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  1. #1
    Hey there, I'm 24 years old and last year I decided I HAD to make a choice for something to do with my life that I would stick to and focus on. I have had a really poor start due to various issues and have a lot of catching up to do. I chose HVAC because I needed to choose SOMETHING(not a good reason to choose a career I know).

    I'm in my first refrigeration and heating classes this semester at Ivy Tech Community College (anyone have experience with this college and how well did it prepare you?). The more I am learning about this, the better it feels and the more interested I am becoming in it.

    At the moment I have a hormonal issue which I am getting fixed, but until then I have horrible fatigue and recovery, and need at least 13 hours of sleep. This problem makes it really hard to have a job and go to school so I am only going to school at the moment.

    Now to get to my question.. I know nobody in the field of HVAC and have nothing to draw sources or experience from. I came into this knowing absolutely nothing and am scared when school is all through that I will not have what it takes to jump on the job competently. My first question is if you were in my shoes, -- knowing what you know now -- what steps would you take to make the best of your situation? I would love to try to get experience just doing the mule work in an HVAC atmosphere, but I don't have the time in the day for that and school at the moment. If a job was out of the question, and you had a little time(2 hours) to spare each day, what would be the best way to apply it?

    Again I'd love to know if anyone here graduated from Ivy Tech Community College and how well it prepared them. Most of the things on this forum confuses the **** out of me. I know the basics but 95% of the topics are like a foreign language.. that's what scares me.

    Also, I'm sure some of you are bosses.. what do you expect when you hire some new guy with only a 2 year degree under their belt. What will you expect them to know and what job specifics will you give them?

    And anyone here that got into the field only after getting an associates in HVAC? How much fear did you have in being able to meet the requirements, and was it harder than you anticipated or easier based on the boss' expectations upon your arrival?

    Thanks to any advise.

  2. #2
    Oh, just an indication of where I'm at, this is the level of questions we have to find for next week (just a preview for us of Refrigeration 2 class).

    How can you maintain working head pressures in a condenser under low ambient temperatures?

    What effect does the size of the clearance space have on compression ratio and capacity?

    (by the way if anyone can shoot out the answers for these two I'd appreciate it. I'm having a difficult time finding what to study to find these answers in my book)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    tidewater, va
    Posts
    2,147
    Jake,

    First and foremost, you have to focus on getting your medical aituation under control. I sincerely hope that you have a support network and/or good or at least adequate coverage. If you have an inquisitive nature, then HVAC should suit you fine.
    In light of your medical issues, I would say that you will have to utilize your 2 hours per day, at this time on your studies. i am sure that others will post here about the rigorous nature of this business, so I will jump to your study questions:

    1) Concerning head pressure in low ambient...think about it. Will head pressure be lower or higher, all other things being the same, when the air cooling the condenser is LOWER? Think "fan speed control" or maybe "Fan cycling"
    I am trying to get you thinking.

    2) Your second question is a little more engineering based. But it does have some relevance to servicing equipment. I will answer in a direct and simple way. The clearance space that you are refering to, if I read you correctly, is the space left between the top of the piston and bottom of the valve plate at the pistons travel to Top Dead center. The more space that exists here, the less capacity you have because the re-expanding gas takes up space that would otherwise be occupied by suction gas on the next intake stroke.

    Good Luck and stay on at HVAC-Talk. There is a lot of good advice to be had here. Take care.

    r404a

  4. #4
    Hey there and r4 and thanks for the response!

    I'm going to the doctor bi weekly at the moment and hope to get this under control in a few months. Hopefully a few months, it's a very frustrating time right now.

    1) Well the head pressure will be lower because the ambient airflow is taking too much heat too quickly. When you mention fan cycling, are you meaning that when this occurs to turn the fan down to minimize the amount of ambient air coming in. Sort of like a high pressure switch or something to control the speed of the fan?

    2) Damn, I read that on the internet somewhere what you just said about the compressor but I didn't put two and two together. Thanks a lot I'm going to think about this for a bit.

    And this seems like an awesome source to come to when I got questions, I just hope noone gets annoyed with the newbie level of questions I may have. Hopefully eventually though the questions will start to get more on par with the skills of you and others here.

