Lesson 3. Evolution of the HVACR Service Technician

Evolution of the HVACR Service Technician

A top HVACR Service Technician evolves from a solid self study or classroom education and several years of field experience and mentoring.  Following are the stages of evolution.
• Student.  The student will combine study of the basic science and technology with some field or lab experience.  Nothing can replace getting your hands on an n AC unit in order to experience the knowledge you get from your books.  You should be aware also that field experience will not replace knowledge of the basics especially when the technology changes.  Only a good understanding of the basics and science will allow you to smoothly adapt to the new technology and the ever changing products.
• Tune-Up Specialist.  The Tune-Up Specialist is trained to understand the correct  operation of the HVACR system and the tasks required to maintain and restore the system to peak operating efficiency.  Typical tasks include changing filters, lubrication, blower and belt drive maintenance, and cleaning coils.  A tune-up specialist should understand and be able to measure system capacity and energy efficiency by calculating the energy efficiency ratio.  With this knowledge he can diagnose tasks necessary to restore the system to peak efficiency.  THE PTS should be capable of measuring air flow quantities, measure sensible and latent heat, measure volts, amps and convert these measurements to kW, measure refrigerant pressures and temperatures and determine appropriate superheat and subcooling.  Understanding system pressure drop and static pressures is necessary to diagnose air flow problems.  In this position the student will see the hundreds of different systems and combination of systems.  This experience is necessary before moving to the next level.
• Service Technician.  The Service Technician should have completed student and PTS training.  Students progress at different rates, but time and experience are required to see all the different brands and configurations of systems the service tech will be expected to diagnose and repair.  It will take two to five years in the field to gain this experience.  The service tech will attend continuous training from different equipment manufacturers to learn the processes and tricks of the trade.  The tech will be expected to learn from others experience.  No single tech can efficiently experience all the diagnostic and repair scenarios needed to learn and perform this job.
 Commercial Service Technician.  The Commercial Service Tech will be required to attend continuing education forever.  Specialization is common.  He may need to study and develop skills in many of the following areas of technical expertise:
o Absorption units
o Automation Systems
o Computer rooms
o Cooling towers
o Heat recovery
o Make-up air units
o Refrigeration
o Water balancing
o Air distribution
o Boilers
o Controls
o Electrical
o Heat pumps
o Package systems
o Screw chillers
o Water treatment
o Air filtration
o Burners
o Convectors
o Evaporative cooling
o Humidifiers
o Pumps
o Solar systems
o Air washers
o Centrifugal chillers
o Converters
o Ice machines
o Recip. Chillers

Service Technician Training Curriculum:
• Safety training
• Thermal dynamic science and theory including matter and energy
• Refrigeration cycle and refrigerants
• Tools and equipment including, temperature measurement, pressure measurement, tubing and piping, calibration
• Basic electricity
• Copper tube soldering and brazing
• Math including fractions, decimal fractions, ratio and proportion, percent, percentage, discount, units of measurement, and formulas.
• Customer service skills
• Refrigerants including refrigerant safety, refrigerant oil, system evacuation, system charging.
• Types of electric motors, application of types of motors, motor controls and troubleshooting motors.
• Controls and automation including thermostats and other components
• Primary refrigeration cycle components including evaporators, condensers, compressors and expansion devices.

• Heating including electric heat, gas heat, oil heat, hydronic heat
• Humidification/dehumidification
• Air conditioning including Psychometrics, load calculation, air distribution, air balance
• Heat pumps including air source, water source and ground source
• Lifting and rigging safety
• Chilled water including chillers, pumps and cooling towers

HVACR training encompasses a very broad range of technology.  If you enjoy learning, this is a great field.



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