Working as an HVAC technician can be a rewarding and well-paying career. It is also a career that requires physical endurance, occasionally working off-hours, and a thorough understanding of on-the-job safety to be successful. Here is an explanation of four of the job requirements of an HVAC technician.
Working in Uncomfortable Temperatures
Many customers do not call an HVAC technician until their heating or cooling system has stopped working. Because of this, technicians often find themselves working in temperatures that are not ideal. While many repairs can be completed outdoors, technicians also often find themselves working in cramped spaces that limit mobility. HVAC technicians need a high resistance to heat and cold, as well as a tolerance for weather that is not ideal when they are working outdoors. Technicians will sometimes find themselves working for hours in these conditions to repair a heating or cooling problem.
Moving and Installing Heavy Equipment
Furnaces, refrigeration systems, and air conditioners often consist of components that are too heavy for a single technician to lift. Technicians must use teamwork to move these components into the proper location, so it is important to understand proper lifting technique. Technicians must also prepare the space where the component will be installed beforehand by clearing out obstructions and installing the ductwork that will connect to the component.
HVAC technicians must have the endurance to use common tools like pipe cutters and wrenches continuously to install equipment. Installing ductwork in an attic often requires technicians to hold their arms over their heads while using tools for an extended amount of time. Installing HVAC equipment in cramped spaces can make it necessary to sit and use tools at an awkward angle, again making physical endurance very useful.
Working Nights and Weekends for Emergency Calls
HVAC technicians frequently service locations where having adequate temperature control is essential, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Because of this, a technician should expect to be called on to handle emergency heating and cooling repairs. Technicians that work for companies that offer emergency repair service should expect to work nights and weekends frequently.
There are two busy seasons per year for HVAC technicians: mid-summer and mid-winter. Technicians should expect to work long and irregular shifts during these seasons, and expect to visit several different locations per day to complete repairs and installations. Demands will be lower in the off seasons, but depending on how populous the technician's service area is, a typical work day could involve repairs at five or more locations throughout the year.
Learn Safety Guidelines and Wear Protective Gear
A career as an HVAC technician has more on-the-job hazards than several other professions. Muscle strain and injury is always a possibility when moving heavy furnaces and air conditioners. Working as an HVAC technician is an on-the-road job, so technicians need to always be awake and alert when driving to new locations to avoid accidents.
Working with HVAC equipment carries a risk of accidental burns and shocks, so technicians need to be trained on proper safety procedures for handling the equipment. Additionally, certain HVAC refrigerants can cause harm to the environment when leaks occur. Technicians must have a thorough understanding of EPA refrigerant handling safety guidelines.
Becoming an HVAC technician is an excellent choice if you are looking for a career that allows you to travel regularly and have the satisfaction of knowing that you have improved a customer's quality of life by installing much-needed heating and cooling equipment. Enroll in a formal apprenticeship program or an HVAC training course, at a school like HVAC Technical Institute, so that you can begin your path to your HVAC technician career.