HVAC technicians live a fulfilling and rewarding profession, perfect for anyone looking for a skilled profession in the trades. But, as rewarding of a career as it is, it is a job where professionals need to maintain vigilance at all times and practice extreme safety at all times from the potential hazards they may face.
The nature of a HVAC tech’s job can put them in some precarious positions due to where they work, how they work, and the equipment they work with. Both current and aspiring HVAC technicians as well as those looking to operate their own HVAC business need to be aware at all times of the hazards they and their employees face during the course of their work day and how they can best take the necessary steps to avoid them and be as safe as possible at all times.
During the dog days of summer here in Houston, life can be a little rough for air conditioning technicians. They work long hours in hot conditions running from job to job with often very little downtown in between. All of this can put a great strain on technicians and cause a tremendous amount of fatigue. When HVAC technicians become fatigued they run the risk of making mistakes or losing alertness which won’t just result in poor service and installation but can also put them and their customers at risk of harm from many of the hazards we are about to cover, potentially falling asleep at the wheel between jobs, and dehydration.
It is important during the course of a work day for HVAC technicians and the company that employs them to take the necessary precautions to avoid fatigue to ensure safety and performance. Technicians need to make sure they stay hydrated throughout the day, take breaks for rest when necessary, don’t skip over meals, and alert their employers or dispatches when rest is necessary. HVAC employers also need to be aware of their workers’ needs and schedule their jobs accordingly.
Particularly when working on commercial heating and cooling systems, HVAC technicians will often find themselves in some fairly high environments whether they are on top of a roof or on a ladder accessing ductwork or vents in a ceiling or attic space. In these situations, the dangers of falling from a high location is very real and can result in serious bodily harm.
Any technician that will be working at heights needs to practice extreme caution. Always check and double check the location of ladders and scaffolding you need to use to ensure it is sturdy and secure to use. Always have a spotter when you can and in extremely high environments, the use of a safety harness should always be insisted upon.
In between the open flame used in some heating equipment, the natural heat that air conditioning and furnaces can produce, equipment sitting in the hot sun, and soldering (which is a practice that is sometimes used during HVAC installations and repairs) the average HVAC technician has no shortage of opportunities to burn themselves both mildly and severely.
Practicing the utmost caution around hot or potentially hot equipment is a must for technicians, especially here in Houston. Always try and make sure equipment is cool before you start working on it, but also be sure to wear the appropriate protection of heat-resistant gloves when it is appropriate for extra protection. Even on a hot day, long sleeves can help protect your arms from incidental contact with hot objects.
HVAC work involves frequently interacting with electrical equipment and wiring. One false step can mean you face harmful electrocution. Not only is electrocution harmful to the technician, but if fatigue is also a factor, a live exposed wire left unattended could also mean harm to the person they are servicing.
Electric shock can happen in an instant, and it can be difficult to tell if a wire is live or not. Therefore, safety against electrocution should be one of the primary concerns of HVAC technicians at all times. Always carry the proper equipment necessary to test the charge of wires before interacting with them and always be sure to wear protective gloves when working with electricity. If necessary, you may also consider shutting off the power to the area you are working on prior to beginning service as an extra precaution.
Safety is a very important aspect of being a successful HVAC technician and safety is also a primary focus of what we teach here at the Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning. Our instructor, Chris Walters, takes an extensive amount of time dedicated to teaching and reinforcing proper HVAC safety to avoid these common HVAC hazards.
Learn more about enrollment in a future class today.
There are a lot of very noble professions out there that people often consider heroes, from firefighters, doctors and nurses, or police officers. While it is undeniable that these professions are full of brave, hardworking, and heroic men and women, there is one profession out there that is very much made up of heroes in their own right that may not get the same recognition: HVAC technicians.
While this proclamation may surprise you, the men and women that work as HVAC technicians are indeed heroes, even if they don’t get the same kind of recognition as others. Every characteristic you look for to consider someone a “hero” is met and exceeded by those that proudly serve their communities.
Here are the four biggest reasons why HVAC technicians are heroes of their community.
HVAC techs possess a special skill
Inspecting, installing, and maintaining heating and cooling systems requires a very specific set of special skills that you can only get from dedicating time to furthering your education and getting certified. That is to say, it isn’t a job just anyone has the capability, knowledge, or skills to do! Part of what being a hero is about is providing a service that few can. Because of it, lots of people depend on you, often when they need help the most.
