HVAC/R

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HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:14 am

I'm seriously considering going to school For HVAC/R and was wondering if anyone could fill me in on some basics of what is involved in learning the trait? It has always been a slight interest of mine and i know a little bit about some types of refrigerants and know a little bit about older furnaces from having problems with a few that were in houses i lived in. It's not the first thing i wanted to learn after electronics but it will be second. The first thing would be welding, but the school that offers it is just a bit too far from my house with having to ride a bike most of the time. The school i will be going to is supposed to have excellent hands on training and also works in the field in connection with habitat for humanity installing systems in their homes. That is a big plus for me as i do not like to sit in a classroom for extended periods of time, i rather get as much hands on learning as i can. http://www.unoh.edu/academics/college-of-applied-technologies/hvac-technology.shtml


Last edited by tuberadiogeek on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : decided to add the link for the school and program)
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HVAC/R

Post by Ben Delk on Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:37 am

Went thru the training at a local vo-tech 35 years ago. Took about 18 months. The basic operation hasn't changed much but the refrigerants have. I did mostly refrigeration and AC for about 10 years after that. I can tell you in the summer the hours are long (12-16) and it is hot demanding working. For sure not rocket science but like most training centers they have to teach you things you'll never use the field. I had a heat stroke and decided it was better to be in the AC rather than working on the AC. I now manage computers and networks. The good side to HVAC is there's lots of $$ to be made on the side if you have the time and you never have to call the repairman. I still have most of my equipment and contacts so I still dabble in it a bit when the need arises.

Good luck,
Ben
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:00 pm

That is mainly what i want to do, as i do not have much interest in furnaces but it will be nice to know how to repair them. Although i do not think i want to install them though. The school offers 2 choices on times, 54 weeks and 72 weeks. Both get you your certification but one is a diploma and one an associate degree. The 72 week one requires many more classes, which one is psychology. What the heck does that have to do with HVAC? I know the refrigerants have changed from R-12 to R-134a and R-22 to R410a. I know you can directly replace R-12 with R-134a once the system was pumped down and had the remaining R-12 removed then is made sure it doesnt leak after that it is retrofitted and recharged on the low side. That is about as far as my knowledge goes right now.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:48 pm

I would imagine the psychology cuts in after you inform a hot, potentially irate customer that it will take a long wait before you can get to him. Smile
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by Motorola man on Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:09 pm

I'm sure that most of the tech schools teach about the same curriculum. The "psychology" class that was required when I went through electronics school was pretty much just a preparation for job interviews. How to write a resume, how to present yourself during an interview, etc. The difference in diploma and degree was the extra "core" classes that you had to take (math, English and such).

I've thought about going back and getting an associates degree in electronics. It wasn't offered until after I had finished school. I already have a college degree and I'm not planning on looking for another job any time soon so it doesn't really matter, but having an additional degree certainly wouldn't hurt.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:12 pm

I really do not need psychology or most of the other classes. There are still a few academics to take with the diploma class, not nearly as many as the associate degree one. 1 year of school is enough for me as long as it's enough for financial aid, which i wouldn't see why it wouldn't be.. I'm sure it may help with an irate customer, and the more irate some would get the longer it may take me to get to them. I'll be learning some electronics and electrical along with HVAC, which will likely be similar to what i learned in HS electronics. I did alright in that, just the digital circuits is what got the best of me. I learned basic electrical pretty much on my own. So having that previous knowledge should help me out a bit.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by oldgoaly on Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:14 am

Well electronics background is good, most stuff is computer controlled or monitored, welding and soldering is a must. blue print and schematic reading is very important. Being able to stand the heat, a/c units are much of a problem in the cold weather! after 2 years of schooling you can do the basics, takes a good 5 years of working in the field to get good at it. When you think you have seen it all! that is when you will get caught!
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by Ragwire on Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:14 am

Amen on the hot, demanding work. I did this work for years and taught it in a vocational school for a couple more.
Overall, it was a rewarding career, but as I got older, my back wouldn't cooperate so I went back to college and got my BS in Industrial Technology and became a Manufacturing Engineer.

