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Most Common HVAC Hazards to Technicians and How to Prevent Them

Most Common HVAC Hazards to Technicians and How to Prevent Them

Most Common HVAC Hazards to Technicians and How to Prevent Them

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.

Fatigue

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.

High Falls

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.

Burns

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.

Electrocution

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.

How to Study for Your HVAC Class

How to Study for Your HVAC Class

HVAC certification consists of both hands-on work and studying to pass tests. While the hands-on lessons take place in class with fellow students and an instructor, studying generally happens on your own time. Consequently, it can be too easy to let this important part of learning fall by the wayside. How can you prioritize your study time for your HVAC class?

If your current study method isn’t working, it’s time to form new habits that will help you make time to study and absorb the information. After all, the better your study habits, the better your grades will be! Here are just a few strategies to help you study for your HVAC class and get your habits back on track.

Struggling with studying for your #HVAC class? These proven study strategies will help you stay focused and learn the material. Click To Tweet

Make a Schedule & Stick to It

Building a new habit depends on consistency. As you get used to setting aside daily time for studying, focus on establishing a specific time to get it done. For instance, if you get home around 4 pm every day, have your study time start at 4:30 consistently. Your mind will adjust to this new part of your routine. Don’t just accept any excuse to delay your study time–the more consistent you are with your schedule, the more likely it is to feel natural.

Make Studying a Priority

In life, some tasks are more important than others. Schoolwork follows the same principle. If one assignment is due tomorrow and the other is due in a week, it makes sense to prioritize the one due tomorrow. This may seem like a no-brainer. However, if the task due in a week appears daunting or time-consuming, you may be tempted to try tackling as much of it as possible and accidentally let the more time-sensitive assignment go undone. Don’t let that happen! Learn to organize your homework by priority.

Find Your Learning Style

How do you typically absorb information? Do you do better when memorizing data on your own, with a partner, or by listening to an instructor? Experiment with different styles until you find yourself retaining the knowledge you need for your HVAC class. Once you know how you learn best, keep it up! Allow yourself to find the best strategy for your own needs.

Pro Tip: For involved work like HVAC repairs, hands-on practice and instruction is a proven method. A well-structured HVAC class will help you absorb the information you’ll need for your career.

Studying for an HVAC Class

Everyone learns differently, so what worked for another student may not work for you. However, you’ll never know how much you can improve your study time without trying. Try a few different solutions until you find one that boosts your time management as well as your retention of the material. You can pass your HVAC class!

How can I prioritize my study time for my HVAC class?

If your current study method isn’t working, it’s time to form new habits that will help you make time to study and absorb the information.

4 Signs You Need a New HVAC Contractor

4 Signs You Need a New HVAC Contractor

What are the signs of a bad HVAC contractor?

Your HVAC contractor’s job consists of more than just repairing your HVAC system. Ultimately, they should be able to help with, or at least identify, other significant problems that could be contributing to high energy bills or an uncomfortable home climate. Keep an eye out for these common signs of a bad HVAC contractor–it may be time to hire someone else.

What are the signs of a bad HVAC contractor? Does this list look familiar? See what you should expect to be better when you hire someone for HVAC repairs. Click To Tweet

4 Signs You Need a New HVAC Contractor, The Training Center of Air Conditioning & Heating

Warning Signs

Most HVAC contractors are honest, hard-working people who just want to make your home as comfortable for you as possible. However, on rare occasions, you’ll find yourself dealing with a less than ideal repair person. If any of these red flags seem familiar, it may be time to hire an alternative:

  1. Poor ventilation even after repairs
  2. Skipping measurements
  3. Poor customer service
  4. Ignoring the root issue

1) Poor Ventilation Even After Repairs

Part of an HVAC contractor’s job is checking your home’s air ventilation for any potential problems. If you notice that airflow seems nearly nonexistent even after a repair job, it’s probably time to call the contractor back.

Keep in mind that this is a common mistake and not necessarily a red flag on its own. However, if you notice the same problem happening repeatedly from the same contractor, chances are they’re cutting corners on more than just this one area.

2) Skipping Measurements

A good contractor will always measure your home and air conditioning units very precisely to help in their work. If your contractor claims to be able to estimate based on appearances or a similar floor plan, they’re either being careless at best or lazy at worst. Always ask them to measure everything essential to their job before beginning work.

3) Poor Customer Service

At the end of the day, you are buying a service from your contractor. Excellent customer service skills on their part are essential to retaining you as a client. If your HVAC contractor refuses to treat you with the respect you and your home deserve, it may be time to find someone else.

4) Ignoring the Root Issue

If you come down with the flu, chances are you’ll go for extra-strength flu medicine rather than just a pain reliever like ibuprofen. While one attacks the root cause and sickness, the other only deals with one symptom. Likewise, several small HVAC issues are likely connected by an underlying problem. Your HVAC contractor should be able to assess the list of problems and find the ultimate issue to be fixed. Rather than dealing with the symptoms one at a time, start resolving the problem for real by working on the underlying issue.

