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  1. #1
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    Is controls installation a career or a stepping stone?

    Do you guys see controls installation as an HVAC career or a stepping stone to a technician or other job? Do your companies hire installers or use electricians for controls installs?

  2. #2
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    Most of our control guys also do other things like service work and balancing. There just isn't enough controls only work to keep busy.
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  3. #3
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    or if you got a job like me, I get giddy over a controls job, takes me out of the service dept for a few months. It's like going on vacation.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2004
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    crossville
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    both

    Quote Originally Posted by flyin90 View Post
    Do you guys see controls installation as an HVAC career or a stepping stone to a technician or other job? Do your companies hire installers or use electricians for controls installs?
    depends on the companies profile, some have enough controls work to keep a crew operating year round, others have select guys who are as much computer it guys as service techs.
    i have experienced both sides of the coin and know several who are controls only guys, yet they do know service.
    controls install isnt the glory road, controls operation, thats the glory road, programing, operation of the larger companies system, tranes, johnson comtrols, seimens, there r several energy management companies that do it this way.
    If you cant cool it
    HEAT THE Hello out of it

  5. #5
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    My advice is based upon my own experience and career. I have been a service technician for just about my whole 15 years now in the business. 15 years. Wow. where does the time go? And I was naturally attracted to the controls out of not only that I was fascinated by them, but I had to learn some soft skills due out of the necessity to understand because I may be servicing a piece of equipment controlled.

    So. I began to learn and teach myself on my own everything I felt I was needing to know about the nature of the work I do. Commercial Refrigeration. That demonstrated knowledge kept showing itself each time I would take a call and I was beginning to diagnose and repair a control system issue combined with a service call where one thought initially it was a mechanical problem.

    That led to installation work. Service work. Some programming. Now at the level I am at, I have that niche skill set my shop calls upon when needed. Controls work is not always plentiful at our office. But it does come in. I am the goto guy on accounts that have it, and I head up the installs on them.

    I feel what it does is, it makes me incredibly marketable. I can do all. I service, both mechanical and control. I install both refrigeration and control. I can manage both.

    My advice is to seek out a spot at a shop just emerging in the area and get yourself into all of it now at the start of your career. You will naturally grow in all 3 areas and down the road your now 3 dimensional where as your coworkers are only 1 dimensional.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dowadudda View Post
    My advice is based upon my own experience and career. I have been a service technician for just about my whole 15 years now in the business. 15 years. Wow. where does the time go? And I was naturally attracted to the controls out of not only that I was fascinated by them, but I had to learn some soft skills due out of the necessity to understand because I may be servicing a piece of equipment controlled.

    So. I began to learn and teach myself on my own everything I felt I was needing to know about the nature of the work I do. Commercial Refrigeration. That demonstrated knowledge kept showing itself each time I would take a call and I was beginning to diagnose and repair a control system issue combined with a service call where one thought initially it was a mechanical problem.

    That led to installation work. Service work. Some programming. Now at the level I am at, I have that niche skill set my shop calls upon when needed. Controls work is not always plentiful at our office. But it does come in. I am the goto guy on accounts that have it, and I head up the installs on them.

    I feel what it does is, it makes me incredibly marketable. I can do all. I service, both mechanical and control. I install both refrigeration and control. I can manage both.

    My advice is to seek out a spot at a shop just emerging in the area and get yourself into all of it now at the start of your career. You will naturally grow in all 3 areas and down the road your now 3 dimensional where as your coworkers are only 1 dimensional.
    If everyone thought like you, I would not have asked my question because we would live in a world where most people take pride in what they do. I may have just answered my own question.

    I should have elaborated a little more on my question. I grew up through the ranks like yourself. I went to trade school, ran service, converted to controls tech, to controls engineer, to controls estimator, to sales, and then started an installation company. These jobs were not with small companies but a total of over 10 years at the big companies everyone talks about(Trane, Johnson, ALC, Siemens) I quit the desk job because it was driving me crazy behind a desk.

    As stated in a previous reply, installation is not the glory road but if there is a glory road in controls I have done it and I can say that if you are looking for a glory road in HVAC, you missed something somewhere. People think I am crazy for dropping what I had and going back to the tools bending pipe, pulling wire, normal install stuff. I love it but have a hard time finding people that want to learn this side of controls. Installers need to know a lot about systems to install controls right.

