Whether you are entering the HVAC industry for the first time or you’re a seasoned professional, you need to stay up-to-date on industry developments. But with all the information out there, how do you know where to begin?
Here are five things you can do to stay abreast of the industry and hone your skills and knowledge:
- Read and subscribe to heating and air conditioning blogs.
- Hone your HVAC skills and knowledge.
- Expand on your current range of HVAC skills.
- Learn additional skills that can help you in the HVAC trade.
- Enroll in courses on the HVAC trade.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Read the Best HVAC Websites
An informative heating and cooling blog can serve as a good starting point to ensure you know of the latest industry trends, developments, and more. Additionally, when you read a heating blog, you can learn of ways to improve the efficiency of your heating system and also get tips on how to perform repairs when needed.
For example, there are many issues that can emerge during the times of year when customers rely more heavily on their HVAC systems, such as in the peak weeks of summer and winter. They might turn to you for assistance to verify their system is working efficiently so their costs stay as low as possible. You can usually find the answers you need for this situation as well as others in an air conditioning blog.
Here are 10 of the best HVAC websites:
- The ACHR NEWS. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) NEWS has been the go-to source for news and information about the HVACR industry. Since 1926, this Troy, Michigan-based source has served as a primary communications link between contractors and buyers. The ACHR NEWS site covers laws and legislation that impact the HVAC industry, in addition to interviews and previews of upcoming industry events.
- Contracting Business | Commercial HVAC. Contracting Business is the primary industry source for news on HVACR technology. People in the business, residential, and industrial sectors frequent the blog of this Cleveland-based news outlet to learn about developments on the HVACR front that impact buildings of all kinds. The Contracting Business blog features interviews with prominent figures in the industry, as well as news and reviews of industry expos around the country.
- Builder Online | HVAC. Builder is the go-to source for news and information on matters that impact the residential-construction sector. With a large readership among members of home-building industry, the Washington D.C.-based site provides economic analysis, marketing advice, construction news, and information on housing laws. The Builder blog features product reviews and maintenance tips for the HVAC professional.
- Google News – HVAC. Google news is always a reliable source for the latest articles on economic matters and changes in local, state, and federal law that impact the HVAC industry. You can also browse Google for the latest news on laws that pertain to the HVAC trade, as well as links to articles from around the web that offer maintenance tips and advice to industry professionals.
- Goodway Technologies | HVAC Facility & Plant Maintenance Tools. Goodway’s HVAC Blog offers information on developments in HVAC design and tools that can be used for maintenance on heaters and air conditioners. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company has been an HVAC-industry leader for more than 55 years and specializes in HVAC maintenance for the food-production sector.
- Arista Air. Arista has been Manhattan’s most trusted name in HVAC service for upscale homes, restaurants, and businesses for more than 60 years. The Arista Air blog offers news and information on matters that concern HVAC usage in the Big Apple.
- National Air Warehouse | HVAC Blog. As a national dealer of A/C units, heaters, and furnaces, National Air Warehouse is one of the most trusted names in HVAC products around the country. Their blog contains information on all the newest deals on HVAC units, as well as news that impacts professionals who service residential heating and cooling systems.
- HVAC & Plumbing Product News. True to the name of the website, this is the place for company press releases and product reviews of all the latest models and devices coming down the HVAC pipeline. This site should be bookmarked by anyone looking to stay updated on the HVAC industry.
- HVAC News. Hardly a week goes by without something newsworthy in the realm of HVAC, whether it has to do with an upcoming product or a major event. At HVAC News, you can get all the latest news on upcoming and just-released HVAC unit models and peripheral components, as well as previews and reports on industry conventions around the country.
- Energy Vanguard. Written primarily by world-class HVAC expert Allison Bailes, Energy Vanguard features analysis of various issues that impact the performance of heating and cooling systems. As a lifelong enthusiast of all things HVAC, Bailes has stopped to observe virtually every heating and cooling system that he has encountered, both on the job and when passing through commercial buildings and office spaces. As such, his articles contain the most unique and detailed insights of anyone in the industry.
Bookmark these sites and like them on Facebook for alerts to the latest articles on events and product releases in the HVAC industry.
2. Continue to Hone Your HVAC Knowledge
To advance and stay competitive in the HVAC industry, you must continue to hone your knowledge on the various aspects of the trade. If you intend to operate independently as a hands-on service outcall person, you must know all the functions of a heating and cooling system. You must also be able to size up the performance issues in any make or model. Furthermore, you must establish safety protocols and have a clear understanding of regulations that apply in your area. The following areas are ideal examples:
To find work in the HVAC trade, it is vital to know about the workings of heating and cooling systems. The knowledge in question here goes far beyond the simple understanding of what an HVAC system does. Instead, the idea is to know how an HVAC unit produces heat in the winter and generates coolness in the summer.
