What does a Refrigeration Mechanic do?

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  • Written By: L.K. Blackburn
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2019
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A refrigeration mechanic is responsible for the maintenance and installation of climate control refrigeration equipment in residential and commercial buildings. Refrigeration systems are used for building cooling, restaurant kitchens, and other large scale climate control devices. The complexity of these systems requires special knowledge to install and repair, and as such refrigeration mechanics are hired to change out component parts, build new units, and perform basic upkeep on refrigeration machines. Mechanics may be employed full time by the companies that use refrigeration devices, or they may work for a company that fulfills service contracts and responds to repair calls on an as needed basis.

As there are many varied types of refrigeration machines, a refrigeration mechanic is usually well versed in basic and complex layouts of different systems. Additionally, working on cooling systems in buildings may require removing and replacing ceiling and duct work. A refrigeration mechanic will interpret and use blueprints and schematics to both install new systems and repair and replace component parts.


Diagnostic equipment is used frequently by a refrigeration mechanic to determine and address system problems. Cooling machines use compressors and motors that must be maintained on a regular schedule, and may require use of special tools and electronic devices by a refrigeration mechanic to install and repair. Climate equipment has both mechanical and electrical equipment, and a refrigeration mechanic may choose to specialize in either type, or gain further specialization in specific system type. Other than working for a company that has climate equipment or employed with a repair service, refrigeration mechanics may be a self employed independent contractor.

Depending on local ordinances and regulations, refrigeration mechanics may be required to have and maintain a license that is issued by a regional authority. Most mechanics learn by on the job training, and may be required to routinely renew their license to meet requirements. A high school education is held by most mechanics, and some have additional training from a trade school or community college.

The work week for a refrigeration mechanic may be a non typical one that requires working on the weekends and outside of typical business hours, as there could be emergency issues and repairs that are required. Businesses may also prefer installation and repair work be done after they are closed, as to not interrupt normal work flow and customer experiences. The work is also not at a desk or in an office, as refrigeration mechanics usually work on machines and systems on site. As electrical systems and moving parts in machines are frequently worked with, there are some hazards involved with the nature of the work, and extreme safety precautions must be taken at all times. Safety equipment such as hard hats, gloves, and protective eye-wear should be worn day to day by a refrigeration mechanic in response to the work environment.


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