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Common Electrical Terms You Need to Know

Common Electrical Terms You Need to Know

Common Electrical Terms You Need to Know

The beautiful thing about beginning your career as an HVAC technician is that you don’t need any previous experience or knowledge. At the Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning, our classes cover the absolute basics, so students of all knowledge levels can be on equal footing. All you need is a good work ethic and a willingness to learn.

That being said, for anybody considering education and training in heating and cooling can certainly benefit from familiarizing themselves with some important elements of working in HVAC. 

One of the most important things to understand during your HVAC training is the language and terminology. HVAC installation and repair incorporates many common electrical terms that you may have heard before or run into during previous science classes in school. Understanding these terms is crucial for HVAC technicians and beginning your education with knowledge of them can get you started off on the right foot.

Here are some common electrical terms HVAC technicians need to be familiar with and what they mean. Each of these terms relates to different materials and parts of a heating or cooling system that relate to the transfer of electricity. 

Conductor

An electrical conductor is any kind of material that allows electricity to flow easily through it with little to no resistance. Certain metals like copper, aluminum, silver, and gold are all terrific conductors of electricity. This is why many of the wires used in HVAC equipment are made of these materials. This is also a great reason why practicing extreme safety precautions when working with live wires.

Resistor

An electrical resistor is any material or component in the electrical circuit that resists the flow of electricity, limiting the amount of electricity that passes through them at any given time. Resistors are important because without them limiting electrical flow to motors, coils, lights, and heat elements, these components would become overloaded with electricity and more quickly burn out or overload causing a loss of efficiency and creating potential hazards.

Capacitor

An electrical capacitor stores electricity for short periods. Many HVAC systems have dual capacitors, a start capacitor and a run capacitor. The start capacitor provides the electrical power needed to get the compressor or fan motor of the heating and cooling system started up. The run capacitor, on the other hand, in turn, supplies the compressor or motor the energy it requires to keep them running.

Insulator

An electrical insulator is a material or component of a heating and cooling system that does not allow electricity to flow through it. Wires and thermal pipes in an HVAC system are equipped with insulating coverings to prevent the loss of energy and heat so the unit can run more efficiently.

Now don’t think that knowing the meaning of these common electrical terms makes you an expert. There are still plenty of other important terms you’ll need to know as you continue your HVAC education. However, for folks looking to start their journey without much past experience, understanding these terms can get you off to a good start.

Ready to begin your HVAC career? Call the Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning today to learn about our upcoming classes and reserve your spot today.  

4 Reasons Why High School Grads Should Consider Going to a Trade School

4 Reasons Why High School Grads Should Consider Going to a Trade School

Graduating high school is an equally exciting and scary time. After graduating, new grads are now free to choose the next direction their path in life goes. For many, that involves going on to enroll in a four-year university and get their degree. 

While this career path is certainly encouraged by many and makes sense for some people, the truth is college is not for everyone. Many high school grads don’t have the time or financial resources to commit to a four-year program. Some simply aren’t sure what career path they want to choose right after college, so the investment doesn’t make sense for them. 

Our world has been somewhat programmed to think that a four-year college is the only way to get a decent job and expect it of everyone, but the truth is not so cut and dry. For those who don’t have the interest, time, or money to go to a university there is an equally rewarding career path awaiting high school graduates who attend a trade school.

Attending a trade school and learning a skilled trade, especially HVAC, can open up doors for post-high school careers that recent grads may not have ever thought possible. Job security, an above-average wage, the path to owning your own business, and much more all starts with attending trade school.

Here are just some of the advantages trade school attendees enjoy as an alternative to college. 

Cheaper tuition

College is NOT cheap. Even attending a nearby, public, in-state college for a bachelor’s degree can cost you at least $25,000 per year. With most of that coming from loans even if you are able to secure some financial aid you are still looking at hundreds of thousands in student loan debt you will be dragging around for years to come.

Some people think that is the price of a career, but that simply isn’t true. The average cost of attending a trade school is only around $33,000 in total. That is less than a single year’s tuition at many private schools. In addition to a lower entry cost, many trade schools and community colleges also offer financial aid to reduce that cost even more.  

Faster graduation

While committing time towards furthering your education is never time wasted no matter where you do it, four years can be a long commitment that some recent high school graduates can’t afford. Some have families they need to provide for right away, and waiting an additional four years to find a good-paying job isn’t an option. On top of that, universities also often require you to move away for the majority of your attendance. People with families to provide for can’t afford to be away that long.

Trade schools not only offer a cheaper means of beginning your career, it is also a far faster way. Where many college programs require a minimum of four years to complete, graduation from a trade school is something that can be accomplished in months. Classes at the Training Center for Heating & Air Conditioning, for example, can be completed in only 14 weeks, just over three months.

