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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 HVAC industry.

What does an individual in the HVAC trade do?

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.

Where does an HVAC tradesperson work?

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.


How long is HVAC school?

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.

At Apex, students can spend as little as 7 months in the program. Learn more about enrolling in trade school at Apex Technical School.

What HVAC tools does a tradesperson use?

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.


How do I gain HVAC skills in New York?

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

Interested in pursuing a path in the refrigeration industry? 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.

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