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.
As we continue to see the number of vaccinations across the country rise and the number of cases dropping, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming more and more visible. While we aren’t out of the woods quite yet, we are at a point in time where those of us in the HVAC industry can start looking forward to what the HVAC industry will look like post-COVID.
While leadership in the industry is predicting that 2021 and the future of the HVAC industry looks good, that doesn’t mean there won’t be repercussions of the pandemic affecting installers, technicians, and heating and cooling companies in the post-COVID world.
In fact, for the foreseeable future, there will indeed be some major changes to the demands of heating and cooling customers and new challenges that will have a major impact on the way the HVAC industry operates.
For those of you who will soon be completing your heating and cooling certification and training and entering the workforce or those of you interested in beginning your career by enrolling in our training program, here are some important things to think about in the industry going into a post-COVID world.
Air quality control will be a top priority
Since the beginning of the pandemic, prioritizing the air quality and ventilation of commercial and home buildings has been a CDC recommendation for helping reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. That has resulted in a surge of businesses and homes investing in air purification systems and filtration systems with effective results.
As we eventually reach a place in time where the Coronavirus itself becomes a more and more distant memory, the impact that it had on our outlook on safety and protection will linger. As home and business owners continue to prioritize air purification as a means to not only overcome the Coronavirus but also prevent a similar outbreak from occurring again, purchases of this type of equipment and service are on the rise and expected to reach a market of $28.3 billion by 2027.
Consumers are interested, and will continue to be interested, in investing in this equipment for years to come. As an HVAC technician, installer, or business owner, this means a steady stream of service requests will continue to come our way in both residential and commercial spaces. A market that those in the industry need to be ready to take advantage of.
This emphasis on air purification systems means HVAC professionals everywhere need to emphasize training and education about the various systems available, making sure they and their team of technicians are ready to educate and install these systems to best serve the safety and comfort of their customers. Air purification systems now need to become a core pillar in HVAC training.
Focus on safety practices
Masks, gloves, regular hand washing, social distancing, all of these safety measures have become a part of our daily lives. For those in the home service industry, they have been especially important as our jobs take us into the homes of our customers, some complete strangers, who need to feel safe and protected in your presence.
As more and more get access to the vaccine, these social distancing precautions in public spaces will inevitably begin to lax. However, in the comfort and safety of their own home, many customers may still wish for strangers to continue to practice safety. In order to serve the best interest of the customers we serve, even as the number of vaccinations rises, we recommend continuing to practice social distancing and hygienic practices.
You never know when a customer will feel uneasy about the presence of a stranger in the fallout of this pandemic. HVAC technicians should still continue to carry masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers in their vehicles and be respectful of social distancing for the foreseeable future when dealing with customers directly.
Supply and material shortages
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all businesses, but manufacturers were especially hard hit. Plant shutdowns, lay-offs, and difficulties with trade throughout the pandemic have culminated in a large material shortage for important and once abundant materials important to the HVAC industry like copper and plastics used in the manufacturing of HVAC equipment as well as microchips important in the programming of smart home technology.
While experts are hopeful that this shortage we are experiencing will eventually resolve itself, for the foreseeable future it will cause HVAC business owners and customers alike quite a bit of difficulty to navigate.
Material shortages are resulting in longer lead times in manufacturing and delivery equipment. This means a customer’s order for a new air conditioner will take far longer than usual to be fulfilled. As we head into the hottest months of the year, this is going to be quite frustrating for customers.
As professionals in the industry, it will be our responsibility to educate our customers of this shortage, understand its impact, and help them make the best decisions to help navigate it, like encouraging customers to schedule their pre-seasonal inspections and maintenance earlier than they usually might. Doing so will allow them ample time to identify any issues and get their orders in for parts and replacement early.
From material shortages causing delays in your sales process to an urgency and emphasis by buyers to take advantage of air filtration and ventilation systems, there will be a lot of adjustments that need to be made by HVAC professionals to navigate the post-COVID world. However, all of this just means that well-trained and knowledgeable technicians and installers will be in demand more than ever.
Learn more about our schedule of upcoming classes and start your career today.
Did you see the news about some changes happening here at The Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating? We have recently changed the format of our HVAC classes from a 14-week class format to a new 10-week format.
The adjustment in the length and format of our classes may seem like quite a big change, but ultimately it is a change that we think will be of great benefit to both our students and our school.
We wanted to take a little bit of time to explain exactly what the change from 14-week classes to 10-week will mean and what changes will happen as a result.
Why the change?
Over the years of teaching, Chris Walters, the school’s founder, has continued to fine-tune and perfect the curriculum we conduct for our students. As a result, Chris and our staff have gotten very efficient… not to toot our own horn. With our staff knowing what topics need more emphasis and what topics require less time, many of our recent 14-week classes have started to become trimmed of fluff and finished up ahead of schedule!
So, in order to help our students complete their education and get into the field a whopping four weeks early, we decided to just completely change our schedule since our classes were trending that way anyway.
With a new 10-week format, our students can start finding work and making a living in their new field sooner than ever.
What is different?
