Monday I get a call from an account. We installed the fire suppression system, so that is all we do for this customer, no hood cleaning, no alarm work, not fire extinguisher work. Good pay, checks on time, contact is good to work with. Contact calls me, tells me they have a problem with the gas valve, it seems to be closed and can I look at it? I ask for more information and am told the hood cleaners have been in and cleaned the hood. Their assumption is the hood cleaners may have done something to the gas valve. I am not familiar w/the company, except from their postings on the furnace cleaning board over at Delco. They rant about all of the poor equipment, poor workmanship, which usually means their work is not much. Anyway, we go to the Lodge, stopping at the office to get someone to watch what we do. In 25 + years I have not seen a gas valve close for no reason. The reason an automatic gas valve closes is because the fire suppression system has tripped. If the system was tripped, I wanted a witness to note that I did not trip the system, that the system was tripped before I got on scene. We went into the system, disarmed the system and I started my inspection. I had my helper remove a couple of filters. I got into the hood, and noted all of the fusible links were in good shape and not melted. I also saw the hood was not greasy and was in fact just as clean as last April when I serviced the system and just as clean as April 2005, when I installed the system. I touched the sheet metal, my finger felt stickey greasy stuff. I turned around and noticed the white powder flakes in the hood. Now the powder monkey has been out of business at least 5 years, but there was still residue. I set the gas valve, light the pilots and went back to the office and talked to the Administrative Assistant. I reported on my findings. She asked my opinion, I suggested she call the company who cleaned the hood.
Today, I stopped at the Lodge. I wanted to check on the pilot lights and make sure the gas valve had not tripped again. A cook and I went into the kitchen. The oven pilot was out, but all the other pilots were OK. I found out he at one time cleaned hoods, with chemical and a scratch pad. I expained our process, with chemicals, pressure washer and all. He showed me the grease left after the cleaning on Monday, and told me he found grease dripping from a pipe in the hood. I again went into the hood, touched the pipe and found more grease than I had before. I jumped down and we discussed the matter a bit more. The back door opens, and 2 guys come in. W/O waiting for an opening in the conversation, they ID themselves as the hood cleaners. They looked in the hood and said they saw nothing wrong. They also said if there was a problem, they would have to come back later to correct the problem, as they did no have the van at that time. I immediatly covered up my company name on my shirt. The Cook took the 2 guys to find a trustee. I left, stopping at the office. Becky and I discussed the situation a little more. I told her in my opinion, the hood cleaners did not clean the hood, just left a bill. I asked if anyone was in the building when the job was done. She told me there was someone in the building, that person did not go into the kitchen when the job was done.
Maybe I got the guys in trouble, maybe I got the owner in trouble, maybe this is the way that company operates. And maybe I just expaned my customer base!
General Fire Equipment Co of Eastern Oregon, Inc