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Thread: air balancing

  1. #1
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    air balancing

    hello im about to have an interview on Monday for an air balancing tech position on Monday and was wondering if it would be worth it for me to take the job if i get it. i just graduated from tech school and was looking to get a job as a hvac helper and work my way up cause my dream is to one day start my own restaurant equipment repair business. since i grew up around my parents restaurant business. and got to fix a lot of stuff that broke down .but i don't know if the air balancing tech position is a good opportunity toward working on my dream.

  2. #2
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    Air balancing technician ? That's what they're calling those guys now ?

    It is HVAC related but not very demanding in terms of skill or know how and is pretty focused technically. Most Commercial shops have their own air hood and do their own air balancing.

    After a build out say on a new office space that's had supply ducts altered or removed or after new construction they will send in a few guys with the mechanical prints and an air hood to check for CFM at each register and adjust as necessary.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six View Post
    Air balancing technician ? That's what they're calling those guys now ?

    It is HVAC related but not very demanding in terms of skill or know how and is pretty focused technically. Most Commercial shops have their own air hood and do their own air balancing.

    After a build out say on a new office space that's had supply ducts altered or removed or after new construction they will send in a few guys with the mechanical prints and an air hood to check for CFM at each register and adjust as necessary.
    I have to agree here all around. It just does not sound like a great job unless it's far outside the scope of what I have experienced.
    When I think of air balance, I think of the middle aged guy in one office space that is feeling a little to warm (in the summer as an example) and the 63 year old woman in the space next to him with divided walls that is always freezing cold when both the rooms are the same temp, same outlet, same cfm, a pretty realistic scenario from what I have seen.

    If it's all you can find right now, then go for it I suppose, but while working, I would keep looking for something a little closer to what you were originally aiming for, It will serve you much better all around. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    I would take the job. It will be a great place to learn about our industry that not many grasp. You will understand exhaust fans, make up air for kitchen hoods. This will suit you well in you ambitions of becoming a restaurant equipment repair business owner. As far as commercial shops doing it themselves, they must be small or low dollar projects. In all spec books, when a system is required to be balanced an independent balancing company must perform the work. Not the installing contractor. Check to see to if they are a member of the Associated Air Balance Council. If so, take the job for a while.
    Always here

  5. #5
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    6 and Eddie seem to have a different idea of "balancing"

    TAB ( Testing and Balancing ) usually looks to experienced people than new, entry level that you seem to imply you are
    That is because real TAB requires a working knowledge of the whole system: equipment, duct and controls. The next step up from Balancing is Commissioning where a knowledge of hydronics is also needed.

    I challenge 6 and Eddie to explain why they think this OPPORTUNITY is a step down from doing PMs?
    You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by genduct View Post
    TAB ( Testing and Balancing ) usually looks to experienced people than new, entry level that you seem to imply you are
    That is because real TAB requires a working knowledge of the whole system: equipment, duct and controls. The next step up from Balancing is Commissioning where a knowledge of hydronics is also needed.

    I challenge 6 and Eddie to explain why they think this OPPORTUNITY is a step down from doing PMs?
    If you say so
    Make up air for hoods, conditioned incoming air or not, is pretty much cfm 101 IMO. For a new guy, It may be a good foot in the door, but I don't think it's what he is after long term. In my experience, most restaurants don't want to pay for why their front door is super hard to open...

    That aside, I did tell him to take the job for now.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by genduct View Post
    TAB ( Testing and Balancing ) usually looks to experienced people than new, entry level that you seem to imply you are
    That is because real TAB requires a working knowledge of the whole system: equipment, duct and controls. The next step up from Balancing is Commissioning where a knowledge of hydronics is also needed.

    I challenge 6 and Eddie to explain why they think this OPPORTUNITY is a step down from doing PMs?
    A working knowledge of a system doesn't equate to the kind of experience it takes to become a well rounded technician.

    We have a good air-hood at our shop and from time to time I have to do air-balancing so I'm not completely ignorant of what it entails.

    That said I'm not ragging on Air Balancing techs but giving my opinion on what would help a guy get the training he needs to progress in hvac.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by energy star View Post
    I would take the job. It will be a great place to learn about our industry that not many grasp. You will understand exhaust fans, make up air for kitchen hoods. This will suit you well in you ambitions of becoming a restaurant equipment repair business owner. As far as commercial shops doing it themselves, they must be small or low dollar projects. In all spec books, when a system is required to be balanced an independent balancing company must perform the work. Not the installing contractor. Check to see to if they are a member of the Associated Air Balance Council. If so, take the job for a while.
    Ditto on that.

  9. #9
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    It would be very good to learn this aspect of the trade,

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six View Post
    Air balancing technician ? That's what they're calling those guys now ?

