HVAC is a word that’s commonly used today and most of us have a general idea of what it refers to. With that in mind, we shouldn’t disregard those people who may not have heard of this terminology before or may not have an idea of what it really entails. That’s exactly why we’re going to start off with the basics of HVAC.
In general, HVAC is short for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. People often use the term “HVAC system” which refers to the system used for providing heating and cooling services to houses, offices, and other buildings. Often times, this acronym has an “R” for the refrigerator at the end, as in “HVACR”.
In today’s time, an HVAC system is a significant element in any living space as it provides ultimate comfort and efficient lifestyle via its top-class heating, ventilation, and air conditioning services. While most people may think that HVAC systems are just for warming and cooling a given space, the advantages of an HVAC unit go beyond that.
Installing HVAC equipment ensures higher efficiency, saving your money on annual energy bills. Owing to the new technology, HVAC equipment produces consistent cooling or heating, helps maintain even temperature, and provides steady air flow, all of this increases the overall comfort level.
These indisputable advantages of HVAC systems have necessitated their installing in every house or office. People ensure that they have an upgraded version of HVAC so that they could enjoy a more relaxed and updated lifestyle.
Needless to say, the field of HVAC is growing and more and more people are getting themselves trained to repair and work with heating and air-conditioning system unit, ventilation, and refrigeration system in both residential and commercial properties. In this blog post, we’ve compiled several career options that an interested individual can consider to specialize in.
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1. Air Conditioning Technician
AC technicians have the most important job i.e., to regulate the proper functioning and maintenance of an air conditioner. While they mainly work with cooling systems, some of them may even be trained to deal with heating and ventilation systems.
Being an AC technician involves dealing with electrical components, compressors, motors, and ductwork. They are also taught on how to properly handle and dispose of various electrical components and work with different AC issues such as faulty wiring, low refrigerant, frozen coil, damaged fan, etc.
In order to perform this job, the candidates, of course, need some formal education and training. Generally, a high school diploma or GED is required to enroll in an AC technician program.
Students are taught about AC system parts, fundamentals of refrigeration, and AC installation basics. This program prepares individuals for entry into an apprenticeship which includes learning and on-the-job training for 2 to 5 years.
In order to handle refrigerants, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires AC technicians to have an authentic certificate and license. After becoming certified, an AC technician can work as a private contractor or at a governmental/private institution.
2. HVAC Engineer
HVAC engineers play a crucial role in the HVAC industry as they have a wide variety of important duties including the design, installation, repair, and maintenance of a heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration system.
One of the most primary and in-demand job descriptions of an HVAC engineer is to design an HVAC system for commercial, residential, and institutional buildings. They meet with clients, work with other members of the same field like installers, managers, technicians, etc, come up with a new design for the system, repair the system if need be, find effective solutions to the system’s problems, and provide quotes.
An HVAC engineer also has to apply their knowledge of math and physics in solving HVAC problems or whilst creating an HVAC system. These professionals can consider working for private design firms, government offices, HVAC sales agencies, and various facilities offices.
In order to become an HVAC engineer, an individual will need to have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or architectural engineering. Some American states and localities may demand professional certification and license which can be obtained through the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers.
A professional HVAC engineer also needs to have solid problem-solving and communication skills to ensure that the HVAC system is well in accordance with the needs of the people using them.
3. HVAC Installer
HVAC installers are the technicians that install HVAC equipment, control and work with HVAC systems. While their key role is to install an HVAC system, they also deal with repairing and maintenance of the HVAC system in homes, offices, and other types of buildings.
An HVAC installer ensures that an HVAC system is installed as it ought to. For proper installation, HVAC installers have to study blueprints, manufacturer’s recommendations, and design requirements to ensure an ideal installation of the components.
They also inspect and test an HVAC system to detect malfunctions and perform maintenance procedures to ensure the proper working of the system. Some of the common maintenance measures that an HVAC installer may undertake are power-washing, changing filters, and cleaning, vacuuming and oiling the parts.
HVAC installers also study and test different sets of thermostats – automatic, programmable, and wireless in residential and commercial buildings. Some of them may wrap pipes, secure insulation with cement or wire bands for ideal installation of the system.
This is an ideal job for people who like working with machines and dealing with practical problems and solutions.
