What Is an HVAC Technician?
An HVAC technician installs, repairs, maintains heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigerator systems. These are essential to control the temperature and air in all working or living spaces.An HVAC technician handles the requirements of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The technician is equipped and trained with general knowledge of all aspects of the industry.
What Does HVAC and HVACR Stand For?
HVAC stands for “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.” On the other hand, HVAC-R is a form of specialization under HVAC. HVAC-R technicians are mainly involved in repairing and installing refrigeration systems.
What Does an HVAC Technician Do?
An HVAC technician performs skilled mechanical maintenance duties in repairing, installing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. The HVAC tech also installs other related equipment and facilities of HVAC systems. He/ she advises and conducts a preventive maintenance routine.
An HVAC Technician can specialize either in installation, maintenance, or repair. Some technicians also specialize in different types of systems like heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration. The job requirements of an HVAC technician vary according to their specializations.
HVAC Technician Job Duties and Responsibilities
Installing HVAC Systems
Before installing any refrigeration, heating, or cooling system, an HVAC technician carries out calculations. In this way, the technician can determine which HVAC system unit perfectly fits the establishment’s architectural requirements.
An HVAC technician also assembles and assesses the piping and connections of the HVAC system. Then, it carries out the ductwork installation process to distribute the heat or cold air from the installed HVAC system.
Installation jobs can range from refrigeration to components of an air conditioning system like compressors, chillers, condensers and receivers. Other installation requirements can include different types of valves such as expansion valves and hand valves, pumps, capillary tubes, air converter units and more.
Repairing HVAC Systems
HVAC technicians assess and bring solutions to problems that may arises in HVAC systems. The issues that require repair can vary as per the unit. Repairing requirements can arise due to defective parts in units and equipment. Defects can arise in HVAC system controllers like pressure controls, fan controls or high limit controls.
There are different components of an HVAC system like safety valves, thermostats, heat exchangers, compressors, damper motors, belts, automatic switches and many more. With time, all these require either repairing or replacement. This is where HVAC technicians play their role.
Maintaining HVAC Systems
HVAC systems require routine maintenance to sustain even in the long run. Therefore, an HVAC technician needs to perform checks such as testing the thermostat, operation levels, checking the coolant status in refrigeration units, isolated heating, and ventilating units.
Some HVAC technicians provide contracts for regular maintenance of HVAC systems. Maintenance of HVAC systems is vital because it ensures ease in lifestyle.
HVAC Technician Educational Requirements and Certifications
HVAC systems are growing to be smarter and dynamic with time. Thus, an HVAC technician is also required to be compliant with the advancement of this technology.
Formal HVAC training at the post-secondary education level can jumpstart an HVAC technician’s career. Today, many employers are likely to hire someone with formal education and training in HVAC systems.
-A High School Diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is the most basic educational qualification required to enter an HVAC School. It is crucial to focus on learning Math, Physics, and Vocational Education.
-An HVAC school is where the courses are career-focused. The institution provides practical training.
-One can join a Community College for more technical and general education.
All of these programs can last from 6 months to 2 years. These programs can help one further pursue an HVAC associate’s degree or gain certification.
Training or Apprenticeship
New HVAC techs can start their career through apprenticeship programs. Their jobs may involve basic jobs like cleaning furnaces, insulating refrigerant lines, replacing simple HVAC system units, and more. After 2 to 4 years of experience, they can perform more complex tasks such as installation, assembling pipes, or ductworks of the HVAC systems.
HVAC Technician Certifications
EPA Section 608 Technician Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification is a mandatory certificate required for all HVAC techs who specializes in refrigerants.
To get an EPA certification, one has to take a 30 minutes test. EPA certification is of four types. They are:
-Type I: Repair of small appliances such as air conditioners, domestic refrigerators, and vending machines
-Type II: Repair of high-pressure appliances such as residential air conditioners, refrigeration units, and heat pumps
-Type III: Repair of low-pressure appliances such as chillers
-EPA Universal Certification: All of the above certifications ( Type I, Type II, and Type III)
Other certifications that can help one stand out from the rest are the North American Technical Excellence (NATE) and HVAC Excellence.
HVAC Technician Work Environment
HVAC techs usually work indoor and outdoor. The workplace is varied for a technician as HVAC systems are necessary for domestic, commercial, and various other industries.
An HVAC technician work in homes, schools, hospitals, shops, office spaces, and factories. They are also required to work outdoors. It can expose them to extreme weather conditions.
HVAC techs are also prone to various hazards that come with their occupation. They can experience electrical shocks, burns, and body strain from long hours of working in congested spaces or even lifting heavy equipment pieces.
An HVAC Technician can work full-time. As evident, HVAC systems are prevalent almost everywhere. Emergency issues can arise at any moment. Therefore, there are no specific off days—moreover, the demand for HVAC technicians during extreme weather conditions increases.
HVAC Technician Earnings and Job Growth
As of May 2019, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median annual wage for an HVAC technician was $48,730 and $23.43 per hour.
The highest (10 percent) median wage was more than $77,920, while the lowest (10 percent) median salary was less than $30,610.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an HVAC technician occupation has a “Bright Outlook.” Their statistics show that the number of HVAC technician jobs accounted for over 376,000 as of 2019.
The employment of HVAC technicians expects to grow by 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. This growth rate is faster than any other job field. The employment growth rate is mainly due to emerging technology and the U.S. Government’s ongoing programs that encourage energy-efficient systems.