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What Does an HVAC Controls Technician Do?

Installation, calibration and repair work are all part of the job for an HVAC controls technician.
An HVAC controls technician may install and calibrate an air conditioning system.
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  • Written By: Vasanth S.
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) controls technician installs, calibrates, and repairs HVAC equipment to ensure that a building has the proper environmental conditions. The HVAC controls technician also interfaces with various clients and works with other skilled trades in the construction of new homes, offices, and industrial facilities. Typically, a HVAC controls technician works in environments that contain dust, fumes, temperature extremes, and high levels of noise. Most employers hire individuals that have graduated from an accredited HVAC program and have at least two years of experience working as an HVAC control technician.

The primary duty of an HVAC controls technician is to install, repair, and maintain control systems. After receiving a work order, the HVAC controls technician visits the site to examines the equipment. A series of diagnostic tests are performed to determine the problem and identify a proper solution. This involves reading control logic diagrams and wiring schematics to properly adjust pneumatic control systems. The temperature, humidity and pressure are all calibrated and tested.

In addition to the control systems, the HVAC system is also repaired and maintained by HVAC controls technicians. This includes the pumps, motors, air compressor, and fans. These parts are replaced if they are worn out or greased and adjusted if they are serviceable. Also, the valves and belt drives are checked and maintained.

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As newer technologies arrive on the market, HVAC controls technicians are responsible for replacing outdated and inefficient systems to reduce costs and improve the environmental conditions of buildings. While the HVAC system is shutdown for maintenance, technicians coordinate activities with clients to ensure the safety of those working or residing in the building. Also, technicians make recommendations to improve the HVAC system.

In addition to the service component of the job, there are administrative duties as well. This usually involves preparing accurate cost estimates for a particular repair job and maintaining records of all the inspections conducted and equipment replaced. HVAC technicians also contract labor for large work orders. This involves negotiating compensation and delegating responsibilities so that the project is completed within budget and on time. Also, the technician ensures that the inventory of equipment is maintained and specialized parts are acquired from vendors.

An HVAC controls technician also trains other employees on the operation and maintenance of HVAC equipment. New employees are typically trained by more senior technicians. Protocols and procedures, as well as tricks of the trade, are passed on to younger recruits.

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Discuss this Article

TreeMan
Post 4

Does anyone know what the normal hourly rate for a HVAC technician might be? I have a feeling that my central air unit is about to go out. Lately the air hasn't felt as cool as I think it should.

Obviously, I'll have to pay whatever it costs to fix it, but I'm just looking for a general idea as to what I should expect it to cost in terms of hourly labor. It might also be good to know the difference between replacing a part compared to getting a new unit. Hopefully the latter option isn't necessary.

jcraig
Post 3

I have been trying to decide what I might want to do after I graduate from high school. I'm a freshman right now.

I really like working with my hands, and I have some experience working on small engines and things like that. I think this might be something that I would like to do. What kinds of classes should I take in high school that might help me for a job like this? Is there anything else that I could be doing in the meantime that might help me, too?

I have seen people mentioning technical and community colleges. There are a few community colleges around me. How can I figure out whether they have an HVAC program and decide which college would be the best one to go to? How much would I be making when I finished?

JimmyT
Post 2

@Emilski - Good questions. I can't speak for HVAC programs specifically, but I know that a lot of technical colleges have agreements with local companies where students are given positions either during their training or after they graduate. From here, they are able to get real on-the-job training, and they can get good recommendations or even a full time job.

Like I said, I'm not certain about HVAC programs, but I have had friends go through programs for diesel mechanics and electronics, and the college helped both of them find jobs.

Emilski
Post 1

The article says most HVAC technicians have to graduate from an accredited program and have two years experience to get a job, but where do the two years of experience come from?

I would assume that the accredited programs are provided by a community or technical college where someone can learn about all the prodeedures. Do these programs typically help students find work through internships or other placement programs? Otherwise, how would they get the experience to be hired in the first place?

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