So you have heard that people in the hvac field are pretty much set for life, as they possess a skill that will be needed just about anywhere that you go. But to just say that you want some Hvac training, and then want to go seek a job, may not be narrowing down your possibilities of getting a job that you like, as there are many different types of jobs when it comes to HVAC.
Types of Hvac Jobs
Maintenance Technician – Residential
Hvac maintenance technicians is probably one of the best places that you can start out in the Hvac field. This will give you the necessary experience that you will need to move up in the field to more challenging positions. After you get out of Hvac school this would be the type of job that you will want to seek out – because you will be getting plenty of hands on experience and putting the knowledge you gained from Hvac school to work.
The Hvac maintenance technician’s primarily be responsible for checking the operation of the customers heating and air conditioning systems. Some of the checks that may be done are superheat/sub-cool calculations, amp draws on compressors and blower motors, changing filters, ensuring that there are no loose electrical connections, verifying proper air flow, cleaning condensate lines and drain pans, and identifying any potential problems and letting the customer know.
By starting off doing maintenance’s, you will run into problems and slowing get your feet wet in doing repairs and troubleshooting. Residential systems are typically units that are 5 ton or less. The types of refrigerants that you will be working with when doing residential are typically 410A and R-22.
Hvac Service Technician – Residential
The service technician should have great hands on experience and know how to trouble shoot, repair, and install components such as TEV valves, evap coils and pistons, blower motors, compressors, contactors, capacitors, safety switches, and much more. This is where you will start to learn the ins and outs of the Hvac trade, and the top service technicians also work there way up to Commercial jobs and refrigeration.
Hvac service technicians should not only have up to 2 years accredited Hvac Training but also 2 or more years of Hvac apprenticeship training. The pay may not be the best but its around the 16 dollar and hour range and you are getting paid to learn and get taught a trade.
Hvac System Installers – Residential and Commercial
Installers have one of the hardest jobs when it comes to the Hvac and Refrigeration fields. Especially when you get up to the 20 ton commercial units, but also a great place to start off an Hvac career. Not as much technical and troubleshooting skills are required as compared to the service technician, but will be lifting heavy objects a lot more. System installers can be broken into many categories, some companies have them do everything, while others may have them broken up if there are enough jobs.
First thing that must be done when installing an Hvac or Refrigeration unit is the copper piping must be ran. Sometimes this may require tractors or other types of equipment to run the copper underground, through concrete walls, up walls, or however the system engineer drew up the design.
Then there are the ones that install the duct work throughout the home. In many commercial applications, sheet metal will be used for the duct work.
Then there are the system installers, who braze the copper lines from the evaporator coil to the condensing unit. There will always be challenging jobs in this field, tight spots to install big units, in very hot attics, installing is not an easy job, but very challenging and rewarding, and the pay is also very good.
Refrigeration is generally dealing with lower temperature systems such as chillers, walk-in freezers, walk-in coolers, ice machines, wine chillers, or just about anything that needs to reach a low temperature such as near or below freezing. Some of the more common refrigerants that are used in refrigeration are 134A and 404A. This is probably the most stressful of the service type jobs, as when busy restaurants have a freezer go down, they will need it fixed by any means, or they could lose possibly 1,000′s of dollars worth of food, along with many other nightmare scenarios.
System Engineers – Sales
The Hvac system engineer is the one that makes the blue print for the Hvac system. One thing that these guys and gals know is there duct work, along with many other calculations to make sure that the right sized system is put in for the type of home. You simply can’t just say that a 1500 square foot house needs a 3 ton system. Other factors must be taken into effect such as what types of windows are in the home, how high the ceilings are, what type of insulation the home has, whether or not the old duct work will work with a higher SEER hvac system or not, along with many other factors.
When it comes to bigger projects such as commercial buildings, more calculations must be made to determine system sizes. Places such as arenas and other buildings where many people gather, must be calculated to withstand the amount of people that may be occupying the space also, as the average human body generates around 400 Btu’s an hour, depending on height and weight of course.
Out of all the different Hvac jobs mentioned in this article, the system engineer will more than likely make the most money if they are good at what they do and have a lot of business. Some companies will have a Hvac technicians that do service, installs and quote out systems along with duct sizing and heat load calculations. Hopefully this has cleared up any questions that you may have had when it comes to Hvac training and where you want to take your career.