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Tales from a Tech. Are you trying to kill me ! Just when I thought it was safe.

So there are plenty of work hazards being an HVAC Technician doing AC repair. But working around high voltage electricity might be the biggest hazard to understand and

respect. Most furnaces are 110v and the A/C is 220v. I have to check certain things like the amp draw of the motors when the a/c is live and running. Other things like making sure wire connections are tight and checking capacitors are done when the power is turned off. I also wear nitrile gloves for two

main reasons. The first is to protect myself from getting zapped and the second is to keep my hands clean.

So there was an Air Conditioner Repair I was diagnosing in Rancho Cordova in 2018. The air conditioner condensing fan wasn’t coming on but the compressor was so I figured there was a problem with the fan motor. I turned off the thermostat and pulled out the pull out power disconnect next to the A/C unit. That way it would be safe to work on, or so I thought. So I take off the panel to check out the components like the capacitors and wiring. I pull a wire off of the capacitor and the wire touches the frame of the AC and zip zap there is a huge spark and a small hole is appears where the metal vaporized. I jump back and the ol ticker stops for a second. I'm ok but wow that was a close one. Did I forget to pull out the safety disconnect? Nope the pull out is laying on top of the unit rite in front of me. So how is there power going to the unit? So I take a cover off of the pull out disconnect and see that someone has bypassed the Line and load wires going into the pull out with wire nuts(Not in pic). That means the Air Conditioner is live whether you have the pull out in or not. I was pissed for a second. This is how people die. If you did this to ten units and had ten techs work on them I’m sure one would end up at the hospital. I can understand why someone would bypass the disconnect to get an a/c working if they didn't have fuses on them but you better clearly label the disconnect for the next poor soul who works on it. But really that is still very dangerous, I would have labeled it and gotten some fuses asap and put it back to how it was.

I’ve been zapped a handful of times, it's hard to avoid after working with electricity for so many years but the main reason people get seriously injured vs just a little buzz depends

on whether they are grounded or not. So when working around electricity remember to always wear insulated gloves and always wear insulated shoes and never let any part of your body touch the ground or the grounded equipment while the system is live.

For do it yourself A/C maintenance tips check out this link

If you have any questions or want to set up service please call (916) 671-5542


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