While it seems like trimming four weeks off our HVAC classes is a significant cut, we assure you it really isn’t! The 14-week and 10-week classes have the same schedule, cover the same topics, and contain the same information. We have simply just tightened things up.
By maximizing efficiency in the classroom because of the shorter class duration, our new 10-week format allows us to actually spend more time than ever on hands-on training and education. Mastery of heating and cooling equipment servicing can only happen through doing. This approach helps our students get more comfortable with the equipment and techniques and helps better prepare them for entering the workforce.
The other difference created by shortening our class durations is that it allows us to add another class session! We are now able to offer morning, evening, and afternoon classes now instead of just morning and evening, allowing us to admit and train more students throughout the course of the year!
How can I sign up?
Our new 10-week program is offered four times every year with morning, evening, and afternoon options. Right now, the training school is busier than we have ever been, which means available spots are going away fast!
But, the change and newly created afternoon has also created more opportunities for admission! If you are interested in starting a rewarding career in the HVAC industry here in Texas, you’ll find no better curriculum or training staff anywhere else that will prepare you with the knowledge and hands-on experience you need to succeed.
Check out our schedule of upcoming HVAC classes, learn more about the curriculum, and how to apply to join the school here! If you aren’t sure if HVAC is right for you, you can also ask us about sitting in on a 3-hour class free of charge!
For years, R22 refrigerant was used in the majority of in-home air conditioning systems and considered the king of refrigeration. Well, the times have certainly changed.
Since January 2020, the production and importation of R22 has been banned, allowing only for continuing use of R22 from recycled or stockpiled reserves because of its negative impact on the environment. By January 2030, the EPA’s goal is to phase out the use of R22 almost entirely.
Considering that the majority of air conditioning and other cooling systems manufactured and installed before 2010, when heavy R22 regulations began, utilize R22 refrigerant, these mandates have changed much about the education and practices of HVAC technicians when it comes to refrigerants.
It has spurred us in the HVAC industry to explore and understand more environmentally and efficient refrigerant alternatives as well as inspired technicians to educate their customers on the matter. After all, the phasing out of R22 refrigerant is also going to put customers in the position to make some important decisions regarding their systems as well.
When those questions and decisions do come up, as an HVAC technician or a technician in training it’ll be your responsibility to help your customers make the best and most informed decisions for understanding and replacing their R22 refrigerant systems.
Here are some of the most important things for you and your customers to understand about R22 refrigerant.
Why R22 refrigerant is banned
The reason refrigerant has fallen under so much scrutiny over the past few decades is the negative impact it has been found to have on the environment. Refrigerants can produce emissions that are destructive to the Earth’s ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
This revelation spurred the EPA and governments across the world to begin enforcing stricter regulations on the use of refrigerants and creating new required certifications for HVAC technicians on the handling and disposal of refrigerant, such as the EPA 608 Certification.
So, while 2020 was a year that ramped up restrictions on production and importing of R22 refrigerant, regulations on environmentally harmful refrigerant has been ongoing for decades, with 2010 being a major turning point.
Your customers can continue to use their equipment
The most common question you are likely to encounter from your customers regarding their R22 refrigerant units is “am I still allowed to use it?” The answer is, of course, yes. While the ban exists to cease the production and import of R22, it doesn’t ban the ongoing use of it. So, it is important to put your customer’s mind at ease on this fact.
However, while the ongoing use of their current system is fine, it will present some serious issues for them going forward. As their HVAC technician, someone they should value and trust as an expert in your field, you do have an obligation to inform your customers of what they will be dealing with long term with these systems.
Maintaining their R22 refrigerant system is going to cost them
Because of the ban in production and import, ongoing repairs and replacements on R22 refrigerant systems will have to come from the remaining stockpile of reserves – a stockpile that will continue to rapidly dwindle over the next few years.
As supply diminishes and repair and maintenance demand for these systems (many of which installed before 2010) increases, it will create a landscape in which the cost of these repairs will rise and rise and rise. In the next few years, a refrigerant replacement job that would normally be fairly straightforward and relatively inexpensive will cost your customers a great deal more because of the limited supply.
As you encounter customers with cooling systems that utilize R22, it is a good idea to make this situation known to them and help them understand their options going forward. They may be stubborn and OK with paying more for the sake of living with their system until it finally kicks the bucket. However, you should make them at least understand the value of upgrading and replacing their cooling systems with more efficient and environmentally friendly modern systems.
As HVAC technicians continue to work in a post-R22 world, knowing the available R22 alternatives will help you be a better and more well-rounded HVAC technician, as well as become a more valuable resource for your customers when they are searching for replacements for their outdated cooling systems.
While no refrigerant is perfect and each has their own pluses and minuses, our preferred R22 alternative is R421a. R421a has 0 ODP, is non-flammable, is useful in a number of different applications, can in many cases can be used as a direct R22 replacement, and most importantly is one of the more environmentally friendly refrigerants available.
R32, R407c, and other greener refrigerant alternatives are also available and preferred by some. Like we said, there is no end-all be-all refrigerant choice. Good HVAC technicians will familiarize themselves with as many as they can and come to their own conclusions as to which they prefer and recommend to their customers.
