It’s good for more than getting sports scores

If you’re the proud owner of a smartphone, here’s a scenario of where that little device might come in handy.

You’re at a job site, it’s after hours, and there’s one piece of information you need to get the job done. Maybe it’s sizing a generator, maybe you need to verify drop cable sizing, or possibly determine the proper size for a circuit breaker. The problem is, you can’t find your AIM Manual. You left it back at the shop, at the last job site, whatever.

Use that smartphone to access the Franklin Electric AIM Manual. Your smartphone has a web browser and instead of using it to just check the latest sports scores, go to:

From there, click on Americas Water Systems, then on AIM Manual. A table of contents will appear. Click on whatever part of the AIM Manual you need. Once it loads, you’ll probably need to zoom in to make the information readable, but presto, there’s exactly that piece of info you needed to complete the job.

Is it as handy as having a hard copy of the AIM Manual in your hand? No, of course not. But in a pinch, don’t forget that the information you need may be right there on your belt.

P.S. Once you pull up the AIM Manual, bookmark it! Next time you can go directly to it. Click here for a SHORTCUT.

It’s always something

This week’s post comes from Rick Campbell, Manager, Inside Technical Support, at Franklin Electric.

The best thing about working a technical service hotline is that every day and every phone call is a different challenge; no two are ever alike and it’s never dull. However, after more than 20 years of dealing with technical issues over the phone, some calls and situations are just more memorable than others. Here’s one from several years ago that has stuck with me:

A contractor called for help troubleshooting a two horsepower, single-phase submersible installation. The system ran great – most of the time. But every few days, without any rhyme or reason, the overload in the control box would trip. Sometimes the system would run for a week or more without issue, and then the overload would trip several times in a week. Each time the contractor came out to check the voltage, it was well within limits. Over the phone, I helped him check out the entire system and it was good. We also tried to identify a pattern to no avail.

Knowing that the issue was most likely voltage-related, we eventually decided a voltage monitor was the only alternative. And sure enough, after several days of recording, it showed that the bottom would randomly fall out of the voltage. The power company was contacted, but they maintained that based on their data and the load on the system, everything was good.

The “aha” moment came when the contractor discovered that the next door neighbor was restoring a car in his garage in his spare time. In the restoration, the homeowner was using an industrial-size arc welder that when used, caused the voltage to drop at all of the surrounding houses. Of course, he was using it randomly and the pump was running randomly. Hence, the pattern of overload trips was even more random.

I don’t know how things were resolved between the neighbors, but it was another case where there was a reason behind the problem, and it was up to us to find out what it was.

Every team has an MVP

Once a year at Franklin Electric, we name our Most Valuable Player for Technical Service.

This year’s recipient is Charlie Utley, our P/HVAC Technical Specialist. High quality training is so important to Franklin Electric because it’s so important to our industry. As a manufacturer, we are only as good as the contractor who’s installing our product. The more professional and competent that contractor is, the better we are as an industry.

No one provides better training in our industry than Charlie. In 2011, Charlie held 68 separate training events. He was everywhere: from San Diego to Randolph, Massachusetts to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to everywhere in between. When it was all said and done in 2011, Charlie provided training to well over 600 contractors in our industry. Today, those contractors are positioned to do a better job because of Charlie’s skills and efforts. And by the way, he’s on pace to exceed that in 2012.

But in any endeavor, what makes a Most Valuable Player “the most valuable” are the intangibles. It goes beyond simple throughput. The really talented players just seem to know what to do—and they go do it, all the while making it look easy. They also have an infectious, optimistic attitude that permeates the entire organization. Anyone who has been to one of Charlie’s seminars knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Congratulations, Charlie, on being this year’s Most Valuable Player at Franklin Electric.

Nation’s water costs not rushing higher everywhere

You may have seen this USA TODAY front page headline from Monday:

USA TODAY analysis: Nation’s water costs rushing higher

Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

While most Americans worry about gas and heating oil prices, water rates have surged in the past dozen years, according to a USA TODAY study of 100 municipalities. Prices at least doubled in more than a quarter of the locations and even tripled in a few.

Consumers could easily overlook the steady drip, drip, drip of water rate hikes, yet the cost of this necessity of life has outpaced the  percentage increases of some of these other utilities, carving a larger slice of  household budgets in the process.  Read the whole article here.

David Bumbalough, Franklin Electric Field Service Engineer, had the following reaction:

This is exactly why I recently had a well drilled. My average water bill in 2011 was about $47 a month. This year, it was at $72/month, a 53% increase for the same amount of water, about 7000 gallons per month. With my new well, I calculated that my one-half horsepower, 10 GPM pump will accumulate about 17 hours of run time each month for electrical costs of $2. I do need a filter, and that runs me $30 every 3-months. So, total cost to run my well is $12/month. I can pay back my investment in my well in just 5 years (faster if I figure in an increase).

And, I don’t have to put up with the smell of chlorine and the taste that comes with public water.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Simply by applying common sense thinking, David once again demonstrated why a private water system is truly the deal of a lifetime. When clean, fresh water is available from my own property, it doesn’t make sense to get it any other way.