    It is HVAC related but not very demanding in terms of skill or know how and is pretty focused technically. Most Commercial shops have their own air hood and do their own air balancing.

    After a build out say on a new office space that's had supply ducts altered or removed or after new construction they will send in a few guys with the mechanical prints and an air hood to check for CFM at each register and adjust as necessary.
    This is such a grossly incorrect assessment of the testing, balancing, and commissioning process that it's not even funny. It's obvious that a lot of the folks who are speaking to this clearly have no idea what a real T&B tech does. A true T&B tech has to understand the system as it was designed, as it was installed, and be able to reconcile the differences between the two in reality, and on paper. The process is methodically verifying that every component of the system works right and then documenting it. Measure, adjust, measure, adjust, measure, document. The documents are sent to a mechanical engineer at the end of the process who reviews and stamps them. A true T&B tech has to have carnal knowledge of fluid flow in ducts, pipes, heat exchangers, storage tanks, diffusers, entire rooms, and entire buildings. Pump laws, fan laws, and a calculator are a T&B tech's #1 tools. Often, you'll be required to wear the service tech hat as well. Sometimes you have a deadline, the equipment doesn't work, you have to balance the system, and installing contractor is nowhere to be found or days away. At that point, you must put on your cape and do what needs to be done. Retro-commissioning involves fixing installation and design problems in existing buildings and often involves point to point verification of the control systems as well. No one on the job works more closely with the design & engineering team than the T&B contractor. It is no less specialized than the work of the guys doing control programming, centrifugal chiller rebuilds, or supermarket refrigeration, and they are the ones who like to beat their chest and boast about how demanding their jobs are! lol

    T&B is NOT just walking around with a flow hood and and randomly turning dampers in branch lines until the fat lady says she's not hot anymore!

    To the OP: Take the job, it will be good experience. You may find out you like it. It is certainly much cleaner work, and you get to use your head a little bit more than your back. As Stamas said, there is some skill-set overlap when it comes to ventilation and exhaust systems. It will look much better on the resume or CV than "Played Call Of Duty MW3 on Xbox..."
    Last edited by Tech Rob; 07-30-2012 at 10:05 AM.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

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  11. #11
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    Tech Rob, right on.
    Six and Eddie are completely ignorant of even the basic complexities of what T&B entails. What they described as their knowledge of T&B wouldn't make even 101.
    My certification in 1987 took 84 classroom hours and all that did was prep me for assisting a seasoned tech. Many hvac techs would even fail the math.
    As for shops doing their own T&B that's not even allowed as most sets of plans state an independent agency with a certification from TAB, NEBB or other approved agency to do the testing and reporting. I doubt any shop that has a flow hood laying around could supply a certified tech or anyone that could do more than put the hood together.
    As far as the job goes, if you are comfortable with math and a disciplined work procedure you might like it. As far as a kitchen appliance business being your dream T&B won't apply much. Very different jobs.
    If your future were more in line with havc air/water systems, T&B experience would teach systems in ways others in the field wouldn't know. In my business I'd have been seriously hobbled w/o my T&B knowledge. That knowledge repositions a tech to a greater understanding of how systems work together.
    Tracers work both ways.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hvacker View Post
    My certification in 1987 took 84 classroom hours and all that did was prep me for assisting a seasoned tech. Many hvac techs would even fail the math.
    I'm pretty sure that the NEBB technician exam required 2 years of verified and continuous T&B experience before you could even sit for the exam. I was going to take it and they wanted to see copies of reports that I had produced. I ended up leaving the company before getting the chance to go out to Arizona (?) for the exam.
    Last edited by Tech Rob; 07-30-2012 at 08:46 PM.
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hvacker View Post
    Tech Rob, right on.
    Six and Eddie are completely ignorant of even the basic complexities of what T&B entails. What they described as their knowledge of T&B wouldn't make even 101.
    That's quite a generalization considering you don't know me or my resume. You are basing that on a couple posts, where I chose not to write a book that no one would bother to read. Without knowing your list of credentials, I strongly suspect if you knew mine, you would be pretty impressed. I have a full understanding of balancing, trust me as I am the one that engineers the systems, then installs them with my crew, then has to balance in the end if and when need be.

    Let's all keep our ego in check, ok? I know this is the internet after all, but I'm more used to hanging out on my motorcycle forum where I actually meet all the guys at some point or another at trackdays etc. No hiding behind a KB there. So I am transparent in my posts there, and here as well.

    I told the guy to take the job for now, but it's not his ideal job given his target goal, so keep his eyes open and I doubt anyone can strongly disagree with that. My neighbor is in restaurant repair, and air balance issues, he may get 1 out of 300 calls. Just sayin'

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