When hiring a HVAC technician to do some work on your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, you may ask yourself whether HVAC certifications really matter. The truth is, there are so many people out there who masquerade as technicians, but actually they are nowhere near.
Understanding the various certifications in the HVAC industry and why your technicians must have them can help you make an informed decision during the hiring process. There is so much that goes on in HVAC equipment repair and some things may potentially go wrong if handled by technicians who are not licensed HVAC experts.
HVAC Licensing Information
The first thing a HVAC license tells you is that the bearer has been trained professionally and is capable of handling the said components in your HVAC equipment. The licensing requirements vary from one state to another hence it is important to first confirm with the licensing department in your state and check the status of the license in question.
NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence and is a certification recognized nationally and respected in the HVAC industry. This certification is valuable, but not mandatory for technicians legally operating in the industry. However, when a technician has it, it helps validate their knowledge in the HVAC and refrigeration niche.
Technicians must pass an exam for them to receive this certification. NATE certification can be earned in more than one specialty area including gas furnaces, air conditioning, and air distribution.
HVAC Excellence Certification
This is another certification that is prominent in the HVAC industry. It includes both professional and master specialists’ levels. For the professional level, the technician is first required to complete two years of field experience and thereafter pass a comprehensive exam in the selected specialty areas.
Contractors who excel in their exams are given a chevron indicating proficiency in their specific certification area, a wall certificate, and a HVAC Excellence patch. On the other hand, the master specialist level demands that contractors attain 3 years of verifiable field experience and pass the HVAC Excellence professional level technician exam.
EPA 608 Certification
This is a requirement by the Environmental Protection Agency and only those people who are certified can access a container or system containing refrigerant which includes AC coolant like the R410A or R22. Without this certification, technicians cannot buy refrigerants and if they do so, it is illegal. For a technician to get the EPA 608 Certification, they must first pass a written examination.
The certification comes in three types with the first level allowing the technician to handle just the small appliances with refrigerants of up to 5 pounds. The second level certification gives technicians the legal capacity to handle high pressure refrigerants products. The last type of certification allows the HVAC technician to handle low pressure refrigerant products.
What are the specific things that you look for as you hire your HVAC contractor? We would love to hear your comments.