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08/07/2019

Advanced HVAC Training: Are Your Workers Ready for a Course Like This?

Basic training in HVAC starts with the fundamentals with trainees learning about refrigeration, electrical theory, and theory of heat.

HVAC work requires a dizzying range of cross-discipline knowledge. The technician must know something about electricity, physics (movement of air), chemistry, motor and automatic controls, and increasingly, smart technology, just for a basic grasp of the sophisticated equipment that will be installed, maintained, and repaired.

After mastering these basics in a vocational school or community college course, the trainee could serve as an apprentice to an HVAC technician with advanced certifications, going on jobs and gaining experience. Once the apprentice has a year or two of experience, it’s likely time to pursue advanced training.

Advanced HVAC Training

It’s usually up to the manager or the skilled HVAC technician to determine if and when the apprentice is ready to go to the next level. At that point, you can have the apprentice enroll in advanced HVAC classes at a vocational school, or arrange to have advanced training on the premises of your business. This latter arrangement is usually more convenient for apprentices, who don’t have to make travel arrangements and spend as much time away from work.

Some of the things a course of instruction is likely to teach are principles of thermodynamics, in relation to these topics:

  • Principles, fundamentals of heat transfer
  • Pressure and vacuum
  • Pressure/temperature/volume relationships
  • Laws of gas
  • Cycle construction

What Would a Trainee Learn in an Advanced HVAC Course?

Trainees must also master principles of the vapor-compression refrigeration cycle, which is key to knowing how refrigerated air is produced. A technician should have a good grasp of the heat-transfer process and operating conditions that affect the cycle.

Only licensed individuals may handle refrigerants, so a key part of training for the advanced technician is learning about these substances in a course segment, which includes these topics:

  • Refrigerant composition
  • R-410a (the replacement for Freon, now banned from manufacture)
  • Refrigerant classifications
  • Refrigerant safety
  • Refrigerant cylinders
  • Regulations and the environment

The trainee must also master knowledge about refrigerant equipment components, such as evaporators, compressors, condensers, metering devices, and accessories.

An understanding of the heat load as it pertains to a refrigeration system should be mastered so the technician can calculate the total product load and miscellaneous heat load.

Psychrometrics (involves measuring humidity by means of thermometers) is another key part of advanced HVAC training. Students study comfort, certain EPA regulations, moisture control-to-control mold, humidity, dew point, and air conditioner system design.

Other Advanced Topics

There’s still a lot to know when a trainee is ready to obtain certifications beyond apprentice level. Training might include topics such as: the specifics of manufacturers and system types, voltage and amps, refrigerant types and charge, oil and types, condensing and evaporating coils, and how to clean them. They should also know temperature reading, metering devices, refrigerant pressure, piping design, accessories, and material compatibility.

Advanced training will also familiarize the student with evaporators, which is key for mastering air condition system design. Since many older systems are still using R-22 (Freon), the advanced student must also know about this refrigerant and how to charge systems that use it.

Advanced students should also complete their knowledge of repairs by advanced training in such topics as these:

  • Voltage and amps
  • Condensing subcooling
  • Temperature difference in A/C evaporator
  • Temperature difference in A/C condenser
  • Evaporator superheat

Who Should Take Advanced Training?

Obviously, if your firm repairs, maintains, or installs HVAC systems, you will want your apprentice technicians to have mastered all the topics mentioned above so they can progress to certified technician status. However, there may be others in your work force who can benefit from advanced training, such as these:

  • Plant, facility maintenance technicians
  • Refrigeration system operators
  • Building managers, engineers, and superintendents
  • Plant, facility managers
  • Stationary engineers
  • Energy management personnel

Advancing Technicians

The new generation of workers coming along is said not to be content to stay in one place these days. They may want a clear view of how advanced training can help them reach career goals. For instance, once they’ve done their time as apprentices and have become master HVAC technicians, they may want to see where such skills — combined with more training — can take them in the future, such as working on HVAC system design. Technicians might also want to take business and management courses so they can handle more responsibility, taking some of the load off you as the manager.

It’s also a brave new world as far as smart technology and the HVAC industry goes. Further, the mandate to ramp up HVAC efficiency while looking for alternatives to fossil fuels is not going away. Equipment is evolving and will continue to change, as will the training of HVAC technicians to meet industry needs.

Are Your Technicians Ready for Advanced HVAC?

If you’re interested in advanced HVAC training for your team, contact NTT Training today for more information for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration: Advanced Classes.

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