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Samurai Appliance Repair Man's Blog



How the Energy Star Requirements are (unwittingly) Protecting the Appliance Repair Trade

Posted by Samurai Appliance Repair Man, in Appliance Repair Service 18 August 2014 · 297 views
appliance repair, regulations and 1 more...
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of Big Gubmint-- it is far too impersonal, too easily bought and controlled by large corporate interests, and always anathema to individual liberty, security, and creativity. But, once in a while, Big Gubmint's meddlesome and doltish regulations have the unwitting effect of benefiting a narrow group of little people, like us. The Energy Star requirements are a case-in-point.

Thanks to the Energy Star requirements, manufacturers are making appliances that have a higher retail cost AND higher failure rates which translates into more frequent repairs, higher repair costs, and increased likelihood that the customer will opt to repair over replace. All of this bodes extremely well for the appliance repair industry and I know I have already been reaping the benefits of these regulations in my own service business. If you're a servicer, you probably are, too, but may not realize it.

Below, I'm re-posting an old opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal bemoaning the effects of the Energy Star requirements on top load washers. The deleterious effects on top load washers described in the article are spot-on. However, it's also undeniable that we, as appliance servicers, are reaping a windfall of business from these Energy Star requirements. So, despite my distaste for Big Gubmint and its relentless regulatory avalanche, I proudly embrace my hypocrisy when I proclaim, "All hail, Energy Star!"


***************************************************************


How Washington Ruined Your Washing Machine

It might not have been the most stylish, but for decades the top-loading laundry machine was the most affordable and dependable. Now it's ruined—and Americans have politics to thank.

In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were "excellent" and five were "very good." By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were "fair" or "poor." This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as "often mediocre or worse."

How's that for progress?

The culprit is the federal government's obsession with energy efficiency. Efficiency standards for washing machines aren't as well-known as those for light bulbs, which will effectively prohibit 100-watt incandescent bulbs next year. Nor are they the butt of jokes as low-flow toilets are. But in their quiet destruction of a highly affordable, perfectly satisfactory appliance, washer standards demonstrate the harmfulness of the ever-growing body of efficiency mandates.

The federal government first issued energy standards for washers in the early 1990s. When the Department of Energy ratcheted them up a decade later, it was the beginning of the end for top-loaders. Their costlier and harder-to-use rivals—front-loading washing machines—were poised to dominate.

Front-loaders meet federal standards more easily than top-loaders. Because they don't fully immerse their laundry loads, they use less hot water and therefore less energy. But, as Americans are increasingly learning, front-loaders are expensive, often have mold problems, and don't let you toss in a wayward sock after they've started.

When the Department of Energy began raising the standard, it promised that "consumers will have the same range of clothes washers as they have today," and cleaning ability wouldn't be changed. That's not how it turned out.

In 2007, after the more stringent rules had kicked in, Consumer Reports noted that some top-loaders were leaving its test swatches "nearly as dirty as they were before washing." "For the first time in years," CR said, "we can't call any washer a Best Buy." Contrast that with the magazine's 1996 report that, "given warm enough water and a good detergent, any washing machine will get clothes clean." Those were the good old days.

In 2007, only one conventional top-loader was rated "very good." Front-loaders did better, as did a new type of high-efficiency top-loader that lacks a central agitator. But even though these newer types of washers cost about twice as much as conventional top-loaders, overall they didn't clean as well as the 1996 models.

The situation got so bad that the Competitive Enterprise Institute started a YouTube protest campaign, "Send Your Underwear to the Undersecretary." With the click of a mouse, you could email your choice of virtual bloomers, boxers or Underoos to the Department of Energy. Several hundred Americans did so, but it wasn't enough to stop Congress from mandating even stronger standards a few months later.

Now Congress is at it once again. On March 10, the Senate Energy Committee held hearings on a bill to make efficiency standards even more stringent. The bill claims to implement "national consensus appliance agreements," but those in this consensus are the usual suspects: politicians pushing feel-good generalities, bureaucrats seeking expanded powers, environmentalists with little regard for American pocketbooks, and industries that stand to profit from a de facto ban on low-priced appliances. And there are green tax goodies for manufacturing high-efficiency models—the kind that already give so many tax credits to Whirlpool, for example, that the company will avoid paying taxes on its $619 million profit in 2010.

