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  1. #1

    HVAC or A Plumber?

    I'm a Dislocated Worker, 48 years old and looking to go back to school. I have a choice between HVAC or Plumbing. I'm looking for advice from seasoned HVAC pro's. If you had a choice to do it over again, which would you be and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    534
    There is an old Buddy Hacket joke that goes like this... A doctor calls a plumber for a sink with a dripping faucet, the plumber looks at it and goes into his tool box ten minutes later (changed washers and seats) water back on no more drip, he gives the bill to the doctor. the doctor reads it? "$175.00 I don't even charge that much", the plumber replies " I couldn't either when I was a Doctor".

    Good luck with your choice.
    If it doesn't go easy, you are not using a big enough hammer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    central jersey
    Posts
    283
    If you choose plumbing I suggest getting your license, currently in nj you don't need any type of hvac license just your 609 epa to handle refrigerant,they are talking about one just like the other trades though.try both fields out see which you like and make your choice,there are quite a few companies that offer all three hvac,plumbing and electric if you could work for one of them you would be exposed to all three, I got out of the automotive field and into a/c by doing it part time for four years first

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    austin
    Posts
    264

    Confused

    i mean, seriously?
    when life throws me a banjo, i play it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    Quote Originally Posted by HVACJOEK View Post
    There is an old Buddy Hacket joke that goes like this... A doctor calls a plumber for a sink with a dripping faucet, the plumber looks at it and goes into his tool box ten minutes later (changed washers and seats) water back on no more drip, he gives the bill to the doctor. the doctor reads it? "$175.00 I don't even charge that much", the plumber replies " I couldn't either when I was a Doctor".

    Good luck with your choice.
    How do you make a million dollars in the HVAC/r business? Start with 2 million.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Jonesboro, AR
    Posts
    111
    Quote Originally Posted by dekare View Post
    If you had a choice to do it over again, which would you be and why?
    Chip 'n Dales dancer: why not? If I had to go up against Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley, I'd be fine...maybe. Or a politician: you can make great money without really affecting anyone's life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Stumptown,USA
    Posts
    1,251
    If you like solving problems and fixing things Hvac is for you. I enjoy electrical and mechanical trouble shooting. It is challenging. I can honestly say I still enjoy going to work. It is different every day. I have been a repairman since 1973. There is my two cents.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    709
    plumbing and pipefitting, more money, less tools, less stress.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    austin
    Posts
    264
    Quote Originally Posted by hivacer View Post
    plumbing and pipefitting, more money, less tools, less stress.
    that is completely false on all levels
    when life throws me a banjo, i play it

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by michigan1 View Post
    that is completely false on all levels
    Required tool list for union plumbers in my area:

    Stick rule
    Pencil
    Slip joint pliers (Channellocks)

    Fitters are about the same, IIRC

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    709
    Quote Originally Posted by neophytes serendipity View Post
    Required tool list for union plumbers in my area:

    Stick rule
    Pencil
    Slip joint pliers (Channellocks)

    Fitters are about the same, IIRC
    Exactly, I am an hvac tech and I do plumbing and pipefitting too. I have a service van that is jammed packed with tools, hardly room for any parts. Majority of my tools are for hvac work. Meters, guages, benders, swagers, every handtool and mechanical tool in the book, etc. etc. etc...

    If I just did plumbing, I could unload 3/4 of my tools especially all the extra handtools in my bag. I would still carry all my powertools, rotohammer, sawsall, chopsaw, circ saw etc.

    On the pay side, plumbers and pipefitters in my area make more money! thats just the way it is, I would be interested michigan1 for you to elaborate on your point that I am wrong on so many levels, not saying you are a liar just want to hear your opinion

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by dekare View Post
    I'm a Dislocated Worker, 48 years old and looking to go back to school. I have a choice between HVAC or Plumbing. I'm looking for advice from seasoned HVAC pro's. If you had a choice to do it over again, which would you be and why?
    I think you will be lucky to work consistently in either of those fields at your age.

    You would be better off trying to roll your own than start fresh as an almost 50 year old employee.

    Unless you know someone... are exceptionally gifted... etc.

    Not to be doom and gloom, but that's reality.

    Lots of luck.

    To answer the question, I would probably persue the pipefitter trade before having anything to do with sheet metal... but pipefitters are usually union, so I suspect that the same politics exists there.

    No shortage of unemployed or underemployed HVAC people or plumbing people in my neck of the woods. No apprenticeship classes starting at the fitters hall. Lots of freshly minted HVAC people looking for jobs on this board.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    toronto
    Posts
    15
    At your age HVAC is probably the way to go. Plumbing can be quite physically demanding...Both are honest livings.

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