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The Science of Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting requires a knowledge of the why and how of proper behavior or operation. I don’t troubleshoot human problems as their how and why is very complex. I do enjoy troubleshooting things mechanical because machines don’t involve emotion in their operation. At least not yet.

Controls have been my specialty for most of my life. The last part of my working career was managing construction projects involving building (the structural kind) energy management systems and making sure they operated as intended. It required intimate knowledge of the why and how mechanical systems operate.

The ability for humans to operate complex systems (operators) and the ability to troubleshoot complex systems […] Continue reading » The Science of Troubleshooting


My furnace, actually an electric heat pump, wasn’t keeping up to holding temperature too well. Checked filter. Oops… went a bit too long. Reminder to others, check your filter now. Very dirty filters will definitely reduce system efficiency (higher operating cost) and could damage equipment. Don’t put it off. Also don’t run without filters if you have a heat pump or air conditioning in your system. A few days won’t hurt but all season could plug indoor coil fins.

After 50 years in the HVAC business, I have changed and installed a lot of filters. Even electrostatic filters usually have an after filter that can get clogged due to […] Continue reading » Filters


That’s when something has reached the point of accumulation or collection that there is no room for more. It’s also the point where I stop tracking something that was of interest to me. I stop counting because I know there is no room for more. There is no such thing as 110% saturation except for warp drives on Star Trek.

The problem I have with saturation is it causes me to ignore possibly important information. I have reached the point of saturation with email marketing. 90% of it is scams and deviate behavior about human body parts. After the first few hundred, I could care less what else may […] Continue reading » Saturation

Getting Down to Business

After I got all my tax work done, I was feeling so good that I tackled getting my The Hobbyist Machine Store (THMS) bookkeeping in first class condition. I worked on that second most favorite thing to do (next to doing the taxes) until bedtime last night. I got it finished.

I had the end of year (2011) balanced, closed and reports printed as needed for taxes, but I had let the first quarter of 2012 slide by without doing serious month end work. I can get by with that since my little business is a sole proprietor with no employees. The bookkeeping is accrual but THMS pretty much runs […] Continue reading » Getting Down to Business

Health and Comfort in North Texas

To what I am referring is the percent relative humidity (%RH) in the homes in my area and I am sure in thousands of other homes in the southern states. I am a Yankee by birth and a Texan by choice. I have been raised since birth in a business called Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. (HVAC) I am, as they say on Myth Busters, “Don’t try this yourself, we are experts!”, an expert in HVAC.

In Northeast Ohio, every HVAC system needs and usually has a permanent humidifier as part of the equipment. Long cold winters are damaging to health and to buildings and furnishings when the indoor %RH […] Continue reading » Health and Comfort in North Texas