HVAC tradesperson uses AC training to check equipment

4 Signs an HVAC Career Path Is for You

Is trade school the right choice for me? Do my interests line up with a specific trade? I think I’m interested in HVAC training, but how do I know if heating and cooling school is the right path for me?

 

If you are considering taking your education, skills and knowledge to the next level by going to a trade school, you have probably asked yourself these questions. Individuals interested in a future in the heating and cooling trade often wonder if their personality, interests and skills are a good fit. As you weigh your options and plan for the future, consider these indicators.

 

  1. I am a reliable worker.

  2.  

    You are a dependable person who understands everyone plays an important role. Family, friends, coworkers and supervisors trust you to work hard and fulfill expectations. People know you will follow through with what you say you will do—whether it is a small request or an important appointment.

     

    These qualities help students studying the HVAC trade complete their work. For example, if an air conditioning unit stops working in the middle of the night, homeowners and building managers want a trustworthy individual with the skills and knowledge to resolve the problem right away.

     

  3. I like solving problems.

  4.  

    You are a technically minded person—which means you approach a problem by locating patterns and efficiencies. You may prefer to create a system or routine when you want to be successful with work or school. Following a process gives you control over challenges, and you often break a project into smaller parts because you want to see how things work.

     

    In HVAC school, you can use this trait to your advantage. Heating, cooling and refrigeration systems have a web of inner parts, and students learn how and why things work to produce cold or hot air. When one of these important systems breaks or malfunctions, an individual in the HVAC trade is often the first person on the scene. Students who are technically minded are prepared to examine a control panel and locate patterns to complete important repairs.

     

  5. I enjoy an active lifestyle.

  6.  

    You like staying active—whether you are spending time with family and friends or learning hands-on in the classroom. You are the type of person who does not mind taking a walk or a drive with no destination in mind—as long as you are going somewhere, you are happy. A traditional desk job sounds a little boring to you, and you think you want a future that requires working on your feet.

     

    People in the HVAC trade spend time driving to job sites, working with their hands and maybe crouching into tight spaces to assess and service heating, cooling or refrigeration equipment. This active role calls for individuals to be comfortable moving on their feet for periods throughout the day.

     

  7. I like helping people understand things.

  8.  

    When you know how something works, it is easy for you to teach others to be successful with it, too. Your knowledge and passion for a topic—such as cars, cooking, or movies—sets you apart from others. You are friendly and approachable, and you feel comfortable talking to strangers.

    Individuals in the HVAC industry interact with many people throughout the day—and they are often answering important questions about their trade, skills, knowledge of various equipment, or why a replacement part is necessary and how it will improve an overall system. Homeowners, contractors and business managers want to understand what a red flag looks like—and an HVAC tradesperson is responsible for explaining various elements about a furnace, air conditioner, refrigerator or other appliance. Strong communication and patience help make these interactions successful.

If you are interested in learning entry-level HVAC skills or starting trade school classes, explore our A/C and refrigeration program and schedule a tour online today.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department. Grad rates, debt and other consumer disclosures at apexschool.com.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Mechanic with wrenches in pocket

What Are the 7 Trade School Programs at Apex?

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to school. Some students attend a traditional college to earn a two- or four-year degree. Many others discover a combination of knowledge, skills and technical training is the right path for them. A vocation education at trade school provides students with a variety of positive benefits. If you’re interested in attending trade classes, keep reading to learn about our programs.

 

Automotive Service Repair

At Apex, the automotive service repair program helps students learn to repair vehicles, help vehicles operate safely and get specialized training for an entry-level position. It provides a foundation of technical skills students use to evaluate mechanical systems and make repairs, as well as:

 

  • Fix and maintain the inner parts of the vehicle
  • Test major components when a vehicle breaks down
  • Work on engines, transmissions and brakes
  • Perform basic car care and maintenance, including oil changes

 

Students spend time in the classroom and shop where instructors incorporate diagnostic procedures, proper tool usage and much more. Auto mechanic classes are often a good fit for individuals who enjoy hands-on learning and have a passion for cars. Discover four signs auto mechanic school is right for you.

