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Refrigeration and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

To help control the temperature inside a building, heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers or technicians are employed to install heating and air conditioning systems. These workers also may be called HVACR technicians.

The United State Bureau of Labor Statistics has a good explanation of the role. “Technicians often specialize in either installation or maintenance and repair, although they are trained to do both. They also may specialize in doing heating work or air-conditioning or refrigeration work. Some specialize in one type of equipment—for example, hydronics (water-based heating systems), solar panels, or commercial refrigeration.”

The construction industry employs HVACR technicians through various contractors and government agencies. As nearly every building has a heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration system this has become a career path in high demand.

What does a HVACR technician do?

The following information is given by the Whole Building Design Guide:

“As part of a holistic controlled environment design solution, the technician is responsible for addressing seven major processes. These are:

1. Heating—the addition of thermal energy to maintain space or process conditions in response to thermal heat loss
2. Cooling—the removal of thermal energy to maintain space or process conditions in response to thermal heat gain
3. Humidifying—the addition of water vapour to maintain space or process moisture content
4. Dehumidifying—the removal of water vapour to maintain space or process moisture content
5. Cleaning—the process of removing particulate and bio-contaminants from the conditioned space.
6. Ventilating—the process of providing suitable quantities of fresh outside air for maintaining air quality and building pressurization.
7. Effectiveness—the process of achieving the desired thermal energy transfer, humidity control, filtration, and delivery of ventilation air to the breathing zone of the occupied space in accordance with required needs.”

Technicians design and install sophisticated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Before a technician can install an appliance they need to read the blueprints and identify any issues that may arise in the suggested location of a system and offer alternative solutions. It’s also important to understand the type of environment the workers will thrive in and also pre-empt any expansions or alterations to the building or structure in the future. With eco-living becoming a necessity, technicians also need to create an eco-friendly structured system and will need to know the latest designs and offerings in technology.

After installing a system the technician will have to install any other components needed to ensure proper functioning like pumps, air vents, air ducts, fuel and water supply lines and electrical wiring. Thereafter adequate testing is done to ensure the system is operating safely and functionally. Regular maintenance and servicing of systems occur throughout the system’s lifecycle ensures optimum performance.

HVACR technicians work both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. They will also be found crawling through small and cramped spaces and in high places. Safety precautions need to be employed and the correct protective eye, nose and mouth gear need to be worn to prevent inhalation of refrigerants and blindness. Correct hand and feet coverings are also needed.

Careers in HVACR

Some secondary schools offer heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration training as part of the school curriculum. Further advancements can be made through technical colleges, trade schools, and online study options or through apprenticeships. To enhance your appeal to employees enhance your computer skills and become knowledgeable in energy efficient products and technology.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics,

“Job prospects for heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers are expected to be excellent, particularly for those who have completed training from an accredited technical school or a formal apprenticeship. A growing number of retirements of highly skilled technicians are expected to generate many more job openings. Many contractors have reported problems finding enough workers to meet the demand for service and installation of HVACR systems.” This is true for the Australian workforce as well which is evident by the rising number skills required for mining, oil and gas, and energy projects.

For more information about apprenticeships, visit our Training and Development section.


Heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) systems control the in-house climate of buildings through regulating the temperature, humidity, and the total air quality. HVACR technicians need a broad range of skills to bring the best possible solution to clients.

The construction industry has a widespread dependence on climate-control systems as their buildings and structures need to ensure the comfort and health safety of its occupants. HVACR technicians have a positive career outlook with many job vacancies available.

Visit our Construction Sectors page for more information on all the sectors needed to support the resource industry.
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