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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    123

    Getting into Refrigeration...

    Hi,

    I'm a maintenance guy at a grocery store. I've been doing this job for about 2 years, and have really settled on making refrigeration a career. It's my job to call the refrigeration guys whenever we have a problem, and I follow them around like a puppy asking questions. Several of the journeymen have sort of taken me under thier wing. I've gotten to where i'm pretty good, although I'm certainly no journeyman. I understand a rack system (we have 4 36 HP Hussmann protocols with Emerson/Einstein controllers) and I do simple stuff like replace gaskets on reach ins, clean the condensers on the roof, clean evap coils, replace bent/broken fan blades, clean condensate drains etc. Last week I learned how to replace a filter/dryer core and sightglass (system had water in it). Not that I'd EVER do it myself. But I could if you put a gun to my head.

    So now I need to find training. Several of the journeymen that I work with are encouraging me to apply with their company as an apprentice and the union would train me for free (if/when I get a job with a union shop). The other option I have to go to trade school...a decision I hear a lot of people regretting on these forums.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Edmonton
    Posts
    92
    Before anybody can help you, they need to know where you live...
    I came upon this pile of junk, the torch has been passed. I take ownership of things shaped before me, it is now my responsibility.
    But what are you suppose to do when you see yourself in that pile of junk?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    California
    Posts
    2,058
    DON'T DO IT!! get a desk job

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    49
    As a young guy working in this field, my advice is to highly consider going to school first. having the education and being a market maintenance guy on a resume would carry lots of weight when applying for your union or companies that do refrigeration. even if the schooling doesn't teach anything about racks, they will be easier to learn with an education.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    123
    Thanks for the replies, guys. I take the test for the UA Local in early July.

    It will be hard for me to bite the (financial) bullet of going to school...especially since I've already read several textbooks they use. However, I do like school and learn quickly. I have theory down pat, but I don't know things like how to braze, how to do rigging or sheet metal work, etc. I'm just taking my Section 608 exam next week.

    I love troubleshooting cases...once I get my epa cert I can start using my guages and take it to a higher level. I just hope there is a way for to convey all I've learned to a prospective employer!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    382
    Quote Originally Posted by Phase Loss View Post
    DON'T DO IT!! get a desk job
    You said it Brother!
    "Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    upper michigan
    Posts
    103
    I would say, get the schooling. I have read on here about some of the bad experiences people have had with schools and the only thing I can figure is that it really depends on the school you go to. I went into an HVACR program with absolutely zero knowledge of HVACR. For me, the school gave me a much bigger picture of how and why things work the way they do. Granted, some things taught were very, very basic but some of the guys in the class needed that too. It really helped me to understand electricity on a whole different level. Once I got 'on the job' I learned many things that I didn't learn in the school but I did have a good foundation to understand why. I don't know anything about union schools/programs so I can't comment on the way they do things.

    Good luck whatever you choose to do and I think this field is a great place to work.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    st.petersburg,fl
    Posts
    779

    Lightbulb

    If you are hell bent on getting into this trade, your best bet is to join a company and learn hands on and pay attention... school is a waste of money and time and afterwards you are in no way shape or form ready to get into a van and start playing.... With a company you get real world experence...

    I've had to train guys fresh out of school and the only way I could keep from pulling the hair out of my head was to tell them to forget everything they just learned....
    Isn't sanity just a one-trick pony anyway? I mean, all you get is that one trick, rational thinking, but when you're good and crazy, well, the sky's the limit!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    123
    Quote Originally Posted by skpkey9 View Post
    join a company and learn hands on and pay attention... school is a waste of money and time and afterwards you are in no way shape or form ready to get into a van and start playing.... With a company you get real world experence.
    That's the problem...I may not be a journeyman, but I've been working with grocery store cases, self contained freezers/fridges, icemakers, commercial ACs, and 4 racks for 2 years. I may not be a journeyman, but i've educated myself and solved a lot of problems myself. Wish I had a way to convey to potential employers the "education" I have had doing things myself and working closely with journeymen on the stuff I couldn't solve (which they usually then thoroughly taught me)...even though I don't have a piece of paper from trade school.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    st.petersburg,fl
    Posts
    779

    Lightbulb

    Its something that you are going work for if you want it bad enough you will find a way in.... and best to start with installer helper and come up in the company and if you outgrow what they are allowing you to learn then jump to the next place with more experience.... and pay attention to everything and everyone and you will learn to weed out good from bad information.
    You will be on a long road butit will get better as you get better...
    Isn't sanity just a one-trick pony anyway? I mean, all you get is that one trick, rational thinking, but when you're good and crazy, well, the sky's the limit!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    165
    Go to school and study hard. If you found a good instructor try to learn from him.
    If we evolve from the monkey then why are there still monkeys.

    GOD Bless America.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Monmouth Junction-NJ-USA
    Posts
    5,967
    Quote Originally Posted by skpkey9 View Post
    . school is a waste of money and time and afterwards you are in no way shape or form ready to get into a van and start playing.... With a company you get real world experence...

    I've had to train guys fresh out of school and the only way I could keep from pulling the hair out of my head was to tell them to forget everything they just learned....
    That statement is only partially true. You have to know how it works before you can attempt to fix it. Hands on has to be in balance with Theory (I'm not much on theory, but it is a must) There are specialty classes on piping, control wiring (a must) load calculations. Wayyyyyyyyy to many peeps in this area buy a set of guages, a meter and have hardly a clue. IMO I would like to see hands on and technical training at the same time. Experience takes time in almost everything you do. Remember one thing. Knowledge is power. I have been in this trade for 50 years, work full time, and am still learning. The day I stop learning is when they slam the cover shut on the coffin. Read my Sig.
    If you really know how it works, you have an execellent chance of fixin' er up!

    Tomorrow is promised to no one...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    304
    I think there are both good and bad points here, but let me answer from the Union standpoint. I teach for my Local here in New York. We have a 3 year Apprenticeship program ........... school 2 nights/week and OJT 5 days/week.

    I think a balance of class/thoery with hands on is the best approach.

    First year .................. CFC in hand
    Second Year .............. NYC written test in hand
    Third Year ................. NYC practical completed and passed

    Once you have your Operators license here in NYC, you can interview for just about any refrigeration position you desire. We have Dudes in the same building for over 30 years, and there are several traveling repair outfits that will put you through every circumstance you could ever think of with a company van and a list of job tickets.

    Apprenticeship has its advantages over just the schooling and advantages over just the "helper" position. I believe its the fastest way to produce a full fledged HVAC tech !!
    Extended dehydration is the key

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