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  1. #1

    New HVAC student

    Not sure if this is the right section. But I'm wondering what the work is like in this line of work. I'm half scared of heights, I don't like them but I can deal with them, and I hate ladders. But apart from that I'm a competitive weight lifter so the heavy lifting I was told about shouldn't be a problem, and I'm very detailed in my work.

    I'm accepted to "Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic" at the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland, Canada. Is that the same as HVAC? Or well I have to go write more tests after to be HVAC licensed?

    More or less looking for a idea of what to expect (Work type, hours, pay etc) if I go into this line of work? I've seen on Canada Job Bank that some places are offering 40$+ an hour, what's the catch there? I'm also accepted into Automotive Mechanic at the same school, and I live under a car now as is, so that's my fall back if I figure that HVAC isn't for me.

    Thanks Alot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    216
    Ladders are used every day by most of our people, commerical guys are on roofs alot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,029
    $40/h? if you're just out of school, dream on. if you have 10 yrs exp, there's possibility of it. being auto mechanic, you would spent majority of your time fixing junky cars. well, same w/ hvac eqp, but you could always up sell. you can't w/ a car.

    how heavy are you? ladder only rated for 350 lbs at most. w/ avg is for 250 for aluminum one. that' includes you and tools + eqp need to be hauled w/ u. i you're scare of height and ladder, it could be a hindrance. we got a tech who is trully residential only, great tech and person. he's scared of ladder and has to call back up if anything to do w/ chimney or height. but it don't really bother him much, as he deals mostly w/ resi stuffs.

    now, how resilient are you towards the weather? you'll work in blistering hot and in hail and sleet. in the middle of the winter you might have to shovel the roof to find the unit or just to go to it, depending on where the snow drift is. can you think on your feet quickly when the wind howling and the snow start to came down really heavy, it's 4:30 and getting dark very quickly? and the stupid wiring diagram is so cryptic you wanna call a linguistic to decipher it for you?

    if you like heavy lifting in awkward places and position, be an installer. go home each day closer to a more normal time, don't have to deal w/ on call/service most of the time.

    pay wise, to start, it's pathetic. it's just above min wage to start. after that it's depend on your ability, your company, and the local economy. work load wise, long hours. if you're in service don't expect to be home at 4:30 each day. it could be 7:30 and you still have one more calls to do or the calls you took at 4:30 running way late. we work when the weather is extreme, thats when eqp broke down more often. I don't want nice weather. well, I do, but my paycheck is depending on how bad the weather is...

    I think that's cover most of it. now, would you like to carry that vacuum pump and jug of freon across the roof? and that box of air filter?
    Parts Changer Extraordinaire
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Have tools and gauges, will travel.

    RIDGID|YELLOW JACKET|UEI|TESTO|STANLEY|CPS|VETO| KLEIN|MILWAUKEE|MASTERCRAFT|

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    131
    If your scared of heights and ladders chances are this trade isnt for you. Especially right out of school your gonna be the guy hauling tools up the ladder.Jobs are fairly scarces out there in the field atleast in ontario not to sure about out east. My best advice is what the hell try it out go to school see if you like it and go out to employers often. I did a course at Fanshawe in ontario here and i got my gas ticket out of it thats likely what you will get. Get your g3 and hit up employers get any exp you can. Hell find a guy whose busy and maybe work saturdays while your in school
    Good luck man were all in this together.

  5. #5
    Right now I'm 6' 4'' 290 pounds. that crosses out most ladders for me. I don't like heights, but I can deal with it. And I figured that $40/hr is crazy. As far as weather goes, I grew up in Labrador. I've had -65 C right up to 45 C. Weather and heavy lifting is no big deal to me.

    Really my big thing is if I'm going to make more money at this then automotive. Most places I find on Canada Job Bank are looking for 3-5 years exp and offer 30ish/hr, but I think your number is more realistic then that. However automotive isn't much better and there is zero chance of ever making more then 25-28 $ an hour.

    How much of a big deal is the whole ladder situation going to be?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    568

    Hmm

    Quote Originally Posted by st.george View Post
    Right now I'm 6' 4'' 290 pounds. that crosses out most ladders for me. I don't like heights, but I can deal with it. And I figured that $40/hr is crazy. As far as weather goes, I grew up in Labrador. I've had -65 C right up to 45 C. Weather and heavy lifting is no big deal to me.

