HVAC or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning involves a rigorous work. From residential homes to commercial buildings, HVAC technicians work on different places and handle different problems. It is important to be equipped with extensive knowledge and skills, but such aren’t enough. You also need the right tools, which will let you handle any issue effectively. That said, read on and we’ll list down some of the most important tools that an HVAC technician must use.
Tools for HVAC Technicians
Temperature is one of the most important measurements that an HVAC technician needs to identify. It isn’t a simple guessing game. Instead, it should rely on a top-notch thermometer, which can provide accurate readings. A portable handheld thermometer must have an ergonomic design.
Like the thermometer, this is a critical tool for making the right measurements. It is important to identify all the numbers with precision. This will help in proper diagnosis of the problem while also implementing the right solution. With a digital gauge, you can determine refrigerant pressure. Look for one with a large and backlit display, which will make it easily visible even when you are working in low-light environments. It is also essential to have a rugged body and user-friendly interface.
Filter Puller and Pusher
A filter is one of the most important components of an HVAC system. It prevents dirt from getting in, which also improves air quality. In many instances, HVAC professionals need to remove the filter to clean the inner components or for replacement. If such is the case, then you will need a filter puller and pusher. It has a telescoping handle that grabs the filter, which comes in handy in hard-to-reach areas. In the same way, it will also help you put the filter back in place.
Safety is one of the most important concerns amongst HVAC technicians. Staying safe at work is not just all about doing the job meticulously, but it also depends on the tools that you have. Gloves are must-haves to protect your hands. Not all gloves are created the same. Look for one that can offer protection against electrical shock and cuts, among other dangers that can confront you in your job. More importantly, the gloves should fit perfectly, allowing your hands to move comfortably.
Aside from gloves, a mask is another important addition to your safety gear. It covers your mouth and nose as you work, which will prevent the inhalation of dust and chemicals. Your mask should fit perfectly on your face. Otherwise, it won’t be effective. Pick the right size and material. It is good to have options for adjustability, so that you can customize the fit depending on the size and shape of your face. It should also be made of breathable materials.
For complete personal protective equipment, you will need personal protective glasses. With the right goggles, you can see clearly as you work while also keeping dust and debris away. If you work with the goggles, small particles can get into your eyes. More than being uncomfortable, it also negatively impacts your productivity. Like the mask, the goggles should be adjustable so you can personalize its fit as you deem necessary.
You will need to cut multiple materials during HVAC repair and maintenance. With this, you will need the right type of cutter. One of the most common is a cutter that is strong enough to cut through tubes and pipes, specifically those that are made of steel. Consider the quality of the blade, making sure that it is sharp. The design of the handle is equally important, which will influence its ease of use.
In some instances, a cutter may not be enough, especially when you are dealing with a thick or large material, such as pipes. In this case, you will need a saw. Like the cutter, the blade is one of its most important parts. While different types are available, one of the best to have is a reciprocating saw, which is versatile enough to handle a variety of HVAC jobs.
Aside from cutting, you also need to put some parts in place. While using nails and adhesives is possible, some situations will require a staple gun. It will make the task quick as it automates pushing the staples. Nonetheless, the capability will differ depending on the type of the staple that you are using. For instance, many of them may not be appropriate for materials that are too thick.
- Steel half-barrel (also called cradle) frame caulking gun for 1/10-gal. cartridges
- Thrust ratio of 10:1 for use with low viscosity materials
- Smooth pressure rod requires less force and is quieter than a ratchet-style pressure rod
- Rod retracts after each pull of the trigger to help prevent dripping
- Handle and trigger are padded for comfort
- Professional-grade 1/10-gallon drip-free caulk gun
- Thermoplastic comfort grip
- Professional drip-free hex rod
- Includes ladder hook
- All-steel, welded construction
Different problems require different caulks, which will let you seal the interior and exterior of cooling and heating systems. Putting silicone-based adhesives and other types of sealants is easy when you have the right caulking gun. This means that you do not need to apply it manually. Caulking guns can be manual, cordless, and pneumatic. Choose one that is suitable for your budget and the extent of the jobs that you expect to complete.
In many instances, you will be working in dark environments. Some of these areas are poorly lit, making it difficult to concentrate. Worse, it will make you prone to mistakes. It can compromise not just your safety but also the quality of your work. With this, you will need a high-quality flashlight. Consider the lumen rating, which is indicative of how bright it will be. Look for one with a non-slip handle and cord.
