When installing customer supplied fans, do you take responsibility for balancing if needed? If a customer called you back to balance the fan they purchased but you installed, would you charge them? Thanks... B
I never balance fans. Unless they want to pay time & material (I guess just time). But even then, you can't guarantee it won't wobble, so why are they paying you to do it? And it seems to be inversely proportional that the less they spend, the more time it takes to balance.
I always tell them that it is an after thought on the part of the manufacturer to make up for poor engineering. The instructions are simple enough, they spend as much time as they feel it is worth.
Unless it is a nice person who is obviously severely mechanically challenged, then I will consider doing it quickly as a courtesy, but never as an obligation.
Re: Customer supplied Fans#44086 10/28/0407:42 AM10/28/0407:42 AM
Fan installation is T&M, if they demand a price we refuse the job, when we were charging $270 for fan installation, with customer supplied fan, we were loosing money on every job, so we went to T&M. balance is part of the job, however some of the cheap fans will never balance, let the customer know up front that not all fans will balance.
I installed fans for 6 ceiling fan stores in the late '80s and early '90s. Part of the deal was that I perfectly balance every fan and guarantee it for a year. EVERY fan can be perfectly balance if you know a few tricks. However, I've never been able to pass these skills to every electrician I hire. So now my guys are instructed to attempt to balance for about 5 minutes, if they can't get it then we will try longer if the customer wants to pay, otherwise the customer just gets a wobbly fan. Because I have extensive experience in ceiling fans (I installed 5-10 a day for about 6 years), I wish I could still guarantee perfect fans, but I would have to do it myself.
It's a tough call with the quality of customer purchased fans. In the time period that Electric Eagle mentions you could get a quality Hunter (before they went to China) that didn't need balancing. It had a solid mounting base and was close to being balanced.
Today I'm likely to get a fan with a narrow rectangular mounting base and it's only hanging by two screws. It's not so much that it's out of balance, but it's rocking on the base. I hung one a few months ago that had a great base and assembled easily. I thought I finally had a fan I could recommend. I turned it on and it made a loud motor noise.
If the fan has a solid base, I'll usually take the few minutes to balance it. However, sometimes it's a loosing cause.
Don't you just LOVE the Home Depot signs that sell fans that "can be installed in a few minutes".
Eagle, You said you did, 5 to 10 installations a day, did you work a 24 hour day? We get there and find a box with old rubber rot wire, that falls apart in your hand, now the real fun begins, the ceiling is lath and plaster, Ya I can see doing 5 of these installs a day, lunch would be at midnight. Just wondering if you had to install fan support and remove a ceiling box with pass through wiring. I guess we just got all the bad jobs.
Re: Customer supplied Fans#44092 10/29/0409:31 AM10/29/0409:31 AM
I hear you on that one, LK. I guess the time period is around 1940. The wires have varnished cambric insulation (technically cloth rot, not rubber rot). All the insulation flies away from the heat of the light. Now the wires are uninsulated and way too short.
I go in the attic and all the room's receptacles are wired from that same small junction box. I cut all the wires back into new insulation, install two new junction boxes and a ceiling fan rated box where the pan was (after cutting the metal joist-span bracket). Then it's fan assembly and installation time. I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little over 2 hours at this point (OK, so I'm old & slow). The only bright side is that the attics in that time period are roomy.