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7 HVAC Basics Every Technician Should Know


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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HVAC technicians are required to have a host of skills to fulfill their job successfully. You have to learn hundreds of skills and principles to complete trade school and pass licensing! But what are the HVAC basics that you’ll definitely need to know on the job?

Whether you are a new technician early in your career or want to know what to look for when hiring seasoned HVAC techs, this list can help! In this article we’ll review some of the HVAC basics that technicians will use every day in the field.

  • Knowledgeable and Trained in Key Areas
  • Problem Solving and Documentation Processes
  • Savvy with Computer Software
  • Be Professional and Polished
  • Have Great Communication Skills
  • Physical Demands and Flexibility to Work In Adverse Conditions
  • Conquer Time Management

Technical Skills​

The following technical skills are the foundation needed for a career as an HVAC technician.

1. Knowledgeable and Trained in Key Areas​

Proper training and knowledge is one of the most important HVAC basics. A well prepared and skillful tech can be the difference between repeat sales or a poor online review.

In particular, most HVAC techs need a strong understanding of:

Techs may work with numerous tools and testing equipment, so daily technical skills will vary based on the position. This is why completing an apprenticeship and licensing exam are so important!

You’ll also have to be up on the latest safety precautions. Knowing how to execute a job is one thing, but being able to execute it safely and correctly is another!

2. Problem Solving and Documentation Processes​

Not only do techs need to have knowledge of HVAC systems, but they will need to be a problem solver. This is the challenging part (and too many the fun part) of a career as an HVAC tech. It’s satisfying to identify a problem and know how to quickly fix it on the job. Not all people can achieve this feat.

Employers look for problem solvers who are also detail oriented and can record their exact process. They can meticulously track the services and steps they followed to fix a problem. Technicians should be able to document each technical step they take on a job AND explain the process to their customers, all while on site!

3. Savvy with Computer Software​

Many HVAC jobs have gone digital, using field management software (like FieldEdge) to improve efficiencies at the office and in the field. Employees can use this software to track jobs, take notes, clock in and out, and more! Also, techs will use computerized components in most of the equipment they are installing, maintaining or repairing.

Most HVAC field management software solutions require an app. Knowing how these work and how to use them can be a great skill to gain. It’s best to find a software solution that offers ongoing and in-depth training opportunities so you can get the most out of your app!

Other Must-Have HVAC Basics​

There are many other HVAC basics that are needed outside of technical skills and training required.

4. Be Professional and Polished!​

As the face of your business entering a home or business, you want to present yourself (and your company) as punctual, professional, courteous and respectful. You also want to do a thorough job and leave the customer happy.

If you are an HVAC tech, show up on time and follow any dress or uniform guidelines outlined by the company. Being well-groomed and punctual can go a long way!

Even the way technicians drive the company vehicle shows a lot about the tech and company: driving within the speed limits and arriving safely at each destination in a clean, organized truck presents a professional image to the customer.

5. Have Great Communication Skills​

On the other end of your phone is a customer with a problem that a professional tech needs to solve. From the time you walk in their door, greet them with a handshake and determine the course of action; communication is one of our main HVAC basics everyone should have.

Customers don’t know the technical HVAC basics like you do, so you have to be able to explain the problem in simple terms and how you plan on fixing it. You also need patience to answer multiple questions and smile throughout the process. Thick skin and a professional attitude are required to be an effective communicator!

6. Physical Demands and Flexibility to Work In Adverse Conditions​

HVAC techs work with heavy objects and machinery – especially if dealing with installs. You’ll need to know how to lift heavy objects properly, like bringing a water heater down to the basement or squeezing a new HVAC unit behind a house. Often, techs start out as an HVAC installer and switch to a technician as they age and the body can’t handle the physical stress.

Comfortable working conditions are not the norm when working as an HVAC tech. Many times you will have to deal with rain, snow, humidity or unfavorable temperatures. You may be on top of a four story roof one day when it’s snowing, to angling your body into a tight space in a basement the next.

HVAC techs have to work in various conditions so an open mindset is required. Also, make sure that you have the fitness and flexibility needed to climb ladders and crouch in small spaces.

7. Conquer Time Management​

Time management is another of our HVAC basics that must be mastered. Most HVAC technicians are on very busy schedules, as there’s always a high demand for their services. Not only do techs have to work quickly but carefully, they may need to work nights, weekends, even holidays and whenever needed.

When a customer’s furnace shuts down in the dead of winter, they need it fixed immediately. Same for an air conditioner breakdown in the sweltering heat! It’s a rewarding career, as you are helping people while you earn a living. But a tech must be time conscious in this career. FieldEdge software’s dispatching and tech notifications features can help in these situations!

See how FieldEdge can boost your business past the basics! Book your FREE personalized demo today!

Book a FieldEdge Demo!

You’ve Mastered The HVAC Basics!​

While there are many different skills HVAC technicians need to master, these key HVAC basics give you an idea of what to strive for as a technician or what to look for in a new hire!

A tech needs to the have the following HVAC basics:

  • Knowledgeable and Trained in Key Areas
  • Problem Solving and Documentation Processes
  • Savvy with Computer Software
  • Be Professional and Polished
  • Have Great Communication Skills
  • Physical Demands and Flexibility to Work In Adverse Conditions
  • Conquer Time Management

You now have brushed up on the HVAC basics and have a better idea on the skills needed to be (or coach!) a successful technician.

Related: Five Ideas for Building the Best HVAC Team in the Industry

The post 7 HVAC Basics Every Technician Should Know appeared first on FieldEdge.
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