by Ron Walker
I have been in the HVAC field for many years (too many) working as a technician service manager, business owner and working on coolers, freezers, air conditioning, heat pumps, boilers, pool heaters, and gas furnaces. So what does it take to work in the HVAC field?
Education and Certification – Hundreds of hours of education. This education comes in the form of apprenticeship, technical college, self-study, or OJT. No one method is better than another but you must learn:
- Theory of Heat
- Electronics and schematic reading
- Refrigeration theory
- Gas laws
- EPA regulations
- Brazing, welding, and soldering
- How motors work
- Refrigeration troubleshooting
- Electrical troubleshooting
- Mechanical troubleshooting
Interpersonal Skills –
- Listening – Customers with air conditioning problems can help you figure out what’s wrong… if you listen to them.
- Investigative – The ability to look, listen, test, measure, and piece together the puzzle of what is wrong and what caused the failure.
- Communication – When you do have the air conditioning problem figured out. How to explain to the customer what’s wrong and what needs to be done to fix it… and explaining it to them in their terms.
- Patience – Heating and air conditioning is a seasonal profession. You are working long hours and weekends during the hottest days of summer and coldest days of winter. When you’re on your 8th call of the day at 7:30 pm., it’s 98F, and the homeowner is frantic, you really need patience.
Tools (thousands of dollars of tools) – Years ago, AC companies would provide all of the tools other than small hand tools for their technicians. Now, the technician must purchase all of the tools of the trade:
- Vacuum pump
- Refrigeration gauges
- Refrigerant scale
- Leak detector
- Digital multimeter
- Brazing torches
- Flaring tools
- Bending tools
- Wrench sets
- Wheel pullers
- Temperature gauges
- Airflow measurement tools
- Refrigerant recovery machine
So the next time you have an air conditioning problem and your service technician shows up to help you, take an interest, ask him how his day is going, offer him a cold bottle of water. I know when this happens to me it makes a huge difference in my day.
Oh, and if you live in the St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, Ormond Beach, or Palm Coast areas and you need air conditioning or heating repairs, please call or email for fast and friendly service.