Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 24
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    24
    Post Likes

    Middle aged guy considering a career change to hvac/r (in Texas)

    I've been a software engineer for 20 years. I'm considering hvac as an alternative career. I'm from Texas, a vet (gulf war 1) and have a BA degree in information systems.

    I've got some experience setting up small DC systems - solar, arduino, LED etc. I know the difference between AC and DC and can use a volt/amp meter and a hammer. But not much beyond that.

    What draws me to hvac is a general curiosity in the vapor compression cycle. At the end of the day, if things go well, I'd probably try to specialize in small refrigeration for off-grid systems using solar. I'm particularly interested in DanFoss/Secop compressors/technologies and have been taking their free online courses. I also am interested inverter based mini split AC units. (For the life of me, I can't figure out why the ductwork for the central AC is in the attic where the temp is often over 150. I know enough to check how many amps our central AC draws - 25 @ 240v. WHAT?)

    I've probably done enough 'book learning' online to have a shot at passing the NATE exam but before doing so, if ever, I thought I'd take a shot at a small hands on project to help me learn the basics.

    So, finally, I have 2 questions

    1) What is the minimum toolset I'll need and where to purchase them
    2) What will I need for my diy project

    Here is what I've come up with so far:

    1) Tools - I can find most of the stuff on ebay/amazon.
    - Manifold
    - Evac pump
    - Copper tubing (1/4")
    -- brazing equip | Solder | Cutter | Cap tube | Metering valve | Flaring
    - metering device cap/filter/dryer/accumulator
    - Butane welder
    - Schrader valves
    - DC Power supply
    - R134a

    I've got basic hand tools and an amp/volt meter etc.

    2) DIY - Hands on project
    - I thought I'd start with something similar to this
    [youtube link removed search for "Homemade Mini Phase Change Heat Pump (134-a)" ] which seems to cover the basics pretty well
    - I've already purchased a DanFoss BD80F compressor (and I'm looking for the electronic starter but the only one I can find is ~300 so considering using a universal capacitor kit if possible)
    - if at the end of the day I make a fridge I can use in the shed off solar that would be a win but the goal is to learn something more than I would watching youbube vids.


    Anyway, glad to be here, thanks for your help.
    If there is an experienced independent HVAC/R in San Antonio that would not mind me tagging along on the job for a few days please shout but all I can offer is a willingness to learn.

    Hopefully I can return the favor someday.

    Paul

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,756
    Post Likes
    HVAC/R is a lot about turning wrenches, are you mechanically inclined, which helps greatly in the learning curve.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    24
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    HVAC/R is a lot about turning wrenches, are you mechanically inclined, which helps greatly in the learning curve.
    Honestly, the old me would have said "LOL, no".

    The new me, not a sedentary software guy any longer, says, "heck yea, I can turn a wrench".

    Since I hit a wall in software, I've begun to do mechanical things - starting with tearing down old electric guitars - and usually getting them back together. More recently, I've built my own solar system, (from a kit, haha, but it did include LED lighting, fusing etc) which included a diy pole mounting system that required plenty of wrenching - that I enjoyed quite a bit.

    So, mostly, no. But I'm willing and interested.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,309
    Post Likes
    Check my profile and send me a message. My email is listed there.
    If you're too "open" minded, your brains will fall out.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    37
    Post Likes
    Read my thread in this forum about how to go about looking for the right HVAC company

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Newnan Ga,
    Posts
    249
    Post Likes
    RUN!!

  7. Likes OilCan liked this post
  8. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Western Wa.
    Posts
    2,215
    Post Likes
    Check here http://www.local142.org/ All your tools and training will be supplied to you. Get paid to learn
    UA Proud

    "Phfft! Facts. You can use them to prove anything." Homer Simpson

  9. Likes KazBach liked this post
  10. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    7
    Post Likes
    Uncanny similarities: I'm in the Dallas area, I've been in business software sales and consulting for 16 years and I'm sick of being chained to a desk and a PC.

    I recently started doing some things to research a career transition into HVAC sales - prefer the commercial side, I'm used to selling to business people. So I got myself EPA 608 Universal and ACCA Light Commercial HVAC Design certified. Now I'm applying for positions. Hoping this will be the kind of career I think it will.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    24
    Post Likes
    Thanks all for the great replies. I'm still kicking the tires on 'what it means to be a hvac/r tech.' I'm going to look into local apprenticeships and classes locally. And might still try to build a small 134a refrig circuit. Cheers!

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    24
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by r75usmc View Post
    chained to a desk and a PC.
    Same here!

    Quote Originally Posted by r75usmc View Post
    So I got myself EPA 608 Universal and ACCA Light Commercial HVAC Design certified. Now I'm applying for positions. Hoping this will be the kind of career I think it will.
    Great idea and initiative to pick up those certs - I may look into them as well.

    Good luck!

  13. #11
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Cedar Park, Texas
    Posts
    1
    Post Likes
    Shoot me an email, found in my profile. Would like to listen to the information you have found out about the career. I'm in the Austin area.

    Steve

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    austin
    Posts
    329
    Post Likes
    I like where your head is at Kazbach. Inverter systems, yes! Ductwork is so over, especially in attics. Its silly. Having systems in the attic is even crazier.

    The most important tools you can buy besides multimeter and gauges, are the Klein long neck 1/4 and 5/16' magnetic nut drivers. Get the bits for your drill too. You will use them every time, every day. Order stuff off ebay and amazon. The supply houses are a rip off and don't give them a dime. I'm in Austin too if you wanna hit me up.
    when life throws me a banjo, i play it

  15. Likes KazBach liked this post
  16. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,309
    Post Likes
    Wait a second..... Austin's letting in northerns now!! What is this city coming too! Hahaha

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor MagazineThe place where Electrical professionals meet.
Comfortech 365