HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is one of the most in-demand trades in the construction industry today. Particularly around peak seasons like winter and summer, HVAC technicians have their work cut out for them as many people call on them for help.
With that said, these technicians and contractors have to be prepared to go into any job. To ensure they deliver and complete a project successfully, they’re going to need the right tools, the right attitude, and the right subcontractor scheduling software.
8 Qualities of a Good HVAC technician
As HVAC technicians work with complicated systems, it’s just right that they have the curiosity to know how things work. A good HVAC tech can troubleshoot any issue with a system.
HVAC may involve some messy work, but that doesn’t mean that technicians and contractors should look sloppy. Clients will feel more at ease seeing these workers presentable and professional-looking.
This also applies to clean work habits. While doing the job, technicians should make sure that they do it neatly and leave the place the way they found it.
3. Punctual and prepared
In HVAC jobs, you never know what’s going to happen. So, technicians have to be ready for anything, whether it’s a complicated problem or a difficult customer. Also, by being punctual, they have ample time to do their job and build a good client relationship.
4. Approachable and a good communicator
Communication is essential in this trade. Technicians and contractors must be able to convey their part while also understanding the client’s end. Being approachable and a good communicator will make clients trust you more.
Knowledge will only get you so far. To be a good technician, you must have a good understanding of the trade and substantial experience. This is what it truly teaches.
6. Attention to detail
As said before, HVAC technicians work on complex systems every day. That’s why attention to detail is essential in this line of work. One misstep and it could compromise the whole project and system.
7. Prioritize safety
HVA technicians are always at risk of accidents because they work in odd places and different machines. To avoid any injury, techs should wear protective gear like gloves and goggles.
Working with intricate systems and figuring out the problem can be frustrating. But technicians need to keep their composure even during stressful situations.
31 Essential HVAC Tools
An intricate job requires quite several tools. This list will help both seasoned professionals and those just beginning their careers. Young technicians can use this list to guide them in building their own toolset, while professionals can sue it check if they really have everything they need.
1. HVAC software
With the best construction management software, HVAC contractors will be able to optimize efficiency and reduce wasted time and errors. There is project management software
specific to the trade, like Pro Crew Schedule’s HVAC contractor software, that can aid in scheduling, estimating, dispatching, and supervising any project scale.
Cutters for metal and tubing are very useful to cut through anything. Initially, you can start with a small set, like quarter-inch or half-inch ones, then work your way up as you get more jobs.
A cordless drill that runs on battery proves to be more efficient as it allows more versatility and flexibility for HVAC techs. Always keep a spare battery in your box or bag so you don’t have to worry about running out of power on the job.
4. Extension cords
Some electric tools need to be plugged in, so having a long extension cord will be very useful. A thick one would be better to last longer, but make sure it isn’t too bulky to transport.
When servicing air conditioning, techs would need refrigeration gauges with them. It is used for different refrigerant types to identify pressures and determine if the system leaks. As you progress in your career, you will need multiple sets of gauges.
Hammers can be used for a variety of jobs. For durability and convenience, the recommended hammer has fiberglass construction with a comfortable grip and is lightweight.
7. Flashlight or Headlamp
HVAC technicians sometimes work in cramped spaces with little to no light. Having a working flashlight as part of their set will prove to be very useful. Alternatively, they can opt for a headlamp to keep their hands free to do more work.
With a full set of pliers, HVAC techs can deal with bolts, wires, and pipes of almost any size. Having various small, medium, large, and needle-nose pliers ensures you have the perfect one for any task. Also, investing in a set of insulated pliers can promise longevity and durability.
Pliers are one of, if not the most, essential tools in any HVAC toolset. But having a set of a range of them can keep you confident that you are prepared for any screw size. To minimize your toolset’s bulk, you can choose a multipurpose screwdriver with at least a flathead bit and a Phillips-head bit in Nos. 1 and 2.
10. Staple gun
Having a staple gun in your set can be useful in securing joists and foil lines to increase airflow and also properly assemble ductwork.
Any HVAC toolset needs a wide range of wrenches to complete it. Techs should have a variety on them, from crescent and pipe wrenches to fixed and adjusted ones. Also, having them in varying sizes is beneficial to handle any job.
HVAC technicians are prone to ear damage, or the very least a huge strain, because they often work close to power tools. However, they can protect their ears with industrial-strength earplugs or earmuffs.
HVAC technicians must protect their eyes from dust and metal debris with googles. They should be able to see even with these on so as not to compromise their work. However, some safety glasses have magnification that helps techs see smaller parts, increasing efficiency and accuracy.
The pair of gloves HVAC techs must have should be durable and thick enough to protect their hands and nimble to allow flexibility and dexterity so as not to limit their movement– they still have to be able to hold small tools and screws.
15. Durable shoes
While working, various debris and small objects are scattered around, especially in large commercial construction sites. Also, HVAC techs often have to use ladders to get to some equipment to do their job. That’s why the need to wear the right pairs of shoes– heavy steel-toe boots– to prevent accidents.
Awls are used to punch holes in materials like wood, sheetrock, and sheet metal. Techs use it to score sheet metal so that it will cut straight.
17. Caulking gun
A dripless caulking gun allows HVAC techs to fill holes and seal air ducts when needed.
18. Coil fin straightener
HVAC technicians use a coil fin straightener to unclog a twisted or dirty AC condenser. By doing so, airflow and heat exchanged are improved.
19. Core remover
A core remover helps in the removal and replacement of broken cores.
A crimper is a tool that wrinkles certain types of metal to fit the next section of piping.
21. Flushing solvent
Flushing solvent brings back a system’s efficiency as it easily removes contaminants from the line when refrigeration lines are blocked as it ages.
22. Hands seamers
With hand seamers, technicians can flatten or bend sheet metal by hand.
23. HVAC load calculator
An HVAC load calculator is a tool that calculates how much heating and cooling a residential building needs based on its design and specifications.
24. Leak detector
The way leak detectors work is by identifying areas with moisture to determine where the source of the leak is. This tool is beneficial, especially when working on air conditioning.
Acting as a safety device, a multimeter can detect the presence of electricity and its voltage. This is particularly useful when working close to live wires and other electrical hazards.
26. Nitrogen regulator
Essentially, a nitrogen regulator acts as a pressure control valve where it stabilizes liquid or gas high in pressure to a more usable form. Without it, the high pressure will release the liquid or gas instantaneously.
A psychrometer measures air mixtures, airflow rate, and relative humidity.
Vacuum pumps that HVAC technicians need have to be powerful enough to eliminate any moisture from the lines.
The reciprocating saw in an HVAC toolset must be durable and sharp enough to cut through most material.
30. Thermal imaging tools
Thermal imaging tools help technicians accurately identify the root cause of the problem to fix it more efficiently. Without it, they would have to rely on the client’s general information.
As the trade revolves around temperature, thermometers are a handy tool. A digital one gives more accurate results, delivering excellent customer service.
The importance of good tools
Some say HVAC technicians are only as good as their tools; others will claim that what makes a good technician are his skills, knowledge, and attitude. The truth is that technicians are a blend of both ideas. Even though they may be smart and technically adept, if they have low-grade tools, their work quality might be compromised.
So, to be successful in the HVAC industry and deliver only the best on projects, contractors and technicians have to be skilled and prepared with the right kind of tools.