08-30-2011, 11:36 AM
08-30-2011, 11:57 AM
The reason I'm in this business is that the one(s) I was in where going away. My first good job was with Local 640, Motion Picture Machine Operators. It paid well and the hours where easy. But then came automation which closed down most of the neighborhood theaters. This was the beginning of the multiplex theaters. This was great for the senior operators, but not too good for me.
I had been driving for an oil company and decided to study to become an oil heat technician. This has been the best job I've had so far. For about twenty-five years I've had steady employment, great benefits and good pay. That all changed when oil hit 5.00 a gallon a few years ago. Little by little there has been less work. My last union job has laid off about half their techs over the last three years. I lost my job in the second year.
One day, during that Summer, I received a catalog from Suffolk County Community College. I checked it out and found they had an HVAC program. I applied, took the entrance exam and am now half way to my certificate. I plan to take the remaining courses after the certificate for the Associate's Degree.
Over the the last year I've worked for three companies. The first and second company where oil first along with some AC. The company I work for now is an oil company but they also do AC, Geo Thermal and Solar too. The first two companies paid me $5.00 less an hour than my previous job. This company is paying me $10.00 less. But the experience I'm getting is worth it. They should bring me up in pay once the heating season starts. And I'm hoping to be worth more to them next season after completing the certificate program. I've been visiting this site for about a year now and have twenty five posts. Don't know how many of them are joy posts though. I have gotten a lot out of the info here and hope to be able to contribute in some way in the future.
08-30-2011, 07:29 PM
Hi posting here to do a proper intro. Just a retired veteran living in SW AZ and having to learn DIY central AC repairs mostly replacing capacitors and contacts saving $$$ for my main home and 1 rental. Also interested in putting together a portable backup system comprised of a 8500 Watt Honda portable generator and either one 220V or two 110V AC window units to cool and power 1000 SF of segregated space during a power outage. Needless to say I have a few questions I would like to post and appreciate this forum.
V/R George, CWO4 Gunner USN/CG Retired 74-04
09-02-2011, 12:21 AM
Glad to see I'm not the only old military dog in the field. I didn't work in this field until I retired from Fort Bragg's XVIII Airborne Corps. After almost 60 job applications turned down, my heat pump died--in January with snow on ground. Tech & his helper didn't have a new board, so tech went to get it, leaving helper to shiver in the snow. I joined him & as we talked, he revealed an apprentice program run by the company. Something bit, I applied at the company & started at the bottom (parts runner & warehouse clerk). Finally got to ride with a tech. We were together for a year. Best year of my life. Left town, worked as a tech for a very small business in a very small town & landed a job in the hospital. Not a day goes by that I wish I had more know-how than I have.
This site was suggested to me by a York chiller guy, Tim Mendenhall, a really young genius who has to be one of the best the business has to offer. This is the best site around for someone who still wants to learn.
09-03-2011, 12:24 PM
I've been in and out of this business for over 30 years. Somehow I keep going back to it. My suggestion is to find a nitch. Read up on ice machines and advertise a cleaning business do it on off hours Sundays etc. Believe me your phone will ring, that will bring you other contacts etc etc............ Best of luck
09-03-2011, 12:30 PM
I worked with a guy who had his burner license and i was sworn to secracy. He didn't want anyone to know. As a 30 year knock around tech I suggest getting some refrigeration experience in addition with the AC. Not only will it broaden your scope but it will get you away from the burner clean outs etc. All the best
09-07-2011, 09:32 PM
Recently (month) joined the field starting off with service work, came back from a 2 week tech bootcamp and started in on heat exchanger inspections for an apartment complex we're working on. Definitely have a new appreciation for heat exchangers as we use several methods for finding cracks/holes. Digging the UV detection kit. I'm still getting lols from my coworkers when I point out "So those are S clips hmm?" Looking forward to gaining a good fundamental base to build on here.
09-09-2011, 12:12 AM
How I got here
At the bright age of 32, I decided that going to school was the thing for me. I had worked for eleven years at the same company and knew everything that could be known there. Why did I change paths? Who knows.
