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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You might not have given the types of HVAC units available much thought when installing one in your home. However, each unit has its own benefits and drawbacks. If you plan on installing an HVAC unit, it is worth taking a second look at the four basic types of HVAC units available.
Heating and Cooling Split Systems
Heating and Cooling Split Systems are the most common types of HVAC systems. The system is split between two main units, one for heating and one for cooling. Hence the name “split system.”
These units contain both an indoor and outdoor component. Do you know that large box you see blowing out air on the side of homes? That is the outdoor piece, also known as the condensing unit. This cooling system outside using refrigerant, compressors, and coils to cool air, and a fan to blow out hot air.
This system uses a traditional thermostat to manage the temperature. Because of this, the system is able to keep most houses at a desirable temperature. These systems are most widely used because they are most generally applicable. These units do not require any specific needs or environmental factors. This makes them perfect for most homes.
Hybrid Split System
A hybrid system is similar to the split system, but with some key differences. These systems are on the rise due to their ability to mitigate energy costs through their electric hybrid heating system. This differentiates them from other types of HVAC systems.
The ability to switch between gas power to electric power allows homeowners to decide how they want to heat their homes. Gas power is much quicker and more complete than electric, but electric power is more efficient and quieter. This system uses traditional ducts, as well as thermostats, and provides all the benefits of a split system, but with the added option to conserve energy. Plus, these units can lessen utility bills.
A duct-free system, also known as a mini-split system, provides big benefits for certain needs. However, these systems typically have large upfront costs. These HVAC units are individual units in each room. These units are perfect for new additions to homes, such as garages, additions, or additional buildings, because it is easier to install. Plus, this system allows independent control over each unit. These types of HVAC units are also beneficial for service businesses such as hotels or venues, allowing tenants to control individual temperatures.
Another benefit is energy conservation since individual rooms that are being used are being heated, it keeps exterior or unused rooms from wasting energy. The small size of a ductless cooling system and its zoning capabilities allows for greater energy efficiency.
Despite the benefits, these systems require regular and intensive cleaning and maintenance. This is important to keep up with as the cost of total repairs and replacements are quite expensive.
Packaged Heating and Air
Packaged heating and air is the most niche unit. This system is typically stored within the house and is usually kept in an attic or top storage place. It serves to both cool and heat a home.
Its compact size makes it useful for smaller spaces or houses. Its size allows it to be placed within the home if the exterior is not an option. Despite its size, this type of unit is able to be very efficient and easily maintained. These units are typically used in warmer climates since the heating element is not as strong as other systems.
There are many types of heating and cooling systems, but now we hope you are a little more prepared to make a decision. These types of systems are just a fraction of the things you will learn about during your time here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating in Houston, Texas. If you or someone you know is interested in signing up for classes, please feel free to contact us so we can chat about available options.
If you have spent any time around HVAC, either in a classroom or just chatting up an HVAC technician, there is a decent chance you’ve heard the expression “beer can cold.” “Beer can cold” is an expression that originated in the early days of air conditioning, back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It was created to describe the temperature at which an air conditioning system has been properly charged with refrigerant.
The idea is if you were to grab a properly charged suction line it would be as cold as a cold beer can. It is also a completely irrelevant, incorrect, and outdated expression that shouldn’t be applied anywhere near modern-day HVAC. In fact, if you ever hear a fellow HVAC technician using that term earnestly turn the other direction and run away.
“Beer can cold” is an expression that no longer holds any relevance for HVAC technicians and should be left in the past. If you are an HVAC technician or in training to become one, here are three reasons to forget everything you may know about “beer can cold.”
What is “beer can cold” anyway?
One of the biggest arguments against “beer can cold” is that in a very precise industry this kind of measurement is not even remotely precise. What is the exact temperature of “beer can cold?” You can technically drink beer at any range of cold temperatures and different folks may have a different take on what the ideal temperature of a cold beer is.
Also, a beer out of a cooler full of ice maybe 32 degrees and one out of the fridge maybe 35 to 38 degrees, but they feel relatively the same to the touch. Air conditioners today are manufactured with distinct specifications on charging temperatures, and the tools HVAC technicians have at our disposal today make taking accurate temperatures much simpler than relying on getting a relative temperature by hand.
