Tag Archives: repair

How Do I Know My HVAC Technician is Well Trained?

What kind of training does an HVAC  technician need?How Do I Know My HVAC Technician

Every homeowner will at some time  have to hire a HVAC technician (usually through a Heating and Air Conditioning company) to maintain, repair, or replace his/her air conditioner or some of its components. To have peace of mind about the worker you are hiring and to ensure that your problem will be handled properly, it is helpful to know what kind of training and certifications air conditioning technicians are required to have.

There is no nationwide licensing requirement for HVAC technicians; the only federal requirement is by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which mandates that anyone working with equipment containing refrigerants must have EPA section 608 Certification. This is part of the Clean Air Act.  There are four types of EPA Certification, and the technician must pass a written exam specific to one (or more) of these specialties:

  • Type I – for technicians who will mainly be servicing small appliances/equipment
  • Type II – for technicians chiefly servicing high pressure appliances/equipment
  • Type III – for technicians who service low-pressure appliances/equipment
  • Universal – for technicians who service many types of equipment

There are many trade schools, employer associations, and community colleges with training programs to help prepare students for the EPA exam.

States differ on their requirements for the training and certification of HVAC technicians, and some states have no license requirement, but leave it to municipalities to set and enforce their own rules and regulations. In North Carolina, HVAC Contractors must be licensed, but for hvac technicians, the number and type of certifications required depend upon the type of work the technician will be doing.

A technician may begin his training by working in an apprenticeship program which includes on-the-job training along with classroom instruction, or he may opt for a more formal program such as those offered by technical or trade schools that are accredited by HVAC Excellence, the National Center for Construction Education and Research, or the Partnership for Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration. The technician could earn certification or an associate’s degree through these accredited programs.

The nations’s largest non-profit certification program for HVAC technicians is NATE (http://www.natex.org/). The motivation for its founding in 1997 was a concern (at that time) that many of those who were installing and servicing HVAC systems and equipment did not have the necessary knowledge and experience. The high standards set by NATE for the training and knowledge needed by a technician to obtain certification contributed greatly to the high level of skill and knowledge that HVAC technicians have today. There are an estimated 32,000 NATE-certified HVAC technicians delivering exceptional service throughout North America. NATE certification is not a one-time accomplishment. To ensure that certified technicians continue training and updating their knowledge as new developments take place in the industry, NATE certification must be renewed every two years (as of 2014).

Many  Heating and Air Conditioning companies, as a part of their hiring practices, offer paid training for those who want to become HVAC technicians. Many also offer or require continuing training to ensure that  their technicians maintain or upgrade their knowledge and skills.


Does Your Air Conditioner Ductwork Need Repair or Replacement?

 Heated or cooled air circulates through your air conditioning ductwork to all the areas of your home to keep you comfortable. If air leaks out of the ductwork anywhere along the line, it can create problems for you: a system that has to work harder to reach the temperature settings on your thermostat, an uncomfortably cold or hot home environment, and higher utility bills.

Does Your Air Conditioner Ductwork Need Repair or Replacement?

An air conditioning system that is constantly running to match thermostat settings will need repairs more frequently, and it will wear out sooner. Leaky air ducts pull in dust, debris, and other particles from your attic and send them blowing through the vents into your rooms—resulting in diminished air quality in your home. If there is a hole or crack in an air duct leading to a particular room, that space will have hot or cold spots which make the room feel as if it is not being heated (or cooled) at all.

Leaky air ducts can lower the efficiency of your system by as much as 20-40% and that means higher energy bills as well. It doesn’t matter how good your HVAC system is if the duct system supporting it is not functioning as it should.

What to do?

Unlike a leaky water pipe where the dripping water is visible, a leaky air duct can be more difficult to find, especially since part of it may be concealed in areas you cannot reach. Should you have your air ducts cleaned?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are no studies that prove health problems can be prevented by air duct cleaning. But your HVAC system will work more efficiently if there is good airflow in your duct system. If you have done extensive remodeling inside your home, generating a great amount of dust, it might be a good idea to have your ductwork cleaned, but, otherwise, it is not necessary to do so any more often than once every five years. If you are experiencing some of the problems mentioned earlier in this article; however, and your ductwork has been in place for a long time or has never been checked, it would be wise to have it evaluated.

A certified HVAC professional can evaluate and test your ductwork to diagnose any airflow problems that you may have. He can seal or add insulation to the ductwork depending on the problems he may find or advise you if the ductwork needs to be replaced.

Visit the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) to see a residential checklist of NADCA’s recommendations for what the air duct cleaning process should involve. You can also find NADCA-certified air systems cleaning specialists here. A person who is not qualified (or certified) to clean ductwork can do more damage to your system than having nothing done at all.