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Common Air Conditioning Installation Violations and How to Avoid Them

Common Air Conditioning Installation Violations and How to Avoid Them

Common Air Conditioning Installation Violations and How to Avoid Them

HVAC installers provide an extremely valuable service: keeping them safe from the extreme heat and extreme cold of the seasons and helping them feel comfortable in their home or office. This job is especially important to the good people here in Texas who face indescribably hot conditions during the summer.

Not many people have the skills that heating and air conditioning installers have, making them a valuable member of the community they work in. As an HVAC professional, people will depend on you and the skills and expertise you possess to get them through the season. 

It is for this reason that knowing 90% of air conditioning installations are done incorrectly is such a disheartening statistic. Even with all respect and expectations customers hold for the profession, almost every installation is not completed to the high standards that HVAC professionals were trained for and should hold themselves accountable to. To be frank, it is shameful.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. As an incoming HVAC student, a recent graduate of The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, or just someone who is interested in the profession, you have the power to buck this trend and learn from the mistakes of those that have come before you. 

Here are six of the most common air conditioning violations that occur in the field so you can learn to avoid them. 

No Installation Permit

Acquiring the proper permits prior to air conditioning should be one of the very first steps in the process, yet it is often overlooked by both parties involved in the installation: the customer and the contractor. Most homeowners will know they need permits for major home renovations, but many don’t realize that they need one for air conditioning installation as well.

Permits are important for a number of reasons. They not only ensure the safety of those working on the equipment, but they also ensure that the equipment being installed is up to energy and environmental standards. Contractors can obtain the necessary permits on behalf of the homeowner and they can also be obtained by the homeowner themselves.

Installing without permits is often overlooked by homeowners who don’t know and contractors who don’t care – but both should concern themselves about it. Installing an air conditioner without the proper permits isn’t just dangerous but can result in serious fines. As a HVAC contractor, never take an air conditioning installation job without the proper documentation first.

Failure to Perform Manual J, Manual S, or Manual D

No two air conditioning system installations are the same. Each and every system requires very precise calculations and adjustments to ensure they are working properly and efficiently for the environment they are being installed in. Three calculations of particular importance that need to be done with every single installation are Manual J, Manual S, and Manual D calculations. However, these calculations are not consistently done, or done correctly, during many air conditioner installations.

Manual J is a calculation that needs to be done to properly size the system to provide optimal cooling based on the size of the home it is being installed in along with other factors. An air conditioner installed in a larger home will need to be adjusted differently than one in a smaller house in order to keep every room and every person cool. 

Manual S then considers the geographical location of the system and the average temperature highs it will have to perform in. Also known as design temperature, an air conditioner needs to be calibrated to effectively and efficiently work under the conditions it will experience 99% of the season. 

Manual D builds off the previous calculations by determining the proper sizing of the ducts needed to properly distribute air without underworking or overperforming.

Not performing these calculations causes air conditioners to not perform efficiently. If the system is oversized it distributes too much air during each cycle which can spike energy usage and inflate monthly energy bills for the customer in addition to ineffectively controlling humidity. Undersized air conditioners will not be able to keep the customer cool. Both instances make for unhappy customers and the need for unnecessary service calls to correct the system’s settings.

Furnace flue pipe touching combustibles

It is a shame that this needs to be said time and again, but because this is one of the most common air conditioning installation violations done here it goes: never put something very hot in contact with something flammable or combustible!

Every HVAC system has a flue pipe that vents hot exhaust air outside of the home it is installed in. Not only is this air warm, it can also contain carbon monoxide, an odorless and tasteless gas that can be deadly if it is allowed to circulate into a home’s air supply. Proper ventilation of the flue is an important part of HVAC installation, but so is the proper installation and accounting for the surrounding area.

When installed in homes, flues are often installed around wood from the subfloor or the home’s frame, which can be inflamed by the warm air and hot metal duct if the proper clearances are not accounted for. Suficit to say this isn’t just a mistake that costs money to fix, it is a potentially deadly one.

Heating equipment is the number one cause of house fires in the U.S and accounted for 19% of house fire deaths from 2014 to 2018. When installing a flue pipe or servicing a piece of equipment that may cause you to move or adjust the pipe, make sure the proper safety measures are taken before you leave.

Service access to equipment not accessible

Air conditioners need regular care, attention, and servicing to ensure they run properly for as long as possible. However, servicing the system properly can be made much more difficult (both for you and anyone else who might work on it in the future) if it has not been installed with the proper accessibility. 