  5. #5
    He's talking about cycling the condenser fans. Some controls just turn them on and off as needed. So your head pressure stays within a certain range (cut in and cut out). I don't know if there are controls that use a freq drive to slow down the condenser motor. Possible.

  6. #6
    Ahhhhh yeah that makes total sense, thanks a lot

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    Definitely get a handle on the medical concerns. Thirteen hours of sleep...many a service tech working late into the night or being jarred out of bed at three in the morning to answer a call could only dream of that much sleep!

    If I were in your shoes I'd do the following in this given order:

    a) Get medical concern whipped so it poses no threat to landing and keeping a job. Potential employers should not even suspect you've ever had this problem (IOW they will never be faced with wondering why you haven't shown up to work yet because you're soundly sleeping and can't hear the phone)

    b) Cut back on class hours/take evening classes so days are free to seek employment

    c) Get hired on as a helper at a local HVAC company. Run duct, chase parts, do what it takes to learn the trade from seasoned techs and installers. Gain the respect of these individuals (if they know their stuff) so they'll likely divulge tricks of the trade

    For ryan furnace guy, there are freq drives that regulate condenser motor fan speed for low ambient operation/head pressure control. Carrier makes one called Motormaster. My last building had one on the 40 ton 38AK condenser so it could run all winter to maintain discharge air temp for a VAV system.

    For jake's questions:

    1) Fan cycling during low ambient conditions is done to maintain sufficient head pressure in the condenser. If the condenser refrigerant is overcooled in low ambient conditions (cold weather), the mass flow rate (speed at which refrigerant flows through the system) will be slowed to the point where an insufficient pressure drop across the metering device will occur, resulting in poor heat absorbtion in the evap. This may also lead to liquid floodback to compressor...not good.

    2) Clearance volume in a reciprocating compressor affects both compression ratio and efficiency. The greater difference that exists between suction and discharge pressures, the more work the compressor must do to overcome condenser pressure to pump refrgerant into the condenser. A high clearance volume will result in high compression ratios and low compressor efficiency, because the greater gap between the piston head at top-dead-center and the cylinder head results in wasted volume that the piston could otherwise use to accomplish compression.

    Understanding compression ratio is helpful in knowinng if a compressor is beginning to show signs of worn valves or other pumping problems, if the normal range of compression ratios for a given application or compressor is already known.
    Clearance volume is more of a manufacturer/design issue and there's little a service tech can do about it.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  8. #8
    Thanks for the insight shophound. The way I know I'm in a career I'll like is that when I find something new out a lightbulb goes off and I get a satisfied feeling of accomplishment when I better understand something.

    There's just so many things to study I don't know what to look over first really that would be most beneficial.

  9. #9
    Originally posted by jakeharris74
    There's just so many things to study I don't know what to look over first really that would be most beneficial.
    Five years into this thing and I have the same problem. The answer is "one thing at a time".

  10. #10
    It is good to work with an experience company for a while if you can.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    933
    jake where are you in indiana? i attend ivy tech, i am not finished yet, happy so far, i have taken all the classes relating to our field except commerical refrigeration (taking it this spring) and heat pumps (next fall). read your text books in your spare time, spend time here, you DO know people in the feild, your teachers, they are a great rescource for job openings ect.
    Still learning opinions welcome.

  12. #12
    Originally posted by 2story
    jake where are you in indiana? i attend ivy tech, i am not finished yet, happy so far, i have taken all the classes relating to our field except commerical refrigeration (taking it this spring) and heat pumps (next fall). read your text books in your spare time, spend time here, you DO know people in the feild, your teachers, they are a great rescource for job openings ect.
    I go to Fort Wayne Ivy Tech. I am learning here and hope to learn a lot more in refrigeration 2 and Heat Service (heating 2) which I'm taking in the spring. Lucky you are almost done, if I take 4 classes a semester I'll be done by the start of 2007.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    933
    i am in evansville, i wonder if you could get work as a lab tech at school, that may be an option once you get your health situation under control. One thing that is the same everywhere: there are those who are filling space, and there are those that are continually striving to learn and grow. Show that to your teacher's and they will be your greatest asset when searching for a career.

    Still learning opinions welcome.

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