Amazingly, the consensus also includes so-called consumer groups such as the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union. At last week's hearing, the federation touted a survey supposedly showing overwhelming public support for higher efficiency standards. But not a single question in that survey suggested that these standards might compromise performance. Consumers Union, meanwhile, which publishes Consumer Reports, claims that new washers can't be compared to old ones—but that's belied by the very language in its articles.

We know that politics can be dirty. Who'd have guessed how literal a truth this is?

Mr. Kazman is general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Original article posted at http://online.wsj.co...202212717670514


Want an Interesting and Lucrative Career? Skip College and Go Into Appliance Repair!

appliance repair, career, college
I was born in 1960. Both my parents were first-generation Americans, offspring of immigrants; my moms's side from Greece and my dad's side from Ireland via Canada. When I was growing up, the Kool-Aid was that you had to go college if you were going to be "somebody who mattered." My parents, both of the post-WWII Baby Boomer generation, totally drank that Kool-Aid and relentlessly bathed me in the College-Industrial complex propaganda:

"Go to college and you'll earn more money."

"Go to college to get a meaningful and interesting job."

"You can't be a complete person unless you've gone to college."

There was just one problem: I had absolutely no desire to go to college. I hated school. And by "school" I mean the government-funded warehouses most people park their kids in during the school year. In fact, I hated school so much that I quit in my junior year in high school. But, being a government-indoctrinated blood bag, what was my big idea? To go into the Navy and fix airplanes.

Actually, there was a bigger plan there. I wanted to learn a trade. The trade I had in mind was what I saw as an up and coming field: aircraft electronics technician.

I had a great job in the Navy repairing navigational radar equipment for Navy P3 anti-submarine squadrons. I can honestly say that it was the most challenging and interesting job I've ever had in my life, including my life as an engineer with not one but two college degrees-- more on that later.

So the end of my enlistment term rolls around and I opted to get Honorably discharged from Uncle Sam's Navy. While I loved the job, I hated all the micky mouse Navy shit: "Get a haircut, Brown." "Shine your shoes, Brown." "Quit smoking dope, Brown." Hey, I was still a teenager in the 70's - what do you expect?

Anyway, my enlistment term came to an end and me a buddy rode our motorcycles back home from Moffet Field, California-- my buddy to Texas and me to Georgia.

Once back home, the parental pressure resumed: go to college and make something of your train wreck of a life ("train wreck" because I had quit high school, shaming and embarrassing them to their corporate work-a-day friends).

I eventually succumbed to my parent's relentless pressure and guilt-trips. I had taken college courses while in the Navy and scored well enough on the SAT to get accepted into the University of Georgia. This isn't saying much as it was known as Budweiser U back in the 80's, before it somehow got a reputation as an academic hot spot in the South (which I still don't believe). I graduated in 1984 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering under the misguided vision that I would start one of the first legal marijuana farms in the country.

Well, that didn't work out so well.

So I worked for a year as a process engineer at Michelin Tire Corporation in Greenville, SC. That pretty much sucked. So after a year of sucking tire fumes, I was brain damaged enough to go BACK to college. This time for a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering so I could design hazardous waste treatment systems.

I think I reinvented the definition of "naively misguided." Now, when you look up "unbelievably naive" or "pretty fuckin' stupid," you'll see a picture of me.

I ended up with shitty jobs at consulting firms and corporations, primping around in suit and tie, learning to talk that fake professional talk in endless, pointless meetings with blow-hard lawyers, corporate apparatchiks, and hopelessly ignorant yet endlessly arrogant government regulators.

Then, one day, came my day of Epiphany.

I was at a job at a Tombstone pizza plant on an ammonia refrigeration system I had designed (it's a long story how I got into doing that, I'll tell that another time). I struck up a friendship with the head pipe fitter for the job, a union member.

