Disclaimer-Captain DIY and DIYtoFI.blog highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!
Well folks, good ol’ Captain DIY had a real head scratcher yesterday. A customer had asked me to hookup a wood-fired furnace in conjunction with his gas-fired furnace, and they were both to run off of the same thermostat, but at different times.
Now, I’ve wired quite a few furnaces and boilers in my day, but they are usually stand alone units. Putting two of them together creates quite the control wiring snafu, and control wiring is not necessarily my forté. Luckily for me, there was a Manual.
Reading the manual before you get started on an installation project is crucial. I know some guys who just dive in and figure it out as they go, and they usually come up against a wall at some point that can only be overcome by looking at the Manual.
A good installation manual will give you a little bit of general info about the product, a little blurb about how it works, and specifications on how it should be installed. Having this information in front of you is great, but it really only helps if you read the damn thing.
Manuals are not always the end-all, be-all. In the case of these two furnaces, the manual was only a little better than marginally helpful, as they only anticipated the furnace as a stand-alone unit. However, having all of the wiring diagrams and particular info is incredibly helpful in determining the best way to proceed.
Eventually, I was able to figure out the way to connect everything together so the thermostat would operate the controls of whichever unit was in use at the time, and that was that.
I was not completely convinced of the perfection of my work, and I told the customer as much. I absolutely hate getting a call from someone complaining that the work I did for them isn’t working properly, and if there is a chance of that happening it will ruin the next few days for me.
My next logical step, therefore, was to talk to the customer about my job, and what I felt about it, along with a discount off my bill. I can’t reasonably tell someone I lack confidence in the job I did for them, and then turn around and whack them with a full-charge bill. He appreciated my honesty, and more so the discount, and we went our separate ways with no weight on our shoulders.
I guess my point in all of this, besides reading the damn manual, is be honest with yourself and your abilities. If you feel like you can’t do something, evaluate if it’s worth at least giving it a try. If you think giving it a try will only make it worse, maybe just call someone for help. There’s a time for learning a new skill, and there’s a time for letting someone who already has the skills and knowledge to take over. In fact, bringing someone in who knows how to do it may give you the opportunity to learn something new, and that’s always a good thing.