Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

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Also known as:
Photovoltaic (PV) Installation Technician, PV Installer, PV Panel Installer, Solar PV Installer, Air Conditioning Service Technician, Bulk Cooler Installer, Evaporative Cooler Installer, Furnace Converter, Furnace Fitter, Gas Furnace Installer

ABOUT HEATING, AIR CONDITIONING, AND REFRIGERATION MECHANIC AND INSTALLER CAREERS
Video transcript

HVAC technicians are specialists in "Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning" equipment. But a more accurate job title might be "Human Comfort Specialist." Most people take their comfort t in a building or house for granted - until something goes wrong. Only then do they realize that they depend on HVAC technicians to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter.

And rarely do they understand that their comfort relies on complex systems of pipes, coils, ducts, fans, compressors, and machines. HVAC technicians know this equipment well. Many combine the skills of plumbers, electricians, and refrigeration specialists to install (and repair) gas and oil furnaces, electronic thermostats, air conditioners, ducts, vents, and all the other components of a climate control system.

To be successful in this profession, it's important to be good with your hands and to be able to follow blueprints or manufacturer's installation instructions. But in addition, technical school or apprenticeship training is becoming more and more essential as equipment becomes more computerized and complex.

People will put up with a lot, but when the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning systems break down, they demand that it be fixed - and fast. This fact, combined with the need to replace older, less efficient systems to meet energy efficiency standards helps explain why job prospects for HVAC technicians are expected to be quite good for the foreseeable future.

SNAPSHOT

Install or repair heating, central air conditioning, HVAC, or refrigeration systems, including oil burners, hot-air furnaces, and heating stoves.

Daily tasks

Lay out reference points for installation of structural and functional components, using measuring instruments.

Install dehumidifiers or related equipment for spaces that require cool, dry air to operate efficiently, such as computer rooms.

Mount compressor, condenser, and other components in specified locations on frames, using hand tools and acetylene welding equipment.

Lift and align components into position, using hoist or block and tackle.

Supervise and instruct assistants.

Lay out and connect electrical wiring between controls and equipment, according to wiring diagrams, using electrician's hand tools.

Inspect and test systems to verify system compliance with plans and specifications or to detect and locate malfunctions.

Adjust system controls to settings recommended by manufacturer to balance system.

Braze or solder parts to repair defective joints and leaks.

Study blueprints, design specifications, or manufacturers' recommendations to ascertain the configuration of heating or cooling equipment components and to ensure the proper installation of components.

Install expansion and control valves, using acetylene torches and wrenches.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Building and Construction Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
TOP SKILLS
Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Repairing Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Installation Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.