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  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Answer-Man View Post
    This is going to sound corny but..... Every question you asked could be answered: Yes, No, Sometimes, Maybe.

    Because it all depends. It depends on you, it depends on who you get a job with, it depends on what city (area) you are located in, it depends if you work union or not, it depends if you work residential, commercial or industrial. There is a lot of repetative work. This is how you get good at it and learn how to do the work quickly. There will be some really boring days, there will be some really interesting day. The industry is always changing so there is always something new to learn about (either how to repair or install)

    Like with so many work paths there is an ability to specialize, but by learning about multiple facets this will make you a better rounded and more employable

    I am not in the union now, but just my opinion there is no better training you can get by going through a union apprenticeship. They teach you and you earn a wage. You can earn a living wage but you may need to move to get a better or best job.

    I'm not trying to be wishy / washy but HVAC is like so many other trades. Tradesman in general are worth their weight in gold if you are willing to work at it. Their are no free rides.

    Good Luck
    You mentioned how there’s always something to learn, AMEN.
    I’m just starting Refrigeration at a tech school and couple tradesmen in their fields (service, sales, construction) came in to answer questions from students.
    One thing I’m asking: Is there a new technology/direction you see the industry is heading versus now or when you started?
    Being in school is an ideal time for me to find something extra/else that would hold value down the road.
    So far nothing that stands out except that it’s ideal to “Eat, sleep and breathe electrical theory” This is valuable for me to hear.
    Anything you got will be valued too, trends, ideas small or large.
    Thx



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  2. #15
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    Jan 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by NobleSKS View Post
    Thx
    I appreciate you
    This leads another question I have. I understand cell signals aren’t going to work everywhere and east coast west coast supply (in regards to business hours). Is tech support useful in unfamiliar components or brands?
    Several times our instructor stresses that the manufacturer is trying to protect there brand name but I’ve never trusted technical “engineer” over phone (especially outsourced nation) very knowledgeable or helpful.
    Does this industry have decent tech. support?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I think just getting through to a person at Tech. Rep. is a chore at times, then goes to voice mail if they do not pick up. Sometimes we contact them via contact us e-mail if we are not in a hurry to get a quick response. I had a friend who worked at Tech. Rep. at Carrier. He was a all around HVAC guy so certainly not particularly knowledgeable in any particular bells and whistle model. He said it was a high stress job. A lot of the time they get the model number from you then put you on hold and get the info on that unit, and read more detailed troubleshooting check points than what's available in the install guide. Some Techs at Tech. rep. are more knowledgeable on particular units than others. All in all from my experience with them I had more positive experience than negative.

    You get some small brand manufacturer with limited amount of models vs a large manufacturer with almost unlimited amount of models year in year out certainly can overwhelm Tech. Reps. at those companies.

  3. Likes NobleSKS liked this post
  4. #16
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    Thread Starter
    Double Post

  5. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatguy View Post
    Both answers are good so far. I'll add, if money is your sole influence on joining the trade then you will be in for a sad realization. It takes a lot of training and practice to become proficient and the ones who jump to the top of the pack are those that have a genuine interest in the trade. They are the ones who don't turn off when they go home, instead they tinker and research. Those are they guys that are recognized and excel to the better positions and specialty jobs. Those are the guys that will achieve the higher salary and have the cushier jobs. The desire for money won't get you there, genuine interest and enjoyment in the field is the only thing that will get you there. It is noticeable when people don't enjoy their work or have little interest and the employer isn't going to want to invest in you if you don't have the desire to excel and learn. If you just want to put in your 9-5 and go home you will find a spot in the trade that will let you do that but it probably won't be what you came to the trade for. It's up to you to decide what your true motive is and if that applies to you.

    Aside from that... There are many different parts of the trade that you can join. I always suggest people start out in the construction side of the trade to at least learn the basics, if you don't know how to install it then how can you expect to fix it? then if they don't like that or if they want something different then to move over to the service side and see if they like that better.

    Food stores are different from server rooms, and both differ from residential in terms of overtime requirements. What you do is up to you and that means you will have some say in the hours that you work based on the equipment that you work on. My employer is very flexible with the hours that I work and treats me well. Other employers have not run with the same level of respect and professionalism.

    My biggest dislike with this line of work is the constant exposure to chemicals, dust (this includes silica dust, dust from filters and ceiling tiles, various other stuff who knows what is in it), insulation, and on a bad day if the wind changes direction or excrement hits the fan then smoke from a repair and that stuff ain't good for you at all! General health concerns basically. You can avoid some of it with proper PPE but to think it will never happen to you is an unreal expectation. I mention this because the concern of that is very important to some while not at all to others. I enjoy good health and I see the reports of cause of death from people in the trade and there is a noticeable trend related to some of those concerns.

    You can't expect to be in comfort every day. Our equipment is on the roof top and is serviced in every season rain or shine, inside freezers, in attics, humid pool decks, etc... Often times it breaks when conditions are not favorable and down right uncomfortable. Try working in front of a freezer fan on a wet day. It gets cold fast. Or in an attic on a hot summers day, you come out dripping in sweat awfully quickly. Not every day is like that by any means but be aware that they will happen on occasion.

    If you have a good employer they will treat you good, if you have a bad employer then it is your choice to stay there or not. It really depends on what your other options are. Only company in town? Your options are pretty limited then...

