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How to Become a Better Troubleshooter

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Avoid "Auto" Conclusions Don't try to solve the problem while you’re still in your truck. Some technicians make up their minds before looking around, and then they set out to prove that they're right - even if they're not!

Comprehend the components If you don’t understand how the parts work you’re going to have a tough time understanding how they form a system.

Understand the system Think in terms of systems, not symptoms. Try to see the whole works in your mind’s eye when you’re troubleshooting. Don’t focus on just one piece of the puzzle. Leave the boiler room and wander around.

Focus on physics High pressure goes to low pressure. Water seeks its own level. Heat goes toward cold. You know these things, but you might forget them on a problem job. Stay focused on physics.

Be methodical Make a mental checklist of the possible causes of a problem and work your way through the list. The one potential cause you decide to skip will probably be the one that’s screwing up the job.

Let your mind do the walking Think like air, water, and steam. Visualize your way through the job. Ask yourself what you would do if you were inside the pipes.

Ask the superintendent I always take the time to have a cup of coffee with him, and he always gives me the clues I need to solve the problem. Yet hardly anyone ever speaks to this guy!


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