All degree progams, accociates or bachelors, have a lot of "general education" requirements...and they can be more useful than they first appear. Psychology, for example, plays into everything where you interact with people. Having a general education background helps you prepare for advancement beyond the technician level. Having said that, I do think there are a bit (or a lot) too many of those classes. Just my personal opinion.

Knowing electronics is helpful, as many students seem to struggle with the electricity part of the HVAC/R programs. Expect, however, to learn different aspects of electricity for HVAC/R such as electrical motors, electric heat sequencers, grounding, etc. Hopefully they will teach some basic electrical codes as well.

Welding, per se, is not usually needed, but you will need to hard solder with alloys containing various percentages of silver and with different fluxes.
You should learn the physics of refrigeration systems, psychrometrics, combustion, air flow measurements, duct design, specific heat of materials, latent heat, heat tranfer, insulation, and others. Possibly, there will be a section on steam heat and steam physics. Bet on there being hydronic heating and all about removing entrained air from these hot water heat systems, as well as pump flow and expansion tanks, etc. The refrigeration parts should cover a few more control components than air conditioning as well as the BTU requirements to freeze different kinds of foods.
There is a lot there, but it is interesting for anyone with a hands-on-physics mentality, an ability to think diagnostically, and a good work ethic.
Good luck!

cheers
Rob
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Jun 29, 2013 10:54 pm

Terry, The entire course is 72 weeks max and that is with all the extra general education classes. I believe they cover brazing and maybe soldering but not welding.
Rob, I'm not too shabby at electronics or electrical. I know some about motors and grounding, but not heat sequencers. I'm guessing those would be IC controlled? Which is somewhat what i struggled with in HS electronics. I imagine they would teach electrical codes but i'm not certain. I'm not sure what all is covered in the course, as i am still awaiting to receive more information and to get a tour of the facility. All i know is the school is supposed to be one of the best for everything they teach. I know for a fact it is one of the top schools for auto-diesel and high performance automotive. They even purchased the local 1/4 mile racetrack (LimaLand Motorsports Park) and run vehicles there on a regular basis.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by Ben Delk on Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:15 am

The worst that can happen is you learn a new trade and that is never a bad thing. I say go for it.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by oldgoaly on Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:25 pm

Welding was part of the criteria when I went, comes in handy fixing broken bracket, stress cracks in sheet metal housings. I carried a small mig along with me along with the portable oxy/acetylene set up. Now I picked up some work along the way to help the slow times! Now the shops are going more to home maintenance to keep the service guys busy. The trend is to be a part replacer! if monkeys could do it cheaper corporations would  have them. But if you really looking to get into the business the more you know the better!  Around here you could get into the pipefitters and plumbers or sheet metal for a good job with benefits plus extra specialized training. Soldering is easy, I was still a 1st year student and beat the Harris rep soldering, still mad I didn't win the prize cause I wasn't in the business. I beat him by seconds and my joints were better.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:52 pm

Just an update.. After reading the literature,watching a video and touring the school I decided i'm taking the class. I will be starting Aug. 26th for the 54 week course. It will be mostly shop with some general education courses. I will be learning electrical,electronics and brazing along with HVAC. The brazing will be with Oxy & Acetylene as i seen the torches. The nice thing is i already am knowledgeable in electrical,electronics and with a torch set up. The only difference is i used LP instead of Acetylene and cut rather then used the brazing/heating/soldering tip. Hopefully i can find a torch set up reasonable to have for practice.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by Ragwire on Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:06 pm

Good for you.
A Turbotorch is cheaper, and a good investment. Get a moderately high BTU one witht he hose to tank. No oxygen to buy, just acetylene (or MAPP gas for the smaller ones). Easy to use, and brazes/silver solders very well.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:43 pm

If i have to start out with just a single gas torch i will. However the main reason i want an oxy/gas torch is so i can cut steel if or when i need to.. as i do like to cut with a torch over a grinder or sawzall. I've had a few mishaps cutting with a grinder and hate being vibrated with a sawzall when doing long cuts. I have a friend that has the largest oxy/acetylene you can buy in ohio that he bought a few years ago and likely has no use for them any longer and i will see if he will part with them. If he wont part with them i'll see if he will part with his single acetylene cylinder that he called a plumbers torch.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by willy3486 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:39 pm

My BIL was in that field and did extremely well. The downside is being in the weather and being hard on the body later on. But its a good honest profession. I don't expect it to go away like electronics has. I went to college to get into electronics and lucked up in computers. Now I see computers going the way TVS did to a point. Sometimes I wish I could do something else due to little choice for employment in my area. But AC and heating seems to always be out there.

