“The Importance of Training”
By Mark Potter, Service Manager, Desert Aire
Is there such a thing as enough training for service technicians?
In our Service Department training is often a topic of discussion. We find that HVAC technicians want to learn so they can do a great job for customers, building users and their own companies.
Desert Aire offers classes twice a year that are good for Certified Service Technician (CST) training. These classes count towards North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Continuing Education Credits. Our classes are always filled months in advance.
But are those classes enough training? Frankly, no. There are circumstances where service technicians should be trained or should seek out training on their own.
Many people lose the knowledge they once had because they don’t repeat a task often enough, if at all. Repetition is the mother of all learning, and remembering.
And just how deep into the topic of a service task should the training go? In our training classes we try to teach service technicians not only what’s going on, but also why they’re doing a certain task. This part of training can be described as emphasizing design concepts and goes beyond a focus on products.
For example, we want service technicians to understand how an indoor poolroom should be maintained. To grasp the all-encompassing relationship between temperature and humidity, and the evaporation rate off the surface of pools. Also, how load dynamics change with different tastes in personal comfort.
Another classic example is the need for training on commissioning reports.
As part of the commissioning process, these reports should include verifying set up details including airflow balancing, duct design and piping layouts. It’s also a good idea to verify proper oil return to a compressor.
The commissioning process is all in the interest of giving systems the best opportunity for efficient operations. From a more formal industry perspective, the goal is to verify the systems will achieve the Owners Project Requirements (OPR).
HVAC service company owners should also be aware of circumstances when training is required. Training becomes even more important as new employees come and go, and as products are introduced and evolve.
These owners should realize there are certain terms that HVAC technicians must be very knowledgeable about. Thermal dynamics is an example. How do thermal dynamics apply to the equipment to be serviced?
Like a doctor taking blood pressure, it’s one of the first things technicians should look at when doing diagnostics. If technicians are not up to speed on how thermal dynamics apply to the equipment they are about to service, they need education and training.
Training is not just about service technicians and HVAC equipment however. Building owners must also be trained. For example, the owners and operators of indoor poolrooms need to understand their poolroom environments, and how conditions change based on calendar year and usage.
In the residential HVAC marketplace especially, training may be required if there is a change of ownership. The new owners of existing homes and buildings may require training on the dynamics of poolroom environments.
This training should include the proper operation of equipment and its maintenance requirements. By training the new owners or the people brought in to do maintenance, challenges to the poolroom and surrounding structures can be prevented.
In conclusion, there is never enough training. As complex as indoor environments and HVAC systems can be, and factoring in people and changing workforces, there is always a need for training. For the HVAC industry continuing education is a best practice -- and rallying cry.
-- Mark Potter
Editor’s Note: The next Desert Aire CST Training classes are scheduled for May 16-17 and October 10-11, 2018. We look forward to seeing you!
Photo 1: Desert Aire service training class.