 

Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, Appliance/Controls

This vocational program focuses on teaching skills related to repairing and troubleshooting air conditioners, refrigeration systems, electrical control panels, major home appliances and gas-fired heating systems. Students in the HVAC program at Apex learn how to:

 

  • Use the basics of electricity for installation, service and maintenance
  • Repair and maintain domestic and commercial units
  • Learn about cooling towers, piping and ductwork
  • Follow codes and safety practices

 

HVAC training classes include both basic and advanced segments where students split their learning time between the classroom and shop. Interested in the HVAC field? Learn more about

 

Auto Body Repair

From preparing a car for body repairs to learning how to weld and retexture plastic, students in this vocational program train to enter the auto body repair industry. Students not only learn to improve a vehicle’s appearance but also:

 

  • Work on collision repairs, windshields and window glass
  • Fix structural, safety and cosmetic issues, such as dented doors and bumpers
  • Use paint and welding techniques
  • Restore older cars damaged by rust and age

 

In auto body repair classes, experienced instructors teach students techniques for fixing everything from minor to major auto collision damage. Explore the differences between the

 

Combination Welding Technology

Apex’s trade classes give students hands-on experience and teach a range of welding knowledge. Students learn techniques for welding repair and maintenance as well as how to use some forms of advanced welding equipment. Apex instructors focus on helping students:

 

  • Read blueprints and interpret welding symbols
  • Perform the four major welding processes, including SMAW, GMAW, GTAW and FCAW
  • Weld plates and pipes in multiple positions

 

Welding has been used for centuries to join two pieces of material together and continues to be a viable modern career option. Interested in learning if combination welding classes might be a good fit for you? Here are three signs you should consider welding training.

 

Electrical and Advanced Electrical

This trade school program prepares students to perform a variety of electrical tasks—from reading circuit diagrams and installing wiring for lighting to learning about green energy systems and more. Apex students learn with instructors and peers, study theories in the classroom and get hands-on experiences in the shop. Students training in the electrical program learn to:

 

  • Use basic tools and equipment to repair electrical conductors and components
  • Perform splices, bonding and grounding
  • Install circuit breakers, fuses and wiring
  • Install security systems, fire alarms, intercoms and other electronic systems

 

Electrical and advanced electrical classes span six segments and help students earn 900 hours of trade school training. Interested in exploring a bright future in the electrical field? Discover four reasons the electrical trade could be the path for you.

 

Construction and Building Skills

Individuals in the construction and building trade program touch upon a variety of skills—ranging from carpentry and electrical familiarity to plumbing, kitchen and bath knowledge. These tradesmen and women use their hands-on skills to:

 

  • Troubleshoot and repair electrical boxes and fittings
  • Frame windows and doors
  • Install light fixtures, wiring and countertops
  • Use power tools and plumbing blueprints

 

At Apex, students prepare to enter the construction field by taking six segments of carpentry and building skills classes, as well as learning to build a model house in the shop. Think you might be a good fit? Explore five signs a construction career path is right for you.

 

Plumbing and Pipefitting

Students in this vocational program learn how to install water heaters, water supply and waste disposal systems found in private kitchens and bathrooms. They also learn the basics and practice real techniques, including:

 

  • Assemble pipe sections, tubing and fittings
  • Locate leaks and repair pipes, fixtures and drainage systems
  • Follow blueprints, codes and safety specifications
  • Use a variety of hand and power tools, levels and other materials

 

Plumbing classes give students the opportunity to learn how to find the source of a problem, as well as what it takes to solve the problem. Wondering if you’re ready to pursue the plumbing trade? Here are four signs a plumbing career could be a good fit.

 

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department. Grad rates, debt and other consumer disclosures at apexschool.com.

 

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Red and blue manifold gauges on an HVAC system for small spaces

What Is the A/C & Refrigeration Trade?

Individuals in the A/C and refrigeration trade keep buildings, offices, stores and homes cool and comfortable. Heating and air conditioning systems control the temperature, humidity and overall air quality. By providing a climate-controlled environment, refrigeration systems make it possible to store and transport food, medicine and other perishable items.

In America, most homes and buildings use some form or system for air conditioning or refrigeration. Additionally, the popularity of air conditioning systems worldwide continues to grow with the development of new technology and products.

Interested in pursuing HVAC technical training? Read more to learn what to expect as an individual in the A/C and refrigeration industry.

  1. What does an individual in the HVAC trade do?

  2. In the air conditioning and refrigeration trade, technicians may install, maintain and repair industrial, commercial and residential HVAC systems and component parts. To install HVAC systems, technicians mount or place system components based on drawings or verbal instructions. Then, the technicians assemble and install the refrigeration or air conditioning system. HVAC technicians calibrate controls on the unit, which includes wiring, and test that the system works properly.

    Residential or commercial HVAC system maintenance includes checking system parts, lubricating moving parts and monitoring the refrigerant charge. Additionally, to repair a HVAC system, a technician diagnoses the problem and fixes the unit by replacing or repairing controls, electric wiring or other parts. HVAC technicians may also repair heating equipment and troubleshoot gas-fired equipment.

