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What Does an Air Conditioning Specialist Do?

By M. Kayo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An air conditioning specialist installs, maintains, and repairs heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems and may work in commercial or residential settings. These specialists are sometimes referred to as heating/ventilation/air conditioning repair (HVACR) technicians or air conditioning technicians. An air conditioning specialist may acquire training from on-the-job experience, an apprenticeship, or through a formal training program. Diagnosing problems, maximizing overall operational efficiency, conducting equipment inspections, and determining fuel or energy consumption is an important part of this job. In order to effect repairs, service contracts and conduct maintenance on various systems, an air conditioning specialist needs to possess some specialized skills and certifications.

An air conditioning specialist may have years of on-the-job experience and may have learned the necessary skills from the ground up or by working through an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs typically last between three and five years and offer on-the-job training. Some employers prefer that the technicians they hire have completed a formal training program at a technical school, community college, or other training facility. These training programs typically last from six months to two years and provide proper training in HVACR equipment design, construction, installation, temperature control dynamics, and electronics. Other courses concentrate on the maintenance and repair, safety, care of tools, and current regulations regarding the use of refrigerants.

Knowing how to review blueprints, schematics, or other technical diagrams in order to properly effect repairs or maintenance on an air conditioning system is essential. Diagnosing problems, maximizing operating efficiency, conducting inspections, and determining fuel or energy consumption levels are all responsibilities of an air conditioning specialist. An HVACR technician must know how to use specialized equipment like hand tools, diagnostic hardware, and laptop computers in order to diagnose problems and make repairs to a system. Some air conditioning specialists have a working knowledge of the design of modern air conditioning systems. The chemicals used in air conditioning also mean that a specialist should be familiar with the current laws and regulations regarding the proper disposal of chemical refrigerants.

Ongoing training to keep up with the ever-changing technology associated with modern air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems is essential for an air conditioning specialist. Some state and regional authorities require licensure, which involve learning the latest information and passing a written test, for air conditioning specialists. Some specialists have acquired additional certifications that indicate various levels of competence in handling specialized equipment. For example, special certifications is required for handling anything that uses natural gas or a high pressure boiler. An air conditioning specialist may also be required to pass an examination and gain certification to learn the proper handling of refrigerants.

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