To keep running at high-level performance, most expensive equipment that serves a vital function in making every business successful usually needs protection from extreme weather conditions, which only heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system could provide. With a climate-controlled environment, refrigeration systems make it possible to transport and store medicine, food and other perishable goods. HVAC technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance and repair of these systems that control the air quality and temperature in buildings.
During installation, HVAC technicians utilize a wide range of tools that may include basic hand tool such as screwdrivers, pipe cutters, and wrenches, as well as sophisticated ones such as acetylene torches, carbon monoxide testers, combustion analyzers, and voltmeters to test or install system components. Aside from following government regulations regarding the conservation, recycling and recovery of refrigerants, HVAC technicians should be knowledgeable in the proper handling and disposal of fluids and pressurized gases when working with refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Some HVAC technicians, who provide regular maintenance of heating and cooling systems, usually include the checking refrigerant levels, cleaning of ducts, and replacing filters on their service.
Why Become a HVAC Technician
Most companies prefer to employ HVAC technicians who have finished formal training that could include a three to five years apprenticeship program and classroom instructions offered through technical schools, community colleges or U.S. Armed Forces. Committees representing local chapters of various organizations, such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, jointly sponsor apprenticeship programs for aspiring HVAC technicians. Requirements vary on some states and localities that require HVAC technicians to obtain license. Some HVAC technicians could become building superintendents, cost estimators and system test and balance specialists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a projected growth of twenty one percent for the employment of HVAC technicians from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Salary reports indicate that the mean annual wage for the employed HVAC technicians would be roughly $46,880 as of May 2014.
HVAC Technician Work Environment
More than sixty percent of employed HVAC technicians work for plumbing, air conditioning, and heating contractors industry. Although most technicians work indoors, some may have to report on outdoor heat pumps, even in bad weather. Some HVAC technicians work in awkward or cramped spaces, while others work in buildings that are uncomfortable due to broken air conditioning or heating system. Others would have to travel to different locations to respond to service calls. As one of the occupations with the highest rate of injuries and illnesses, potential hazards for HVAC technicians include burns, electrical shock, muscle strains, and other injuries from handling heavy equipment.
Wearing appropriate protective gear should be necessary when handling refrigerants as immediate contact could cause skin damage, frostbite, or even blindness. When working with tight spaces, inhalation of refrigerants is another risk for HVAC technicians. Known to be highly flammable, newly introduced refrigerants would require additional care for all HVAC technicians working with air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Most HVACR technicians work full time, with occasional evening or weekend shifts, and they often work overtime or irregular hours during peak heating and cooling seasons.