Pro Tip: A good HVAC contractor knows exactly where to look to find the root cause of your problem. If your contractor seems more focused on just providing a temporary fix, it’s time to find someone else.

Finding a Trustworthy HVAC Contractor

Fortunately, most homeowners’ experiences with HVAC contractors are excellent. You’ll rarely have to worry about these problems. However, if you do notice some bad signs showing up, keep in mind that the contractor is working on your home. If your original choice repeatedly shows signs of a bad HVAC contractor and you are having doubts about them, consider looking elsewhere to ensure you get the experience and service you’re looking for.

What are the signs of a bad HVAC contractor?

If any of these red flags seem familiar, it may be time to hire an alternative: poor ventilation even after repairs, skipping measurements, poor customer service, and ignoring the root issue.

How to Prove Yourself as a Good HVAC Contractor

How to Prove Yourself as a Good HVAC Contractor

Customers have high standards for anyone they choose to hire for HVAC work. After all, few people would debate that a well-maintained ventilation system is essential for comfortable living in a hot city like Houston. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prove that you’re worth your clients’ trust.

How can you demonstrate the signs of a good HVAC contractor? Learn what they are and how to display them to your clients here! Click To Tweet

Signs of a Good HVAC Contractor

Just as clients look for potential red flags when searching for someone to hire, they also look for “green flags”–in other words, good signs about a potential hire. By doing your best to know and display those green flags, you can earn yourself more loyal customers! Here are a few of these good signs:

  1. Fully in compliance with applicable laws
  2. State-of-the-art HVAC units and equipment
  3. Quality work and service
  4. Written warranty
  5. Emergency services
  6. Excellent testimonials

1) Fully in Compliance with Applicable Laws

Most states require extensive licensing for anyone working in the HVAC field or handling coolants in their work. In addition to providing proof of a license, make sure you’re familiar with the EPA’s standards for indoor air quality and can demonstrate your adherence to them in your work. Your clients will be glad to know they can trust you to comply with legal requirements and maintain a high standard in your work.

2) State-of-the-Art HVAC Units and Equipment

Clients want the best for their home HVAC systems, even if that means the units they end up purchasing are expensive. A quality air conditioning or heating unit will last a long time, require few repairs, and save the homeowner money on their energy bills. Are you able to offer these exceptional units to your clients? Do you know how to work on them with excellent results?

Pro Tip: Take the time to evaluate your tool collection as well. Does anything need replacing? The quality of your work is directly related to the quality of your tools.

3) Quality Work and Service

Anyone with excellent customer service skills but no knowledge of an HVAC system makes a poor air conditioning technician. Likewise, you can have extensive knowledge of how home ventilation systems work, but without customer service skills, you may not be rehired. Learn to strike the proper balance of excellent work and approachability to best appeal to a wide range of clients. 

4) Written Warranty

Even if the HVAC hardware and parts come with a written warranty, what about the work you do on them? Clients will generally feel far more comfortable knowing that hardware and labor alike is backed by a guarantee in writing. Make sure you can provide this for your customers, whether on your own or through your HVAC employer.

5) Emergency Services

A home’s heating and cooling systems are essential to homeowners’ comfort. If the AC stops working in the middle of a hot Houston summer, the HVAC technician had better be available to come and fix it immediately! Offering 24/7 emergency heating and air conditioning services will go a long way toward keeping and retaining clients.

6) Excellent Testimonials

Finally, customers still love seeing good ratings and glowing customer reviews. Make sure to request good reviews from satisfied customers, and reach out to try solving any problems mentioned in negative reviews. The more positive stories you have to share, the better your chances at gaining new customers will be!

Earn Clients Through Quality Services

Ultimately, clients look for a candidate that can provide both quality HVAC work and excellent customer service. If you can show that you are able to provide both, not only will potential new clients seek you out, but your previous clients will also be likely to hire you a second time for future work. Hard work and good service will pay off!

Connect with us to learn more about marketing yourself as an HVAC contractor.

How to Combat the HVAC Technician Shortage

How to Combat the HVAC Technician Shortage

If you have been in the HVAC industry for any time at all, you are aware of the massive technician shortage. If you have been in it for decades like many experts have, you are aware this shortage is nothing new. Waiting for this problem to solve itself has not worked in the past and will still not be effective today. 

Conventional job search methods, whether newspaper ads or online job postings, are not nearly as effective as they once were in a technical industry. In recent years, more modern methods such as training schools have shown much more promise in creating skilled, dedicated workers. Let’s take a look at what the facts show.

