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How to Become an HVAC Technician


Are you looking for a hands-on career that takes a high amount of skill? Have you always wanted to help people? Becoming an HVAC technician is the ideal combination of the two. It requires extensive knowledge that’s always in demand, with the skills still needed to provide top-quality customer service.

In the end, you provide a service that keeps people happy and safe in their homes. With a dwindling skilled labor force, it’s becoming more important than ever for new technicians to hit the market.

Whether you choose to work with another company, open your own business, or do a little of both, you can find a lucrative career that’s both rewarding and fun. If you’ve always wanted to know what it takes to get into the heating and cooling industry, read on to learn more.

Becoming an HVAC Technician


Once you graduate from high school or receive your GED, you can enroll in an accredited HVAC program. Generally, these programs are in a technical institution that specializes in skilled labor.

Compared to a Bachelor’s degree that you might pursue in four years, you might be asking “How long is HVAC schooling?”

The amount of time you need to spend in an HVAC training program can vary in length depending on the school you attend. More often than not, you can get the training you need within a 6-month two 2-year program. Some certification programs might require an extended amount of time and an apprenticeship to mold your knowledge and skills. It’s a good idea to get information as to whether or not on-the-job training is provided.

In many cases, an internship is needed before you can achieve full certification and begin your career as an HVAC technician. Once your training is done, you will also need to have some apprenticeship time completed along with testing for full certification.

Depending on your state and city, additional certifications may be needed to work in that area. For HVAC technicians looking for even more accreditation, you can also become certified at the state and countrywide level for additional opportunities.

What do HVAC Repairs Entail?

After finishing your heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration training and certifications, you’ll be able to start working as an HVAC technician. You might be wondering what will you be doing on the job. Some of the basic duties that any HVAC technician will have daily include:

  • Responding to customer calls.
  • Air filter replacements and system cleaning.
  • Air duct repairs and installations.
  • New system installations.
  • Emergency response calls.
  • Freon recharges.
  • Efficiency testing.

More often than not, your duties will greatly depend on the company you work for or if you decide to work as an independent contractor. In certain areas, some companies only offer installation and repair services.

This is where brand certification matters, as it ensures that you have the expertise to work with specific models. Additionally, you should always have a generally analytical mind, to help you diagnose customer issues.

Breaking Down The HVAC Installation Process

Installing an HVAC system is a meticulous process that requires careful planning, technical expertise, and a keen understanding of the space's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning needs. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of what goes into an HVAC system installation:

  1. Site Assessment and Planning: Before any installation takes place, a thorough assessment of the site is crucial. This involves evaluating factors such as the layout of the space, insulation, existing ductwork, and any unique considerations. From these findings, a detailed plan is developed to guide the installation process.
  2. Ductwork Design and Installation: Properly designed ductwork is essential for efficient airflow throughout the space. This step involves calculating the necessary duct sizes, configuring the layout, and ensuring that all components meet industry standards. The ductwork is then installed to optimize air distribution.
  3. Electrical Wiring and Connections: HVAC systems require precise electrical connections to function safely and effectively. This includes wiring the thermostat, connecting power sources, and integrating any control panels or smart technology that may be part of the system.
  4. Refrigerant Handling (for cooling systems): If the HVAC system includes a cooling component, handling and charging the refrigerant is a critical step. Technicians must ensure that refrigerant levels are accurate and that there are no leaks in the system.
  5. Testing and Balancing: Once all components are in place, rigorous testing is conducted to verify that the system operates as intended. This includes checking for proper airflow, temperature differentials, and system responsiveness to adjustments.
  6. Insulation and Sealing: Proper insulation is vital for maintaining energy efficiency. Technicians must ensure that all components, including ductwork, are adequately insulated, and any potential air leaks are sealed.
  7. Startup and Commissioning: During startup, the system is activated, and technicians monitor its performance to verify that all functions operate smoothly. Commissioning involves fine-tuning settings to maximize efficiency and comfort.
  8. Client Orientation and Documentation: Before concluding the installation, technicians provide clients with an overview of the system's operation, including how to use thermostats and any maintenance recommendations. Comprehensive documentation is also provided for future reference.
  9. Follow-Up and Support: Post-installation, technicians may offer follow-up visits to ensure the system continues to operate optimally. They may also provide ongoing support and maintenance services as needed.

Remember, the specifics of an HVAC installation can vary depending on factors such as system type, building layout, and local regulations. Therefore, technicians must adapt their approach to suit each unique installation scenario.

The HVAC Tools of The Trade

As any mechanic can tell you, your tools grow the more you work on the job. As a general base level of tools, new HVAC technicians should always have pliers, drills, screwdrivers, stud finders, and safety equipment like goggles and gloves.

Once you get into the more complex services, you’ll run into welding equipment and electrical services. The benefit of an apprenticeship is more often than not, your tools are provided by your mentor. Most companies provide fully stocked trucks to their employees, with all the tools needed to offer a top-quality job.

Your Education Always Continues

Because the industry changes and evolves yearly, you should be comfortable with continuing your education.

Most HVAC professionals need to undergo testing and coursework to keep their licenses in good standing.

Additionally, individual vendors may also require training on specific heating and air conditioning models. As any HVAC technician will tell you, an important attribute for any new tech is a willingness to learn.

Entering the HVAC industry is a noble and exciting opportunity. Whether you’ve always wanted to do it, have some interest, or are looking for new adventures, be sure to share this blog with your friends who are interested in becoming an HVAC technician and get started today.