HVAC techs help those in need
If you still don’t think HVAC technicians are heroes, picture this scenario: in the middle of one of our hot Houston summers, your air conditioner dies. For those who are elderly or have other unique health conditions, extreme heat isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be fatal. A call to someone to come out to fix your air conditioning or furnace comes at a desperate time, and the person making it is going to come out of the transaction extremely thankful to their new hero who just came in to cool their house down and restore comfort to you and your family.
HVAC techs aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
The daily challenges of an HVAC technician can take them to some pretty interesting places. They are often out working when the weather is at its hottest and coldest. They have to get up on roofs, inside crawl spaces, in between tight spots, and many other precarious places all in the course of doing their job. It can be a dirty job, but someone has to do it! The conditions they work in and places they work are all in the name of helping those in need, so you won’t hear them complain. It’s all in a day’s work.
HVAC are there when people need them
Part of being a hero is being there for those in need. If an air conditioner goes out on a Friday night, that person likely won’t be able to afford to wait until Monday to have your phone call returned. They need help right away to be able to beat the heat. A hero is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and so is a good HVAC technician. They are available whether it is record-breaking high or low temperatures – in fact, when the weather is at its worst, they are at their busiest.
Interested in a career in HVAC? A career in skilled labor is extremely rewarding, has lots of opportunity for growth, has an abundant amount of career opportunities, and can help you become a hero for those in need.
If you are in the Houston, Texas area and want to start your career path, start it here at The Training Center for Air Conditioning and Heating. Learn more about upcoming classes and what you’ll learn over our 14-week courses here.
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry has long been a male-dominated industry. Whereas there are more females employed as social workers, human resources managers, speech-language pathologists, and dental assistants, men dominate the skilled trades.
Of the 367,900 Americans employed in 2018 as HVAC mechanics and installers, just 1.4 percent of those were women according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For contractors looking to expand their workforce, a number like this represents a huge potential. There is a need for technical trades, especially as the industry is experiencing high demand.
With skilled labor shortages, HVAC is one of the most in-demand careers on the market. The job outlook for HVAC careers is currently expected to grow 14% before 2024 – double the typical growth for most industries. This will allow for the creation of more jobs for women which is necessary in order for the industry to survive.
In order for businesses in the HVAC industry to grow and find quality employees for the future, business owners must look outside the industry’s preconceived idea of what a “service technician” looks like. When most people picture the average HVAC expert, they likely imagine a man.
Challenging the Stereotype
Challenging the stereotype that HVAC technicians are always men is the first step to encouraging women to join this ever-growing industry. Once that is completed, women are often excited by the possibilities. A career in HVAC certainly offers a lot more than your typical day job!
In general, women communicate well, pay attention to detail, analyze situations and solve problems. These interpersonal skills in combination with HVAC skills can really help women succeed in the industry, and these skills can also help the HVAC industry as a whole.
However, misconceptions about female HVAC technicians could be impeding the overall progress. Some people believe women are not strong enough or smart enough to work in the HVAC industry.
Others think women lack the necessary training to perform the duties necessary to succeed. When women are being trained, they are being prepared to do the same work as a man meaning the training they receive is no different from the training men receive.
Women in HVACR is an organization that was organized exclusively for educational purposes to further the growth of women in all areas of the HVAC industry. This does not just include the technical area but also sales, management, and ownership. They work to debunk myths that the HVAC industry cannot succeed with women in it. Just like Women in HVACR, the organization Women of HVAC exists to include and promote women in an industry traditionally reserved for men.
How We Help
Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating in Texas, we invite everyone to study under our director, Chris Walters. For women looking to better themselves and begin a career in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry, be sure to connect with us to learn more about planning your HVAC career!
If you have any questions regarding the HVAC industry and the education you will receive here, check out some of the common questions we receive and our answers to each. Your career’s ultimate success depends on several factors. Of these factors, the most important is arguably your training experience!
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is expected to grow 14% before 2024 – double the typical growth for most industries. Becoming an HVAC technician is a great way to ensure your skills will always be in demand. Besides the technical skills, in this field, technicians also use practical skills that lead them to success.
For those looking to step foot into the HVAC industry, it is important that you know how to communicate calmly and effectively with those you encounter. When working with many clients, it is important to understand that these clients may be stressed since things are not working the way they are supposed to.
You will need to be able to effectively explain what you are doing in order to help solve the problem at hand. A majority of your customers will not know the technical terms of the industry. Because of this, you will need to be able to explain what you are doing in a way that your customers will be able to understand.
Clients already have high standards for anyone they choose to hire for HVAC work. By explaining the procedures, they will be much more comfortable and confident in your abilities as a technician.
