Communication is so important in what we do as technicians. Even after twenty years of doing this, I still sometimes forget to sufficiently grill the kitchen staff to gather all the facts before proceeding to their broken equipment.
Case in point:
I recently got called to look at a Market Forge gas tilt skillet because it “wasn’t heating”. When I got there, the person who called in the complaint – “Tim”, wasn’t around. So, I consulted another Sous Chef. He told me that “Tim had turned it on and fire shot out from underneath”.
From that tidbit of information, I proceeded to methodically spend the next forty-five minutes or so accessing, inspecting, scrutinizing and remediating any and all “vaguely” possible issues I found within the gas burner system underneath the skillet.
FWIW: I never like to intentionally repeat a “fire shooting out” scenario. Although it can be briefly entertaining – if it’s controlled, I had no measure of how “controlled” it would be.
Once I was satisfied, I turned the skillet on to test it. Nothing happened. No power. At all…
Hmmm? Okay then, I’ll change gears by checking voltage to unit, then inside the control box.
I found a blown fuse.
When I so happened looked up, TIM had just walked in. I chased him down and asked “Tim, what happened?”
He said, “I turned it on and SPARKS shot out from underneath”.
Sparks? W-E-L-L, that’s not FIRE. FIRE and SPARKS are TWO completely separate things.
As it turned out, the “sparks” were caused by an electrical short within the tilt skillet’s hi-limit control wiring. The SPARKS had nothing to do with misdirected gas flow to the burners, the pilot…or anything else IMMEDIATELY related to the gas train that would cause FIRE to shoot out.
So…YES – better, more thorough communication with my “customer” during this service call would have save me nearly an hour of wasted time and misbegotten troubleshooting endeavors.
Individual perception can and is a problem with talking to customer staff. Especially if English isn’t there primary language. I can’t tell you how many times the customer told me one thing, and it wound up being something totally different. One learns to slow down and ask questions before starting. It actually saves time. I hate it when a non tech things they know the problem and colors their answers though. Really adds time and irritation.