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  • refrigeration

    here's one for you HVACR folks, and maybe for some of you plumbers as well...

    I'm already a journeyman plumber, I've been in the commercial/industrial (you could even call it "pipefitting lite") sector of the profession for my entire apprenticeship. I've ran a few refrigerant lines (had to be inspected/tested by a third party) and lots and lots of heating lines (hot water, glycol, steam, etc).
    I'm thinking of SOMEHOW becoming a HVAC/refrigeration journeyman as well as a plumber. I'm thinking about long-term career goals here ie instead of just installing the pipes I can also install and service the equipment, i will be doubly valuable to an employer as well as to myself should I wish to start a small business later on in life.

    I'm just looking for some feedback I guess. good idea? bad? is refregeration a "big jump" or a "small jump" for a guy with a commercial/industrial plumbing background?
    Thanks folks.

  • #2
    Re: refrigeration

    To go from line installation to a Refer / HVAC Tech is a GIANT jump.

    If this is the direction you want to go start taking HVAC and Refer classes at your local college or trade school.

    Plan on at least a year of schooling to get the basics. 2 years of schooling and 4 years OJT before I would consider striking out on my own.

    If you want to get an idea of what you are looking at pick up a copy of
    "Modern Refigeration and Air Conditioning" 18th edition and go from there.

    Bill

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    • #3
      Re: refrigeration

      It's a big leap but the best thing you can do is to try and get into installing the furnace and ac. You'll get a basic understanding of the equipment, controls, electrical, and normal operating conditions. It'll also be a nice way to figure out if this is really the field you want to be in. To get all the training and then figure out it's not for you......would suck.
      Also, books are great but.......screw that......ask around. Get the feedback from the guys around you. If you don't like people, Residential service isn't for you but commercial may be.
      Anyways, hope that helps!

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      • #4
        Re: refrigeration

        It is an amazingly good idea. Stick with it. the more things you can do, the more money you can make and the more freedom to move around you have. HVAC tech's make good money. I have held a universal RSES license since it was first instituted and it has served me well.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Re: refrigeration

          I have the book Okiebill mentioned. It's a great one, and I second the suggestion to contact a local college about classes.

          I'm a Journeyman Plumber, and am taking HVACR classes, mostly because it was something I didn't understand how to do in the slightest, and the idea of something I couldn't fix bothered me. It also opens up a whole new line of work and income for me.

          On the downside, I need to expand my insurance, buy more/different tools, and eventually maintain another set of licenses.
          No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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          • #6
            Re: refrigeration

            go for it! the more skills you have the more work you will have. breid............

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            • #7
              Re: refrigeration

              Thanks for the advice gentlemen!
              I looked into the local trade schools. The privately-operated ones offer the HVACR course for a small fee of $15 000 per year, while the public college offers a program for $750 per semester, at three semesters per year, and is considered by guys in the trade to be the better school. So the choice seems obvious. However, they don't offed evening/weekend classes so I might have to wait until my next layoff (brand-new Journeyman's license + started with a new company last year = layoffs for the new guy) to get this started.

              That being said, I think I can get my hands on some smaller commercial furnace, ac or heatpump inatallations, if I ask around and do some digging. As a plumber, I've installed boilers so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to get into the forced-air side. (maybe? ...woulodn't want to do a shite job and come off as a know-it-all hack, have to get a basic run-thru of it first by someone who knows what they're doing.)

              Looking into those books too...Modern Ref & AC ain't cheap, but it'll definetly be worth it. Just have to find the best price.

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              • #8
                Re: refrigeration

                you also have to have an EPA license before the supply houses will sell you any refrigerant.
                No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

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                • #9
                  Re: refrigeration

                  Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                  To go from line installation to a Refer / HVAC Tech is a GIANT jump.


                  Bill

                  Bill, just wondering what you mean by a giant jump?
                  I imagine there would be some electrical/electronic troubleshooting involved, different pressures, etc then there's the mechanical side with motors, drive belts etc. Different line of thinking from installing pipe.

                  What else is involved?

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                  • #10
                    Re: refrigeration

                    The way refrigerant acts in a system is opposite than the way water acts in a distibution system. This screwed me up in class because I was trying to think of refrigerant as a fluid. An electrition would have an easier time learning hvac than a plumber would.
                    Buy cheap, buy twice.

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                    • #11
                      Re: refrigeration

                      elvis you will do fine. study theory. that will take an hour or two. the rest is easy. find out what books they use in class. google them. i bought my last text book at 1/3 of school price. read book end to end, then reread and brief book(outline it). the last time i did that i had solved all the problems in the book. breid.........

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