I went to my local community tech school and picked up an associates in applied science HVAC. Really good program, I am sure all of them are, you get out what you put in.
Thinking I knew everything, I managed to find a company that would hire me. Commercial Refrigeration. I realized that I didn't know squat. Ice Machines, coolers, freezers, walkins, reachins. Not that we didn't cover that in school, it was just that we mainly focused on the residential side of things.
I have been lurking in this site for a bit, reading others posts and gaining knowledge in the process.
I still get those whammys on the job from time to time. Sometimes I think I have binders on once I take my tool bag out of the truck.
But I do enjoy hearing customers tell me that they know that I do good work.
I have been in this trade for about 1.5 years now and in that time I have learned the in's and out's of ice machines. I have done tons of remote and self contained installs. Mostly manitowoc's. Service work on ice0matics, scotsmans, manitowoc's, and one cornelius.
Worked on lots of walkin in coolers. I love working on the newer stuff, but most of the equipment I see, is older r12 systems that have been retrofitted. I prob have at least 7 different jugs on my truck right now.
Did service work on a few walkin freezers and plenty of true boxes. I enjoy the commercial side of it cause it keeps me from crawling under houses and what not. I do manage to see my fair share of roofs, prob more than the residentail tech.
I am learning everyday, and usually enjoy the work. Just like anybody out there I do have those days where I come home and wonder, "why did you do this?"
All in all I find this forum very informative. I see that most everyone here needs to see the whole picture instead of a few items of info. I know the feeling, I see the service calls on my phone as they come in and the first thing I learned is never guess what the problem is before you get there. Always assume that the customer doesn't know what the hell they are talking about and walk up to the job with the assumption that you will apply what you learned and start with the basics. I have found out that once you start skippin the basics that you will only find yourself becoming a parts changer.
09-09-2011, 01:02 AM
Hi! Learning a new language we can develop ourselves and add to a new & unknown society.Arabic by Skype.
09-10-2011, 11:07 PM
Just a little update about my path in the HVAC field. I have just accepted a position as an Assistant Lab instructor at the school I just Graduated from. I Graduated with a 4.0 and I enjoyed helping my fellow students while in school and I believe I will enjoy helping students to come. I enjoy this field, I enjoy learning something new everyday, and I enjoy helping others to learn this field. I have also been working in the field with some fellow instructors gaining more experience and as of right now I have a year under my belt.
I am inspired to write text books and design machines to simulate failures and I have successfully built a heating and cooling electrical fault simulator and I plan to build a refrigeration system to simulate different types of restrictions and airflow failure across the coils so the student could actually see what happens to a system experiencing these faults.
09-11-2011, 07:43 PM
Originally Posted by antiquepicker62
Never even thought of doing HVAC until the recession put me out on the street. But I have to admit I am enjoying it. I think it will really be fun when I start making some cash too
09-13-2011, 09:40 PM
Ok here I am posting this you all have a idea about my past & experience so I decide to change my life a get a trade a went hvac school for the proper training and after school started with a holiday inn for maintenance/hvac did that for a year then went on to a hvac company started with doing cleaning to ruffs,duct install,ac installs and start ups then into the service side and honestly struggled with then I started to work at night drywall taping to supplement income and was making more than my day job so long story short & 10years later the economic fail so I decided to take another maintenance job with a mall which we service most all roof tops so here I am looking to learn what I don't remember which is a lot so I will be lurking around .
09-13-2011, 10:35 PM
Recently came back from a tech academy in Arkansas nice 2 week bootcamp for electrical and heating. They went through the basics (hopscotch, SOO, etc) but I was most impressed with their lab which had 30 or so split systems with flip switches to simulate different types of problems. We also had the opportunity to use various scopes (Inspector FTW) for diagnosing heat exchangers. Very nice putting the hands to work and seeing what I'm looking at in wiring diagrams. Excellent fundamental beginning so I can understand some of what I'm reading here and in books and possibly contribute in the near future. ;-)
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