    I hear people say that X company sucks all the time when really the install was unprofessional or done by the service techs when they were slow and it was not done right and compromised the system in some way. Not that most service techs can't do the work but most of the time I see sloppy work from companies in my area that use service techs. I have tried electricians but they have a hard time understanding what the wires that aren't just voltage do, ie mA, thermisters, VDC, etc. I have also found some good guys that just want to pull wire and don't care about learning to terminate correctly and end up burning equipment up.

    Sorry to rant but I am wondering if there are others out there that like doing installs and what their background is???

  7. #7
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    Oct 2007
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    Milwaukee,WI
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    I'm confused on what the actual question is now...lol.
    ___________________________

    Chicago is an indian word for stinky!!!!!!
    -supertek65

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    Sorry,

    Are there others out there that do control installs for their main job that are not just using it to get somewhere else. If so, what is your background and why did you turn to control installation. I am doing research to find out what type of person(background) to look for in the future. Putting an add out for controls installer usually gets replied to by the bagboy at the grocery store and every other unqualified person in my area. LOL.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
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    I am a bit confused now too.

    Look. It's stated and played out here on this website all the time. A guy has huge dreams to conquor the world of HVAC/R and he kills himself to be the goto guy, and then one day at 40 years of age he wakes up and realizes that the trade is full of whores, horse thieves and lying cunning people. And it doesn;t fit well with him because after all he mustered up the integrity to do it the "right way" and worked hard and he feels deserving of some kind of better means to an end. Welcome to life.

    The reality and gravity is. You make your life what it is.

    I know I am undervalued in my current situation. Not by their measure but my own. So what am I gonna do about it? I am gonna dream big and one day I will do what my heart and brain aligned tell me to do.

    Don't let the trade and the snakes in it dictate your life. I am maturing fast as of late in this. I don;t give a $hit anymore about any ones priorities but my own. I have finally realized that. It takes longer for the honest guy cause guys like us are so darn vulnerable and encourage able.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyin90 View Post
    Sorry,

    Are there others out there that do control installs for their main job that are not just using it to get somewhere else. If so, what is your background and why did you turn to control installation. I am doing research to find out what type of person(background) to look for in the future. Putting an add out for controls installer usually gets replied to by the bagboy at the grocery store and every other unqualified person in my area. LOL.
    Question above.

  11. #11
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    Aug 2002
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    Hamburg, Pa
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    57
    Quote Originally Posted by flyin90 View Post
    Are there others out there that do control installs for their main job that are not just using it to get somewhere else. If so, what is your background and why did you turn to control installation. I am doing research to find out what type of person(background) to look for in the future. Putting an add out for controls installer usually gets replied to by the bagboy at the grocery store and every other unqualified person in my area. LOL.
    You will be hard pressed to find an individual who has paid their dues in mechanical service, controls programming, etc., and will be satisfied to just install the controls hardware. They are out there, you are proof of that, but they are rare - I've never met one!

    I came up through mechanical service, then to controls programming, project management, design, etc. as well. I found that the place I am happiest is controls service, energy management, etc - I couldn't imagine doing nothing but hardware installation. I like the satisfaction of making it work, and work well.

    At our company we use union electricians as our installers. They work for us, we do not subcontract (yet!). We have a group of installers who have worked with us for years, know how to install things the way we want them, but do not necessarily know all of the ins and outs of the finished product. They terminate correctly, label correctly, and do good neat work. They are expensive.

    I have worked at places that sub out the install to companies that hire installers that can't even use a meter! I even had the misfortune of commissioning a job that was installed by a color blind union electrician! He literally couldn't tell the difference between the green and red wires!! Good times!

    Finding someone who cares about their work is hard enough nowadays. I don't think that controls installation is something that a lot of people aspire to become. The electricians that install for us consider themselves just that: electricians. Maybe that's who you should look for?

  12. #12
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    Mar 2008
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    Yep, I completely agree. Even most electricians see it as a lesser job. I guess it is job security for me but I do have a hard time growing to handle the work load.

  13. #13
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