Learn an in-demand skillset

Even after graduating from an accredited university with a degree, many graduates are still greeted with a less than bountiful job market. Although they want students to go to school, many organizations are still unsure about hiring a new graduate. The time between college graduation and securing one’s first job can be a long and deflating period.

Careers in the trades, however, have never been in more demand. The world needs professionals in the HVAC and other skilled trades now more than ever. There is a combination of not just a lack of workers entering these industries right now, but a wealth of openings and opportunities. Pursuing a career in a skilled trade like a plumber, automotive repair technician, or HVAC technician is as close to a guaranteed job out of school as you can find. 

Enter a respected trade industry

Not only are jobs in the trades abundant, but a career of this kind also puts you in a position to become a well-respected and valued member of the community. The skills you learn in trade school are valuable, known by a limited community, and mastered by even fewer. These skills put you in a unique position to solve very complex and specialized problems for folks in need.

Not everyone has the knowledge of how to fix a broken air conditioner in the middle of a hot summer or repair their car when they are stranded on the side of the road. The specialized skills you acquire in a trade school give you access to a career where you truly are a savior in the eyes of the people you serve.  

Careers in the HVAC industry can be incredibly rewarding and are in high demand right now. If you are a recent or upcoming Houston, Texas area high school graduate and pursuing a four-year college degree just doesn’t make sense for you, you can still start an excellent HVAC career at The Training Center for Heating and Air Conditioning. Class sizes are limited and spots go fast! Call 281.580.4239 today to learn more and reserve your spot for the upcoming session.

How to Interview for an HVAC Job

How to Interview for an HVAC Job

Now that you’ve graduated from an accredited school, it is time to begin the HVAC interview process for a job in the industry. When interviewing for a job in the industry, there are few things you can do to increase your chances of landing a job. Use these tips to prepare for your interview, impress your potential employer, and land the job.

Bring Your Resume

Never assume your interviewer has already seen your credentials. Always bring a hard copy of your resume with you to HVAC interviews even if you already submitted your resume or filled one out online. It is good practice to have your resume on hand when you walk into an interview. This shows that you are fully prepared and capable of thinking ahead.

If you are wondering how to impress your interviewer with your resume, consider making some changes to it. A good resume should include the following:

  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • A list of EPA and other certifications
  • Related skills
  • References
  • Contact information

Learn About the Company

Not only will learning about the company impress your potential employer but researching the company will also help you prepare for the HVAC interview. Begin with the actual job description. This will provide you with an understanding of what the company is looking for in an employee. 

Be sure to visit the company’s website to learn more about their mission statement and values. Plus, check out the services the company offers. When speaking to the interviewer, make sure you mentioned your experience and expertise as it relates to these services. 

Be Prepared to Demonstrate Your Knowledge

In addition to generic interview questions, you will be asked specific questions about the HVAC industry. Be ready to answer questions about different kinds of equipment and challenges you may face as an HVAC technician. Even during a first interview, many HVAC employers will ask a few questions about the kinds of equipment and challenges you might encounter. Being as detailed as possible can help you demonstrate your knowledge of a particular piece of equipment or challenge. 

Before the interview, have someone ask you sample questions so you can prepare in advance. Learning the possible questions before the interview and preparing an answer beforehand will help you appear knowledgeable. Plus, you will feel much more comfortable during the HVAC interview.

After the HVAC Interview

Once the interview is over, be sure to send the interviewer a thank-you note, even if you do not land the job. Whether you think you aced the interview or bombed it, always follow up with a friendly message expressing your continued interest in the position and the company. This gesture will make you stand out from the other applicants which will help you secure a position in the future. 

Before beginning the HVAC interview process, the first step in securing a job in the HVAC industry is a quality education. When you are ready, do not hesitate to contact us at the Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating here in Houston, Texas.

The World Needs HVAC Technicians More Than Ever

The World Needs HVAC Technicians More Than Ever

The coronavirus pandemic has put our country in an unprecedented position and put us all face-to-face with many hardships. It has been a tough time for all of us, but it has also been an opportunity for people across the country to rally together to prove that we are all in it together.

As the country continues to work towards going back to normal, everyone is doing their part to stay safe and keep others safe. Heroes of all shapes and sizes have stepped up to provide extraordinarily important services. It has also shown that now, more than ever, the world needs capable and talented individuals as HVAC technicians.

People are spending more time at home

The unfortunate truth with the coronavirus is that in order to beat it we will all need to do our part practicing safe social distancing. And while we all want things to go back to normal, this will mean more time spent at home for the foreseeable future, unfortunate as it may be. 

As we adjust to a future with increased time spent at home, people won’t have the luxury of giving their air conditioning and heating a rest from time to time. During the dog days of summer, folks will need to keep their AC running full blast in order to keep their family comfortable. With less going out, folks will also be at home breathing the same old air.

