There is a reason very few people can do their own HVAC repairs, says Global Cooling owner Robert Mafes. It starts with what they teach your HVAC repair person in HVAC school.
Your HVAC Repair Person Started By Taking High School Seriously
Before a future HVAC technician even gets to HVAC school, there is much preparatory work to do. To succeed in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) school and in the field, students may benefit from mastering certain high school classes that provide a strong foundation in essential skills and knowledge. These classes include:
- Math. Have you ever wondered who needs Algebra I? The answer is, your HVAC repair person. Algebra and geometry and occasionally trig show up in planning HVAC repairs. There are a lot of calculations related to areas, volumes, and pressure.
- Science: Physics and chemistry classes are useful, too. They provide a basic understanding of the principles of thermodynamics, heat transfer, and refrigeration.
- Technical drawing, blueprint reading, and CAD. These classes help future HVAC technicians understand how to read and interpret technical diagrams and schematics. With some background in CAD, they can draw their own.
- Computer classes: HVAC technology is becoming more and more sophisticated. Computer skills come in handy for understanding how to troubleshoot systems, and how to air gap systems so they can’t be hacked.
- Construction classes: HVAC technicians need to know carpentry, electrical work, and plumbing. They need to know the materials they are working with when they install new systems.
HVAC School Teaches Eight Areas of Core Competencies, Robert Mafes Points Out
In HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) school, students can expect to learn about various topics related to the installation, repair, and maintenance of HVAC systems, including:
- Basic electrical principles
- Thermodynamics and heat transfer
- Air distribution and ductwork
- Refrigeration cycle and principles
- HVAC system design and installation
- HVAC controls and automation
- Troubleshooting and repair techniques
- Safety and regulations related to HVAC work.
The curriculum may vary depending on the specific program or school, but these are the core subjects in HVAC training.
There’s A Lot of Hands-On Work in HVAC School, Too
HVAC is a hands-on job, so a lot of hands-on work is involved in HVAC school. Students have to master:
- Installing HVAC equipment. Students get real-world experience installing furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps. They work with sheet metal, piping, wiring, and other materials/ They learn to install equipment according to building codes and manufacturer specifications.
- Troubleshooting and repair: Students learn how to diagnose and repair common HVAC problems, such as refrigerant leaks, electrical faults, and faulty thermostats. They use diagnostic tools, such as multimeters and pressure gauges, to identify the source of the problem and make necessary repairs.
- Ductwork: Students learn how to design and install ductwork systems to distribute air throughout a building. They use duct cutters, sheet metal brakes, and hand seamers to fabricate and assemble ductwork components into a functioning HVAC system.
- Maintenance: Students learn to perform routine maintenance on HVAC systems, such as cleaning coils, replacing filters, and lubricating moving parts. They also learn how to perform more complex maintenance tasks, such as testing combustion efficiency and calibrating controls.
Earning a certificate in HVAC takes 8 to 12 months. Earning an associate’s degree takes 18 to 24 months. In Florida, you need a four-year degree plus one year on the job, plus passing a tough licensing exam, to get your HVAC license. Or you can pass your exam and qualify if you have already worked up to being a foreman for a year. It takes as long to get your HVAC license as it does to get a master’s degree, Robert Mafes says.