Mechanics and Technicians

Mechanics
Mechanics are the folks who change belts and filters, clean coils, punch tubes, grease bearings, replace / rebuild compressors, repair refrigerant leaks, replace failed fan motors, and perform general repair work. While mechanics fill a much needed spot in the HVAC ranks, their not as specialized as a technician. Most people who are mechanically inclined can be a good mechanic with some general industry training. Add a few years of field experience and they are the next generation of Technicians.
If Cooter from the Dukes of Hazard and Mater from Cars had a love child it would grow up to be an HVAC mechanic.

Technicians
Technicians are the elite of an elite industry. If HVAC technicians were movie characters they would be Winston Wolfe from Pulp Fiction. They resolve problems that leave the rest of the heard scratching their heads. They jump in, get it done, and get out.
If Sherlock Holmes and Albert Einstein had a love child it would be an HVAC Technician…a butt-ugly love child, but a love child destined to be a HVAC Technician none the less.

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Posted in It's Humor Tagged with: ,

Diagnostic Techs wouldn’t have anything to diagnose if it weren’t for installers.

The installation of ducting, piping, and controls is an art; anyone who tells you differently is an inept ass who hasn’t the slightest clue about the HVAC, industry…or any other industry for that matter. The work is physically demanding, mentally challenging and, if you’re slow, looking for another job you’ll go.
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The HVAC Technician’s Career Path Guide -Part 1

      Common HVAC Technician career options

Once an HVAC technician, always a HVAC technician?

Don’t bet on it.

The average age of an HVAC technician is around forty-seven years old. And while forty-seven isn’t anywhere close to being too old to swing wrenches, you may want a change of career scenery after doing the same thing for thirty+ years. This series of posts will address typical ‘Next-Step’ career paths for HVAC technicians who possibly want climb a few rungs of the career ladder. We’ll cover what is needed to progress to the various jobs and what the benefits and draw backs are for each. The chart above represents typical advancements in our field and the difficulty associated in the jump to each. Peruse the chart, send us any questions you may have, and we will address the first steps needed for each progression.

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Posted in Business Operations, Field Operations, It's Business, It's Learning, Sales Tagged with:

What is Superheat and Subcooling? The Ying and Yang of Air Conditioning

ying

Together they let you take a peek into the inner workings of the magic known as refrigeration, separately they’re about useless.

It seems everyone is fascinated with super heat. They’re quick to add refrigerant if the superheat is “high”, or start cranking on the TXV adjustment if it’s “low”.
First, “high” and “low” are pretty darn arbitrary references. What the heck is high? What’s “low”? What’s just right? (sounds like Goldy Locks and the three technicians….) Read more ›

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Posted in It's Technical Tagged with: , , , , ,

Call me a HVAC“Contractor” one-more-time…I dare you. Part-1

What image come to mind when most people hear the word the word “contractor?”
  • $200 hammers for the government?
  • A mustache-festooned sleazebag in a pickup truck, gouging you on “extras” for your kitchen remodel?

For many, a “contractor” is a business predator.

Setting all sleazebaggery aside, most kinds of contractors are in a transactional business. The contractor installs a floor, but do they come back to maintain it? Contractors, install, they build. But when they’re done, they turn the ongoing maintenance over to someone else.
 
Does this sound anything like an HVAC contractor to you?
 

HVAC Contractors; a Different Breed?

Let’s see what the dictionary says about contractors;
“A person hired to perform work / provide goods at a certain price and/or time”
Nope. Sorry. I’m not feeling it. Not at all. Not for what we do.
 
HVAC technicians:
  • Install
  • Maintain
  • Diagnose
  • Repair complicated machinery

What an HVAC business offers is not transactional. You go far beyond “provide goods at a certain price/or time. Your HVAC business is comprehensive.

Saying that you are anHVAC contractor would be selling yourself short. You compete on knowledge and value. Knowledge and value that can last for years after the initial installation.  Long after that “contractor” who ripped you off on your kitchen model is out of business.
 