You will need to take several measurements when completing an HVAC job. To be sure of the right numbers, you need the right measuring tools. This can be in the form of a ruler, tape measure, or similar tool. Alternatively, some will have digital measurers, which can make the task easier. There are products that use laser for making quick and precise measurements. They are expensive but worth every dollar.
When measuring, you will also need to make several markings. In this case, you will need a marker. A pen may not be enough, depending on the material you are working on. Look for a market that will allow easy to see scribble. Also, in many instances, you will need to log the work that you have completed for compliance requirements.
It is almost a no-brainer that you will need a screwdriver for completing different HVAC tasks. Instead of bringing multiple screwdrivers, we recommend having one with multiple functions. They often have interchangeable heads, so you can customize the top part depending on what you need. Also, it is a must to pick one that comes with an insulated handle, which minimizes the risk of electrocution.
One of the most versatile tools, a hammer is a must-have for HVAC professionals. A standard hammer is more than enough. You do not need one with a special design. The important thing is for the hammer to have two sides – one for hammering and the other for pulling nails. Look at the quality of the grip. It must be ergonomic, comfortable, and non-slip, which will ensure safety during your work.
Wrench for HVAC
You will need different types of wrenches for different jobs. From pipe wrenches to fixed crescents, the wrench will come in handy. It is good to have wrenches of different sizes in your kit. Pipe wrenches are usually the biggest, which you will use for loosening and tightening pipes. They are also often heavy, so it might impact the portability of your tool kit.
The right cordless drill is a lifesaver in the work of HVAC technicians. Whether it is an impact, hammer, or any type of drill, it can make your life a lot easier. It automates drilling holes on different materials, allowing you to save time and energy. A good option is one that is compatible with different drill bits, making it useful for different situations. Consider the battery life, as well as the design, which will impact its ergonomics.
You won’t always be working next to a socket. More so, you will often be using electrical tools, so you will need an extension cord. Choose one made of thick-gauge wire, so it can handle the power requirements of your tools. The optimal length is 50 feet, anything longer than that can be bulky, taking significant space in your toolbox.
One of the simplest but most versatile tools, a utility knife is useful when cutting materials that are thin enough for the blade to penetrate. If it is too thick, however, use other tools. From cutting boxes of the parts that you will use to cutting insulated wires, a utility knife will have many uses. If possible, look for one with a folding design, which makes it portable. Pay attention as well to the handle, which is indicative of its safety, comfort, and ease of use.
This is a multipurpose hand tool with opposing jaws, which you can use for cutting, bending, and gripping. There are cross-metal limbs to improve leverage, multiplying the force your hands exert. In HVAC works, the pliers should have functions for crimping, splicing, and stripping wires. Like in the other tools in this list, consider the overall design as it influences ease of use and comfort.
Sheet Metal Shears
While building and installing ductwork is not often a part of the job description of an HVAC professional, it is good to have sheet metal shears. The latter is useful when cutting metal holes. It will let you cut in multiple directions. Consider the length of the shears and the extent of the bite. Additionally, the handles are also crucial, especially for your comfort when cutting.
Not everything that you need to see is present in front of your naked eye. Some will require a closer look, and this is where the use of an inspection mirror becomes beneficial. A good inspection mirror can fit even in tight spaces, will have a good lighting so you can easily see everything, offer a 360-degree adjustment, and come with an ergonomic handle.
While it is not necessarily a tool that you will have in your bag, this is important in completing HVAC work. You can connect it to your smartphone, tablet, computer, or other digital tools. The specific functions will differ based on the chosen software. It will improve efficiency and accuracy. It automates business processes and communications, as well as scheduling, invoicing, and dispatching. Even if you are an independent contractor, you will benefit from having a powerful HVAC software.
This is one thing that most people miss despite its importance. Even if you know that you are good with numbers, it is a must to have a calculator handy. This will let you identify the heating and cooling demands of a specific place and match it with the system you are installing or repairing. You also need to calculate BTU [.1] requirements based on several factors, such as floor area, sun exposure, regional climate, and other parameters. Alternatively, you can use your phone as a calculator.
Keep everything organized by having a tool bag. It is a must for easy transporting of tools, especially since you will be working in different locations. Find a bag that is strong enough to support the weight of everything that you will bring with you. More so, the tool bag needs various compartments, making it easy to organize your tools. When you are not working, the bag is useful in protecting your tools against dirt and other external elements that can speed up wear.
Whether you are new in HVAC work or an expert, you will need the right tools, including those that are listed above. Many of them are cheap, so there’s no reason to not have one. Keep them in your bag and it will be a lot easier to complete any job! Not all tools, however, are created equal. Consider the quality of each item and go beyond the price as you compare the alternatives.