For instance, it is crucial to understand the process of how ambient air is transformed as it goes through an HVAC system. It is also important to know the process through which air is purified and stripped of moisture within an HVAC unit. These are processes that homeowners might ask you to explain to them when you perform maintenance work on their systems.
Are you familiar with HVAC blueprints? If not, one of the most valuable skills you can have in the HVAC trade is an understanding of the blueprints for heating and cooling systems. Whether or not the model in question is one you have worked with in the past, you should ultimately learn how to evaluate blueprints and identify where the root of a problem might lie with a system.
A familiarity with blueprints will also make you more adept at handling the installation steps on a full range of HVAC makes and models, both new and old.
One area of knowledge that separates the DIY repairman from the HVAC professional concerns the legal aspects of the trade. As such, to be a licensed HVAC pro, you must have a thorough and up-to-date understanding of government regulations that apply to the handling of refrigerants — most specifically, the laws that apply to the recycling and disposal of the gases and fluids that are used in a heating and cooling system.
Another crucial aspect of HVAC work is safety, which must be taken into account as you master hands-on technical skills. After all, it is one thing to know where to connect the wires and apply the fluids, but all these steps must be taken with precautions to ensure no one gets electrocuted and that refrigerants are never leaked.
If you plan to start your own HVAC service company, you will need to master safety protocols for everyone in your workforce, too. You must also prepare a set of emergency measures to ensure nothing spirals out of hand in the event of an accident.
3. Expand Your HVAC Skill Sets
Now that you have entered the HVAC field, consider all the HVAC-related skill sets you have yet to master. For example, if you are already proficient in the area of HVAC-system analysis, it could be time to take your skills to another level and master hands-on maintenance. To do this, you will need to learn about how installations work, as well as how to operate the tools of the trade and perform tests on a vast range of HVAC systems:
It is one thing to know how to diagnose an HVAC unit, but one of the most in-demand skills is the ability to connect and disconnect an HVAC system. Of course, this involves far more than simple plug-ins. If you really wish to excel in the HVAC trade, you will need to learn how to install the complex electrical wiring of an HVAC system.
Different HVAC systems have different types of wiring, some of which are far more complex than others. The HVAC system in an office building, for example, will be far more complicated than a residential heating and cooling unit. As an HVAC technician, you will be expected to know how to connect all types and models.
The tools involved in HVAC maintenance work run the gamut from conventional household tools to more trade-specific devices. Tools in the former category would include screwdrivers and hammers, while tools in the latter category might include carbon testers and acetylene torches.
Whenever an HVAC system requires serious repair work, tools of the more sophisticated variety will generally be needed. As a licensed HVAC repair person, you will need to be skilled at using conventional as well as sophisticated tools.
A critical step in the diagnosis of an HVAC unit is the testing stage, which is done to determine whether parts of the system are faulty. If a system component underperforms in this test, therein lies the problem with the HVAC as a whole. The problem could be down to one or more system parts, but a test can ultimately determine whether one or two parts must be replaced, or whether the whole system should just be changed out for a new one.
As an HVAC service specialist, you will need to master the applicable testing equipment to diagnose a full range of heating and cooling systems.
4. Learn Additional Skills That Relate to the HVAC Trade
Now that you are an expert at diagnosing, testing, fixing and installing HVAC units, take your skills to the next level and learn some of the technical and communicative skills that can help you excel in the field:
As with all fields in the current market, some computer skills are required in today’s HVAC trade. For starters, you will need to have sufficient skills with software to launch the kinds of programs that can land your company assignments within your area of coverage.
Additionally, you will need to understand the computerized functions that pertain to the maintenance of HVAC systems. If you plan to operate independently, you must also learn how to maintain a business database.
Part of your job will involve asking laymen’s questions designed to help identify the issue at hand. You will need to listen carefully to each customer. As with any business, communication also involves selling a service to each customer and making the party in question feel confident about the purchase.
5. Further Your HVAC Education at StateCE
For the HVAC technician who seeks to further their credentials in the field, one of the most important steps is continued education. To stay in the industry and operate an HVAC business, advanced continuing education credits are necessary to maintain the necessary license.
At StateCE, we offer the credits necessary for license renewal in today’s strict climate. Our courses can be taken online, day or night from any location with online access.
HVAC courses at StateCE cover the areas technicians must master to do business in the industry, such as system standards and safety laws. The course materials in our programs have been designed by licensed professionals in the HVAC industry. We also offer courses for electricians and anyone who seeks to advance their skills in that field.
At StateCE, we have equipped HVAC majors with the skills required for licensing and success in the industry since 2001. To learn more about the courses we offer, browse our catalog today.