Want A Newbie Training Course?


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Contractors from across the country answered ACCA’s survey on the technician training they needed.  Many will soon be pleased with the latest Qtech course for new hires with little or no previous training who have shown the aptitude to become an installer or maintenance technician. When released in late August or early September, the Technician’s First Guide  & Workbook will provide a concise basic training course for new entrylevel employees 

For those with no previous training, the first few weeks on an heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) crew can be overwhelming.  Throwing raw recruits into the mix with seasoned technicians can cause technical hazing related issues in a worst-case scenario. No one wants to lose a good prospect because they feel like they don’t know enough and are embarrassed by their lack of knowledge. This “boot camp” style of training helps to level the playing field for them, and to and build self confidence in their ability to fit into a company culture and to grow into becoming part of the team.  

We all know that HVAC technicians need to acquire the ability to apply a broad range of knowledge that intersects with other tradesMastering the fields of plumbing, electricity, controls, and system commissioning/startup is a lifetime pursuit with the evolving technologies.  This Guide & Workbook is designed to address the basic required skills by breaking most of the standard technical school-based training molds.  The essentials that HVACR technicians need to understand for success in the field are provided in a practical and useful way in the course.  The training simplifies things by jumping straight to their usage in providing measured-field-data-based solutions, and sneaks in science principles needed without long lectures on theory. Science Technology Engineering and Math(STEM) related core skills are covered using an applied hands-on perspective. 

We know that to succeed, technicians need to understand how to deal with customers, as well as how to safely work on HVAC systems.  Many years ago, a senior technician named Harold Shafer said something that is important for all technicians to understand: “Sadly you can be the best technician out there and do a superior job quicker than anyone else and fix everything perfectly and you may still not succeed. If the customer does not like you, they won’t be satisfied with your work.”  Thus, a proper blend of professional appearance, technical expertise, and polite interactions with others is a job requirement for technician’s who want to succeed.  Technicians will be provided with ways to professionally represent your company’s values in the work they perform.   

The Guide & Workbook is divided into 7 progressive chapters, each one builds upon information covered earlier. Chapter I briefly covers job opportunities in the HVAC career field, and how to professionally represent your company. It then jumps directly into the refrigeration cycle and how the components in it function (see Figure 1). Chapter II begins with job safety information (i.e., why knowing what is on MSDS sheets is important), and covers personal protection items like goggles and gloves, and then focuses on tool identification and usage. Chapter III covers equipment identification, Chapter IV covers electrical components and electrical measurement basics. There is some science and math discussed, as needed to accomplish a field task.  For example, Ohm’s law and how to use it in the field are demonstrated in this chapter.  Additionally, how to convert volts and amps into watts is first covered in the resistance heat section in this chapter. Chapter V covers airflow basics such as the comfort zone for people on the psychrometric chart and provides background training for basic field airflow measurements.  Due to the popularity of hydronic systems in many regionsChapter VI covers the basics that future technicians need to understand hydronic systems and water flow measurement. Chapter VII encourages entry level technicians to embrace the opportunity of working with someone with more experience as part of an installation team. How to connect gauges, check refrigerant charge by superheat and subcooling, and wiring thermostats and control boards are also covered in this chapter. Chapter VIII deals with basic requirements for a maintenance inspection. It provides guidance for following the basic requirements in ANSI/ACCA  4 QM -2019 Maintenance of Residential HVAC Systems (Available for free downloading at: https://www.acca.org/standards/quality ).  

Appendices were added to provide additional details on subjects brought up in the text. They include more indepth coverage of the following: 

  • Temperature differentials in residential applications. 
  • A filtration primer. 
  • Air correction factor table. 
  • How to use a tape measure. 

As with the other Qtech courses the video training will be broken down into 5-20-minute segments.  Once the video sessions are all completed, the technician candidate can take an online open book exam. When the exam is passed, a certificate of completion can be printed out. At this time CEUs for NATE, RSES, and ESCO for this course are not envisioned.  However, it should help them with job ready exams provided by those groups and others. 

Don Prather

Posted In: ACCA Now, Technical Tips

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