What does a career as a HVAC-R Technician entail?

Modern conveniences are a beautiful thing. Without heating or cooling in our homes and workplaces, we are not happy campers. As today’s technology rules other types of conveniences like our computers, appliances and our automobiles, so it does the heating and air business, too.  Proper training in this field is imperative.

HVAC-R Technicians are concerned with the mechanical systems in your residence or any other indoor environment that circulates air throughout. HVAC-R stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. As a technician within this field, your duties will include installing new systems and maintaining existing systems, which includes all types of air conditioning and heating units.

As a HVAC-R Tech, you will also be expected to be proficient in reading blueprints, especially while in the installation process. You will be required to know how to properly start-up a system and make sure it is running correctly. You will need to know how to use specific tools, such as meters, gauges, refrigerant scales and cutters in a precise and safe manner.

Some technicians also include services that requires the use of Freon, which is used in refrigeration, freezer units, in addition to, air conditioning units. Within this capacity, you will be required to obtain certification to handle the refrigerant. In heating systems, you may be required to use gas, oil or electrical components to run units. You will need to be properly training in the use of each type of material.

While hired to service existing heat and air conditioning units, you will be responsible for testing compressors, motors and fans, in addition to thermostats, switches, pumps and refrigerant levels. All controls must be set at the recommended settings. You will need to be able to test electrical circuits, check filters and test pipes or tubing for leaks. You will often need to know how to properly clean a unit to maximize air flow. At times, a knowledge of welding is required. In addition, if you must condemn a unit, be prepared to offer a recommendation to your customers on the type of unit they need to improve efficiency and the costs involved for replacing.

In some instances, you may want to specialize in either residential or commercial service. Naturally, when you choose to work in the industrial or commercial setting, heating and cooling units are larger and generally include more components, such as additional gas piping, venting, ductwork and computerized thermostats. As a residential technician, most units, heating and air conditioning, as well as, other components are on a smaller scale, although they can be just as intricate and tedious to repair. Some employers specialize in one or the other, however, some companies are hired to do both types, residential and commercial repair,  so your training should include all aspects of HVAC.

A HVAC-R Technician must be personable, as customer service is an important component of providing a service to others. They must also have excellent critical thinking skills for diagnosing issues and must be mechanically minded for dismantling machinery, in addition to, putting it all back together again. HVAC-R Technicians must manage their time wisely for the convenience of the customer. Attention to detail is a must.

If you are interested in this career field, please see our list of the best Online Schools for HVACR Tech Programs.