Problem Solving Skills
Troubleshooting is one of the most important skills someone can possess in the HVAC industry. A majority of the time, technicians will receive a call about a system before they have a chance to diagnose the problem. Being able to effectively identify an issue is just one skill necessary to be successful at problem-solving. However, a job may not always be as straightforward as it seems.
When the problem is different than what you originally thought, some quick, creative thinking will help you get the job done. This requires asking the client some questions and working with the system to see what may have failed. The faster you can figure out the problem and design a solution to fix it, the more effective you will be as a technician.
Many technicians deal with multiple calls a day and they have to be able to efficiently finish each task in order to move on to the next call without delay. Staying organized is a large part of being successful as a technician. You must be able to maintain accurate records of each visit, the work that was performed, and any equipment that was used.
Customer Service Skills
Any job where you will be interacting with clients regularly requires excellent customer service skills. Interacting with homeowners, property managers, and building superintendents takes a certain level of finesse that a great technician should have.
Clients often expect a professional attitude and general regard for the customer. As an HVAC technician, demonstrating excellent customer service to your clients will leave an excellent impression on them and encourage them to call you again the next time their air conditioning breaks down.
Developing Your Skills
There are many skills necessary for you to succeed in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. There will always be HVAC systems which means there will always be people that need repairs and replacements. To be successful in this industry, you need to have an exceptional list of skills and strengths. This may sound difficult, but for the right kind of person, it’s a fun, rewarding, and challenging career.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can succeed in the HVAC industry, contact us today.
For anyone interested in a career that is rewarding, interesting, secure, and lets you use your skills to help others, the path of an HVAC service technician can offer all of that and more. But even so, the HVAC trade, like many skilled labor careers, sometimes meets its fair share of misconceptions.
Whether it’s because of preconceived notions, uninformed decision-making, or simply the fact that it may not be a job full of glitz and glam, these misconceptions can sometimes drive people who may find themselves to be a natural fit away.
If you are interested in a career in HVAC in the Houston area but are second-guessing yourself, let us help put your mind at ease. We are here to set the record straight and bust some myths on four common HVAC career misconceptions.
You need a background in the field to get started
Some people shy away from pursuing a career in HVAC because they feel they don’t have the background in skilled labor, working with their hands, or any prior knowledge HVAC. However, that is far from the actual case!
While having a background or basic understanding of HVAC certainly won’t hurt you, the training you’ll receive at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating teaches students everything they need for an entry-level HVAC technician position. As long as you have the commitment and drive to work hard, you can succeed and become a certified HVAC tech even if you don’t have prior skills in the field.
It takes a long time to get certified
The kind of education you receive at a trade school is not as well understood as the format of your typical college. Therefore, lots of people assume trade schools follow the similar 4+ year requirement, which many don’t have the time or money to commit to.
In actuality, completing HVAC training and gaining your certification takes significantly shorter! Courses at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating take just 14 weeks to complete, covering 16 subjects. With classes offered three times a year and the option for morning or evening classes Monday through Thursday, not only can you get certified in a short period of time, but you can do it on the schedule that works best for you.
HVAC is not a financially rewarding career
HVAC technicians, like many of those working in other skilled trades, sometimes face the perception that because of its hard work and labor requirements, it is a less than rewarding career financially. However, because of the unique skill the job requires and the ever-growing demand for skilled AC technicians in Texas, a career in HVAC is quite a rewarding career indeed.
CareerExplorer estimates the average HVAC technician in Texas can earn about $45k per year, with potential to earn anywhere up to $75k per year. The average is comparable to other similar skilled trades like plumbers and electricians. Clearly, anyone who thinks a career in a skilled trade like HVAC is not rewarding is quite mistaken.
There aren’t any opportunities for young HVAC techs
If you are interested in a career that offers variety, excitement, and a clear path to grow and succeed, look no further than a career in HVAC. There has never been a higher demand for skilled workers, especially in HVAC, than right now. And it is only going to go up from here!
Over the next decade, BLS is projecting that the aging majority of most skilled laborers are going to open up a large number of opportunities for young, up and coming laborers to enter an industry that is already facing a shortage of workers. That means there aren’t just opportunities to find technician jobs that will have high job security, but there are also opportunities to eventually grow beyond just being a technician by starting your own business or training the next wave of workers as an instructor.
Despite what perceptions may exist, a career in HVAC is one that is filled with the excitement of seeing new places, meeting new people, earning a competitive salary, utilizing an invaluable skill, and offering a service to folks that is genuinely valued and needed.