The Training Center of Heating and Air Conditioning takes the health of the beautiful world around us very seriously, so refrigerant education is something we take very seriously and even make EPA 608 certification a part of the requirements for graduation from our school.
If you are interested in learning more about a career in HVAC as a technician, check out upcoming schedule of classes to find the session that best suits you.
After a year in which the only thing that was predictable was the unpredictable, 2021 offers a fresh start. However with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing and many changes to come after it is eventually overcome, there is still a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding the future of many businesses and industries.
For us and our students at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, that obviously begs the question, “what does the immediate future look like for HVAC?”
The global pandemic leading to lockdowns and calls to shelter in place across the country, people spent more time at home this past year. Because of this, the HVAC industry was fortunate enough to stay steady and serve the heating and cooling needs of folks in their homes in order to stay comfortable while they stayed safe.
But, will that continue to be a viable situation for the foreseeable future? After all, although a career in the trades equips you with a very special skill set, if the future for HVAC feels unsure, incoming HVAC professionals and technicians need to be aware of what is ahead of them.
While the pandemic will eventually be conquered and life returning to (somewhat) normality, it is still worth carefully considering the outlook of any professions you are in or currently exploring as we head into 2021 and the somewhat uncertain future that lies ahead.
When it comes to what the HVAC industry will look like in 2021, what better source to turn to than the leaders of the industry?
The Future Looks Strong
In a recent article, many of the HVAC industry’s most distinguished leaders were asked about what the outlook for the HVAC industry and HVAC technicians looked like in 2021. There was a common sentiment among every one of them: the future is looking strong!
Projecting the needs of customers and the outlook of an eventually returning economy, the leaders of the HVAC industry point to a multitude of factors that should contribute to a strong continuing need for HVAC services and technicians, as well as new opportunities that should begin to present themselves.
Our work is never done
The reality is that as the pandemic continues, and even after it is eventually past, folks will continue to rely heavily on the comfort provided by their heating and cooling systems. Many businesses and professionals will continue to work and operate remotely from their homes and drive the need for peak performance of their HVAC system.
The foreseeable increased reliance on home comfort systems by those working and learning from home, many of these experts predict, will drive the need for more regular equipment servicing and replacement over the next few years, providing no shortage of jobs and opportunities for HVAC service providers and technicians.
New growing interest in indoor air quality
Many of the industry’s experts noted that the airborne nature of the pandemic has also created an increased awareness of consumers on the need for improved air quality, especially in commercial spaces. Even following the conclusion of the pandemic, experts predict there will continue to be a demand for indoor air purification equipment for both homes and businesses – a need that will be filled by those in the HVAC industry.
As demand for air purification equipment increases, heating and cooling companies will see an increased opportunity for installation and servicing work surrounding these types of equipment. This will drive a need for HVAC technicians to thoroughly train and educate themselves with this type of equipment in order to better offer and market these services.
New regulations will create better practices
Normalcy will not return without changes to protocols for HVAC technicians to safely serve their customers. However, these changes, some experts predict, will ultimately prove to have positive effects on operations, particularly project management.
Brian Helm of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America Inc. in particular stated, “In 2021, I think contractors will use what we learned from working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic to simplify many aspects of project management. We will see the evolution of data management tools from the current desktop-centered format to a mobile-centric approach. This will make it easier than ever for our project managers to stay connected.”
So, should those considering a career in HVAC be concerned about the future of the industry? Quite the contrary! The 2021 HVAC outlook for technicians looks very promising. Here at the Training Center of Air Conditioning and Heating, we are continuing to educate and prepare our students for a HVAC career in a post-COVID world.
Learn more about our upcoming class schedule online.
The new year is finally upon us! As we move forward into 2020, it’s time to start thinking about resolution ideas and how to achieve your goals in this new year. And of course, no list of new year goals is complete without some attention to your long-term career. What are your work plans for 2020? See if these ideas might be worth considering!
Research a Future in HVAC
Are you struggling to find a long-term stable career? Why not give the HVAC industry a chance? With the high percentage of Americans who have an air conditioning and/or heating system in their homes, you’ll never be short on clients and work. Best of all, you can finish your classes and get started in as little as 14 weeks with Chris Walters’ teaching method! Find out more here.
Get HVAC Certified
Classes are just the first step toward your new HVAC career. There are additional certifications you’ll need to earn and tests you have to pass to truly establish yourself as a trustworthy technician. This year, take the time to find out what those requirements are and work toward them. You’ll be on the road to success in no time!
Pro Tip: The state of Texas requires certain tests and certifications for HVAC technicians, while others aren’t required but strongly recommended. It’s in your best interest to pursue as many as possible in both categories.
Keep Your Education Going
Your education never truly stops, especially in a technical field. You should always be open to new information or ideas about your industry. In the new year, keep researching new developments and updates in your field to stay informed. The more you learn about your field, the better you’ll be at your job!
Most people look to a new year with hope and a list of ideas for self-improvement. As you work your way through your list of resolutions, don’t forget that a stable career will do wonders for both your future and your mental health. This year, give yourself the gift of a new career in the HVAC industry!
Connect with us to learn more about registering for 2020 HVAC classes.