Here is the long and short of the situation: if it is hard to get to the system it is going to be hard to service it. This means that minor, easy-to-fix issues can get overlooked and become serious ones, cleaning is harder to do thoroughly, and the healthy lifespan of the system can be drastically shortened.

When you are installing an air conditioning system, make sure you are following the proper NEC guidelines for working space of three feet on each side of the equipment. This will allow that yourself and anyone else who needs to work on it has proper access.

Air conditioning installation isn’t always done right. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Understanding where other installers fall short is the first step in training a new generation of air conditioning installers who are hard working, thorough, and masters of the trade. 

That is our mission here at the Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning. We are based in Houston, Texas and our founder Chris Walters spent his HVAC career practicing in Texas. Through our experiences working in this industry in this state, we know exactly what our students need to know in order to have a successful career upon graduation. 

If you are interested in beginning your HVAC career with the best training available, learn more about our upcoming classes and get started today!

Back to School Season: Start Your HVAC Career

Back to School Season: Start Your HVAC Career

It’s back to school season for everyone from elementary school kids to seniors at your local university. Why aren’t you joining them?

You might be too old for elementary school and a four-year college might not have been the right fit for you, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for you to continue to apply yourself and continue your education in an area that can be incredibly rewarding. If you are a person who is motivated, ready and willing to learn, and interested in acquiring the knowledge and skills to help you develop a rewarding career, now is the perfect time for you to go back to school too: start your HVAC career at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating.

The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating is Houston, Texas’ premier school for HVAC training and education. Chris Walters, our director and an instructor, teaches true-to-life skills that will enable graduates to find work in the HVAC industry. Every class mimics real-world experiences based on Walters’ extensive HVAC career and encourages active participation with each student.

Why here and why now? There truly has never been a better time to start your training for a career in the HVAC industry and there isn’t a better place in the world to start it. Here’s why it’s time to get back to school and start your HVAC career.

There is a need for skilled labor

For years there has been a lack of skilled labor available to fill the many opportunities available for many different trade careers, particularly HVAC. However, this labor shortage has only gotten worse and worse in the fallout of the global pandemic and economic decline. HVAC businesses are hiring and desperate for workers but no one is answering the call. Now is your opportunity!

The labor shortage is showing no sign of improving in the immediate future, so now is the time to take advantage and start your career. Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating classes only take 10 weeks and upon graduation you will have all the skills and certifications necessary to land your first job soon after graduation. 

Learn on the best schedule for you

For most schools, back to school season only comes once a year. That isn’t the case here, making going back to school easier and more convenient than ever. The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating offers four classes throughout the year! Within each of these classes we also offer three different sessions in the morning, afternoon, and evening. No matter when “back to school” is for you, there will be a class just getting ready to start for you.

We understand that many of our students are working, have family to take care of, and other obligations outside the classroom. That is why we structured our class schedule in this way to provide multiple opportunities for our students to learn in the time and manner that best fits their lives. 

Try for free

Not sure if a career in HVAC is right for you? The beauty of Chris Walters’ Method here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating is that anyone who has a good work ethic and the desire to learn an important and valuable skill has what it takes to get started. No previous experience in HVAC is required to start your career.

Still unsure? We provide the opportunity to sit in on a class session for free! Sitting in on one of our classes gives you the chance to meet the instructors, see how the classes are structured, and to get a better idea of what our school and an HVAC career is all about, all for free. All sitting in on a free HVAC class is a few hours of your time, no obligation required!

If you’ve ever considered beginning your HVAC career, what is stopping you? Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, we offer the training and education you will need to start your rewarding HVAC career right away. There is a need for labor, there are jobs available, all you need is the training.

Let us help you start the career you’ve always wanted. Contact us today to learn more or check out our upcoming training opportunities and start getting ready to go back to school!

3 Reasons Why Texas is a Great Place to Start Your Heating and Cooling Career

3 Reasons Why Texas is a Great Place to Start Your Heating and Cooling Career

A career in HVAC repair and installation is a great career path for any person who is looking for a rewarding, challenging, and valuable career with an education that can be achieved in a fraction of the time and cost of a traditional four-year college. Not only that but there is no better place in the United States to start your HVAC career than right here in Texas.

It’s not just our Texas pride showing, a Texas HVAC career is truthfully one of the best paths you can take. Working in the HVAC industry in Texas requires you to be at your best, be the most knowledgeable about your craft, and gives you an opportunity to not just provide a valuable service but to be so much more than just that.