Interested in starting your HVAC career? HVAC professionals and service technicians, even entry-level ones, will rarely struggle to find work in the southern US and here in Texas. Learn more about the programs offered here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating and start your career path today!
Troubleshooting is one of the most important skills you can possess in the HVAC industry. Learning how to apply these problem-solving methods that point you to the issue quickly will not only save you time, but also leave you with happy customers who are sure to call you next time the HVAC system stops working. What do you know about the process of HVAC troubleshooting?
Troubleshooting Common HVAC Problems
All good troubleshooters have a few natural traits in common. In order to exhibit excellent troubleshooting skills yourself, you’ll need to build on your existing knowledge of how an HVAC system should work, narrow down the problem, and communicate with your clients about what you need to do and why. This process is crucial to providing quality services. Let’s break down each component of an HVAC troubleshooting strategy:
- Know the normal
- Eliminate unnecessary work
- Discuss with the customer
1) Know the Normal
Do you know the normal of the system you’re working on? Good troubleshooters learn this first since you can’t identify a problem without knowing what a normal situation is supposed to look like.
For example, imagine you are working on a condenser unit and the unit is running but the compressor is very hot to the touch, far hotter than anything you’re familiar with. So now you are trying to see what is happening to cause this compressor to be operating at this elevated temperature. If you don’t know the normal of the HVAC unit, you’ll end up spending hours testing each potential problem as your customer gets impatient. Train yourself to look for the cause behind abnormal condition so you don’t end up chasing your tail.
In addition to understanding normal functions of an HVAC unit, you should also be familiar with what mechanical parts should be used and why. It’s unfortunately very common for inexperienced technicians to install the wrong parts in a client’s air conditioning system. If you can’t find anything wrong with the system’s functionality, speed, or temperature, yet the client is experiencing problems, check the components. More than likely, at least one is incorrectly installed or the wrong piece altogether.
Pro Tip: During an HVAC service call, if you notice an installed part that didn’t come from the original manufacturer, double-check it. It’s probably the wrong part for the unit in question.
2) Eliminate Unnecessary Work
What can you do to eliminate time-consuming tests as you search for the problem? For example, if a customer tells you their attic HVAC unit isn’t powering on, don’t immediately start disassembling it and hunting for faulty wiring or other problems. Check that the power switch is turned on. While this may seem silly, it’s surprisingly common for stored Christmas decorations or a distracted family member to accidentally flip the switch. This simple solution definitely saves you time!
Additionally, keep yourself informed on the situation before you even arrive on the scene. Talk with your client to get the big picture. Which technician or service company did their HVAC maintenance work in the past? What exactly did they do? If you can, drive past the worksite and observe the unit from the street. Has it been tampered with? Have bushes or weeds grown around it?
Before you begin the job, sit down with the client and discuss any complaints they may have about how their HVAC system works. Additionally, ask them about their home’s work history and any variables that may have contributed to the problem. For instance, if they noticed the AC beginning to falter after they hired someone to mow their lawn, it’s possible that one of the mowers accidentally severed a cord with their machine. This gives you an excellent idea of where to look for the problem.
For an easy reference for both you and the customer, create a flowchart of common HVAC problems and their possible causes. While this isn’t a foolproof method, having the information easily accessible in a chart can help you narrow down the problem quickly. A chart will also give the customer a better idea of what you need to do and why.
3) Discuss with the Customer
Finally, remember that your first priority is customer satisfaction. Once you believe you know what the problem is, discuss your findings with the customer and explain what you need to do, why, and how much it will cost. Don’t save this part till the end! Make sure the customer knows exactly what they’re getting and what they’re paying you to do. This also gives them the option to refuse a certain service if they don’t want it.
This step not only builds trust with the customer, but it also establishes you as an expert on their HVAC system and as an honest contractor. Rather than trying to upsell them on expensive work or equipment they don’t need, you’re trying to restore their comfort level in their home. A satisfied customer will recognize this and happily refer you to their friends!
Your HVAC Troubleshooting Strategy
In the end, remember that operating with an effective HVAC troubleshooting strategy benefits both you and your client. Your client, of course, will be happy with a job that’s both well done and finished quickly. Meanwhile, you’ll have extra time to apply toward other jobs, as well as a satisfied customer who will recommend you to friends and almost certainly call you back for further work. Don’t sell yourself short by neglecting problem-solving knowledge! Practice troubleshooting in an HVAC setting to ensure your future successes.
Join the conversation for more insights into the troubleshooting process and how to better your skills.