HVAC (Heating Ventilation, and Cooling) is a very lucrative career field. People always have a need for heating and air conditioning no matter the season or the location. One thing that many people do not realize is the level of Hvac training one must have to become a truly qualified technician. There are many different skill sets that must be mastered before one call himself truly trained in HVAC. Below is a discussion of some of the aspects of HVAC training.
Sheet Metal Fabrication (Duct Work)
Sheet metal fabrication is the art of taking sheets of galvanized steel and forming the different types of duct work needed to run to the different vents carrying the heated or cooled air from the furnace or air conditioning coil. Definitely an overlooked topic when it comes to Hvac training, especially for beginners. One is trained in how to cut the metal to the size and shape needed, then use a variety of tools to make bends and folds in the metal so that when the duct is assembled, it holds its shape and is air tight.
Most states have local chapters of the sheet metal workers of America union that offer an apprenticeship program that will assist a person in getting the needed on the job training that will be required to work on some of the more complicated installations. Even if one does wish to join a labor union, it is recommended that one find a mentor with several years experience in the field to provide the field training that will assist in understanding all of the various facets of the job.
Refrigeration is one of the more complicated forms of HVAC training that one must master before becoming an HVAC technician. Relatively recent changes in laws concerning the release of chemicals such as Freon, a common refrigerant, into the atmosphere require that one become certified in the use of reclamation equipment that prevents leakage of this substance. Freon is just actually the nickname for many types of refrigerants, and not really considered a scientific name. One must also learn how to “sweat” copper lines together, which a form of welding. These lines must be air tight at all joints to prevent leakage of refrigerant into the atmosphere. Ones also learns about the different refrigerant chemicals available and when it is appropriate to use each one based on the desired temperature range.
Arc welding is another aspect of HVAC training. Part of the job is ventilation, which includes removing hot air from kitchens in restaurants, or removing steam from a room, also can be done by means of range hoods. HVAC technicians must install the hoods that are found above stoves and cookers along with the associated exhaust and make up air ducts. The exhaust for these hoods is normally done with iron and must be welded at all joints as well as to the top of the hood. Although they do make range hoods these days that are self exhaust meaning that they remove smoke and heat through types of filters.
This welding is complicated by the fact that the joining of the iron exhaust to the top of hood involves attaching two different types of metals. The skill of the welder is an important part of the job of the technician and, as with all other aspects of HVAC installations, the joints must be air tight. In the HVAC field this type of welding is known as saudering, and is also very popular in the plumbing field with brass and copper fittings, valves and connections.
The art of cooling…though if you have read Doolin’s HVAC Troubleshooting Bible, you will see that cold does not exist from what we know of – everything is just absence of heat..or energy. There is also a great deal of HVAC Training that is covered in Doolins book – best that there is in my opinion, some may want to bash it but never can recommend a better source for getting the same knowledge – especially for only a hundred bucks or so.
One can obtain HVAC training at most vocational technical schools over a period of approximately two years. However, no amount of classroom training can prepare a person for the entire range of duties required of a technician. Schooling will get your foot in the door in most places, but you must remember that the best teacher is experience. I have been an HVAC technician for many years, and yet I still manage to learn something new everyday.
If you know anything about air conditioning than you know at least something about heating, which is the exact opposite. The only difference is that it is slightly harder to cool a space than it is to heat a space, being that cooler air will always travel to warmer air, and nothing can stop it from happening, we can only slow it down through air tight seals, which are really not air tight when it comes to heat.
Unlike cooling heating can have many sources of fuel, from electricity, gas, wood, any others? The ones that I am familiar with are gas and electricity, and I have found that electrical heating is cheaper than gas in many situations, as they both have their ups and downs.
HVAC training is important if one is going to try to seek employment in the field. However, it is important to note that classroom training is only half of the actual requirement if one is going to gain any real proficiency as a technician. Also remember that HVAC is many fields that you can expertise in. You can be an expert in heating, air conditioning, ventilation, or refrigeration. They all basically have the same principles.
In many cases, companies employ technicians that have focused on particular aspects of the trade and use them as a team rather than trying to find a single individual with sufficient HVAC training and experience to handle the job properly. This basically means that an air conditioning company is going to look for someone that specializes in air conditioning, not heating, or general HVAC knowledge. This should not prevent you from getting familiar with all aspects of HVAC training that is out there though, as the more you know the more you can fix, which potentially means the more money you can make.