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Thought HVAC Techs made good money, what happened

Amen to that
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This ^ 4 years in the field and still learn something new everyday. Started as A helper, got my own truck, did installs, new construction, the occasional commercial job, now service tech. Summers are brutal, 4 techs taking 40 + calls a day plus going back on incompetent installer jobs(How many times can someone confuse the hole where the drain is supposed to go and the float switch goes?😂).  Being on call a week out of the month. Not enough time in the day. Pay is “decent” but no where near what we bring in for the “company” on a day to day basis. The industry is changing faster than what they can teach in school. Your absolutely correct about a bad tech not knowing they’re a bad tech, unless they have the drive and motivation to learn and take criticism they’ll stay a bad tech. I love the field and I love learning, but on days like today I feel highly unappreciated, even more so now with coronavirus going around. You hear about all the “hotspots” in town and then get told that’s where your going that day 🤷‍♂️

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Jun 29, 2020 Solution
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Join a Union or start off doing grunt work for a contractor and show initiative, climb the ladder, get to commercial, find the best installer at your company, learn from him, then the tech. 3 years in the trade for me($20), finishing college and getting out. Anyone in this trade who tells you they know everything is a liar, bad techs dont know they are bad techs, shady techs do. This thread made me depressed but reinforces why I'm getting out. Lots of interesting stuff in this trade, a lot to learn, good installers and techs should be making $40 not $25. Trade is changing to more complex machines, demand for smart people is gonna go up, wages won't, trade will continue to degrade. Four seasons is gonna keep paying monkeys 15 dollars an hour to hack a system sold by a tech who couldn't fix a dryer. Ad infinitum
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You sir are the "heavyweight" the original person was referring to when this guy who thinks describing 6 years doing installs makes him sound better by breaking it down in new construction and retrofits when its all ground level entry work to becoming a tech. The questions you fired off at him are clear experience from the knowledge you have gained from being in this field for 30+ years and I thought to say thank you for being in this forum to share ur knowledge with those of us who are actually making this our profession and are looking for good advise.
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Sep 16, 2019 Solution
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Supposedly there is such a huge demand here in the Northeast especially the NYC metro and greater Boston but like someone said above hundreds of people trying for few apprentice positions and other positions want years of experience. Most of these schools seem geared towards people already in the trade whose employers are paying for the training.
Is it easier down in Florida?? Seems like easier to get a Job in that area or even in Midwest
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Apr 2, 2019 Solution
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dont be puzzled. it has a lot to do with the cost of living which Florida is a lot less. Also tax's are wayyyyy different. Florida is humid and very crowded and wayyyy closer to the border so you will never make as much as you would in NJ
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Apr 2, 2019 Solution
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If you have the opportunity to get on the commercial side, it will definitely keep you busy seeing that commercial equipment operates 24/7 verses residential were some might open windows or use a space heater, Im in Snellville, Georgia and do mostly residential, but its getting to the point were finding work is far and between.
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Mar 17, 2019 Solution
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I have had a hard time getting into hvacr. Like I said before it is tough in 2018 still 86% of HVAC workforce was white males. I don't mind being the sprinkle but it would be great to be considered an equal. I don't receive the added training, I ask a question I don't get a real answer, I have to go find it somewhere, others are helped along. I starting to question if the industry itself is not for people who look like me or am I just here because you got paid to hire me and I help the so called diversity status.
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Feb 21, 2019 Solution
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I want to sell residential HVAC systems. Starting a bit late in life perhaps..... I'm 56 years old no experience with HVAC but I have sales experience. I'm thinking about taking HVAC courses at the local College. I hope somebody will hire me at my age. There's one company that I know of that will hire with no experience as long as you have sales experience but they are over a hundred miles away. So I'm wondering if anybody will hire me at my age any suggestions from any of you Tradesman to get a fast start in residential HVAC sales at 56 years old? Im still strong and mobile and Flexible and have no problem climbing and balancing on ladders. I'd like to get a gauge on how realistic it is for a 56 year old to get into the HVAC sales business, however, when there is a will, there is a way!
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Nov 27, 2018 Solution
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its hard work, i dropped out after 1st year in training. Lots of insects to greet you inside ac units, heating ducts,etc.lots of bending your body, being cramped in small spaces trying to fix something. you may make good money but youll need it cause youll be forced to retire sooner than u want whether its from breathing in bad dusty air or from overusing your back from repairing things. Im more the desk job type.
