In recent decades, the installation and use of HVAC systems have become commonplace. It’s now unusual to be indoors with a temperature that’s not optimal when compared to the conditions outdoors. Some common examples include malls, stores, airports, offices, hotels, hospitals, and more. Almost every residential and commercial property has some kind of HVAC system to improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) and make the space cooler or hotter as needed. When we need work done on HVAC systems, we contact a local company and they send a technician. In this article, we will take a closer look at the HVAC technician to understand their role.

What is HVAC?

Let’s start with the basics, many people have heard the term HVAC and they don’t know what it means. HVAC is an acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, and this term is commonly used amongst professionals and the wider public. The people that work on HVAC systems are known as HVAC technicians or sometimes this is shortened to HVAC tech for convenience. The installation, repair, and maintenance of refrigeration systems is a more specialized area that some technicians work in. In that particular role, they would be referred to as HVACR or HVAC/R technicians.

What are the HVAC Technician Responsibilities?

There are five key HVAC technician responsibilities:

1.   Testing Equipment

The HVAC technician will understand the testing procedures for various types of heating and cooling equipment. This will include specific components, electrical circuits, safety systems, and more. Testing is essential to ensure that the HVAC system is ready for installation in a home or commercial setting.

2.   HVAC Installation

The installation of heating and cooling equipment is a standard task for an HVAC technician. They can install a wide variety of systems, including heating, air conditioning, climate control, and refrigeration. These systems can be installed in both residential and commercial projects with a wide range of sizes to meet the needs of the project.

3.   Ongoing Maintenance and Servicing

HVAC systems are complex; they have electronic, electrical, and moving mechanical components that need to work together in harmony. When one component fails, it can affect others, which can lead to a wide variety of problems and a loss of efficiency. The HVAC tech will visit homes or commercial sites to maintain and service these systems.

4.   Troubleshooting and Repairs

The HVAC tech can answer calls from customers to identify glitches in newly installed heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment which can take some time to settle down. Common HVAC issues can be resolved quickly in many cases, but there are times when a complex issue requires further troubleshooting before a repair is possible.

5.   HVAC Sales

There will be times when the technician needs to gauge the need for an HVAC component and then convince the customer that it’s necessary. A local respectable HVAC company will not gouge their customers and will prefer to build a long-term relationship.

What is the HVAC Tech Job Description?

The HVAC technician will install, maintain, repair, and replace heating and cooling systems. Some typical examples would include furnaces, air conditioners, air purifiers, climate control systems, ventilation units, refrigeration equipment, and more. Let’s take a look at the twelve tasks that are regularly  performed by HVAC technicians:

  1. Reading building blueprints.
  2. Evaluating HVAC equipment specifications.
  3. Drilling or cutting holes in structures.
  4. Connecting HVAC equipment to water, fuel, and electrical sources.
  5. HVAC unit testing for performance and energy efficiency.
  6. Testing refrigerant lines, condensate drain lines, and other points for leaks.
  7. Testing HVAC parts in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  8. Inspecting, cleaning and unclogging air ducts.
  9. Replacing or cleaning air filters and other failing components.
  10. Installing thermostats, humidistats, timing systems, and even solar panels.
  11. Selling service contracts for HVAC maintenance programs.
  12. Troubleshooting HVAC systems problems.

As you can see, this is a varied role. The HVAC technician needs to keep up with the latest industry developments to ensure that the skills, expertise, and knowledge remain relevant.

What are the Requirements to be an HVAC Technician?

Due to the nature of their job, HVAC technicians are in high demand everywhere. The role requires a very specific skill set with a professional level of competence that many people do not possess. Steady job growth is anticipated in the field, and there is job security because it’s unlikely that an AI or robot could perform these tasks any time soon. The HVAC industry offers good rates of pay and technicians with the right qualifications and skills can go far. There are three main routes into this role:

1.   Education

Some HVAC technicians don’t hold an HVAC degree, but some do and enrollment in a full time HVAC training program is advisable. A solid education to learn the fundamentals of heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration is important. An associate degree in HVAC and refrigeration gives the technician a theoretical and practical understanding of the skills needed to be an HVAC technician. Other helpful qualifications include an associate in science degree in RACH and trade school training programs to prepare for certification.

2.   Apprenticeship

Learning on the job and building contacts in the HVAC industry with an apprenticeship is a good route in the role. There are local associations, such as: the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, that offer apprenticeship programs in the HVAC field. These programs last 3-5 years, or you find a local journeyman HVAC contractor and apply for a position with them. This may be an unpaid internship to start, but HVAC techs that perform well during the trial period may get a paid position sooner than expected.

  1. Licensing

An HVAC license is not mandatory, but it’s useful, and in certain states, it can be a strong asset. In some states, a prospective HVAC technician must pass a written exam too. A licensed HVAC tech has a more developed skill set compared to unlicensed techs. Having a license will be beneficial when seeking employment in the industry.

If you need a HVAC technician to work in your home or business, contact your local heating and cooling specialist today.