I would then ask you in a few months, after running your own service calls, if you still think some of these are not necessary.
The good news is when I add up what I paid for everything listed here the total was under $30. That’s quite a bargain for the essential role these tools will play in your work.
I’m not exaggerating, because many service calls would not get completed without them.
Security Bits: $6.00 at Auto Zone
The first thing you will need is a complete set of security tool bits to open any fastener (a.k.a screws) you will encounter. There is no standardization among appliances and brands, and I guarantee you will need more options than a Phillips, slotted or torx. Try to explain to the customer that you can’t open up their appliance because you don’t have the right screwdriver with you!
Telescoping Magnetic Pick-Up Tool: $3.50 on eBay
OK, mine was free, given to me by a grateful customer, and I loved the gesture at the time but wasn’t sure how practical it was. Turns out it can save your life when you drop odd sized screws down into hard to reach spots of the appliance. Spend the three bucks, and save yourself hours of dumb retrieval time.
AC Voltage Detector Pen: $4.00 on eBay
I already had this inexpensive item in my toolbox. You will use this constantly to check the presence of AC current at different locations within the appliance.
(Yes, the multimeter does this too, but with the pen, you can get a quick read without disconnecting any terminals and fiddling around with two probes. Save the multimeter for when you need accurate voltage readings.)
The pen quickly reassures you that no voltage is present so you can avoid annoying and costly trips to the hospital for electrocution.
Fingerless Kevlar Gloves – $5.00 Online
This is the most subjective item in my list. You may really find this unnecessary, and I won’t argue with you, BUT, I have finally gotten tired of all the nicks and cuts that come with the profession when you are sticking your hands in tight places to remove stubborn parts.
The combination of brute strength required and endless sharp edges of sheet metal surrounding your hands (not to mention exposed screws) adds up to continuous lacerations (mostly small). Make up your own mind, I find it worth the five bucks.
Canned Air: $5.00 at Wal-Mart
This is really handy on refrigeration repair to chill down any bi-metal thermostat so you can check it for continuity. A 12 oz can last a good long time…don’t leave home without it.
8’ Test Cord: $3.00 Homemade
This is just a standard household extension cord with the female end cut off and insulated alligator clips soldered on. If you don’t know why this is essential, you need to read more of my blog posts.
Turkey Baster: $1.00 at Dollar Store
This will earn you hundreds of dollars on your service calls when you need to defrost the ice plug in a refrigerator drain line, the classic case of “my refrigerator is leaking water all over inside.”
Empty out the freezer, pull off the back panel and start defrosting all that ice that has built up. When you get down to the drain-through spout, the turkey baster will be the only effective way to run hot water over the iced-up area until it breaks free. Completing a $100.00 service call with a $1.00 tool – that’s why I love this profession!
Ok, that’s my short list of things you really need to add to your toolbox for a very small investment. If it looks like I get most my stuff on eBay and at discount stores, you’re right. I love to keep the money I earn and hope this helps you do the same! Please post your comments if you know of any things else I may have missed.