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As in any other job, money comes with effort. Show up, do the work, you’ll get paid.

Do extra, get NATE certs, join RSES, study, practice drill and rehearse. 30 minutes, 2 nights a week following up with Everyone who told you “I want to think about it “or I “need to talk to my wife" and you can nearly double your income.

Study Greer, Ziglar, Hopkins, get your presentation polished until you can do it blindfolded.

1) same every time no matter what client says, looks like, whatever. Follow a process that works no matter what.
2) separate yourself from your competition. If you are the same, then you compete on price and no one wins.
3 fixing stuff is fun, you need to know how. But a furnace never wrote me a check. It’s a people job.

Finally, and this is the one that is hard to train. Do more. Do stuff they didn’t ask you to do. Do the work. Do it with no expectation other than to help people.

Money will come. Chase it, it runs.

I’m hiring
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Jun 29, 2018 Solution
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Fact is none of you people have nothing to cry about. At you get a break in life. You don't have any idea how just having a break to do the work would change someone's life. Man up and thank god everyday that at least you get a chance.
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Jun 29, 2018 Solution
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Refrigeration/HVAC tech here in southern Indiana. I’m in my 7th year and currently topped out at $37 + an hour. Awesome benefits, all of the overtime I want. I work on ice machines, walk ins, commercial and industrial HVAC, residential HVAC. Personally I prefer refrigeration, the only downside is the on call. My company only has 2 techs right now. I know other techs at non union companies in my area that do the EXACT work as me and make 22-25 an hour. It’s a rewarding field with plenty of money to be made. More mentally hard than physically. Learn sequence of operation and how to use a meter, and how to read wiring diagrams and take your time to do things right and you can make a good life for your family.
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Yes like you I can do a better job then any of those lazy wining babies that complain about the work. At least they get and chance and need to thank god everyday don't they? Its the same as some stupid person that thinks it takes so much to hold a sign. Construction related. Anybody can stand there and hold a sign. But the person didn't have the brains to realize it. 20 years industrial I can do more then any of the laborers. One doesn't need x amount of credits to do the work. I can do many things if the employer would use their brain and realize it. Job title means crap. Plus, I wonder its a trade? oh that's right learn on the job but employers can't realize it.
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Apr 30, 2018 Solution
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Yes I agree. But at least you had your chance. Its crap how so many people are stupid and think because one has paid you money you can't do it. Like you many years around 20 industrial work. I can do the construction, build and others regardless if I have been paid or not or some title. But do get a chance oh noo. Its not about where one starts. Its about getting a chance in the first place. Then you can go off on your own and forget all the people who wouldn't give and change put them out of business. In relation like you say, anybody that wines about the work needs to shut up. They need to thank god at least they get a chance.
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Apr 30, 2018 Solution
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I am not that guy I just like to answer questions. I am a super green maintenance tech with 5 months experience and 2 semesters in college so I don't know a lot. You evac the micron gauge should be 500 microns. when you charge with sub cooling you do so because there is a thermal expansion device, or an electronic expansion metering device. Sub cooling is the amount of temperature the refrigerant is below the temperature at which a change of state to vapor would occur. So 5 degrees sub cooling is 5 degrees away from the refrigerant turning from liquid to gas. You measure sub cooling by measureing the pressure and temperature of the liquid line and by a chart see how many degrees under the temperature the change of state would occur. Sub cooling varies as any tech even as green as me would know. You want of course to have the factory recommended sub cooling but that is a perfect scenario as that varies greatly due to weather. Super heat is the opposite of sub cool as it is the amount in degrees the gas is heated about the point where it would change to a liquid. you would use this when charging a unit that has a piston metering device. Super heat is measuring the temperature and pressure of the gas line and go to a chart and see how many degrees above the point when a change of state would occur. To prevent copper flaking you would need to ream the cut copper and would need a steady flow of nitrogen through the line
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Mar 6, 2018 Solution
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We are looking for qualified HVAC/Plumbers. We repair/maintain/changeout water heater/boiler equipment. We do warranty work for the major manufacturers. Pluss commercial and pm work. We are currently in five states eventually expanding further. Our top three techs make over 6 figures currently. Please email jane
@hotwater911.com .
