Air conditioning is one of those things you don’t even think about until it stops working—but it plays an important role in keeping buildings comfortable. And on a hot summer day, air conditioning is much more than just a convenience. It can be a lifesaver. We checked in with HVAC technician Craig Petway about what he likes about HVACR ((heating, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) and what his day looks like.
HVAC Technicians Solve Puzzles
A 2021 graduate from an HVAC program, Petway handles a variety of different issues on any given day. He likes the intellectual puzzle of figuring out what needs repairing or replacing. Originally working in plumbing, Petway made the leap to HVAC about five years ago. “I’m a puzzle person, so I found HVAC a bit more intriguing,” he says.
If an air-conditioning unit has gone out, he explains, it could be a refrigerant problem, a capacitor issue, a fan motor, or something else. “You have to know how to diagnose the issue, so you know exactly what is going on and what you need to do to fix it,” he says. Each day brings variety.
All-State Career Schools offers a program in HVAC-R, providing students with training to handle air-conditioning, control systems, and heat pumps.
You May Work with Customers
Besides working with the HVAC systems, another part of the job can involve customer service if you work in maintenance and repair and interact with homeowners. That takes communication skills. That’s not a problem for Petway—he’s a self-described “people person.” For someone coming into the field, he says it’s useful to have some customer service experience to talk with homeowners. “It’s important to be able to communicate with a person whether they’re angry, sad, or happy,” Petway says.
Don’t let a lack of customer service stop you from considering the profession, however. You can develop the skills as you go. The key is knowing how to be respectful, Petway says.
What to Know About Working Conditions in the Field
Petway recommends being prepared for different types of weather. When you repair an AC unit, you could be working in a hot attic. Repairing a heating system might require bundling up against the cold.
Also, HVAC involves some physical labor, particularly when you’re new on the job. “It seems like grit work, but this is the work that teaches you about the job,” Petway says. It’s part of the process of developing your HVAC expertise.
Are you interested in learning more about careers in HVAC? This is also a growth career for women who want a career in the skilled trades. All-State Career School can help you with your next step. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 834-4580 and speak to one of our career counselors.