The HVAC industry is facing an ongoing tech shortage. Learn how to combat the shortage and find good workers here! Click To Tweet

Unreliable Recruitment Methods

Most contractors have tried everything to find technicians, from the newspaper ads of a few years ago to the online job postings of today. The result is usually the same. Either these calls for workers get no responses or attract poor workers who can’t perform. Since good technicians usually don’t have any problem finding a job, they spend far less time searching and thus rarely see these postings. This leaves a contractor in a bad place when trying to grow a business or just keep it running through normal attrition.

At times, a desperate contractor will poach technicians from another business with the promise of additional pay. For instance, some HVAC technicians will find business cards on their service trucks that say, in a nutshell, “I will pay you more than you currently make–call me!” While this method is common, this just breeds service techs that jump companies for additional pay rather than the overall value of that company. If this is your business’s chosen method, don’t expect loyalty from a tech that jumped just for a few dollars. There is a better way.

Get More HVAC Technicians Quickly

Training your own employees is the solution. Who do you know that could be a great technician if they only had proper training? Find a training school that really does teach what is needed. This fast, efficient method of education can give you a quick return on your investment.

Pro Tip: Find a training facility that can balance time commitments with excellent results. HVAC skills may not need years to teach, but can’t be learned overnight either.

Questions to Ask a Potential Training Center

Finding the right tech school requires asking just a few questions until you find one that checks all your boxes.

Questions should include:

  • How much of the class is hands-on?
  • How many hours will they practice Brazing?
  • Will they get to actually build up complete systems?
  • How many different refrigerants will they get to recover and charge?
  • Is there a hands-on final exam covering the entire learning experience?
  • Will they get to remove motors, blowers, fans, and blades from working systems?
  • Will they get to do lots of performance testing with superheat and subcooling methods?
  • Will they learn how to use a ductulator?
  • Was the program taken from a book or custom made based on years of experience?
  • Finally, what is the cost and how long does it take to complete?

Be Part of the Solution

If you come to the realization that getting trained technicians will never happen if you do not become part of the solution you will never see a solution to your technician shortage. Invest in your company’s future by investing in training your own hires and you will never have a technician shortage.

Connect with us to learn more about the classes we offer and our students’ ultimate success rates in the HVAC field.

Customer Service Skills for HVAC Technicians

Customer Service Skills for HVAC Technicians

Any job where you’ll be interacting with customers regularly requires excellent customer service skills. Considering the nature of an HVAC career, where you regularly enter your clients’ homes to examine their AC units and discuss plans for repairs, customer service is more than required to be successful. 

As an HVAC technician, you’ll spend a good part of your workday talking to customers. Good customer service skills are absolutely essential to maintain strong relationships with your clients and build your long-term career. Let’s look at just a few customer service skills to develop for a future career in the HVAC field.

HVAC technicians use customer service skills as often as retail employees, if not more. Learn the most crucial skills for an HVAC technician here! Click To Tweet

Respect the Clients’ Home

The majority of jobs you’ll be working on will be in someone’s house or apartment. Though it’s a more relaxed environment than an office, remember that you’re a guest in their home. Ask the homeowners’ permission before sitting on any furniture, using their bathroom, etc. Make as little of a mess as possible and clean everything up before you leave. Your ultimate goal should be to make it appear that, except for the now-working air conditioning unit, there’s no evidence you were ever there.

Pro Tip: If you’re replacing a faulty unit, ask the homeowner what they’d like done with the old one. Some don’t mind if it sits in the yard before being hauled off, but some prefer to conceal it in the meantime.

Develop Courteous Communication Skills

How well do you communicate? Coming across as too rigid will make your customers wonder if you’re upset while being too friendly could make clients uncomfortable. Your job is to find the perfect balance. Professional speech and behavior is sure to spark confidence in your clients.

There are times, however, when you can and should be understanding. Remember, no client plans for an expensive repair such as a faulty air conditioning system. While your ultimate job is to analyze and fix the problem, you should also offer empathy to the customer as they plan to handle this issue. Work with them as best you can to fix their ventilation systems quickly and to their satisfaction.

Present a Professional Image

You might have the best empathy and communication skills in the world, but if you show up to a job in filthy clothes and leave trash around the house as you work, your customers will lose faith in you rather quickly. A huge part of customer service is presenting a professional image. Along with the professional behavior required for your job, make sure your work clothes and vehicle send the same message. Most of all, remember that actions speak louder than words. Even with professional behavior to back you up, your client is not likely to call you back or recommend you if they have to clean up a mess once you’re gone.

Developing Great Customer Service Skills

When dealing with a professional, such as an HVAC technician, clients expect a professional attitude and a regard for the customer. As an HVAC worker, 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. Your investment in bettering your professional image could earn you new customers and repeat jobs!

Join the conversation to learn more about great customer service in the HVAC world.