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Jan 14, 2018 Solution
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I had thought about getting into the HVAC field, but notice there are only one or two jobs in the whole state of Connecticut for HVAC apprentices. Why is this? Supposedly, there is a high demand for HVAC Technicians.
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Jan 14, 2018 Solution
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Awesome Anthony, I wish I would have the balls to go out on my own 20 years ago. There is so much competition here in South Florida between licensed and unlicensed contractors that makes it hard to be successful running your own company. I've had several friends in the business go bankrupt within 3 years or just close shop due to lack of customers. Do you deal with the same issues there with unlicensed contractors?
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Oct 9, 2017 Solution
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Ok old post but I need to respond even if my post isn't read.. the problem here is attitude. I can only imagine sending one of these anchors on a call to hear it's too far, the lady homeowner is mean, my work truck smells like ciggs and I feel sick now... positive attitude,hard work, and most important brains I make way over 6 figured a year independent no employees but I spend 10-12 hrs a day in field and another 2-4 doing paperwork and estimates these millenials want to get paid like a boss right out of school. What I've learned is most guys 8 out 10 dont have the brains for this and should give up and become plumbers 1 in 10 dont want to work 1in 10 develop egos and can't get along with anyone . Yes that leaves no one but the exceptions to the rule... you guys dont belong in my trade and I wouldn't let u carry my gauges behind me..so get out you only give the pros a bad name.. 39 yrs old in trade 21yrs contractor 11 years.. total bad add 38yrs
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HVAC/R tech school which is a 7 month program and I'm still at a 4.0 Gpa staying at the top of my classes. I will be done with the program in Feb/2018. I want to ask you some question through email if thats alright since we're both in Florida?
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Aug 23, 2017 Solution
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Best advise I can offer is to make the right choice at the beginning. You didn't say what type of school you are entering and that is by far the key to your success or failure in the trade. Don't expect much in the beginning because it's just slot if hard work for very little pay but if you have a plan on what direction you want to pursue in the trade you can make it work.. Be patient, it doesn't happen overnight.
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Aug 23, 2017 Solution
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Hey, JayyHvac I just started Tech School in Jacksonville and trying my best to soak up all the knowledge I can in class. I would love to learn as much as I can and hear any advice from you. My email is *********** It would be awsome to hear back from you.
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Aug 23, 2017 Solution
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To the guy who hates mom and pop shops. My parents own one of those mom and pop shops in Minneapolis area of Minnesota and I have to say that not all mom-and-pop shops are bad. I hated working for my parents and it has more to do with our private life so I eventually ran my ass off somewhere else. One thing I do have to say good about my parents company is that they do not screw people over. They usually have the lowest bids and my mom's always ranting and raving about how so and so's company did this and that and she can't believe they would do that to a customer and that is one thing that I have always liked about that company. We had another Mom and Pop Shop in the area where my parents company was and I was sent out to repair some things that blew my mind. I've seen it the elderly scammed,left with no heat and the plenum wasn't even though the way put together. My parents Mom and Pop Shop would have never allowed something that tacky. The smaller mom-and-pop shops have to prove themselves more than any big business. I would have to say that you ended up with just a s***** person running a mom and pop shop. As my parents employee not always try to protect their company even though I couldn't stand working for them. It all still reflected on me. A Shady company eventually is going to fall on their face By Word of Mouth which is the best advertisement around.
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Jul 3, 2017 Solution
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Lol excuse my giggle but I know exactly what you're talking about and that's why I'm giggling. You're right you start at the bottom of the totem pole and it's very hard getting to the top. This tinner mommy's been doing it for 17 years I believe now. Old school retrofit is the best way to learn because not too many people know how to build anything nowadays. The work isn't there anymore either in Minnesota. Back when I was in the local 10 and doing my training I was rolling in the dough. Now I work for a new company that I've been with for a year and only work 2 months. Unemployment benefits When skydiving down to the point where I'm really getting sick of this. As a female I got my ass beat learning the trade. I had no idea what anything was other than a hammer and screwdriver and I left a gravy job working in a salon doing hair. Creating things is in my blood and HVAC surprisingly was a perfect fit for me. My parents own the heating and air conditioning company that my father worked for when I was a little girl and eventually took over. At 10 I was helping him ripped coils up in the backyard not knowing what I was headed for. But I'm finding in Minnesota even if you're good there's just no f****** work. My first round of applying for new jobs trying to get out of my parents company didn't go so well. Most of them looked at me like what the hell are you going to be able to do as they're looking at my arm to see if I have any pipes LOL I'll work circles around them asses!!!! Nobody wanted to hire me like they didn't believe that I can actually do the trade and it was extremely frustrating. Years later I tried to give it another shot because working for family is a freaking nightmare. Second time around I felt like I was a walking piece of gold because everybody wanted to hire me but they all wanted to put me on the back burner because at the time they didn't have the work. That's how the yo-yo is been going for many years.
