What Makes a Good AC Technician?

Home or commercial building owners should have a good AC technician on speed dial. When you need a new air conditioner installed in spring or reliable AC repairs in the heat of summer, do you know who to call?

Air conditioners are expensive, and they are complex mechanical equipment. To protect your comfort and investment, work with a skilled AC technician who knows the industry. The factors below distinguish between good AC techs and those you may want to stay away from.

Licensed HVAC Technicians

The state or city you live in, may require licensing for AC technicians. Requirements vary but often require certain education, apprenticeship, or number of work hours. Air conditioners are complex systems. Danger and damage may occur working with an unskilled technician. Government licensing works to protect consumers from unskilled AC techs.

NATE-Certified AC Technicians

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is a nationally recognized, independent certifying organization for HVAC pros. Air conditioning technicians voluntarily undergo NATE certification to validate their knowledge of the field. To obtain a NATE certification, AC technicians must:

  • Pass rigorous knowledge-based exams. There are exams for entry-level and seasoned techs. Various certifications exist for general HVAC knowledge and specialties, including air conditioning.
  • Pursue ongoing education and training for recertification. The HVAC field is always changing, as new equipment comes to market and laws best practices evolve. AC techs must recertify every 2 years. Techs must earn 16 hours of continuing education or may take a recertification exam.

AC Technicians with EPA Certification

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) governs the use of air conditioning coolant. AC technicians must hold an EPA refrigerant handling certification to work with refrigerant. Work with a certified air conditioning tech for your protection. Proper coolant handling protects your AC system and the environment. It also reduces potential for injury.

  • An EPA certification shows the technician knows how to correctly and safely work with coolant. AC coolant is highly pressurized and is dangerous if the technician is not properly trained to work with it.
  • The EPA certification also ensures the AC technician trained in the proper disposal of coolant. Many older air conditioners contain R-22 coolant, or Freon. It is harmful to the environment if not recycled. Purposefully releasing coolant into the environment is illegal in the U.S., per the Clean Air Act. R-22 may cause ozone depletion and global warming. A phase out of R-22 will replace this harmful coolant.  Newer air conditioners contain R-401A. It is chlorine-free and better for the environment. R-401A still requires certification to handle.

As you look for a good AC technician to hire, look for the elements listed above. Certifications and licensing will aid you in evaluating contractors and picking the best out of the crowd.

HVAC.com makes it easy for consumers to find and hire skilled AC technicians. Browse our HVAC Contractor Directory to find an HVAC.com Certified Contractor in your area. Or, tell us your HVAC needs. We’ll set you up with a qualified heatin

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