  3. Where does an HVAC tradesperson work?

  4. Refrigeration and air conditioning technicians usually work for companies that install and service A/C or HVAC systems. Some refrigeration and air conditioning technicians are self-employed.

    As an air conditioning and refrigeration tradesperson, expect to work in homes, schools, stores, hospitals, office buildings, or factories. Technicians often work in hot and cold environments depending on the type of unit, building or repair. Working in small spaces, outdoors, on rooftops and during irregular hours is common in the A/C and refrigeration industry.

  5. How long is HVAC school?

  6. Depending on your enrollment, an A/C and refrigeration program generally takes between six months and two years to complete. When considering HVAC programs and certification, look for trade schools that are licensed by the state.  You might also want to see if the school is accredited.

    Learn more about enrolling in trade school at Apex Technical School.

  7. What HVAC tools does a tradesperson use?

  8.  

    In the A/C and refrigeration industry, technicians use a variety of tools to install, maintain or repair residential and commercial cooling systems or units. For general HVAC work, expect to use these tools: an electric drill, a tape measure, pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, ladders, and electrical testers. Some common air conditioning tools for installing or repairing units: a tubing cutter, refrigeration gauges, and a vacuum pump.

  9. How do I gain HVAC skills in New York?

  10. New York offers opportunities for skilled A/C and refrigeration technicians. A large population and a temperate climate has need for heating and cooling system installation, repair and maintenance. If you’re interested in gaining entry-level skills for the HVAC industry, enroll in a trade school, like Apex Technical School.

     

    At Apex, students in the air conditioning and refrigeration program develop skills to work on:

    • Major home appliances
    • Basic domestic and commercial refrigeration systems and air conditioning
    • Advanced commercial refrigeration systems and air conditioning

Learn more about the HVAC trade and training program by visiting the Apex Technical School’s website.

 

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department. Grad rates, debt and other consumer disclosures at apexschool.com.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

An individual in the HVAC industry repairing a refrigerator with various tools

Air Conditioning History and HVAC Industry Growth

Man’s attempts to stay cool and comfortable during extreme summer heat are well documented. Historical evidence shows attempts by several individuals to control indoor temperatures. For example, the Ancient Romans utilized the aqueduct system to circulate cool water through the walls of their homes. The emperor Elagabalus built a mountain of snow in the garden next to his villa to keep cool during the summer.

 

1800s: Cooling Devices and Innovations

 

Throughout history, individuals used hand-held fans to create a breeze and stay cool. A Chinese inventor built the first room-sized, but hand-powered, rotary fan. Another innovation in cooling indoor spaces included building homes with windows facing away from the sun. Builders also installed ‘wind towers’ onto large buildings to catch and circulate the breeze. And to be comfortable in the sweltering heat of Washington, D.C., President Garfield used an awkward device to blow air through cotton sheets doused in ice water.

 

1900s: Developments in Electricity and Motors

The development of electricity and motorized power led to air conditioning and the HVAC industry as we currently know it. Using alternating current motors, Nikola Telsa invented oscillating fans. In 1902, Willis Carrier invented the first air conditioning system. Originally intended to control humidity in a printing plant, Carrier’s mechanical unit sent air through water-cooled coils to produce cold air. In 1922, Carrier invented the centrifugal chiller, adding a central compressor and reducing the size of his industrial refrigeration system.

 

In 1925, the Rivoli Theater introduced air conditioning to the public. The air-conditioned theater started the summer blockbuster tradition, as people went to see movies to escape the heat. Starting in the 1930s, air conditioning spread to department stores, rail cars and offices. In 1945, Robert Sherman invented a portable, in-window air conditioner that cooled, heated, humidified, dehumidified and filtered the air. Eventually, residential homes and buildings started adding air conditioning and HVAC units. According to the Carrier Corporation, 10 percent of homes had air conditioning in 1965.

Today: HVAC Market and Products

Many different types of units exist in the HVAC market. Price, functionality and purpose tend to determine the type of AC or HVAC unit installed. The type of building being cooled also factors in to what type of AC or HVAC unit is used. Learn about the most common types of air conditioning systems below.

Domestic Air Conditioners

  • Room Air Conditioners: Room air conditioners mount in windows or through walls to cool a room while the compressor is located outside. Room air conditioners are sized to cool just one room, so many may be required for a whole house.

