The Massachusetts Restaurant Association is a $19 billion-dollar industry with over 15,000 restaurants. You might be wondering, what does this have to do with refrigeration?
As long as restaurants and other buildings require cooling and heating, refrigeration services will be necessary. If you are looking for a career change, consider becoming an HVAC refrigeration technician.
Keep reading to learn more about the job.
What Is Refrigeration HVAC?
Refrigeration HVAC involves removing unwanted heat from one place and moving it to another. Refrigerant is pumped through a refrigeration system to accomplish this.
Refrigeration removes heat from small spaces while air conditioners provide appropriate conditions and better indoor air quality for occupants in a larger environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that indoor air quality is essential to human health.
So, is HVAC considered refrigeration? Although the two have similar goals of eliminating heat, they are different concepts. However, an HVAC technician can complete refrigeration services.
What’s the Difference Between HVAC and Refrigeration?
Before starting a career in HVAC refrigeration, you need to know the differences between HVAC systems and refrigeration.
HVAC refers to heating, ventilating, and air conditioning. The technicians in this field will primarily focus on cooling and heating systems.
Refrigerants are used to lower the temperature in smaller spaces, such as commercial and residential freezers and refrigerators. Technicians working in HVAC and refrigeration use a lot of the same materials and tools.
Heating ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems require the use of basic tools, such as saws, screwdrivers, ratchets, wrenches, and a hammer.
Other common HVAC tools are:
- Manifold hoses
- Carbon monoxide indicators
- Oxygen indicators
- Vacuum pump
Refrigeration tools might include:
- Refrigerant leak detetor
- Refrigerant recovery unit
- Welding torch kit
- Vacuum pump
If you want to be an HVAC technician, you can do so with a professional license.
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What Are the 3 Types of Refrigeration?
There are three main types of refrigeration systems: evaporative cooling, mechanical compression, and absorption. It’s best if a refrigeration technician understands each of them.
Evaporative cooling units, or swap coolers, work by blowing warm outdoor air over water-soaked pads. The water acts as an absorbent, taking the heat from the air. The water will then evaporate so that cool air can enter.
These units can reduce temperatures by 15-40 degrees. These work best in areas where the climate is dry. These are typically easier to install.
Mechanical compression refrigeration systems are commonly used in commercial and industrial settings. A majority of HVAC companies will install this type of refrigeration cooling system.
This system works by compressing refrigerants into a cold liquid with low pressure. It then expands the liquid into a hot gas using high pressure. They turn back into a liquid form when they release heat.
This system will suck the heat out of warm indoor air by boiling at 40 degrees.
Absorption is similar to mechanical compression condenser refrigeration. Instead of using mechanical compression, absorption systems will use refrigerants to absorb other substances.
For example, ammonia acts as a refrigerant in some systems and water is the absorbent. They don’t rely on electric power and generate heat from other sources, like natural gas.
HVAC Refrigeration Cycle
The refrigeration cycle, or heat pump cycle, involves routing heat away from the area that needs cooling. To do this, you’ll need to manipulate the pressure of the working refrigerant through a cycle of compression and expansion.
The fundamental components of basic refrigeration processes are:
- The compressor
- The condenser
- The expansion device
- The evaporator
In this process, you absorb heat to remove it from indoor air.
HVAC Refrigeration Technician Career
If you are thinking about becoming an HVAC refrigeration technician, you likely want some questions answered about the job. Here’s what you can expect:
HVAC Refrigeration Salary
How much you make as an HVAC refrigeration technician will depend on different factors, such as your qualifications and where you live.
As of August 2022, the average annual pay for an HVAC refrigeration technician in the United States is $55,883 a year. This is approximately $27 an hour.
A job with the Energy-One team comes with great pay and these benefits:
- Paid health/dental insurance
- Paid life insurance
- Paid holidays
- Paid sick and vacation days
- Paid uniforms
- Advanced and factory technical training
Energy-One can prepare students for a career in HVAC. If you score an HVAC position, you reap all of these advantages.
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HVAC Refrigeration Certification
A Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) certification allows you to work in the HVAC industry. To get a CFC certification, complete these steps:
- Complete CFC training and courses
- Know the exam topics
- Take the CFC certification exam
After you’ve successfully completed the exam, you’ll receive your certification card.
In Massachusetts, a person that performs refrigeration work should apply for a refrigeration technician license. Someone seeking a license must:
- Complete an application
- Attach a high school diploma or equivalent certification
- Attach a passport photo
- Provide documentation from the refrigeration company that employs you
- Provide documentation that you have completed the requisite education hours
- Copy of your CFC Certification
- Submit a non-refundable $75 application processing fee
You need to complete 250 hours of prior learning in a refrigeration course, which needs to consist of 100 hours of refrigeration theory, from an approved school.
You’ll need certain hours of electrical training to understand refrigeration technologies. Consider continuing education while in the industry as well.
Someone with certifications and licensing is seen as HVAC excellence in the industry.
HVAC Refrigeration Jobs
Becoming an HVAC refrigeration technician opens doors to other opportunities within the industry. For example, these jobs may be on your radar once you receive your certification:
- Parts and supplies purchasing
- Job estimator
- Field supervisor
- Operations Manager
Most companies hire people with the correct licensing and certification for entry-level positions where they can grow.
Careers in HVAC Refrigeration
If you are a licensed HVAC professional looking for a better job with more benefits, consider HVAC refrigeration. Your licensing will work all the same while your day-to-day duties will differ.
If a career as an HVAC refrigeration technician seems right for you, join the Energy-One team! Discover our career opportunities now.