4. Refrigeration Technician
Also known as refrigeration mechanics, refrigeration technicians are supposed to repair, install, and repair refrigerators. They can work with residential or industrial climate-control systems like HVAC units, beverage/ice machines, refrigerant storage units, etc in hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, and manufacturing companies.
These technicians also take care of maintenance issues to avoid future refrigeration problems. Generally, refrigeration technicians deal with mechanical and electrical components of the refrigeration systems; but some of them may even be trained to specialize in other areas.
Refrigeration technicians are responsible for the installation of climate-control systems. They need to possess knowledge about all the components of refrigeration systems.
Furthermore, they need to go through blueprints and schematics and work accordingly, understand compliance standards, and be aware of building codes in the area before they get down to the installation process.
Another crucial responsibility of a refrigeration technician is to diagnose issues and fix them. In such scenarios, they must apply troubleshooting techniques that they may have learned during their training.
From time to time, they may also be expected to upgrade systems to meet the system with new standards. Refrigeration technicians also go for routine inspections which involve examining different components such as condensers, compressors, electric wiring, and motor connections.
5. HVAC Mechanic
Also known as HVAC technicians, an HVAC mechanic undergo rigorous training to work as an HVAC expert in the HVAC industry. A well-trained and qualified HVAC technician is well-versed in installing, maintaining, and repairing HVAC systems. That being said, there are HVAC technicians that specialize to work with only one specific system – heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or refrigeration system.
In some cases, HVAC mechanics choose to deal with the installation, maintenance and repairing of the system. Some of them may even consider specializing in a specific type of HVAC equipment like residential refrigeration, solar-based systems, or water heating systems, etc.
The type of work that an HVAC mechanic does depends on their industry of position, specialty, and employment. What remains constant is the importance of the work that they do. Since, basically, HVAC mechanics control the temperature and overall air quality, they aim to keep people in homes, schools, offices, and other facilities relaxed and comfortable.
A typical HVAC mechanic will be seen scrutinizing HVAC systems and their components, studying blueprints and other requirements, testing pipes and tubes for leaks, examining electrical circuits, repairing defective components, improving the overall HVAC system by upgrading it, installing and adjusting thermostats, timers, refrigerants etc, drilling holes or cutting wires for the installation, working upon newly designed structure, and report and resolve system’s deficiencies.
6. Solar Technician
Solar technicians aim to convert natural light (sunlight) to electricity via installing solar panels on roofs of a building. Owing to the nature of their job, most of their work takes place outside the building or structure; on roofs, attics, or crawl space.
In order to become a solar technician, interested individuals must have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, or computer software engineering. They will also need to have a professional engineer licensed to be able to perform professional services.
Solar technicians can contact organizations that are dedicated to renewable energy for job opportunities. Some of these organizations include the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
In order to provide services to the public, a solar technician will be required to acquire state licensure known as a “Professional Engineer” (PE). They are supposed to earn work experience while getting an education. For specifics and requirements, learners should check with their local states for licensing and certification requirements.
Within the solar energy field, solar mechanics can consider working as a certified energy manager (CEM) or a certified PV installer.
7. Wind Turbine Technicians
Wind turbine technicians necessitate the efficient working of the wind turbines. Their work demands them to climb tall ladders, carrying and installing heavy equipment. Sometimes, they are required to work in small spaces, usually inside the nacelle.
The primary job of a wind turbine technician is to work on new installations, diagnose different parts of the wind turbine, and ensure their efficient working. Technicians must be pros at detecting and troubleshooting electrical, hydraulic and mechanical parts of the wind turbine.
In addition, wind turbine technicians help collect data for analysis. They need to be proficient at complex math and calculation and must have a thorough understanding of electronics. The professionals are also responsible for operating and maintaining CPR and electrical transmission system.
Working with wind turbines is highly technical and involve installing, maintaining, and repairing the technology involved. Only engineers can consider becoming a wind turbine technician with training and apprenticeship acquired in the related field. A wind turbine technician should also be brave and physically strong to be able to climb up and down the ladders with ease.
Another trait that wind turbine technicians must possess is excellent communication skills to deal with their clients and colleagues. They should also be able to make critical decisions when they are on their own and are not hesitant to work with others as a team.
Between the construction of new HVAC systems, and the escalating need to update and upgrade HVAC systems, HVAC jobs are in demand all over the world. Interested individuals can choose a career option from the ones mentioned above and build a successful career.