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Jul 3, 2017 Solution
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I agree my parents owned a HVAC business and still do and I no longer care to work for them. My mother has never worked in the trades she just likes playing with the money and that's exactly what happened. Business was good so high Rollin was the deal until business took a s***. Ended up having to sell all the fancy stuff and watch her have an attitude having to live like me LOL I know I shouldn't laugh at my mother for that but you got to understand I've been hurt employee. I got into the trades because my step father worked for this company before my parents own it. I called myself the tinner girl and I'm very good at it hence the reason I've been in it for 17 plus years and was trained through the sheet metal workers Local 10 which I think sucks cuz they're Crooks. It's all seasonal and I have sat on my ass way too much not making s*** even though my wages huge. I watched the high rollers play while I scrounge to feed my child. Friendly move to another company only to be laid off twice in a year and the first time I had to go back and tell him I was going to leave and that was the only reason why they brought me back only to leave me off once more. Big company, too many jobs, not enough money to pay employees is the problem. Back working for my parents when things started getting rough they had to depend on Community Action doing freebies for the county which are the worst damn nightmare jobs you could ever get. I worked in the hood and all the hoarder houses, crack houses with prostitutes pissed at me I had to go through their closet to get in the Attic so of course she has to cancel her daily appointments LOL
Don't forget about being a single parent in the lovely daycare issues because you can't give the daycare a set schedule which is required. If you're laid off you don't want to be stuck in a daycare contract I can tell you that.
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Jun 26, 2017 Solution
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Hi Matt, in response to your query I would start with your annual operating budget and work from there. Be willing to buy all the necessary tools and equipment and I would assume that you already have a maintenance shop on campus. How much have you alotted for this position? Will it be salaried or hourly? Include the benefits package as well of course. With such a mixed bag if equipment and size of the property, your going to need someone whose got multiple years of experience. That being said , it's sounds like a great opportunity for the right individual if you choose to go that route.
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Hello, I am a facility Director of a small college in Minnesota. We have been outsourcing our HVAC since I have been part of the organization. The guy we have been using for years is about to retire and I am wondering if it would be wiser for us to hire someone fulltime to take care of our HVAC opposed to outsource. We have about ten buildings on 32 acres with a mix of boilers, a/c systems and roof top units. We currently pay around $5,400 month for 32 labor hrs. This is around $65,000 annually. This does not include parts, emergency calls or any labor over 32 hrs./month. Any reconditions on whether to outsource or hire in house? How much should I expect to pay for HVAC tech with a journeyman license in heating and refrigeration?
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Jun 6, 2017 Solution
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I've been in the trade since 2001, studied at local union apprenticeship for 5 years so I've seen and done just about everything except ammonia and glycol systems. Left the union because of unstable work here with union companies, also no paid vacation and holidays. Through it all I found my happy place working for the large commercial real estate companies JLL, CBRE, And now Cushman and Wakefield. You have to be a jack of all trades for most of the building engineer positions with these companies but they all have recently been hiring hvac mechanics solely as more of the mechanical work with the clients have to be self performed. Trust me when I say that average pay is around 24-28 hourly and Im in the 30s as a lead engineer. Benefits are great, no quotas or selling and plenty of overtime depending on the client. You just have to be detail oriented self driven and professional because you will be working from home without any supervision or immediate assistance, most guys are assigned territories and facilities to maintain that are miles apart so you rarely if ever see a fellow coworker other than at a parts house. I enjoy my life far more than I ever did working for an HVAC contractor and I would never go back.
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500 microns.
Subcooling is the temperature below saturation point aka removing heat. You use subcooling when balancing refrigerant levels during install or maintenance or anytime you gauge up. Mainly on txv units.