The piping in ammonia refrigeration systems has to be steel because ammonia and copper hate each other. As my dear old dad, Grant Brown once told me, "Any asshole can work with copper; it takes a highly paid asshole to work with steel." And this guy was very highly paid, as I soon found out.

We compared work hours and salary/wages. Turns out he had more time off than me, made waaay more money than me, and enjoyed his job a lot more than me. So I then asked myself, I said, "Self, who got sold a bill of goods here?"

And that's when it hit me.

Most college degrees are about teaching you to become a corporate bureaucrat; to endure arbitrary deadlines and crank out work that has little personal meaning to you.

What you really want to is to be self-employed, not to work for some soul-sucking corporation. I discovered that the initial impulses of my youth were absolutely correct: avoid the college scam, learn a skill, and start your own business. Starting your own business is the essence of the American Dream because it is an expression of personal freedom and creativity.

The day I realized that, I quit my corporate job and began my adventure as an appliance repair tech. It's been much more interesting and challenging work than anything I did as an engineer.

Yanno, maybe back in the day, when getting a job with a Big Corporation meant employment for life, it might have made sense to go to college. But not these days. Nawsir, the name of the game today is to go your own way, make your own path. And starting your own appliance repair business is one of the best ways to do that today according to this report:

Great News: Positive Job Outlook for Appliance Repair Techs!


Samurai Appliance Tech Boot Camp Orientation

Boot Camp, ATBC and 1 more...
We launched the beta-testing phase of Part 1 of the Samurai Appliance Tech Boot Camp last week and our beta students are busily working their way through the course. We plan to have Part 1 ready and open for general enrollment by June 15th. The Orientation presentation gives you some idea of what to expect:




Tech Tips: Voltage, Voltage Drop, and Loads

voltage, voltage drop, load and 4 more...
Understanding the distinction between voltage and voltage drop as well as understanding what a load is in an electric circuit are essential troubleshooting concepts for the professional appliantologist to grasp. In my years of working with other appliance techs online here at Appliantology.org, I have found that many, from rookies to seasoned and battle-hardened techs, do not have a firm grasp of these concepts. As a result, many professional appliance techs (I said many, not most) don't know how to effectively troubleshoot electrical problems in an appliance using a schematic in a coherent and strategic way.

For example, if you don't understand electrical loads and voltage drops, how will you apply the standard troubleshooting technique of load analysis when you're analyzing a schematic to figure out why a motor isn't running? Or, another example, if you don't understand the difference between measuring voltage and measuring a voltage drop, how will you apply the time-honored troubleshooting tactic of half-splitting to locate the missing voltage in a circuit?

The video below is a sample from the Samurai Appliance Tech Boot Camp Fundamentals of Appliance Repair Course and explains the concepts of voltage, voltage drop, and loads:



The Samurai Appliance Tech Boot Camp teaches these and other basic skills of the trade in the Boot Camp's Fundamentals of Appliance Repair course and fills in these and other knowledge gaps that many techs have. Whether you're new to the trade or you've been in it for many years but have never had the opportunity (or time) to gain these fundamental technical skills, you can learn them conveniently online at your schedule and pace right from the comfort of your computer. The lessons are a combination of text, video, and audio and most of the lessons have a quiz at the end to test your knowledge and help you think about and apply the concepts to ensure you have a firm grasp of them. Most of all, it's a fun way to learn!


Now Accepting Applications for the Samurai Appliance Tech Boot Camp Beta Class!

ATBC, boot camp and 1 more...
The Samurai Appliance Tech Boot Camp is currently in the Beta testing phase. Final pricing for tuition will be announced after the Beta phase. The Beta class will be a very small group of carefully selected early testers who agree to provide constructive feedback for improving the course. After the Beta period, all students will pay the full tuition at the current rates.

The specially-reduced tuition for the Beta class is $100 for the first half of the course, Part 1: Fundamentals. This is a fraction of what the full tuition for Part 1 will be. Financing is available.

If you would like to be considered for the Beta testing group, please submit your application by Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

The Boot Camp will be open for the Beta class to begin their studies on April 13.

Part 2 of the Boot Camp is still in development and its Beta period will be announced later.






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