If you have thought about starting your career as a heating and cooling technician or installer but aren’t sure if it is right for you, let us help inspire you by telling you exactly why starting your career in Texas is the best way to start your career.

There is a demand for HVAC professionals

A combination of a long-standing labor shortage in the skilled trades workforce along with the labor shortage created in part by the coronavirus pandemic means there is a need for HVAC professionals across the United States now more than ever. 

That demand is particularly being felt right here in Texas especially as we hit the peak of summer. Folks in Texas need their cooling equipment cared for, but there is a lack of skilled labor to serve them.

Coupled with the large amounts of job opportunities, the demand for labor in Texas means that once you complete your necessary training you have a good chance of securing a good-paying job right out of the gate. There are jobs available in Texas, and heating and cooling companies are willing to pay. Enough said!

Cooling is particularly valuable in Texas

Don’t get us wrong: properly working cooling systems are greatly appreciated all across the country. However, no one appreciates them quite as much as Texans. During summers in Texas, we can average highs in the upper 90’s every single day for months at a time. It gets so hot in Texas that the design temperature of HVAC systems has to be set for the 100’s in many of our state’s counties.

In some parts of the country, HVAC companies are at the mercy of the weather. Mild summers mean people can get by with what they have, which can affect their bottom lines significantly. Not here in Texas. Even a mild Texas summer can be brutally hot, meaning there will be plenty of work available each year.

We love Texas, but boy can it get hot! However, that means that Texans are especially appreciative of their HVAC service professionals. When it gets really, really hot lives are literally at stake. People won’t overlook the value of the service you provide to them.

Expert training available

Because of how important HVAC professionals are here in Texas, getting the proper training is of the utmost importance. This is why here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating we are proud to provide the best HVAC training in Texas to best prepare students for the demands they will face.

Our school’s founder, Chris Walters, has been in the heating and cooling industry right here in Texas for over 30 years. He understands the importance of the servicemen and women in the industry provide and has dedicated his career as an educator to sharing everything he has learned over the course of his career.

When you start your career by getting your education here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, you know you are taking the best first step towards a Texas HVAC career.

Want to learn more about Chris Walters’ method or about opportunities to join our next session of classes? Click here to learn more.

Should HVAC Trainees Be Worried About the Material Shortage?

Should HVAC Trainees Be Worried About the Material Shortage?

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is slowly going away as more folks receive their vaccines, the world is currently dealing with another crisis in the form of the material shortage that is greatly impacting many businesses and industries. The HVAC industry is one that has been particularly affected.

Dealing with this material shortage has put a lot of pressure on the HVAC industry and HVAC professionals. The shortage has created significant difficulties in producing and acquiring important heating and cooling equipment, delaying installations and projects. 

These pressures have frustrated both professionals and customers alike, making the landscape for incoming HVAC professionals uncertain. With a material shortage affecting the job they do and the services provided, should incoming HVAC professionals and those just beginning their education and training be concerned about the heating and cooling material shortage?

While this shortage is definitely something that heating and cooling professionals need to educate themselves on, fully understand, and account for, it should certainly not be something that should dissuade individuals from a rewarding and important career.

Why is there a material shortage?

First things first, why is there a material shortage to begin with? It is the result of a domino effect tipped off by the coronavirus pandemic. When the pandemic first hit and lockdowns were ordered across the world, manufacturers had to adjust. Many severely scaled back production, some had to lay off a large portion of their workforce, others had to shut their doors entirely.

During this time, the production of materials was limited which meant available inventory was quickly used up without being able to be replaced. That brings us to today. As the world continues to return more and more to normal, demand has ramped back up but that demand is not able to be kept up with due to still-limited labor forces and an almost non-existing inventory.

For HVAC, construction materials, as well as microchips used in smart heating and cooling systems like programmable thermostats, have been the items most drastically affected. Hardships obtaining these materials means HVAC manufacturers have been producing them at a slower rate.

This material shortage WILL end

All indicators are that this material shortage is something that will loom over manufacturers and affect businesses and industries for an extended period of time. However, as difficult of a crisis to navigate as this material shortage is, experts also continue to indicate that it isn’t permanent and it will eventually even out.

Microchip shortages, of particular relevance to the HVAC industry, are predicted to start slowly dwindling over the next two years. While this may still seem like a bit of time, considering the severity of the crisis, the fact that an endpoint is already in sight is a great indicator.