Superheat is the opposite of subcooling. Superheat is the temperature above saturation point. Aka adding heat. When subcooling, you are turning the refrigerant into a liquid. With superheat, you are turning the liquid into a gas. Superheat is mainly used when working with a fixed piston.
The range of Superheat and subcooling depends on outdoor temp and indoor wetbulb and depends on the manufacturer specs of charging. Indoor coil specs may be needed to complete a correct charge. There are sheets with typical charge if no charge sheet is provided, but you should call the manufacturer if no chart is available. You need to know if the unit has a txv, electronic txv, or fixed piston before charging a unit. Same goes with Superheat.
To get subcool, you take high side gauge temp minus the line temp at the service ports on the liquid line. Superheat is the suction line temp minus the low side gauge temp.
When brazing, you need to run nitrogen through the line you are brazing, to prevent oxidation. Oxidation, aka flaking, can cause the filter dryer or metering device (txv or piston) to plug, causing a no cool or poor cool situation for a customer.
I've been doing this for 3 years.
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Apr 29, 2017 Solution
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Iive been reading the posts about not making good money in the HVAC field? Some of you guys need a kick in the --- and maybe some advice. I have 31 yrs. in Hvac industry. Did I make big $ right away? Hell no. After paying for myself to go to one of the best trade schools at that time, I started making $6.50 an he. While I went it school, I worked full time on off shift. Why? Because that's what it takes. Hard work and determination. If I got stuck, I studied on my own until I figured it out. I spent 2x the amount studying on my own vs. Actual school time. I started out fabricating ductwork, installing heatpumps, wiring new construction back in the 80s. My dream was to work in the Pharmaceutical industry. I put my training and drive to work. I got an entry level Hvac position at a Co. Making a vaccine that was only in clinical trials. They coyldnt payment that well. In 2000, I only made $16 an hr. However I got something that was priceless. I got 2 yrs. Exp. At a state of the art Bio Pharmaceutical Co. After 2 yrs., I left after I was offered $21 an hr. With great health insurance. That was 14 yrs. Ago and 5 diff. Pharmaceutical Cos. Later, in making almost $40 an hr. With benefits most people only dream of. Am I lucky? Maybe. Or maybe luck had nothing to do with it. I believe it was BC of my strong work ethic and continued training, and self teaching that has brought me to my apogee in my career. Also, if you don't make what you believe your worth, do your own sidework. I am. Getneeded trainig, certs, license, insurance, bonds and take a Free small business course offered by SPA. THERES ALTO IF GUYS DOING THIS BUT NOT ALOT OF HONEST, KNOWLEDGABLE, EXPERIENCED PEOPLE THAT DON'T RIP OFF CUSTOMERS. IF THERES ONE THING CUSTOMERS WANT, its honesty. Even if itcosts more $. Do them right, and they'll tell 5 people about you. If you could do 10-12 HVAC INSTALLS OR REPLACEMENTS A yr., thats $50k. What's the problem? Instant gratification doesn't exiSt. Only hard work.
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THIS INDUSTRY IS JUST FULL OF KNOW IT ALL'S EVERYONE KNOWS EVERYTHING AND THEIR WAY IS THE ONLY WAY OF DOING SOMETHING, OTHERWISE IT'S THE WRONG WAY. IT'S SIMPLE GUYS AND GIRLS IF YOUR WAY WORKS FOR YOU AND THE DAMN THING WORKS WHEN YOU'RE FINISHED, THEN I GUESS IT WAS THE RIGHT WAY NO MATER WHAT THE ARM CHAIR TECH'S OR ANYONE ELSE THINKS. NEWS FLASH, THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A CAT. IF YOU WANT TO TRIPEL EVACUATE, DO IT ALL DAY LONG WHO CARES? IF IT WORKS FOR YOU THEN KNOCK YOURSELF OUT, I NEVER PERSONALLY HAVE, I PULL IT DOWN TO 4OO MICRONS AND CHARGE THE DAMN THING, IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. IF IT WORKS FOR YOU THEN BY ALL MEANS DO IT, DOES THAT MEAN IT'S THE WRONG WAY.? NO IT JUST MEANS IT'S DIFFERENT THAN THE WAY I DO IT BUT IF THE END RESULT IS THE SAME, THEN WHO REALLY CARES RIGHT.?
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Dec 17, 2016 Solution
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