When spring begins to fade into summer, a reliable central air conditioner provides welcome relief from outdoor heat and humidity. A properly designed and installed HVAC system will keep the indoor environment comfortable and healthy through the most severe weather conditions. Many homeowners are unaware of the significant improvements manufacturers have made in reducing noise and improving efficiency. In fact, a new 16 SEER air conditioner can save up to 40 percent when compared to 10 SEER equipment installed less than a decade ago.
The HVAC Service Technician
Furnaces, heat pumps and air conditioners are complex and expensive machines that include a variety of advanced components. In order to properly service an HVAC system, the technician should have a thorough understanding of heat transfer and the refrigeration cycle. Unfortunately, Texas does not have a certification requirement for HVAC technicians. Under current law, any individual can service heating and cooling equipment if they pay a nominal registration fee and agree to work under the supervision of a licensed contractor.
Many technicians gain valuable experience initially working in a non-skilled capacity. This training usually begins at the rough-in phase of the air conditioning installation process where the apprentice learns the fundamentals of the trade. While jobsite experience is important, the quality of the training is dependant on the knowledge of the immediate supervisor. This lack of consistency can create a wide disparity in the skill set of two technicians working for different contractors.
Service trainees can take advantage of a variety of formal education opportunities through vocational schools and community colleges. Most institutions offer basic and advanced courses depending on the skill level of the tech. Basic courses cover subjects such as proper equipment removal methods, equipment cycling, setting connections and the physics behind the refrigeration cycle. Higher level courses include diagnosing equipment malfunctions, cycling the system through the various modes and implementing appropriate repairs.
Courses and apprenticeship programs are available through recognized Industry organizations like the National Association of Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors (NAPHCC) and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Quality HVAC dealers are often willing to sponsor promising techs as they further their formal education.
The NATE-Certification Process
The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) organization was founded in 1997 and serves as the largest independent certification agency for the heating, ventilating and air conditioning industry. Technicians who receive a NATE certificate of compliance have demonstrated a superior knowledge of the refrigeration cycle and other important aspects of heating and air conditioning installation and repair.
NATE administers comprehensive tests related to a variety of industry disciplines. These tests are designed to establish that the technician has a practical working knowledge of HVAC and HVAC-R systems in the following areas:
- Air Conditioning
- Gas Furnaces
- Heat Pumps
- Air Distribution
- Light Commercial Refrigeration
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Oil Furnaces
- Hydronics Gas
- Hydronics Oil
- Senior HVAC Efficiency Analyst
NATE is owned, governed and operated by the HVAC-R industry as a collective. There are over 30,000 NATE-certified technicians nationwide who lend credibility to the entire industry by demonstrating their knowledge and professionalism on a daily basis.
The Advantages of NATE
At Woods Air Conditioning, our commitment to customer service includes maintaining a full staff of NATE-certified technicians. For heating and air conditioning installation, repair and maintenance, the service techs we dispatch to a customer’s home or workplace have the training and experience required to quickly assess the situation and implement the appropriate solutions.
Given a choice, nearly 90 percent of surveyed homeowners would prefer to have a technician with NATE-certification servicing their HVAC system. Certification provides a number of important consumer benefits including:
- Reduced System Downtime: Technicians who are factory trained and NATE certified usually locate the source of the malfunction and affect the appropriate repairs in a single visit. Unqualified mechanics often misdiagnose the nature of the problem, which can lead to higher repair costs and even greater inconvenience.
- Peace of Mind: Professional technicians have the ability to identify and correct small issues before they can escalate into a catastrophic failure. Homeowners who hire a certified service tech for HVAC maintenance and repair can rest easy knowing their heating and air conditioning system has been evaluated and tuned for optimal performance.
- Extended Equipment Lifecycle: NATE-certified technicians can offer constructive recommendations to help improve system performance and reduce stress and wear on vital internal components. Over time, proper maintenance can help extend the lifecycle of the equipment.
While other HVAC certification programs exist, many have an unusually high “pass” rate. In contrast, NATE’s testing protocols and rigorous standards quickly separate the truly qualified applicants from those without suitable industry knowledge.
Always Insist on a NATE-Certified Technician
For over 56 years, Wood Air Conditioning & Plumbing has provided businesses and homeowners in Titus County with comprehensive, professional HVAC services. We continue to invest heavily in training, inventory, vehicles and staff, so our customers can enjoy a reliable and energy efficient HVAC system. Call us whenever you need HVAC repair or service in the local area.