Pellet Stove Technician therapy thread

JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
468
Belleville New York
This could be fun. And teach people at the same time. Let’s share our stories of some of the dumbest things that customers have abused us about. I don’t know about you guys but I get it on a weekly basis. And some of these customers are outright abusive. I’ll go first. Yesterday I answer a call with a customer telling me the piece of sh## stove he bought from us won’t stay running. I go through all of the basic questions , cleaning, damp pellets etc hoping to get it running as I’m already at 70 hours for the week. Nothing works so the customer demands Icome today as his wife and children are going to freeze to death although the low is 45. I try and put it off until Monday but get threatened with a lawsuit if it isn’t done today. So at 5 I drive 45 minutes praying I can get it going. When I get there this stove is filthy. And I mean filthy. The heat exchanger cleaning rod won’t move. The blowers and everything are caked in dust and dog hair. I turn on the stove and it starts to feed pellets and shuts down. I asked them if they had cleaned the chimney and they say of course but I know that isn’t true because their idea of a thorough cleaning is dumping the burn pot and vacuuming. I go outside to check the chimney and there’s a wad of insulation crammed into the cap. Now I’m smoking mad. I leave it their and go in and get the owner to show me how he cleans the chimney. He says he’s going to get his shop vac so I just ask him to look in his cap. He sees it and remembers putting it there to keep out the bees. Now we go inside and start the stove and it barely burns it’s so plugged up. I ask him to get his manual, that he says he read, but he missed the seasonal cleaning and doesn’t understand why after only 6 ton of the cheapest pellets he can get he needs to do all that. Then he wants to know if it’s covered under the warranty. WTF? I tell him if I took pictures of this the company wouldn’t warranty anything ever. I told him all the hair was going to start a fire and it needed tore down and cleaned. I gave him a price but he said it was too much and he’d do it himself. I left with no apology and not even a thank you. I did record me telling him that he was going to destroy the stove and burn his house down so when it happens we won’t get blamed. I hope he reads this.
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
This could be fun. And teach people at the same time. Let’s share our stories of some of the dumbest things that customers have abused us about. I don’t know about you guys but I get it on a weekly basis. And some of these customers are outright abusive. I’ll go first. Yesterday I answer a call with a customer telling me the piece of sh## stove he bought from us won’t stay running. I go through all of the basic questions , cleaning, damp pellets etc hoping to get it running as I’m already at 70 hours for the week. Nothing works so the customer demands Icome today as his wife and children are going to freeze to death although the low is 45. I try and put it off until Monday but get threatened with a lawsuit if it isn’t done today. So at 5 I drive 45 minutes praying I can get it going. When I get there this stove is filthy. And I mean filthy. The heat exchanger cleaning rod won’t move. The blowers and everything are caked in dust and dog hair. I turn on the stove and it starts to feed pellets and shuts down. I asked them if they had cleaned the chimney and they say of course but I know that isn’t true because their idea of a thorough cleaning is dumping the burn pot and vacuuming. I go outside to check the chimney and there’s a wad of insulation crammed into the cap. Now I’m smoking mad. I leave it their and go in and get the owner to show me how he cleans the chimney. He says he’s going to get his shop vac so I just ask him to look in his cap. He sees it and remembers putting it there to keep out the bees. Now we go inside and start the stove and it barely burns it’s so plugged up. I ask him to get his manual, that he says he read, but he missed the seasonal cleaning and doesn’t understand why after only 6 ton of the cheapest pellets he can get he needs to do all that. Then he wants to know if it’s covered under the warranty. WTF? I tell him if I took pictures of this the company wouldn’t warranty anything ever. I told him all the hair was going to start a fire and it needed tore down and cleaned. I gave him a price but he said it was too much and he’d do it himself. I left with no apology and not even a thank you. I did record me telling him that he was going to destroy the stove and burn his house down so when it happens we won’t get blamed. I hope he reads this.
That is just pure ignorance. And of course if it's house catches on fire the pellet stove will be the blame.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
2,450
Lorraine NY
I drove an hour to do a quad castle insert yesterday making noise and a high pitched squealing sound when stove was placed in high heat. Pulled insert out and found a half inch of dust, pellets and some screws and washers(no idea where they were from). Owner said stove was serviced and cleaned a year ago, but he cleans it weekly. Well i pulled the combustion and convection blower motors and found the combustion only had enough room for the impeller blades to turn, it was packed to capacity. So now i take the chimney liner off and find it has about 5 lbs of ash that just falls out and creats a cloud. Cleaned that mess up and the housing then reinstalled the motor. On to the noisy convection blower, that is so full of hair, dust and don’t have a clue that i don’t even think it could move air. Cleaned out all shtuff in the blades and reinstalled. Assembled everything and slid into hearth to test. Stove stars and is roaring with the amount of air it can move now. Owner says it hasn’t worked like that since it was new, now when it gets up to temp the convection blower is making a high pitch squeal the goes away when i touch the housing, I loosened the holding clamp and took out the blower again to find what looked like a caked pile of dust under the mount holding the blower higher off the mount and contacting the back of the stove rubbing. Scraped the pad off and repositioned the blower a fraction of an inch and all is good. Now i have a scheduled Deep clean in the spring. But who ever did the last service didn’t do chit and the install was atrocious.
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
593
Miller MO
Yes to both of those. Nothing worse then working late to help someone whose freezing to death because we sold them a piece of sh$t only to get there to a warm house with an unplugged stove, or a pie plate over the pipe, or a filthy stove. Last year I had a customer in his underwear and beer belly scream at me to get the f$$$ out of his house because his cb1200 was trashed after two winters and 7 tons and I told him that’s probably why it won’t feed.
Customer: “If It needs cleaned then clean it!”
Me: “sure thing, but that’s not a warranty issue so I’ll have to charge you for a cleaning”
Customer: “ We paid over $3000 for that thing, how much is this gonna cost”
Me trying to ignore the fact that the man is only wearing his underwear: “well, we take the stove apart completely, clean it all and brush the pipe. Usually takes about two hours. It’s $119 but if you do it in the summer next time it’d save you 10 bucks”
Customer: a long stream of profanities and obscenities that amount to I’m not giving you a dime and you need to leave, to which I smiled, grabbed up my vacuum, tool bucket, drop cloth, drill bag and brushes (usually carry all that in two trips) and say, “alrighty, well y’all have a nice day.”
I had a crazy old man pull a gun on me and make me sit down and listen to him play a couple songs on his guitar about how Trump was gonna stop the “Juan’s” and save the country from the commies, before he would let me leave.
Cleaned a stove in a meth lab once. Called the cops afterward but the guy had an arsenal so I wasn’t going to argue with him about anything while I was there.
Had a customer complain that I was shady once cause I had a big beard...
Had a customer complain that I smoked a cigarette in her driveway while the stove was test firing.
I could go on and on. Fortunately I’ve outlasted the other techs where I work, so the office pretty well ignores the crazy people cause they know I’m doing my job and not being an a$$ hat about it. It’s always nice to see how many people will wait a month or two just to get me to clean their stove vs one of the guys I’ve trained. For every crazy one there’s several who tip well and tell their family and friends to ask specifically for me.
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
593
Miller MO
Also, I’m just gonna leave this RT&R here for your enjoyment. Customer installed during remodel. Zero attic access, because he didn’t figure he’d ever need back up there. We call this a Red Tag & Run cause that’s what you wanna do.
6C31B5D4-1259-46D9-8DEB-1901752AB32F.jpeg
3E137983-800E-4F84-B41F-24957E2F7276.jpeg
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,331
WI, Leroy
ah yes the life of a service tech- Not only was I a tech( different industry) but also the service manager for 20 years. costomer shenatagins , complaints ,threats, on and on.
 

JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
468
Belleville New York
Yep thats what i got Saturday lmao. I would have taken pics but the owner was over my shoulder watching
I take pictures anyways. I could care less what they think. I like the ones where they know your coming but don’t bother to clean up the dog or cat crap out of the pellets all over the floor.
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
593
Miller MO
Those are the houses where I don’t use my drop cloth, or if I do, it’s to keep me clean not their floor, and I trash my drop cloth afterwards.
 
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JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
468
Belleville New York
Phone rings at 6:15 this morning and I stupidly answer it. Customer apologizes for calling on Sunday, but the 6:15 thing isn’t a big deal obviously, and says blower is making noise. Says they are worried because we have cold weather coming in 2 days. At least it’s only a half hour away. I go about ten and get there and asked if they cleaned it lately. Of course they have. Needless to say the combustion blower is packed and hardly spins. Clean it and put it back together and they complain about the lousy hundred dollar charge, so I just leave. There’s no way I’m making it through November. I think I hate pellet stoves.
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
593
Miller MO
I called one of my Monday jobs test at 6 to remind them as a courtesy that I would be there in the morning and got yelled at for calling at 6pm on a Sunday. Said, “sorry, I’m calling from home and have been in bed all day with a fever until I got up to call you from home as a courtesy.” People are aholes.
 

JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
468
Belleville New York
Ssyko comes down to our business quite often. He’s my therapist lol. He can tell you where my attitude is at right now. I’ve already seen stoves plugged up with bad pellets they think they are getting a deal on even though I tell them not to buy them. Now I just noticed I left my jacket at the house yesterday. You are correct about some people.
 

miteclipse

Member
Mar 8, 2013
151
Hughesville, MD
Phone rings at 6:15 this morning and I stupidly answer it. Customer apologizes for calling on Sunday, but the 6:15 thing isn’t a big deal obviously, and says blower is making noise. Says they are worried because we have cold weather coming in 2 days. At least it’s only a half hour away. I go about ten and get there and asked if they cleaned it lately. Of course they have. Needless to say the combustion blower is packed and hardly spins. Clean it and put it back together and they complain about the lousy hundred dollar charge, so I just leave. There’s no way I’m making it through November. I think I hate pellet stoves.
You should get paid for time on the job. Do you inform your customer of service call costs prior to starting a job? I wouldn't go out of my way for that person next time.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
634
ohio
I was called out to look at 2 Englander stoves that were 2 years old that were at a dog shelter. I walked in and the smell about knocked me over. I pulled the back cover off the 1st one and was puzzled. There was no wiring? I was baffled for a few seconds, until I saw a large dead rat laying in the bottom of the cabinet! Look quickly at the other one and it was stripped of all wiring also. I told them they werer totaled and got out of there. They said we can bring them to you and you can rework them? No thanks! Everything in the back of the stoves was coated with a 1/4" of mud/feces from rats coming in from outside with muddy bellies and crawling all over the inside of the stoves. It was bad :)
 
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