Other materials will follow the same trajectory, some sooner than others, and sooner or later things will return back to normal for the HVAC industry. Until then, your customer service skills as an HVAC professional will be of great importance as you help your customers understand and plan to work around the material shortage.

Set realistic expectations

Some of your customers may be so far removed from the material shortages impacting different businesses and not completely understand why their orders are taking so long to be fulfilled. As a heating and cooling expert, it will be up to you to help educate your customers.

Delays in new equipment installation will undoubtedly cause some frustration with your customers, so the best thing you can do to prepare them is to be transparent about the crisis and set realistic expectations for their projects.

Communication skills are an undervalued soft skill for heating and cooling installers and technicians and navigating the material shortage crisis will require everyone to be at their best. 

Customers will still be counting on you

One of the biggest reasons why incoming HVAC professionals shouldn’t be discouraged by the material shortage is one simple fact: despite issues producing HVAC products, homeowners and business owners are going to continue to depend on the valuable service that those in the industry provide.

The summers aren’t going to suddenly stop being hot and the winters are not going to suddenly stop being cold. Across the country, the demand for HVAC maintenance, service, and new installation is not going to stop just because equipment is harder to come by. The world still needs hardworking and skilled professionals to put their skill set to work protecting their homes and businesses. 

In fact, in addition to the material shortage, there is a similar labor shortage happening across many industries. This is of course nothing new to the skilled trades, which have been experiencing a need for labor for many years leading up to the pandemic. 

Don’t be intimidated by the material shortage. There is still a need for services and there is a need for professionals like you! If you are interested in starting your career in HVAC with the best training available, learn more about the upcoming schedule of HVAC classes right here at The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning.

What HVAC Career Paths Are There?

What HVAC Career Paths Are There?

There is a bit of a misconception about HVAC career paths. Many assume that after you get your education, training, and certifications from your heating and air conditioning training school your options for a job are either becoming an HVAC technician or an HVAC installer. While both of these career paths are very rewarding, HVAC career paths are not anywhere near as limited as the perceptions may be.

The truth is getting your certification in heating and air conditioning can open you up to a wide range of HVAC career paths, each with its own unique specialties and rewards. Some of them will keep you in homes and businesses helping out those in need, others will take you to worlds of innovation.

If you are considering pursuing education and training in the HVAC industry but are concerned about limited career options, let us put your mind at ease right here and now. Here are a few examples of the various HVAC career paths you can follow when you begin your career in the HVAC industry.

HVAC Technician/Installer

These positions are typically the first that come to mind when someone thinks about a career in HVAC. The reason for this is because this is the type of HVAC professional that people encounter and interact with the most as well as being a common first job for many new HVAC training graduates.

While it is true that a career as an HVAC technician or HVAC installer is a common career path, that doesn’t make it any less important or rewarding. Technicians and installers provide an invaluable service to customers (both residential and commercial) maintaining, troubleshooting, fixing, and installing furnaces, air conditioning systems, and other heating, cooling, and comfort systems. The average salary for a HVAC technician in Texas is around $42k per year.

Automotive HVAC Technician

HVAC technicians aren’t just relegated to working with in-home systems. Just about every single vehicle manufactured today, and the majority of those on the road right now, are equipped with air conditioning and heating systems. These systems require a specific skill set and require more than just a regular car mechanic to maintain and repair.

As an HVAC technician, you have the opportunity to specialize in HVAC areas outside of homes and businesses, including the automotive industry. Your career path may begin in a common fashion, but pursuing additional training and certifications can elevate your HVAC career into an entirely different area, with its own challenges, opportunities, and equipment to master.

Refrigeration Technician

A similar road for HVAC technicians can lead to a career in HVAC servicing commercial customers of another very different kind. Restaurants, hotels, and other similar establishments depend on the use of large refrigeration systems to store and preserve food and beverages to serve to their customers. Without properly running refrigeration, their food supplies spoil and they can’t serve their customers.

These large refrigeration systems, maybe not so surprisingly, utilize refrigeration equipment not so different from the cooling systems you’ll train to master at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating. Your career path as an HVAC technician can become one that specializes in troubleshooting, maintaining, repairing, and installing these refrigeration systems, providing very specialized and valuable services to commercial businesses. Technicians in this specialty average around 40k per year in Texas.

Solar Energy Technician

As the world looks to adopt more widespread use of clean and renewable energy sources, businesses from factories to retail locations have begun using solar energy as a primary source for their energy needs. In order to harness the energy from the sun, complex arrangements of solar panels are required to capture solar energy. The solar energy technicians that install, maintain, and fix these panels often start their careers in HVAC.

