What Makes a Good HVAC Technician
If you were to search the internet for “heating and air conditioning services in Pittsburgh, PA,” you’d most likely be overwhelmed by the magnitude of results you’d come up with. There are dozens and dozens of HVAC companies in the region willing and able to help with any HVAC issues you might be encountering.
Okay, so there are a lot of options from which to choose. But don’t be hoodwinked into believing they’re all the same. The trick is to determine which of these HVAC experts are just right for the job you have at hand. To help reduce your search results, we’ll submit a description of what we feel are the nine qualities that would identify a top-notch HVAC technician.
But first, let’s all agree on exactly what an HVAC technician does. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems regulate the temperature, humidity, and air quality in residential and commercial buildings, assuring both comfort and a wholesome environment for their occupants. An HVAC technician installs, repairs, or maintains these systems. In some instances, an HVAC technician may concentrate on installing, repairing, or maintaining these systems.
That said, just what qualities should you look for in an HVAC technician who comes into your home to install or repair your heating and/or cooling equipment?
Licensing and certification
An excellent HVAC technician’s bedrock is an in-depth knowledge of various HVAC systems and their controls. Not only should they have a handle on how these systems perform, but they also need to be experts in the areas of assembly, disassembly, repair, and programming. This is a sure sign they’ve been suitably trained and have obtained formal credentials such as a certificate, diploma, or degree.
If you engage someone who doesn’t possess the required certifications or licenses, there’s no way you can be sure that any installation, repair, or inspection is done correctly.
In the long run, this will undoubtedly bring about headaches and an eventual loss of money. The bottom line: your HVAC system must be maintained at all times by a highly trained professional to help guarantee the system is working safely and efficiently
Pennsylvania does not have state requirements for HVAC licensing. However, HVAC technicians are obliged to apply for local certifications to perform specific tasks.
The scope of the HVAC job establishes the kind of certifications HVAC technicians are required to have in hand.
Applicants in Pennsylvania for the HVAC contractor certification must:
- Possess a high school diploma or equivalent GED
- Have garnered at least four years of HVAC experience
- Carry general liability insurance
- Attain a passing grade on the International Code Council Certification exam
- Be a minimum of 18 years of age
On the other hand, HVAC technicians who have obtained NATE (i.e., North American Technician Excellence) certification arrive at the job with evidence that they meet industry standards. NATE certification is not only among the most familiar but also the most noteworthy of the existing HVAC technician certifications. In fact, NATE certification is the only nationwide certification program acknowledged by the entire HVAC industry.
The NATE program, sponsored by the HVAC industry, provides comprehensive testing to validate the technical know-how and practical mechanical skills of HVAC techs. HVAC contractors who employ NATE-certified techs are investing in long-standing employees with an elevated level of professionalism and competency.
Making sure our technicians attain NATE certification is a top priority with Schultheis Brothers. When our employees feel at ease in their knowledge and skills, we’re assured they can perform at an elite level.
Any HVAC technician who works directly with customers must possess patience, empathy, and simple good manners to work with people who may well be exasperated, even angry, when encountered.
This means before the job even begins, they need to gather information on the problems the customer is facing and understand exactly what they want from their heating and cooling system. During the job, it involves making clear any likely solutions plus the pros and cons of each, in everyday language any homeowner can easily comprehend.
From the initial phone call to the collection of payment, your HVAC technician ought to be caring and respectful. With their emphasis on customer satisfaction, a customer will be able to recognize that the technician stands by their work and that they’ll be more than happy with the results.
At Schultheis Brothers, we focus entirely on the customer. We offer discounts, honor our coupons, and provide financing options. Minus the focus on delivering exceptional customer service, we wouldn’t be the same company we are today.
You could make an argument that maybe the most important customer-focused skill is patience.
The dictionary defines “patience” as the ability to accept or tolerate delay or trouble without getting upset.
Let’s face it; any number of problems can stump even the most skilled HVAC technicians. Solving a tough problem with an upset homeowner looking over the shoulder can be nerve-wracking. That said, a professional technician doesn’t throw a tantrum when annoyed. When confronting a difficult problem, your technician should remain calm and patiently attempt various solutions to fix the problem.
Dependability and honesty
The last thing you want is a service technician coming to your home and making you feel as though you’re being offered a solution to a problem you’re not even sure you need. Your HVAC technician must be honest with you about the situation along while providing a practical solution.
