Wide, Narrow, Wide Diagnosis
When you walk up to a piece of equipment you want to follow a process to ensure that you accomplish five things.
#1 – You diagnose the fault correctly
#2 – If possible you find the “why” of the failure
#3 – Find any other problems or potential problems with the system that can cause inefficiency, low capacity, failure, safety or indoor air quality issues
#4 – Communicate clearly with the customer and and office about these issues via paperwork and / or verbal communication
#5 – Execute and repair the issues in an efficient and workmanlike manner
In order to accomplish this I recommend looking at the equipment with a wide, narrow, wide mindset
First, speak with the customer, read the call history, understand any concerns the customer may have and any past failures. Look at the equipment, look for any obvious signs of issues like oil stains, corrosion, rubbing wires, bloated capacitors etc…
Then go narrow and FIND THE CURRENT PROBLEM. The difference between a “Sales Tech” and a real service tech is the ability to quickly and accurately diagnose the problem at hand as well as find the likely causes of the failure.
Finally, once you find THE problem, go wide again and look for any other problems BEFORE communicating with the customer. Look at coils, contactors, capacitors, filters, belts, wire connections and potential rub outs, check coils and acummulator for oil stains etc…
When looking wide take the mindest that..
– The system was likely installed poorly / incorrectly to begin with
– Every other repair made to the unit was done improperly
This will put you in the mindset to double check everything.
Now you are ready to talk to the customer and make repairs with confidence.
Bryan Orr is a lifelong learner, proud technician and advocate for the HVAC/R Trade