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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:08 pm

I know, the weather is the only downside. I figured its something good to learn. As i already know enough mechanics- automotive and small engines. I also know electronics to an extent as i took it in HS and did OK and learned some computer but most of that is outdated and rarely used now days. It was based on windows 98 and DOS. I then learned newer stuff pretty much on my own. There is very little money to be made in new electronics and only limited in computers due to lots of people doing it on their own and building their own machines except Macs.  The only other thing i need to learn is welding,then i'll be pretty much good to go. I dont forsee HVAC losing jobs any time soon.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by willy3486 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:13 pm

Here is the good thing. HVAC can be your profession,then you can come home to work on tube stuff to relax. I work on computers for a living but years ago I use to do them as a hobby as well, that got old and I got burned out. Now I can do computers and come home and be excited about old tube radios. The best advice I ever got on a profession was to think of the one thing you would do for a living that you liked for no pay if you had a roof over your head and food. That was suppose to be your ideal job. If I had known that I would have never got into computers.

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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:49 pm

I only work on my own computer. That is bc i know how and it saves time and money i do not have. I work on small engines for a hobby and to save money. I used to work on cars as a profession, but started out for fun. Now days i really dont like working on cars unless it's to help a friend or sibling. Hopefully i can do my own thing in HVAC once i work for a company for a short while.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by oldgoaly on Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:59 pm

You will want to do all the silver brazing with oxy/acet or oxy/propane to protect parts you use a heat block and narrow hot flame. Some makers designs keep you from using B-tank Acet/air. Scroll compressor are required to be silver brazed,  don't ever use lead free solder! I got burned when they claimed it worked, with in 6 months I redid every job on my dime!  I know many places don't give a damn about problems like that, but my name was on the business and word of mouth was the best advertising!
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:16 pm

I eventually want to get oxy/acet tanks but i just dont know when i'll be able to get some. If i can just get a B-tank from my friend i will use that for practicing, so i can hone my soldering and brazing skills. I'm guessing lead free solder doesnt bond as well as lead based solder?
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by Ragwire on Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:43 pm

Too soft. You need to silver braze all that stuff (not aluminum). High silver content like 45% and appropriate high temperature type flux for steel or steel to copper and don't get it too hot. Most other joints are copper and can use a lower silver content without needing separate flux.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:44 pm

I see that makes sense. I found out my buddy sold all his torch gear last year.. Mad Which irritates me bc he knew i was interested in his B cylinder before he moved out of town, just to have for heating things propane wouldnt be practical on. So i priced a B cylinder today at 1 gas store at it was 90.00 and a turbo torch set was 102.00 on ebay. I'm probably just going to use that until i can get a good deal on an Oxy/act set up. I priced there oxy/act tanks and they were 230.00 each and i about crapped when he said the price.. I had the same size tanks a few years ago and i sold them for 200.00 back then bc i wasnt using them and i needed cash.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by Ragwire on Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:52 pm

Maybe just as well...Don't buy anything so big that you're not willing to haul it up a 24 foot ladder 5 or more times a day.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by oldgoaly on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:27 am

wait til xmas time those small portable kits show up on the craigslist.  buy good set so you don't need a new set in a year or two.
many of the units have control boards, with your knowledge and youth!  troubleshoot them, most are just a bad relay, buy a replacement relay when your buying old radio stuff, fix it and advertise it on c'list. most hvac guys are part changers, if you get a good reputation for servicing board other  service guys will save you boards. It's kind of a buddy system, you help each other. talking to guy at the supply houses to let people know you are doing them.
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Re: HVAC/R

Post by tuberadiogeek on Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:23 am

I'll likely be getting a torch during my second session when i have more money and hopefully a part time job. I start the 26th of this month. The first class is Electrical and Electronics. Which covers circuit types and common electrical and safety practices along with thermostats and control boards and similar. I learned a good portion of that stuff in HS electronics. So it should help out some having learned some of that stuff previously.
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Re: HVAC/R

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