Now, more than ever, people will need the help of qualified HVAC technicians to keep their homes comfortable, safe, and their heating and cooling equipment running strong. The extra running of cooling and heating equipment can cause them to wear out and require additional maintenance and checkups. Staying indoors will require folks to take advantage of duct cleaning services as well to ensure their in-home air stays clean and allergen-free.

Without trained HVAC technicians ready to lend their services to those in need, folks doing their part to maintain social distancing and protect themselves and others will be looking at a very uncomfortable summer, fall, and winter to come. 

The shortage of skilled workers continues

On top of the need for HVAC technicians to take care of those at home, the country is still experiencing a great shortage of skilled workers in the HVAC industry that has been ongoing for the past several years. 

This shortage has been created in part to the gap between professionals leaving the business and new technicians joining the industry. There has also been a significant applicant pool shrinkage as school budget cuts eliminate programs like shop class and many students have chosen to more aggressively pursue traditional, 4-year educational programs.

For those with an interest and aptitude for HVAC training, however, there has never been a better time to begin one’s career and education in this extremely rewarding industry. There is not only a wealth of positions available for HVAC technicians, there is an equally large need for professionals to fill those positions and eagerly awaiting customers. 

Heroes are appearing in all shapes and sizes through the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is a great need for heroes in the HVAC industry. If you live in the Houston area and are considering a rewarding career as an HVAC technician, there really and truly has never been a better time to start your education.

The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating offers three new training classes each year with flexible morning and evening training sessions. Learn more about our training program and enroll in our upcoming fall and winter classes today.

But, as the demand for HVAC technicians during this time has increased, so has demand for our training courses. Availability is limited, so register today and save your spot!

 

How HVAC Pros Should Deal with Difficult Customers

How HVAC Pros Should Deal with Difficult Customers

Over the course of doing their job, HVAC technicians, like other professionals in the home service industry, have the unfortunate task of dealing with difficult customers. While that isn’t unusual for professionals in other fields of work, there are a few reasons why it can happen so frequently for home service professionals.

Perhaps the most relevant reason why is that HVAC technicians rarely interact with a customer when they are having a wonderful day. The entire reason you are there is that they are in a difficult situation, either something is wrong with their heating or cooling system and they are super hot, cold, or uncomfortable making them agitated or unhappy before you even arrive. 

In addition, because of your service, they are likely looking at a somewhat sizable bill. While HVAC technicians provide an important service, they aren’t always the bearers of great news. Unhappy customers may feel more inclined to voice their displeasure because they are in their own home as well, especially if they’ve had a poor experience in the past. 

Combine all the factors that can make a customer unhappy along with any feeling they may get that they received poor service or the job wasn’t performed to their liking and you’ll likely find yourself with a difficult customer.

While you may or may not be at fault, dealing with a difficult customer isn’t fun. But if you do, use these helpful tips to help defuse the situation and find the best resolution possible.

Stay cool

If an unhappy customer gets nasty with you, especially if you are in a hot and humid house, it can be easy to lose your temper and get nasty right back. This is the absolute worst-case scenario. If you lose your cool with a customer, it is only going to get uglier, there isn’t likely to be any positive resolution, and the customer is likely to take the complaint up the chain of command and get you in even deeper trouble.

But, if you manage to keep your cool and keep your emotions out of it you will be able to focus on how to deal with the problem and not simply get emotional about the situation. If you are able to speak clearly and calmly, the customer may be encouraged to calm down and follow your lead. Then, once both parties are calm you can focus on finding a solution. 

Hear them out

While the service industry saying goes “the customer is always right,” sometimes they simply aren’t. They may indeed have the situation all wrong, be upset and directing their anger about something outside of your power at you, or simply just being altogether difficult. No matter how wrong they may be or how nasty they are about the situation, at least hear them out.

By listening to the customer instead of trying to correct them, talk over them, or argue with them, you can start building rapport with them. It demonstrates to them that you are paying attention to their concerns and listening to them are actively trying to understand and get to the root of the problem. By actively listening and repeating and acknowledging their concerns, your level of care about your job and the situation becomes apparent.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep

While it is important to take the concerns of a difficult customer seriously and to do everything in your power to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, it is also important to realize that the issue may be something outside of your control or something you simply can’t resolve right then and there. For that reason, tell them you will do everything you can to fix the problem but never make a promise you know you can’t keep.

Making and breaking a promise to a customer is a bad road you don’t want to go down. When you break a promise with an already angry customer they feel betrayed and will only flare tempers even more. It also puts you in the unfortunate position of having to backtrack and most likely need to apologize.

It’s OK to fire a customer

Sometimes there’s just no winning with a customer. If a customer is getting downright unpleasant and it is obvious that there is no pleasing them. In the end, you are just going to sink excessive time and energy into them and not see a dime. We call these kinds of clients “tire kickers” and sometimes it is OK to simply fire them.