 

  • Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners: Mini-split systems use an outside compressor/condenser and indoor air handling units. To be cooled, each room or zone uses its own air handler. Each indoor unit connects to the outdoor unit via a conduit carrying the power and refrigerant lines. Indoor units typically mount on the wall or ceiling.

 

  • Central Air Conditioners: Central air conditioners cool an entire house. In each system, a large compressor unit located outside drives the process; an indoor coil filled with refrigerant cools air that is then distributed throughout the house via ducts.

 

Commercial & Industrial Air Conditioners

 

  • Split System Air Conditioners: Small commercial buildings use single split air conditioning systems. They provide heating and cooling to individual rooms, making them ideal solutions for small offices, server rooms, shops, and cafés.

 

  • Multi-split System Air Conditioners: Multi-splits work the same way as single splits but connect indoor units to one outdoor unit. Places like restaurants, offices, doctor’s surgeries and shops frequently use multi-split systems.

 

  • VRF or VRV Air Conditioning: VRF stands for variable refrigerant flow, while VRV stands for variable refrigerant volume. Medium to large applications, including hotels, retail spaces, larger officesand mixed-use buildings use VRF/VRV air conditioning. Efficiency, reliability and controllability make these systems capable of meeting larger buildings’ complete heating and cooling requirements.

 

Future: Advancements in the HVAC Industry

In America, most homes and buildings have some form of air conditioning. Advancements in technology make air conditioning and HVAC units widely used. Consider HVAC and industrial refrigeration skills and repair if you are interested in pursuing a trade career.

 

The following topics cover the basics of the HVAC and refrigeration industry:

 

  • Major Home Appliances
  • Basic Refrigeration
  • Domestic Refrigeration
  • Commercial Refrigeration
  • Commercial Air Conditioning
  • Advanced Commercial Refrigeration

 

To understand more about the HVAC industry, learn about the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program at Apex.

 

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department. Grad rates, debt and other consumer disclosures at apexschool.com.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Refrigeration trends include smart refrigerators, which help you make your grocery list on a smart phone when you run out of items.

3 of the Latest Refrigeration Trends

The HVAC market, which includes domestic and commercial air conditioning and refrigeration systems, is constantly evolving to better produce more efficient and safer home appliances. Refrigerators are no exception. Cooling technology has come a long way since the ice box. Here are some noteworthy refrigeration trends gaining speed in the industry and today’s households.

Smart refrigerators act as a family hub

Homeowners looking to make their homes a little smarter are turning to connected appliances or devices that can communicate with one another. Top home appliance brands including Samsung and Frigidaire have released refrigerators with seemingly futuristic capabilities with the intention of bringing families together.

Smart refrigeration features include built-in screens that allow you to watch TV, digital sticky notes and family calendars, and the ability to stream music during cooking or entertaining. Some smart refrigerator models utilize interior cameras to track food inventory with images that can be referenced during shopping trips.
 
According to Consumer Reports, the smart home evolution is center stage. Christine Edwards, senior analyst at Gap Intelligence says, “Deep learning technology is expected to be the next iteration and focus for smart home appliances as they continue to evolve to our lifestyles, physical home space, adaptive environments and user dynamics.”
 
Smart refrigeration features include built-in screens that allow you to watch TV, digital sticky notes and family calendars, and the ability to stream music during cooking or entertaining. Some smart refrigerator models utilize interior cameras to track food inventory with images that can be referenced during shopping trips.
 
According to Consumer Reports, the smart home evolution is center stage. Christine Edwards, senior analyst at Gap Intelligence says, “Deep learning technology is expected to be the next iteration and focus for smart home appliances as they continue to evolve to our lifestyles, physical home space, adaptive environments and user dynamics.”

Environmentally safer refrigerants

When it comes to choosing major appliances, many homeowners and business owners say environmentally friendly options are important to them. The Linde Group, a leading world supplier of industrial, process and specialty gases, notes the rise of R600a, also known as Care10, in a range of popular refrigeration appliances.

 
This natural refrigerant is popular “due to its low environmental impact and excellent thermodynamic performance, and it is now the refrigerant gas of choice in domestic and small commercial refrigerators.” The good news for earth-conscious shoppers looking for domestic or commercial refrigerators? Care10 is a nontoxic refrigerant rated with zero ozone depletion potential and very low global warming potential.

Greater need for ease of use and energy efficiency

Today’s homeowners are not only concerned with Wi-Fi-connected features and safe cooling systems, but also appliance efficiency. What does this boil down to? Energy bills. Fewer people are willing to pay the high sticker cost for a refrigerator if that machine consistently increases electric bills.

