The UK HVAC Industry and the Different Equipment Involved

April 19, 2023
Greg Crumpton

The UK and the US are two very different places—in culture, in accent, and in climate. In total, the UK is roughly one-third the size of the state of Texas—so by American standards, it’s pretty small. But it is this relatively smaller size that helps tradespeople work all over the place, seeing different opportunities and challenges along the way. Compared to Texas, the UK also offers a much milder climate, which means that for the UK HVAC industry, the challenges and opportunities in the UK market look different from those in the US. But just how different are they?

On this episode of Straight Outta Crumpton, host Greg Crumpton and Gabrielle Bar chat with Not Just Cooling’s Air Conditioner Senior Engineer Alex Richards about bridging the age divide, his journey in the industry, and what equipment Richards works with in the UK HVAC industry.

As a Nottingham, UK native, Richards has worked all over the UK, but didn’t always want to be in HVAC. In fact, at first, Richards wanted to be a plumber. After falling into the HVAC industry by chance, however, Richards realized that this was a market that was underutilized and growing fast. When learning on the job, Richards noted that his mentor was obsessed with doing the right thing, which is exactly what he was then taught to do.

Richards reflected, “He helped make it click and really helped me understand the process. He was probably my biggest influence…in making me enjoy learning more.”

Bar, Crumpton, and Richards also talk about…

  • How different people in Richards’s life have inspired him to continue learning
  • Why VRV/VRF fit into the different climates and histories between the US and UK
  • How the skills gap is affecting the UK market

Richards remarked on the industry in the UK, “So, we’ve always had a massive shortage. I think air conditioning and refrigerating on the whole has struggled more so because, as I mentioned before, it’s a bit of a hidden trade over here because you don’t have it in your homes…so it’s not as well known.”

Richards has been in the HVAC industry for over fifteen years, but first started out wanting to be a plumber. After falling into the industry by chance, Richards has worked for various companies. At the first company, he learned to install VRV/VRF and split systems. After this, Richards worked for FIELDAIR in servicing and commissioning roles before joining Not Just Cooling as their Senior AC Engineer. Richards holds his NVQ Level 2&3 in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning from Grimsby College.

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