To begin, steer clear of anyone who isn’t willing to deliver up-front pricing. No one enjoys being hoodwinked. An honest technician will be responsible for a written estimate before beginning any work to ensure that you know precisely what their services will cost.
Moreover, if they inform you of the amount of a replacement cost, the bill should never include any extras or hidden fees. In the end, you’ll appreciate that your HVAC technician isn’t just winging it – you’re paying your hard-earned dollars for first-class installations or repairs. You simply can’t put a price on that.
A first-rate HVAC technician is also dependable. They possess good time management skills, beginning with showing up on time to any appointment. They’re always reliable and follow through properly, spending just the right amount of time performing a service and talking you through any issues.
Know-how and technical skills
HVAC equipment can be quite complicated, tying into various pieces of equipment in your home. A competent technician should know about more than simply furnaces and air conditioners. A great HVAC tech ought to be able to demonstrate vast know-how on the basics of hot water heating, steam heating, and waste cooling, to name only a few.
Moreover, HVAC technicians might very well be required to troubleshoot mechanical parts, ductwork, thermostats, sensors, or fuel sources. Bottom line: a reliable technician should be capable of examining an HVAC system and quickly determining the source of a problem.
They also need to be able to grasp technical information, such as specifications, schematics, ladder logic, and conventional building blueprints.
If you take note, certain technicians can effortlessly work out the core problem with your HVAC unit while others can’t. A professional can calculate the unit’s requirements and recommend any needed repairs. If you’d like to test how well-informed the technician is, ask specific questions about your system. Their ability to respond and clarify such things is crucial to revealing how broad is their HVAC knowledge. You’re not trying to embarrass anyone, just trying to determine their understanding level.
One more thing – while there’s certainly nothing wrong with allowing someone new to the industry to work on your HVAC equipment, they ought to be accompanied by a technician with loads of experience. This way, you can be confident that everything will be appropriately dealt with the first time, every time.
No doubt, the technician in your home should certainly be well-informed, but what ought to stand out significantly is their capacity to describe what’s amiss with your system or what must be done to fix it in words that are easily understood. This leads us directly to our following characteristic: communication skills.
Communication is central to any relationship, and the one between you and the HVAC technician is certainly no exception.
An expert HVAC technician should provide a direct dialogue with customers to keep them updated at every single step of the process. This technician can skillfully describe what needs to be fixed, minus any technical lingo. They’re always approachable for questions at any point and will answer them in clear-cut language. And you surely want someone who is willing to answer any follow-up questions. Of course, they’re also happy to coach homeowners in simple DIY maintenance tasks such as replacing an air filter.
After all, who doesn’t want to deal with an HVAC professional who is able and willing to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing? Ask yourself, can he/she put into plain words any problems and maintenance concerns in a way that makes clear sense? Does he/she take the time and effort to keep you informed about work in progress? Are his/her proposals, reports, and work orders clear-cut, comprehensive and precise? If not, why not? it all comes down to effective communication.
HVAC technicians need this particular skill to help assure that the right tools and parts are available whenever the service call is made, so, and this is important, the customer doesn’t have to reschedule the service call to another time.
Organizational skills will also help the technician to have a useful concept of the system and the work ahead of them even before making the service call.
Puts importance on safety guidelines and procedures
Without question, it’s essential that HVAC technicians employ preventative safety procedures to assure not only their own safety but the safety of their customers. Technicians need to recognize and apply safety procedures in an assortment of working circumstances, such as unusual heights and confined spaces.
A good technician takes all the needed safeguards against safety threats associated with HVAC equipment, including the safe handling of refrigerants, steering clear of carbon monoxide leaks, and poor indoor air quality stemming from mold in air conditioners and ductwork. They also must abide by industry practices to avoid accidents.
At Schultheis Brothers, company management is expected to set the necessary safety procedures. Technicians are expected to be aware of the purpose for the procedures and the importance of following them to the letter at all times.
Routine training and instruction help our technicians feel assured that they are able to abide by these procedures, keeping themselves and our customers safe on the job each and every day.
Some final thoughts
One demonstrated way to appreciate you’ve selected a top-notch technician is to look for a company with a reputation for hiring such talent. At Schultheis Brothers, our technicians have the necessary patience, know-how, training, communication skills, dependability, and certifications to help you with all your heating and cooling needs, including installation, service, and maintenance requirements.