piece that sits outside that contains
the compressor and the condenser not to be confused with either one.
Evaporator: The coil that takes liquid refrigerant at a low
pressure and evaporates it back to a vapor state. AKA the part that gets
Outdoor coil: The outdoor coil on a heat pump or air conditioner.
Indoor coil: The indoor coil on a heat pump or air conditioner.
Written by Scott Meenen N3SJH. Copyright at common law.
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This text written by: Scott
Meenen * G & S Mechanical
"When good service is not good enough..."
MARYLAND DC. VIRGINIA AREA
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