“Beer can cold” is misleading
Extremely hot working conditions are very common for HVAC technicians, especially here in Houston. If you were to grab a suction line that is about 50 degrees on a 100-degree day outside, that suction line is going to feel extraordinarily cold even though it is only 50 degrees. Now, if you grab that same suction line when it is only 60 degrees outside, it is not going to feel anywhere near as cold. Also, if there is a lot of moisture in the air, the suction line will be wet and feel colder than a dry line at the same temperature.
Aside from not having an exact reading for “beer can cold,” taking a temperature by hand can lead to horribly inaccurate and misleading readings that can lead to serious errors during installation and repair. Using this method on the job will likely cause you to make serious mistakes.
It’s not the ‘50s anymore
The truth about “Beer can cold” is that even though it is an expression that began in the ‘50s, it was an outdated expression even back then. So much about air conditioning in the past 60 years. Back then, compressors were oversized, coils had a lot of extra space, and fan motors were higher in horsepower. Flexibility in the charging of refrigerants was not a significant issue since a pound over or under would not cause any drastic changes.
Today’s air conditioning units are built much differently. Units are built to be just big enough, their coils are not oversized and their compressors are barely large enough. This all makes the efficiency rating of units higher, but also means the charge of refrigerant has to be within 2 ounces of the correct amount. Unlike the old days, air conditioners require a much higher level of precision.
The mantra of “beer can cold” is not only outdated, it was truthfully never a helpful or accurate reading to begin with. Here at the Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning, we teach our students how to use the advanced techniques and tools at their disposal to do the job and charge the air conditioners they work on the right way, leaving “beer can cool” where it belongs: In your hands after a hard day’s work and you are relaxing at home in your hammock.
Learn more about enrolling in upcoming classes at the Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning here.
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!
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.
You’ve completed your education and received your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning certification, but how do you maintain your certification? Certification is one of the most important qualities that the customer is going to be looking for, so it is crucial that you have the right certifications if you want to get work as an HVAC technician.
Certified or licensed HVAC technicians earn their credentials through their studies and work experience. Not all states require licensing, but even in states with no formal licensing requirements, employers usually prefer job applicants with professional certifications.
In the states that do require licensing, applicants must pass a written exam like the one we provide for our students. For example, Texas accepts a passing score on the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) exam for HVAC technicians in addition to registration with the state government.
It is important to keep your certification up to date and ensure it does not expire. Depending on the type of certification you receive, the expiration date may vary. Some certifications never expire while others need to be renewed every five years.
Types of Certifications
There are multiple types of certifications you can receive including EPA Section 608 Certification, HVAC Excellence Certification, NATE Certification, and more. Each certification is just as important as the other because different states have different licensing requirements for HVAC technicians. However, one of these is recognized across all the states, unlike the rest.
EPA Section 608 Certification
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires everyone with access to a system or container storing refrigerant gas to receive certification. Every HVAC technician has to ensure that the refrigerants used in the systems are handled appropriately because of regulations set forth in the Clean Air Act. Some HVAC certifications are based on specific sections of the Clean Air Act, such as Section 608.
The good news is that Section 608 certification never expires. However, if you lose your certification card, you may have to retake the test depending on your situation.
HVAC Excellence Certification
This non-profit organization was founded in 1994 to improve the technical competency of the HVAC industry through validation of the technical education process. The certification process and the areas of study are similar to those utilized by NATE, though this organization covers the electrical aspects of heating and air conditioning with separate examinations.
The HVAC Excellence certification is really a blanket term for a series of specialized certifications. These range from basic to master-level certifications that require varying levels of preparation. The two more prestigious of these certifications are known as the “Professional Level” and the “Master Specialist Level” and require renewal after five years.
Being able to obtain the North American Technician Excellence certification at the start of your career can only help your reputation as a technician. The NATE certification shows that you have been properly trained and have learned how to specialize in a particular area.
With NATE, you can customize your certification to your specific needs or employer’s requirements. These certifications must be renewed every two years. Renewal requires either submitting 16 continuing education hours every two years or retaking the specialty exam only, before the end of the two-year certification period.
The HVAC industry is a growing industry that continues to attract more people. At some point in the future, there will most likely be a surplus of qualified HVAC technicians. This is where receiving your certification puts you ahead of the competition. After receiving your certification, it is important that you maintain your certification by renewing it when necessary.
Here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating in Texas, we can provide you with the resources to become a great HVAC technician. If you are ready to make a career change, be sure to learn more about our program and the classes we have to offer.