Is Your Current Service Truck Cab Heating and Cooling Solution Increasing Costs? | MillerWelds

Is Your Current Service Truck Cab Heating and Cooling Solution Increasing Costs?

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Do you struggle with these three common challenges caused by current options for heating and cooling a truck cab?
A service truck technician stands next to his truck talking on the phone with the bright sun behind him

Service technician comfort

Service truck technicians don’t take a snow day; they get the job done no matter the conditions. Even in rain, heat, snow or freezing weather, service techs are on the jobsite completing repairs and maintenance.

Being able to duck into a cooled or heated truck cab to get a break from the elements helps keep technicians safe in harsh elements, and it’s a big factor in their comfort and productivity. Finding ways to maximize tech comfort on the jobsite can also help technician retention efforts for your organization. A temperature-regulated cab is easier on electronics, like laptops and tablets, that are so critical to helping technicians look up information and diagnose issues on the jobsite.

“I keep my truck running so that I can hop in the truck and cool down or get warm. There are days when it's so cold I can't handle it anymore, and I have to get in the truck to warm up so I can feel my fingers again and go back to work,” says Vernon Patrick, a service technician with Hoopaugh Grading. “And then other days it’s so hot and I’m out here sweating over a 400-degree engine, and I start getting dizzy. Then I need the air conditioning so I can grab some water and sit in the truck and cool down.”

The current options available for heating and cooling a service truck cab can drive up your fleet costs and impact a truck’s resale value if they involve cutting or modifying the cab. As a result, it can be a struggle to balance issues of technician comfort and safety with your goals of reducing idling and controlling costs.

If trucks in your fleet use a PTO system, the truck engine must run to provide power for tools and equipment as well as to heat or cool the cab. When trucks in your fleet use an all-in-one solution, this eliminates the need to idle the truck engine to power tools or equipment. But idling will still be required to heat or cool the truck cab. Other solutions may require costly cab modifications.

Learn more about how the limitations of current heating and cooling options force you to compromise.

3 challenges of heating and cooling solutions: 

  • Managing idle time: Keeping truck idle time to a minimum helps you control costs. A heating and cooling solution that increases idle time only makes this more challenging. To control idling, you may provide incentives to technicians who reduce their idle time on the jobsite. Another option from chassis manufacturers is to preprogram the truck to automatically restrict idling, only allowing it when the air temperature falls outside of a set range such as colder than 40 degrees or warmer than 80 degrees. But in many climates, this will still result in the truck idling much of the time anyway to keep the cab warm or cool. These extra steps are just additional hassles for you to keep track of — and they may not even provide adequate comfort for technicians or enough cooling to protect the electronics they need to get their job done efficiently.
  • Cab modifications: There are aftermarket options available for service trucks that provide heating and cooling to the truck cab. But many of these solutions require cab modifications, such as cutting holes in the cab to plumb equipment into the space. This introduces the possibility of cab damage that can result in leaking, and these modifications can drive down the trade-in or resale value of the vehicle. Depending on the solution, this equipment can also take up quite a bit of cab space that technicians could otherwise use for their electronics or tools.
  • Low-cost options that don’t deliver: When idling the truck or modifying the cab aren’t an option, technicians may find other ways to regulate temperature, such as using an air conditioner powered off the truck or generator. Some technicians put up a small tent in an effort to provide shade or protection from wind, or they may use a small bullet heater to generate heat. But paying for these additional modifications or equipment adds to your operational costs — and may not provide the level of comfort that techs want in harsh conditions or the return on investment you’re looking for.  

Controlling costs and improving comfort

The balancing act of reducing truck engine idling and keeping technicians safe and comfortable has been made more difficult by the limited solutions currently available for heating and cooling the truck cab. With a new integrated CabEn™ Climate Solution from Miller, there is no need to compromise. You can meet both goals while seeing a return on investment through reduced fuel use, idle time and maintenance issues. 

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