The HVAC job description concerns installing and repairing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems. Professionals who work in the HVAC industry are known as HVAC engineers or HVAC technicians. Their job is to ensure that temperature, humidity, and air quality systems are properly working in order to meet health and safety standards, as well as create a comfortable environment for inhabitants and workers. HVAC technicians pursue HVAC training to develop expertise in their field, and may pursue HVAC certification to demonstrate their expertise in the job market.
Working in homes, offices, commercial centers, retail establishments, hospitals, factories, and other such buildings where climate control is needed is part of the HVAC technician’s job. HVAC job duties generally start out relatively broad and basic, though many technicians eventually move into more specialized fields of work.
What Do HVAC Technicians Do?
The primary job duties of an HVAC technician involve installing, operating, and maintaining all aspects of temperature control systems. Because of the variety of types of work involved in the HVAC job description, some technicians choose to specialize in one area or another. For example, a technician working for an HVAC manufacturer may only install new systems, while techs working for an independent repair service may only do repairs and maintenance. Other techs may do both.
Some of the specific areas HVAC techs may specialize in are:
- Air Conditioning
- Energy Efficiency
- Solar Power
HVAC technicians may perform these job duties in a variety of settings such as:
- Private Homes
- Small Businesses
- Office Buildings
Depending on the HVAC system being worked on and the time of year, the specific duties of an HVAC technician may change. For example, during the beginning of the summer more work is done on air conditioning units, while heating work may pick up toward the end of the fall. Other systems are worked on year round, or depend on new building and construction.
Some of the systems HVAC technicians may work on include:
- Fuel Supply Lines
- Water Supply Lines
- Air Ducts
If the HVAC tech performs installation of any of these systems, the technician usually follows a set installation procedure outlined by the manufacturer. After installation, the technician makes sure the system is operating properly by conducting a series of equipment tests. They are also responsible for disposing of or recycling any chemical byproducts of the HVAC system.
HVAC systems require year-round maintenance and repair in order to run efficiently. This means HVAC techs are also responsible for tasks such as replacing fitters, ducts, and other components that collect dust and other waste during use. Technicians generally perform maintenance on air conditioning systems in the winter and heating systems in the summer while they aren’t being used.
HVAC Technician Equipment
Because of the varied, hands-on nature of the job description, HVAC technicians use many different tools and pieces of equipment to perform their work. Some of it includes:
- Electric Drills
- Pipe Cutters
- Metal Cutters
- Pressure Gauges
- Acetylene Torches
- Volt Meters
HVAC technicians generally become familiar with these tools during training, where they are also introduced to many complex components that make up each HVAC system.
Future of the HVAC Job Description
HVAC jobs are projected to increase greatly over the next decade due to recent growth in new commercial and residential construction, as well as the increasing complexity of HVAC systems. Other factors include an increasing public emphasis on air quality, energy management, and construction changes that benefit the environment. The development of newer, more eco-friendly HVAC systems will continue to cause the HVAC job description to evolve.
Job opportunities for HVAC technicians and HVAC engineers who specialize in maintenance will remain steady, while those who work in installation will find that job opportunities depend most heavily on the level of construction in their area. The average HVAC salary is around $46,000 per year, but this can change depending on the complexity of their work.
Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.