Stay Ahead of the Heat with a Proactive Approach to HVAC Maintenance

 

Without a proactive preventative HVAC maintenance strategy, a business could feel the heat if its AC system shuts down.

Summer may be ending, but ask anyone lately, and they’ll likely say it feels like the heat will never end. Soaring temperatures had HVAC companies in Greater Cincinnati witness a surge in demand. Despite a relatively mild season, the recent temperature spike into the 90s pushed many cooling systems to their limits. Homeowners should regularly check and replace their air filters to ensure optimal airflow and system efficiency. Keeping the external AC unit free from debris and ensuring clear coils are essential for maintaining performance. Adopting these measures enhances the HVAC system’s efficiency and can lead to reduced utility bills.

The heat in Cincinnati is no isolated incident. A national check finds it’s a busy time for the HVAC industry. Can HVAC techs keep up with the extreme spikes in demand?

Samuel Heath, Program Director for HVAC at Southern Technical College, says getting technicians trained to meet the needs of the public is a challenge. For those business facility managers who need to keep things cool during these hot times, a proactive approach to HVAC maintenance is their greatest ally.

Samuel’s Thoughts

“Here at Southern Tech, we provide specific resources for our technicians. Technicians come to us from various companies to earn their certifications. While many have been working in the field for some time without proper training, their effectiveness is questionable. We are currently facing a shortage of personnel. A recent article by ACHR News highlighted that we’re down by 38%. Many older technicians have been in the field for 25 to 30 years and are exhausted, especially with the extreme climates we face year after year. Our goal is to pass on their knowledge to the new technicians.

Moreover, technology is constantly evolving. Every year brings new advancements, and technicians need training to keep up. Our approach is specific and straightforward. We use a combination of lectures and hands-on labs. Our course runs for four days a week in a 16-day cycle over ten months. The first day is dedicated to laying a strong foundation, teaching terminology and operations. This is followed by three days of real-world, tech-to-tech training in our labs, working on actual equipment. This comprehensive training ensures that technicians are confident and well-versed in handling a variety of machines.

Currently, many companies I’ve interacted with offer just six weeks of training. After this, technicians are handed a truck and expected to handle service calls professionally. This approach is unfair to the technician and often leads them to question if the HVAC field is the right career choice.

In the HVAC industry, there’s a pressing need for companies to shift their focus. Instead of being reactive, they should emphasize preventative maintenance. One way to achieve this is through maintenance contracts, especially during season changeovers. About a month before transitioning from heating to cooling, companies should educate their customers on the importance of preventative maintenance. This proactive approach can reduce the need for reactive repairs and the challenges of dealing with improperly trained technicians who might opt for replacements over repairs.”

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