You hear it all the time from the other perspective, a customer firing their service provider, but it can work the other way too. If you reach a point where the unpleasantness of a customer is too great to handle, refusing to offer your services is a viable, albeit fairly drastic, option.

Don’t take the argument online

If a situation isn’t 100% resolved by the time you leave or you are put in a position where you have to fire a customer, it is a good possibility that they may try and take their complaints to the internet, leaving a negative review or comment. How a home service professional handles themselves online is just as important as how they handle themselves in person, so it is important that you handle negative reviews carefully.

First of all, treat every review respectfully and don’t continue whatever disagreement you may have had in-person online. When you argue with a customer online, you air your dirty laundry in front of anyone who cares to look and can only serve to drive away potential customers. But, if your response is cordial, calm, and inviting for them to contact you directly to once more try and resolve the issue, potential customers will see that as well and see your positive reaction to difficult situations.

Customer service skills are one of the most important skills HVAC technicians need to have in their toolbox, along with the knowledge and skills to repair and install heating and cooling systems of course. Having a thorough understanding of how to provide customer service and deal with difficult customers can help any technician succeed.

Communication and customer service are two areas we focus deeply on during our course here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating as we prepare up and coming Houston HVAC technicians dealing with difficult customers. Contact us to learn more about our classes and enrollment. 

Tips For Finding a Great First HVAC Job

Tips For Finding a Great First HVAC Job

Graduating from the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating and becoming a certified HVAC technician is an exciting time! You’ve just completed the first major step on your path to beginning a successful and fulfilling career. Now comes the next stepping stone: finding your first HVAC job.

Job hunting can be intimidating, but with the training and expertise you receive at the Training Center, you should have the confidence to take on any new challenges when it comes to beginning your career. 

As important as it is to land your first HVAC job and start putting your education into practice, it is just as important to find the right first HVAC job. Getting the right job starts your career on the right foot in an environment that you don’t just have the potential to succeed in but also enjoy!

As you begin your job search, use these simple tips to help you find the right environment for a successful first HVAC job.

Don’t be afraid to be picky

It’s important to get your first job under your belt, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush into the first opportunity that presents itself. HVAC technicians, and many other careers in skilled trades, are in extremely high demand as businesses look to fill their many job openings with a limited pool of skilled professionals.

That high demand means that you’ll likely have very little trouble finding available work, so you can take your time and be a little picky about the company you choose and really make sure you get your career started in the right environment. Don’t be afraid to take on multiple interviews and not jump at the first offer that comes your way in order to find the right company. 

Check their reviews

When you join a company, their reputation becomes your reputation. As you are doing research into potential companies to join it is important to know in advance how they do business and making sure they do things the right way. One of the best ways you can get an idea of the quality of work an HVAC company does and how it treats its customers is to check its online presence and reviews.

Check out their social media sites and their profile on Google to read what their customers say about their experience working with their technicians. Obviously, every review for every business isn’t going to be glowing but look for trends about comments on the quality of their work and the work ethic of their technicians. If there is a consistent pattern of less than stellar work, that is a sign of a company lacking accountability and likely not a very professional environment. If the opposite is true, however, that is a sign that the company has a deep passion for their work and would likely make a great first HVAC job.

Visit their location

As you are submitting resumes, even in the very digital world we live in, HVAC remains a very nuts and bolts kind of business. Showing up to a business’ location to hand-deliver your resume, shake hands with your potential employer, and introduce yourself in person can make a great first impression on a prospective employer. 

However, not only is visiting an HVAC business a great way to give you a leg up on the competition as they are making their hiring decisions, but it is also a great opportunity for you to get a lay of the land as well. You can use this opportunity to not only impress, but also get an evaluation of the office environment, potential coworkers, and culture to determine if it is indeed a company you would fit in well at.

Ask your training instructor

Not sure where to begin your search? Unsure of which companies in your area may be the best fit for you to start your HVAC career off? Your training instructor can be a fantastic resource! Their experience not only in the field but in the local community should give them a wealth of information as to what you should be looking for in a great first HVAC job and which companies in your area may be best to apply or look into.

Your instructor can also be a valuable resource as you are applying as well. You may consider asking them to write you a letter of recommendation as you narrow down your choices and begin doing interviews.

Chris Walters of the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating has 38 years of experience in the HVAC industry and is a state subject matter expert on heating and cooling in Texas and Houston area. The education you receive here and the advice Chris can pass along from his vast experience will give you a huge leg up on the competition as you begin your search for your first HVAC job. 

Learn more about beginning your HVAC career at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating! And, once you land your first interview, be sure to use these tips to make sure you land your dream job.