• Pete McGrath

It's Never Just One Thing

If I had a dime for every time our company founder, Harry Hartigan, has uttered the words “it’s never just one thing”, I could buy Google. Newer MSC service technicians hear this phrase spoken by Harry on a near-daily basis until they find out the truth of it for themselves. There is never, ever “just one thing” wrong with an HVAC system.

Take the loss of a compressor. The HVAC industry is chock full of contractors who will simply replace the failed compressor without ever asking the key question: Why? Was it due to flooded starts? Then what caused the flooding? Applying simple fixes like replacing a leaky solenoid valve or bad crankcase heater can prevent a repeat failure and potentially save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in replacement equipment and lost production.


The same goes for problems with fans, motors, contactors, pumps, or any other system glitch, malfunction, or general underperformance. Technicians should always ask themselves three important questions: 1) Does the problem begin with this particular component or piece of equipment? 2) Is this a symptom or trickle-down result of another problem? 3) What other problems is this issue causing elsewhere down the line?


HVAC and controls are more complex than ever, but every system has a story to tell if you’re willing to listen. It does, however, take expertise in multiple disciplines to view and understand a system holistically. A technician who doesn’t have this understanding is a mere parts replacer, throwing fixes against a wall to see if something sticks (at the client’s expense) and missing the big picture entirely. Experience can be a tough teacher when you get the test first and learn the lesson afterward, which is why “it’s never just one thing” is always one of the first things we learn, and what we live by, here at MSC.