What Does a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Technician Do?
Most people assume that HVAC technicians just fix air conditioning units and heaters. However, there are other aspects to the HVAC worker’s job which are not so obvious. In general, HVAC technicians provide a valuable service to homeowners and businesses. Such services are likely to be more in demand in the next decade. This article will detail what an HVAC technician does, and the future outlook for such services.
Basic Job Duties
The general duties of an HVAC technician include installing, maintaining, and repairing heating, air, and refrigeration systems. HVAC technicians can be required to do a number of minor tasks within these general areas of work. Also, some HVAC companies focus their services on solely repair or installation. They might also specialize in micro-niches of HVAC such as solar panels, water-based heating, and commercial refrigeration.
Some of the common duties of HVAC technicians include:
- Troubleshooting equipment to determine the source of the malfunction
- Completing installation and repairs in adherence to applicable county and municipal codes
- Assisting product development teams by advising them of needed applications
- Planning for and performing the installation of wiring
HVAC employees may also be required to perform regular maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems. This encompasses cleaning ducts, checking fluid levels, and installing new filters.
One other important aspect of the technician’s job is to provide customer service. Although HVAC technicians are trained to work with machines, they are also required to interact with people on a daily basis. Technicians will have to be attentive to the needs of customers to determine what work is required and maintain the integrity of their company’s image.
The Hazards of the Job
HVAC technicians are subject to a number of potentially hazardous conditions. Technicians are often required to work in cramped areas, on high ladders near ceilings, or on the roofs of homes. They can be exposed to unfavorable weather for long periods of time. Since they are called to buildings without functioning climate control, they are also subject to the extreme hot or cold temperatures existing inside a location.
Other dangers include working with the harmful chemicals existing within heating and cooling units. As an HVAC technician you must make sure to wear the proper protective clothing, and properly dispose of used chemical agents. They need to be knowledgeable about the environmental regulations controlling how such fluids are to be used.
There are some more serious risks for HVAC workers that could be potentially fatal. They can be exposed to Carbon Monoxide which can be poisonous. As HVAC technicians frequently come into contact with wiring, they risk being electrocuted. They can also suffer other types of burns and abrasions to the skin. Although there are risks associated with the job, it is usually performed safely as long as proper care is taken.
Many HVAC technicians work full-time. However, it is not uncommon for them to work around 60 hours per week depending on the season. Work in this field also requires extensive traveling time as technicians are required to move from one job site to another.
The need for HVAC technicians will continue to rise steadily. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, the job outlook for this field will increase 21% between 2012 and 2022. The median pay for technicians in 2012 was $43,640 per year, or $20.98 per hour.
The job growth in this field is attributed to the expected increase in building construction coupled with the fact that climate control systems are becoming more common. Also, since systems have to be replaced after about a decade, many buildings will become due for replacement units in the next few years. Due to these reasons, the job growth for this occupation is higher than average.
Working as an HVAC technician can be a very satisfying career. This position provides the opportunity for stable work since there is room for many new technicians to enter the field. Being an HVAC technician also pays well and is well worth the investment for training and education. If you are interested in working with HVAC equipment and enjoy working with your hands, this could be the career choice for you.
The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Program can be completed in approximately 45 weeks as a Full-time Student.