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#31238 11/15/03 12:35 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 33
JohnnyB Offline OP
This is why I hate electrical supply houses. I don't get it; I am trying to figure out what the problem is. I'm HVAC tech, but not limited to the equipment. I don’t make a habit of running all kinds of electrical work but I don’t just stop at the dissconnect box and tell the HO he's out of luck and call an electrician either. I do work for a guy that does everything he can get paid for so when its slow I will do electrical jobs, but I'm smart enough to know my limitations and I'm not single handedly putting all the electricians out of work. It's not like I'm some kind of HO, I've been working in the field since I was 19 and not just as some laborer, I've worked with guys in industrial maintenance, residential, high voltage electrician, HVAC- industrial and residential. Sooo my point is, WHY, why do they give me such a hard time at the counters? I swear they are being purposefully coy, obtuse, closed minded and just plain refusal to give service. The places that I have to go to are populated by, I think, ex-electricians so my theory is its some kind of union thing or your not licensed thing, right? Well, I never ask them to solve my problems or design my solutions at the counter, but I do expect them to hand me a fitting when I ask for it (or describe it).

One example and tell me I'm wrong for feeling this way.....

I call looking for 50' of 1" liquid tight, 2 straight box connectors, a nipple for connecting a dissconnect box to a RTU (OH, I didn’t know the technical term of chase nipple equaling a half hour of dialog)and I'm looking for a coupler to connect one piece of liquid tight to another. This guy proceeds to lecture me on how your only allowed to go a few feet with it and that he's been in the biz 20 years and never seen a piece of roof equipment hooked up with liquid tight and that their is no such thing as a coupler for liqidtight and why would you want such a thing.... Now I'm a reasonable guy and I try to explain to him that it's obvious that we are picturing two different things because I just came down from a roof with 57 RTU's all with 1" liquid tight connecting them and that I want to cut the one that’s broken and couple a new piece on with a new dissconnect and all that... ya know, describe what I'm doing so he can get a better picture. He refused to help what so ever, WTF? Are the people who are employed by the electrical supply houses in charge of handing the numerous fittings and supplies to the customer so closed minded that they can't possibly imagine what I'm talking about? Is it that they are afraid I'm going to electrocute a bunch of people and they will get sued for it? What could the reason POSSIBLY be? Is their some sort of rational explanation that I should be told that I'm not supposed to do these repairs or buy these fittings? Is their a top secret electricians language that I'm not using? Ya know when someone comes up to me and starts to speak Spanish I politely tell them that I don’t speak Spanish

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,158
Just wondering... How is the liquid tite secured or strapped.Is it laying in a tray ,
or strapped to a sidewall or are there cable supports mounted to the roof.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
i can see this heading toward the 'fastener'~ 'fitting' definition...

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 914
Around here the electrical supplies are in the business of selling parts and will sell to anyone with a smile. Maybe a different price, but no refusal to sell. This is a mainly non union state so that might have something to do with it or maybe another supply house would be more accommodating.

PS - the guy was right about not using liquid tight non metalic for more than 6 feet in many cases, but if it is proprly secured it would meet code per NEC 356.10 and 356.30

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
Although I don't work in an electrical supply house, I spend a lot of time in them.
Often there will be a customer ahead of me that is expecting the counterman to figure out what they need when the customer doesn't know. Most of them are patient, but it's bound to get to them eventually. I'm not so patient, and sometimes it's kind of hard to sit for 1/2 an hour waiting to get my 3 minute order filled while the counterman brings out 100 items for the customer to pick and choose from, and then put 99 of them back in stock.
When you just need a couple of fittings, it's hard to justify them costing $40 in time spent picking them up.
There isn't such a thing as a sealtite coupling, just put 2 connectors into a rigid coupling and be done with it.

It could be that if you go into the suppliers with an attitude of hating them, they might pick up on that, and they might hate customers like you right back.
Maybe you should just go to the Home Depot.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
Parts houses sell parts, tradespeople install them. What else does that counter guy need to know. It shouldn't matter to him what the heck you are doing with whatever parts you want.

Isn't the 6 foot rule on Liquid tite used when you are using it as a bonding or grounding means??

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
The wholesaler I use has a "Trade only" policy, and the signs outside their warehouse say that. (They're hidden away at the end of a dead-end road on an industrial estate, so only people who already know of their existance are likely to roll up at their door anyway.)

I don't know what it's like in their other branches around England, but the manager here certainly interprets "trade" fairly liberally. I've been in there when owners of local hotels, bars, and so on are ordering materials, and they clearly aren't quite sure what they need.

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 33
JohnnyB Offline OP
The liquid tight is mounted right next to the RTU to a box located right under the roof pan. So start to finish maybe 3'. What my problem is that the new RTU placed in the same footprint is a little smaller and therefore the old whip falls just short of the dissconnect. I just need a foot or so to extend it. Their is so much tar built up on the penetration I was hoping to avoid putting in a new run through the roof.

I understand the point of not solving someone’s problems for them at the counter, but do the counter guys get paid by the # of fittings that cross the counter? I would think they clock in at 8 and get paid by the hour till 5, in that time they are to give service to people that walk in the door, right? I don't ever spend more than the time necessary to collect my materials because the time I spend I have to pass along to a customer directly, so I had better have a good reason I spent X time.

What I take offence to is the fact that this guy assumes that I'm running 50' of liquid tight along the roof. Could it be that I got 57 RTU's to change out and I'll probably need a foot of whip per unit since they don’t match up? Then he proceeds to try to intimidate me by stating that he's been in the biz 20 years and never seen a RTU hooked up with liquid tight, WTF. OK, I've been on roofs for oh, the last 6 years and been in construction, maintenance and remodeling for a good 6 years before that. Not that any of these matters, but everything on the roof around here has a whip of some sort, so WTF was he talking about? OK, so they don’t make a coupling as far as he knows, which I think he's wrong because I have seen one before and when I find it I will make a point of showing everyone that it exists, just say "I don’t got one, but try this, here ya go". What about all the beating around the bush of the chase nipple, really is he so closed minded he can’t know that I'm referring to the "chase nipple" when I say I need a nipple to connect a disconnect box to the RTU. Come on, that’s being obtuse. WHY?

This is just one example, I've been having this experience since I was 19, so it's me or them and I really am open minded so is there a book of terms that I could obtain to translate to the counter guys? Is their the secret hand shake instruction manual?

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
I have no idea why you would have trouble with the supply house.

The rest of this you will not like.

I don’t make a habit of running all kinds of electrical work but I don’t just stop at the dissconnect box and tell the HO he's out of luck and call an electrician either. I do work for a guy that does everything he can get paid for so when its slow I will do electrical jobs, but I'm smart enough to know my limitations and I'm not single handedly putting all the electricians out of work.

Why did I bother to get my license if you are not going to call an electrician for electrical work?

Should I start recharging HVAC units?

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 97
Let me get this straight.

You have existing 3 foot whips and you need 4 foot so you want to extend the existing whips 1 foot using a liquidtite coupling?

I have not seen or heard of such a thing.
The only option I am aware of is to use two connectors with a rigid coupling.

Have seen and used steel flex couplings but nothing for liquidtite.

As for tar build up, that can be a problem.

My suggestion would be to build a rack to mount the disco close enough so that they old liquidtite will get to it. Then run another piece of liquidtite to the unit. Yeah I know the boss will throw a fit because its obvious that he did not figure this cost into the bid.

By the way I agree with iwire, do you want us charging and recovering freon?

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