 

To help combat energy inefficiency, manufacturers have designed new models with glass windows built into the refrigerator door. When a user walks within proximity of the fridge’s sensor, the interior lights up and allows the user to see what’s inside without opening the door and releasing the cold air. Thus, energy costs stay low.
 
Additional features such as air-tight crispers, LED lighting, and in-door storage can also help lower energy costs and improve use. Technology that focuses on better user experience leads to home appliances that function for the way we live and consume energy.
 
Where will refrigeration trends go next? Keep up with Toolbox Chatter for the latest news in refrigeration and high-velocity HVAC technology.
 
 
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

HVAC working fixing an air conditioning unit

The History of the HVAC Industry

While the HVAC trade as we know it today is defined as mechanical systems that help heat, ventilate, and cool (air conditioning) buildings, the modern HVAC system stems from centuries of innovation. Find out how humans first started heating and cooling their buildings, and how HVAC has evolved into an advanced mechanical trade.

The History of Heating

While the timeframe is disputed, humans mastered fire at their earliest existence, with clear evidence dating back to 125,000 years ago. It was, and remains, humanity’s primary source of heat, whether it be through lighting a fire in a cave or igniting a modern gas-powered heating system.

Evidence points to ancient Greece as responsible for first using the heat-power of fire to create a central heating system. They built flues (a duct or pipe) underneath buildings that spread the heat created by fire throughout the buildings. The Roman Empire advanced the Greeks’ heating system work by building furnaces, which magnified the heat created by fire, and transferring it through pipes underneath floors and inside walls.

As with the Roman Empire’s heavy influence on the history of plumbing, the Empire’s fall caused a delay in the innovation of the history of heating. During the medieval era, buildings were heated mainly by fireplaces, with some highly efficient heating systems powered by furnaces still in existence. Small modifications were made to make the primitive fireplace more efficient, according to Master.ca, including reducing the size and installing metal plates inside the hood to keep hot air in and cold air out.

In the 1700s, hot air was used to centrally heat buildings through pipes in the walls. However, radiators soon began to take over the heating trade, starting with steam radiators and evolving into hot water radiators. In the 1900s, homes began to receive heat in every room rather than only one or two heat-equipped rooms. Boilers that powered radiator heating systems made this possible around the world.

Now, we have heating systems that can also be powered by electricity, solar energy, or even local geothermal heat.

The History of Air Conditioning

As fire has remained the primary source of heating, water has been humanity’s primary source of cooling. When water evaporates, it has a cooling effect, which was discovered by ancient Egyptians. They hung wet reeds in windows, allowing the air that blew into the room to cause water evaporation and, thus, inside air cooling.

Other ancient societies developed cooling systems, including the ancient Romans whose aqueducts transferred cool water through walls. China saw the invention of the water-powered fan as early as the 2nd century.

Mechanical refrigeration, Energy.gov cites, began in the mid-1800s with the invention of an ice-making machine. Motivated by the idea that cool air could benefit sick patients, American Dr. John Gorrie invented a machine that powered a compressor by steam, wind, water, or horse and successfully made ice. His invention, which was an important development in the history of refrigeration, was never adopted publicly.

Willis Carrier is credited with inventing the first modern air conditioner in 1902. While searching for a way to control humidity, Carrier designed a cooling and heating machine, which could dehumidify and humidify air.

Cooling systems began to be widely embraced by the public in the 1920s when public movie theaters adopted the distribution of cold air through floor and ceiling vents. While these systems were widely implemented in public spaces, they were too large to be added to individual homes until the 1930s when General Electric optimized a “self-contained room cooler,” according to Energy.gov. This quickly led to the creation of the window air conditioning unit.

By the 1960s and 1970s, central cooling had been improved and downsized to be added to most homes, leading to a drastic rise in energy usage. Energy conservation and efficiency has since been an important part of the HVAC trade, affecting the way recent HVAC system history has developed.

The Modern HVAC Trade

While the history of heating and the history of refrigeration and air conditioning developed separately, the heating and cooling fields have merged as homes and buildings are often able to share one system for both purposes. And as humidity can lead to warmth, and dryness can lead to coolness, the field requires a good understanding of how water can affect temperature. Those in the modern HVAC industry can focus on some areas in the field including:

  • How electricity powers major appliances like refrigerators
  • Cooling systems powered by vapor compressions
  • Commercial air conditioning systems
  • Gas-fired heating systems
  • Electrically-powered heating systems

Heating and cooling has become a central part of modern society, allowing us to achieve optimal comfort in our buildings. You can learn more about how society has pursued building comfort in this article about the history of construction.
 

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.