    Really my big thing is if I'm going to make more money at this then automotive. Most places I find on Canada Job Bank are looking for 3-5 years exp and offer 30ish/hr, but I think your number is more realistic then that. However automotive isn't much better and there is zero chance of ever making more then 25-28 $ an hour.

    How much of a big deal is the whole ladder situation going to be?
    problematic i'd say!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    586
    If you havent even started school and you're worried about going up and down a ladder, I think you've got bigger problems!

    Your 6'+ and 290lbs, get your big boy pants on and get over it!
    (no disrespect intended)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Winston-Salem NC
    Posts
    1,133
    I am afraid of heights that won't kill me. Spent a large part of my youth jumping off 200+ foot high cliffs with only a rope, a piece of nylon strapping and a bit of metal to keep me plunging to my death.

    Long as the fall will kill me, I am OK.

    Size?
    That can be an issue. I am 6'1" and 345 pounds.
    I lifted for almost 28 years, until the 4th rotor cuff tear made me have to put the steel down. Power, not pretty though.

    Pay?
    Totally according to location, skills and how much the boss man values you.

    I know several mechanics, and barring those who own their own business, most guys around here with 3+years experience makes more than they do.

    Think it comes down to what you want.
    Your living under a car shows you have the necessary mechanical aptitude.
    Your idea that car mechanics is a back up, shows you like to figure out what is wrong and fix it.

    Boils down to do you want to go into the same place, spend "x" hours and go home, or do you want to work in a variety of different locations and environments.

  9. #9
    The whole ladder deal isn't game breaking. It's just if I can make a equal amount of money on solid ground working on a car I'd take that over being on a ladder all day.

    I fell off a ladder and broke my shoulder arm and wrist about 4 years ago, not my favorite thing to be on anymore. But, if I'm looking at $30+ an hour up here in canada compared to the $22 I might get as a automotive mechanic. Time to get over this ladder deal. Plus the added bonus of keeping cars as a hobby and not getting burnt out on them when they're my job and hobby.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    586
    3 points of contact guys! And tie it off when possible! There's one more about a certain height above the ledge, but hell, I forget that one!

    I dont think you'll be on ladders to much. Atleast I dont seem to be anyways.
    Pay is decent, not sure about Canada, but as long as you prove your worth, it can only go up!

    But then again, if you become a car guy you can go to the same shop everyday, drink the same crap coffee in the lobby and eat over salted popcorn on breaks.

    Personally I enjoy the variety and comical customer interactions, the instant gratification when you become a hero and fix someones furnace/AC! Somedays I dont even see my shop or maybe only once first thing in the morning, just out there on your own making chit happen!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    6,954
    think about coming off an ice covered flat commercial roof NO WALL try to catch the rung of the ladder extended 30' in blowing snow at night.big difference lifting weights vs humping a 60 ton compressor into place or up staris with rigging or climbing up on steel beams off a 8' ladder to check controls with no platform
    "when in doubt...jump it out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qEZHhJubY

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Bracebridge, ON
    Posts
    73
    A ladder that is maintained and not damaged is as safe as the person setting it up, respect the ladder and as mentioned before, follow the rules; 4-10 slope, 3 point contact, tie it off 'always', level and solid base.

    I personnally won't go on a sloped metal roof with snow on it. In Canada, you have the "Right to Refuse" unsafe work (I know this will open up a whole other can of discussion worms). As a worker and an employer I would respect anyones right as long as the reason is valid.

    Maxter, if you are still lifting 60 ton compressors by hand, well, good luck with that. The law of leaverage is a wonderful thing. Once you injure your back it's done for life.

    St George, if you have some mechanical ability and some physics/chemistry saavy, choose hvac. I would suggest to focus on refrigeration. There are less people doing it and there is less roof work from ladders

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    170
    ladders bothered me a bit at first getting back into the field. Within a couple of months I did not even think about it anymore. The better shape you are in the better for ladders. You will become sure of your balance and ability. In my area you will make more than a car mechanic to the tune of about $10hr more.

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