Thursday, December 29, 2011

Garage Sales

There was work going on at my mother’s neighbor’s house while I was home in Albany last week and I couldn’t help but inquire with my mother’s neighbors about what the trouble was. In the suburbs, electronic garage doors are a far more regular sight than they are in the city, even in the outer boroughs of NYC. One thing that distinguishes electronic garage doors to manual ones is that the electrical ones can get into what any electrician, NYC or not, would call “phantom operations.” Apparently, this had happened to my mother’s neighbors right after the installation but they were unable to contact the man who had installed it to do a check-up. My mother’s neighbors, The Matthews, had even driven to their offices, only to find it closed, in the middle of the day, on a weekday.

Michael and Joan (The Matthews) were able to get a pretty reasonable price on an inspection and servicing but the idea that the installer felt the need to duck the repair is disquieting. Unless this was a straight-up bilk job – doubtful, seeing as my neighbor had received a recommendation for the man – there is no conceivable reason that wouldn’t fall under the rubric of incalculable greed. Having talked to my NYC electrician and installer friends this week, many of them said the main reason for phantom operations is a power surge, which most installers and/or electricians can diagnose pretty easily. Now, the Matthews are doing well enough that they can afford to have someone else come and do the work, but this should be something that the installer takes responsibility for, especially considering the installation wasn’t but a week old when the operations began.

There are of course other reasons: faulty remotes, nearby use of advanced electronics (think military bases or larger digital firms), and bad storage (keeping the remote in a cluttered glove department). But these are also things that could be very simply diagnosed by anyone who has installed electronic garage doors for longer than a year. To me, its just another way to make customers nervous about installers, which is certainly not the picture that should be painted when jobless claims are slow rising.