As my wife and I were listening to Dan's recent teleseminar " Know what you want and get it". Dan mentioned that sometimes we need to go back to what our inner child wants to do to really understand what we as adults want to do with our lives. Well as a child I was always taking things apart, seeing what was inside, trying to understand how it worked, and then HOPEFULLY, putting it back together again.
A few weeks prior to Dan's teleseminar I was looking into learning HVAC, fixing air conditioners, furnaces etc. because I really do like tinkering with stuff and have a passion for understanding how things work and why they do what they do. I also have that little issue with liking a pat on the back for doing a job well done. Fixing a furnace in the dead of winter could supply such a pat, the same as fixing an AC unit that has decided to quit as the temperatures rise to the point of melting your siding. My problem is this, the local schools only offer programs that require me to go 5 days a week (and this is a 2 hour drive to the shool round trip). With my current lifestyle/job I cant do this, so I pretty much shut that door until I heard Dan speak...... SO, I'm thinking my inner child really doesnt care if it's HVAC, as long as I'm tinkering with wires and switches and buttons.
So my question is this. Does anyone have any ideas or any experience in this field or does anyone have any ideas on what I could do that would both help me earn an income fixing things electrical or gadgety (is this a word? : )) that I could possibly learn online or maybe a few days a week and also supply with that sense of accomplishment and leave me feeling like I really helped someone in need?
You're very welcome! Whatever happened with your life's plans? What are you up to these days? Anyway, best of luck! :)
I have been a HVAC technician since 1995. I personally love the profession as it is always a challenge.
I went to 2 years of trade school to start out, and then after being in the field for 8-10 years I started taking online classes to get a B.S. in HVAC Design (Ferris State University). If you don't mind, I have a couple of suggestions for you:
1)In your classes make sure you learn and understand the electrical side. Electrical problems are often the culprit in HVAC equipment not cooling/heating properly. If you don't understand how the electrical circuit works, troubleshooting will turn into guessing. Make sure you learn and understand electrical diagrams - makes troubleshooting much easier. To help learn this, at sometime in your training, learn how to draw your own diagrams - which entails tracing out all the wires and then drawing out how it is all connected. This is really important as older units often don't have diagrams that can be read anymore.
2)When you learn about the refrigerants, make sure you really understand superheat & subcooling. If you truly understand that, you will be more knowledgable than about 1/2 of the techs out there.
3)If all your classes are online, you may not have a chance to actually work on equipment which is where you really get to learn with the hands on experience - Once you have learned quite a bit online, I would suggest finding a cheap window air conditioner at a garage sale or such that you can tear into and learn from. In fact you can probably find some old ones out there that folks want to get rid of so they might give them away to you for free. Try to troubleshoot the unit - believe it or not they are often being thrown away and you often just need to wash the coils out but it's good experience (plus you might make some income selling them once they are fixed).
4) Give yourself a chance to learn. It takes about 2-3 years for a tech to see enough issues where everything starts to make sense.
Good luck to you! It can really be an interesting field as you get a chance to get good at both electrical and mechanical skills. Plus providing a good service to the customers can be quite rewarding. Nothing like getting the air conditioner working again on the hottest day of the year for everybody to think you are a superhero!
Thanks Dave, It's ironic that 2 of the things you said really hit home. 1) The Chapter I am studying now thru Penn Foster, is all about the electric side of things. It is very facinating. I have to admit, I am struggling with learning the equations for measuring ohms,volts,watts etc. and there are so many other "laws" that encompass all of this. I do like learning the diagrams and what the components mean. That intrigues me.... 2) 2 weeks ago I obtained a window unit and an evaporator/heat pump from a split a system to start tearing into. I have already been introduced to the ins and out of subcooling and superheat but MAN, it's sometimes hard to wrap my head around it. It's like I have to think backwords to understand it, haha.
Thank you so much for all the feedback, it is a great help. I will finish my online studies sometime early next year (March or earlier), with the completion I'll be given a voucher to take my EPA certification test to be able to use refrigerants. From there, Im not sure what I will do. I would love to do some hands on stuff, perhaps see if I can shadow a local HVAC Tech, work for free to gain knowledge? Best of luck with your business and thanks again for the encouragement. : ) God Bless....