What we need is a word to replace contractor. Let’s try  “Service Provider” on for size.
 

HVAC Service Provider

The dictionary says Service Providers are:
…providing a specialized service, including but not limited to lawyers, accountants, and consultants.
(Note the keywords “Specialized Service”)
 
Now that’s more like it!
 
Heck, lawyers can be sleazebags, but clean-shaven sleaze bags in German luxury cars.  Doesn’t associating yourself with a higher class of sleazebags justify an instant rate increase!
 
Key takeaway:
If you’re a service company don’t think, act, or present your business like a contractor. Your mindset dictates your actions. Your actions determine the outcome of your efforts. Play to your strengths and don’t sell yourself short.
 
Are we saying being a contractor is bad?
 
NO!
 
What we’re saying is; don’t represent yourself as, or compete with something you’re not.
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Posted in It's Business, Marketing, Sales Tagged with: , , ,

Installation Clearances for HVAC

There are a billion ways to ball up an installation or replacement of HVAC equiptment…give or take a million.

Fortunately, one of the most common mistakes is also easily avoidable; setting the unit.

From access concerns to performance issues, there’s more to locating HVAC equipment than keeping the arrow on the ‘This End Up’ sticker pointing skyward.

There are three primary placement concerns, and they’re as easily to remember as SOS.

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Posted in It's Technical, Tricks & Tips Tagged with: ,

The Room Temperature Room!

The true meaning of Room Temperature!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxxYqE4Gil8

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Heat Pump Reversing Valve 101

 

The reversing valve; the second most confusing part of a heat pump
(Yes, the defrost board still holds first place for the most confusing part)

So, what’s the confusion about heat pump reversing valves?

The confusion is understandable; a big round cylinder with three large tube connections on top, a smaller connection on the bottom (wait, there’s both a top and bottom?) and a miniature solenoid valve with three tiny tubes hanging off the side…scary.

The reversing valve is the heart of a heat pump, without it, there is no heat pump.

 The good news is they’re easy to troubleshoot, once you understand its purpose and how it operates.

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Posted in Heating, It's Technical Tagged with: , , ,

Good news! Skilled trades are in demand! Question: does anyone care?

In Emily Prieffer’s article, The construction industry’s top workforce challenge — and 3 potential solutions, she found that 69% of general contractors are having a tough time filling craft positions. While the article is based on the construction industry its close relative, the service industry, is having the same issue.

What’s a craft position? In the 2000’s craft positions were called “Skilled Labor”,  “The Trades” in the nineties and “Blue Collar” in the eighties.
 
Whatever you call them, they include:
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Pipefitters
  • Welders
  • HVAC technicians
…to name only a few.

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Posted in Business Operations, It's Business, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

Ammonia a 19th Century Solution to a 21st Century Problem ?

Problems aren’t solved by people who don’t question…well…everything.

And, sometimes, the answers to the questions aren’t necessarily new. This week Kathy Jackson brought us her thoughts on a new/old solution to a relatively recent issue.

If you’ve been working in the HVAC service industry for a while,  you’re probably (SHOULD BE!) well aware that the EPA is phasing out Freon (HCFC-22 or R-22) and plans to ban it completely by 2030. What will replace Freon? It’s a question on a lot of technicians’ minds. When looking to the future of refrigerants, it might be worthwhile to consider the past.

Ammonia could experience a renaissance as Freon disappears from the market. Since the 1850’s ammonia has been an efficient and effective refrigerant. If ammonia is so great, why did it fall out of favor to Freon in the 1920s?
 
One word; Toxicity. Ammonia can be as dangerous to humans as Freon is damaging to the environment.
 
Mitigating the risks of ammonia could prove less challenging than you’d think. The benefits might be well worth it. Check out the quick facts below to see why ammonia might become more widespread in the HVAC industry.

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Posted in Cooling, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,