HVAC: A Day in the Life

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As an HVAC technician, you install, repair, and maintain heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration units. But your day-to-day can vary depending on your specialty, the company you work for, and whether you work in residential or commercial HVAC. Your daily tasks can also change from day to day and from location to location. Want an idea of what to expect on a “typical” day, though? Check it out:

6:30 AM -Up and at It

Do you wake up early? While you won’t punch the clock at 6:00 AM, you will want to rise and shine! Wake up, have some breakfast, check your email, confirm appointments, and get a handle on your day.

7:30 AM -Begin the Workday

Clock in at work and double check your appointments. Take another look at your email. Check your voicemail. Ask your boss if anything new has come up or if there’s anything you need to know. Then it’s off to work.

If you work in residential HVAC, you jump in the company van and head off to the first of your appointments. If it’s commercial, you might be on one job site for months.

Gather all the necessary tools and equipment, plot your route, and check in with the resident to make sure they know you’re coming. Communication before you get there could save you lots of time—and time is money.

8:30 AM -Arrive at First Appointment

How big your territory is will determine how long it takes you to get from one home to another and how many appointments you can complete in a day. When you arrive, introduce yourself to the client and review the reason for the call. Maybe this first call is for a heating system that isn’t reaching its set temperature. You quickly discover that the issue is an old and broken thermostat. No problem, you have a replacement in the truck! You make the fix and then check the rest of the system. The filter needs to be replaced for better efficiency, so you swap it out. In a conversation with the homeowner, you explain the benefit of regular system maintenance and she signs up. You did a quick repair, provided service, and made a sale!

10:30 AM -Arrive at Second Appointment

Your next appointment is to discover the cause of a noisy heating system. The homeowner tells you there’s a crazy screeching noise and rattling coming from the unit. You turn it on and hear it for yourself. Upon inspection, you discover the motor on the heat pump needs to be replaced. Again, you have the replacement part in the van, but this project is going to take a while. You work professionally and efficiently to perform the job and you carefully clean up after yourself.

1:30 PM -Lunch

You need to refuel between assignments. Your lunch break may come at different hours each day, but it’s important to fit one in.

2:30 PM -Next Stop

HVAC Techs who specialize in maintenance and repair may not have the opportunity to do new installs, but you may. Your next stop is to help out on a new construction; it’s ready for the HVAC system. The job has already been scoped out, but you need to do some preliminary work and prepare for a full day on the site tomorrow.

4:00 -Clock Out

At the end of the day, you head back to the office. You return the work van and equipment, check your email one last time, and clock out.


When you’re “on-call,” you need to handle after-hours calls. You might get paid a small amount to man the pager, but you can often earn overtime pay for calls you service while on duty.

Seasonal Duties

No one wants to be stuck in the sweltering heat without air conditioning or freezing in the winter with a faulty heating system. As the seasons change, your duties will shift with the changing weather. Here are some of the duties you could perform in the summer and winter months:

Summer Days

  • Remove debris from in and around the AC unit with your hands or with a vacuum
  • Prune branches and vegetation that surround the unit
  • Clean the compressor fins with a garden hose to loosen and remove dirt
  • Gently straighten the fins to ensure proper air flow
  • Clean and drain the blowers and coils
  • Replace the blower filter Clean the air ducts
  • Ensure the AC unit sits level on its pad
  • Calibrate and adjust the thermostat

Winter Days

  • Inspect the furnace, thermostat, ducts, flue and wiring
  • Clean burners and adjust gas valves
  • Check the heat pump controls and operations
  • Oil fan motors and adjust or replace belts as needed
  • Replace filters

If you’re ready to begin a career as an HVAC tech, take the first step and get in touch with Charter College today. We offer a Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration that can prepare you for an entry-level job in the field. Fill out the form to learn more.