Mistakes can be costly. That’s why choosing the right tools for the job is critical – to ensure it’s done right, the first time.
So we asked Daniel, Josue and Matt to create the “perfect” toolbox. To tell us what tools they think every HVAC contractor needs – and the tools they want in their toolboxes as they start their careers.
Daniel: The Tool Makes the Craftsman
In the Eastern European culture, there is an old saying that a man and a tool are forged on the same coin. On one side, it is a man that makes the tool, yet on the other side, it is the right tool which defines the master craftsman (in simple translation: “The man makes the tool, and yet the tool makes the man”).
Good quality tools are a necessity in every trade. So, when we were asked to create our “perfect” toolbox, I decided to start with some research and talk to a few professionals to learn more about major tooling for the HVAC field. From the vast choices available, I selected five tools that I believe are important for HVAC technicians to have in their toolboxes:
1. Multimeter: This instrument helps technicians find the volts, amps, ohms and microfarads for AC/DC currents.
2. Infrared Thermometer: This tool gives technicians the option to check accurate temperatures at varying distances.
3. Wire Insulation Strippers: These tools have different diameters and configurations for most wire gauges to cut plastic insulation off wires with accurate precision.
4. Crimper/Stripper: This specific tool is a combination for stripping and crimping electric leads on wires.
5. Tool Core Exchanger: An important tool that a technician must have to exchange valves on a refrigerant system without turning off the unit.
When considering which tools to buy, it’s important to make sure the ones you choose are high quality and reliable…and perhaps have a lifetime warranty. Picking a brand that offers a variety of tools to choose from is also an important consideration.
Josue: Essential Tools of My Trade
HVAC pros will own many tools. As any pro knows, selecting the appropriate tools for the job could save both time and money.
Below are five essential tools for a service technician – tools that are a must in order to properly troubleshoot HVAC equipment.
1. Multimeter: The multimeter is necessary for reading voltage at the source of power, switches, loads and controls. You can use the meter to check your controls and loads for proper resistance, and it can also be used to check switches and electrical circuits for continuity. There are versions available that have a temperature, amp and microfarad function included, but in some instances, all you need is a volt meter to fix a piece of equipment.
2. Pressure Gauges: If you’re an HVAC technician, you should have a set of pressure gauges. These are used to check refrigerant levels and are essential in calculating your super heat or sub cool.
3. 6 in 1 Screwdriver: A 6 in 1 screwdriver is very handy since it offers two different sizes of flat heads, Phillips and nut drivers. A stubby 6 in 1 is preferred as the compact size provides an easier fit in the tightest of areas.
4. Digital Thermometer: Having a digital thermometer with you is essential when trying to troubleshoot a system. You need to know the actual temperature of the refrigerant at its different stages in order to check if it’s super heating and sub cooling properly. A clamp thermocouple is an excellent choice because it makes it easy to accurately read pipe temperatures.
5. Anemometer: An anemometer is also critical when trying to troubleshoot HVAC equipment. It’s an instrument that can measure the airflow going across your evaporator or condenser coil. With an anemometer, you can calculate the BTU output of your system. Without proper airflow flowing through your system, it will not function properly and may seem over- or under-charged.
Matt: Tools I Can’t Live Without
Here are five tools I can’t live without – most are tools we used in our classes and labs during our time with Athens Tech:
1. Wire Cutters: As a service technician, I am required to strip and crimp wires, making this a much-needed tool.
2. 6 in 1 Screwdriver: This gives me a variety of options to choose from to complete the job.
3. Safety Glasses: These will shield my eyes when drilling and when going underneath a house to deal with insulation.
4. Leather Gloves: These provide the protection needed when soldering and brazing, as well as to help prevent splinters.
5. Multimeter: This is an everyday tool used for diagnosing electrical problems during installation.