    If the market isn't saturated with company's already then you can start your own when you feel ready and know what you want to work on and specialize in. You may decide not to do that. It's up to you.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Really good information. I like the first part about having a genuine interest, at my current job there are so many complacent half-ass workers and it drives me nuts.

    I see your also from BC, and I was hoping to ask a couple more questions if you don't mind;

    - In food stores (I recognize Jones and Display Fixtures around here), is it all night shift work? I can't see work being done when customers are around, and working constant night shift is horrible on your health.

    - In service, are you pretty much independent, always on your own? If this is the case, does it ever get lonely or anti-social?

    Thanks!

  6. #18
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    Oct 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buser2 View Post
    Hey guys, I'm new here.

    - I'm not afraid to work hard physically if I have too, but also don't want to be breaking my body everyday, is HVAC/R a really labour intensive job, or is it a good mix of brain work and hands-on work? How are your knees and back when your 50?

    The fact that you say "...if I have to..." Tells me volumes. You have the wrong mindset so the answer is NO.
    Is it really labour intensive? It will be, yes. But you will get a break. Its called the shoulder seasons...
    Your knees and back will be shot by time your 45...


    - I understand every encounter will vary, but generally are you respected by customers and your managers? Is every job a rushed go-go-go situation, or are you able to relax, have some autonomy, and do good proper work?

    Firstly, blue collar workers are not respected by white collar. That being said, if you do your job well and don't BS the customer they may respect you. Second question is tough. Yes it generally is go go go. Relax is not a word in our vocabulary so I can't answer that. You always will do good work.. won't you? If not you won't last a week.

    - Do you always work alone? Does this ever get lonely and isolating if true?

    Generally, yes. Im too busy to think about lonely...

    - How is your life balance? Are you normally working day-shift M-F with some emergency calls in between? Are you forced to working 80hr weeks in the summer season? Are you required to travel out of town?

    Life balance? Whats that? You are on call 24/7. Why? Because your friends and family will bug for freebees. Working 80+ a week? If only... Ive been seen working 100+. If you don't believe me ask my Ex...

    - If you ever decided you wanted a change, is there other opportunities like becoming a service manager, starting your own company, becoming an instructor or some other type of role?

    If I decide for a change then I go for a fishing pole. Once you're in the trade you can never leave... kind of like that Eagles song, Hotel California.

    - Overall are you happy with your career, would you recommend your son this line of work?

    I love my career and no I wouldn't recommend it to my kid...
    Just being honest. Its a hard life and there isn't many nowadays who can do it. Thats why I make the big bucks. If I could do it all over Id get into forestry...

  7. #19
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    Jul 2012
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    WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingofAlderwood View Post
    Just being honest. Its a hard life and there isn't many nowadays who can do it. Thats why I make the big bucks. If I could do it all over Id get into forestry...
    Do you do market refrigeration? I’ve been doing HVAC/R for eight years, mostly commercial and industrial. I’ve worked two or three 60 hour weeks and break fifty hours in a week less than five times a year. Don’t scare the guy off! lol

  8. #20
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    Funny you mentioned market refrigeration. Every time I hear those words I get this nervous eye tick...

  9. #21
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    Sep 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buser2 View Post
    - In service, are you pretty much independent, always on your own? If this is the case, does it ever get lonely or anti-social?
    With service work you are mostly on your own. The way it works for me is I get a list of jobs I have to do in the morning and then I'm sent off and I only get calls from the office when something comes up like a job gets added or canceled or they want to try to squeeze in a few more during the day. If I think I might need help with a job or I get there and it turns out you need one or two extra guys I can request help for the job but most of the time it is just me driving around and listening to CBC radio all day. That part is nice because when I do work with people they always try and shut off my CBC.

    Your customers will often want to chit chat but if you are the kind of guy that needs some sort of company while you work service work is terrible that way. Hell the last two years I missed the company Christmas party because I was still on the road while the installers and office folks closed up at 3.

  10. #22
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    Oct 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sooty View Post
    With service work you are mostly on your own. The way it works for me is I get a list of jobs I have to do in the morning and then I'm sent off and I only get calls from the office when something comes up like a job gets added or canceled or they want to try to squeeze in a few more during the day. If I think I might need help with a job or I get there and it turns out you need one or two extra guys I can request help for the job but most of the time it is just me driving around and listening to CBC radio all day. That part is nice because when I do work with people they always try and shut off my CBC.

    Your customers will often want to chit chat but if you are the kind of guy that needs some sort of company while you work service work is terrible that way. Hell the last two years I missed the company Christmas party because I was still on the road while the installers and office folks closed up at 3.
    Haha nice, thanks for the reply.

    I know it will obviously vary person to person, but how much of the day are you just driving between jobs? Traffic in Vancouver is awful, I'd imagine a lot.

  11. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buser2 View Post
    Haha nice, thanks for the reply.

    I know it will obviously vary person to person, but how much of the day are you just driving between jobs? Traffic in Vancouver is awful, I'd imagine a lot.
    I'm outside of Toronto and when I have to work downtown it can be two hours just getting to the first job. It just depends on the work that comes in and some days you will drive more than you work but other days it will be the opposite. Not having to sit and stare at the same four walls all day is really a huge positive for the job.

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