Your career in HVAC can lead you down a path of working with cutting-edge technology and green solutions to preserving natural resources. In the United States, 3% of electricity comes from solar energy and this figure is only going to grow. As a result, not only are solar energy technicians an exciting career path, job opportunities have increased by over 167%. Additional training will be required to work on these systems, but in Texas the average solar energy technician can make on average around $73k per year.

Wind Turbine Technician

Solar energy isn’t the only green energy technology available for HVAC professionals to adopt along their HVAC career path. The energy produced by wind turbines is clean, cost-effective, and is currently the largest source of renewable energy in the US. This has made wind turbine technicians one of the fastest growing and available jobs in the country, and one that can begin with training in the HVAC field. 

Wind turbine technicians can make around $55k per year in Texas, and with the availability of jobs and the growing demand, this is a very appealing road for many HVAC professionals to take.

Because of the proficiency in electrical components, refrigeration, and problem-solving you will gain through your training and education, a whole world of opportunities await those in HVAC. All you need to do is find what interests you and pursue your passion. The demand for skilled labor across the board is high, so no matter which direction your HVAC career path goes there will be a place for you if you are willing to work hard and put in the work.

At The Training Center of Air Conditioning, we will provide you with the education, training, and certifications you will need to pursue whatever path you choose. Learn more about our 10-week course and our upcoming schedule of classes today.

Establishing Home Service Referral Partners

Establishing Home Service Referral Partners

In the heating and cooling business, technical know-how is obviously key to doing your job. However, succeeding in your job often requires other skills, which we have talked about extensively in the past, like communication and teamwork. 

However, these skills don’t exclusively translate to working with customers and fellow service technicians and installers within your company. Devoting your skills and time to working with those outside of your HVAC company can have some fantastic benefits. 

What are we talking about exactly? We are talking about the benefits of building relationships with other home services companies in your area.

Even though home service companies like plumbers, electricians, flooring, landscaping, construction contractors, and concrete companies may provide a very different kind of service from your company, at the end of the day you have a common goal: provide homeowners with a valuable service that helps improve their lives and home.

Besides just being a good home service neighbor, having good connections and relationships with the various home service companies in your area opens the door for many benefits and opportunities. Here are some of the perks and why this is sometimes an overlooked opportunity for new HVAC professionals.

Find a trusted partner

Even though you provide very different services, the home service companies are destined to cross paths at some point in time on a single job. Maybe a situation will occur in which you run into an electrical issue during a routine installation that requires an electrician to run new electrical.

In this situation, the customer will be looking to you for advice and where to turn next. If you have done your networking and built relationships with different companies, you will undoubtedly have someone in mind you can refer them to right away that you know will get them taken care of and do the job right.

Having trusted partners to turn to when customers need a referral allows you to go above and beyond for a customer and help you establish even more value in their eyes than before. A customer that feels taken care of and is happy will be more likely to come back to you in the future or refer customers to you in turn.

Referral opportunities

In the home service industry, home service referrals are fortunately a two-way street. If you have done your due diligence in establishing relationships with these kinds of companies, there may become a day in which the script of the scenario we talked about before becomes flipped.

Say a building contractor working with a customer on building their dream home eventually reaches the point that they need ductwork installed or their HVAC system installed. With so many options for heating and cooling companies to turn to in the area, what would cause them to recommend you?

Establishing a rapport and demonstrating your value as a trusted company with your home service colleagues will help establish you as their “go-to” when they need to make a recommendation. Just like you want to give your customers the best treatment, so do they, and referring them to a company like yours will do that.

Marketing opportunities

On the business side, having strong relationships with other home service providers creates some very unique marketing and other business opportunities. One such opportunity may be as simple as them allowing you to leave advertisements in the form of business cards, flyers, or pamphlets around their office for their customers to see and take when they come in for a visit. 

If you and another business can come to an agreement, you might also be able to establish referral bonuses for any customers that they might send your way. This could be in the form of payment to the other company as thanks for them sending work your way, or it could be a reward for the customer themselves, offering them a small cash or gift card bonus when they drop your home service referrals partner’s name.

It may seem like a minor thing, taking the time to build relationships with the companies in your area, but doing so can have very monetary and reputational benefits for you and the heating and cooling company you work for. 

So, take the time to pick up the phone, visit their office, or put together an event and introduce yourself to those around you. Chances are, they will understand the value of your home service referrals relationship and be excited to take part in it as well.