An HVAC mechanic is a multifaceted professional working to service, repair, and replace heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. While this may seem like a basic job at first, it requires a lot of different smaller items to be completed. This makes it essential for prospective HVAC professionals to understand what they will be doing daily entirely. Here are some of the key tasks and duties that your average HVAC mechanic is responsible for.
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Generally, when installing a piece of equipment, an HVAC mechanic/technician will reference the specs supplied by an architect or architectural engineer to make sure they are doing things correctly. They may also need to do a diagnostic to determine what system is best for the building/structure they are working on. After the unit is installed, they will have to test out the piping/connections to connect the HVAC unit to the ductwork/distribution system. If a mechanic is working with a refrigeration system, they will also have to add refrigerant. However, all refrigerant technicians need certification from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Upkeep is one of the most critical steps that an HVAC mechanic is going to work on. Many HVAC contractors have service contractors with their customers, especially with commercial installations. This essentially means the company and customer have a standing contract where professionals need to come in once or twice a year in order to perform maintenance checks. These checks generally include the following:
— Testing and cleaning blower fans
— Seeing how much coolant is in the cooling system
— Checking the thermostat and operation
— Talking to the customer to see if there are any potential issues that they should look for
The exact nature of a maintenance check will change depending on what type of system you are working on, but ultimately, the more thorough, the better.
In some cases, your customers may encounter an issue that happens suddenly or missed during a maintenance check. In this case, the HVAC technician will have to repair the system. HVAC mechanics generally administer repairs to the unit itself and work on other areas like thermostats and controls if the readings are inaccurate. They can also work on air handling systems, refrigerant levels, and compressors.
In some areas, ductwork may be limited to certain union members. However, if this issue doesn’t apply, an HVAC technician can complete the necessary assembly and installation of ductwork that distributes heated and cooled air from the HVAC system. This can range from cutting sheet metal to making ducts attaching them to the unit to mount the finished ductwork. Some HVAC companies do this work; others don’t.
Many of the topics we’ve covered so far are technical, but some soft skills are essential for an HVAC mechanic to do their jobs. Communication is a vital part of this. HVAC mechanics will need to listen to what customers tell you about their systems’ issues to help guide you to the best course of action. Yes, you may be able to figure this out eventually on your own, but this costs you a great deal of time. In addition, you also need to be able to share information with coworkers and customers. This can be particularly difficult on the customer end, as you may have to break down complex topics. You will also likely have to advise them on ways to support their HVAC systems on their own, like keeping parts oiled and changing filters.
Checking Energy Usage
This is a job duty that has become more popular in recent years. Energy efficiency is becoming a more significant source of importance both for the environment and financial reasons. Also, the overuse of energy could be a sign of a problem with an HVAC system. For all these reasons and more, HVAC mechanics may now be tasked with checking how much energy a given HVAC system uses. In addition, they may be tasked with upgrading existing systems and installing green technology like heat pumps or smart thermometers. Energy usage checks may be added to the general maintenance checks.
This is an aspect of the job that an HVAC mechanic generally does in conjunction with their office team, but it is critical. Government regulations for HVAC work and tangential elements, like handling certain chemicals, can change when it comes to what is safest. Every HVAC mechanic must be adhering to the latest regulations. Most organizations have someone who is tasked with getting and distributing this information. This isn’t generally the mechanic, but it’s important to mention this aspect of the job.
These are some of the baseline tasks that your typical HVAC mechanic is responsible for. However, your average client wants companies that will go above and beyond to provide the best service. This generally means offering additional practices at maximum efficiency and the highest price possible. This is something that requires additional support, even for the most seasoned HVAC professional. Technology is key to making more mechanics effective in all elements of their job.
In any part of the industry, the ideal supplemental resource for HVAC mechanics is project management software like eSUB. Project management software is essential for HVAC work for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the ability to store documents, plans, and other information in the cloud means that field and office teams are always on the same page. In addition, this makes it easier to track workers and materials to find ways to make things more efficient overall. Finally, on a higher level, financial tracking and analytics help bolster your overall business.