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I want to become a HVAC Technician.

[OP]
Newbie
Jan 13, 2018
8 posts
4 upvotes

I want to become a HVAC Technician.

where do I start? Any apprenticeships or training program you would recommend?
36 replies
Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2007
869 posts
56 upvotes
Cambridge
Contact your closest community college or just look up on their site 1st

Its an apprenticeship program now last few years so you have to go in stages

Also have to have an employer who will take you on!!

Most non union places pay piece work or by the job even repairs and installs NOT hourly, they dock you for any return calls as well, so ask yourself how good you r mechanically........ be real honest ...........if you spend all day you wont make any money

Some places seasonal and lots non union work of the above pay scales


I did it for 30 years in my own business so I know a little bit about it

You also have to have(well if you dont you may wish you had) separate liability insurance even if working for a company especially gas work

Add ons:
you wont be around for normal relatives or family functions ............you"ll be stuck in a truck going all over
Most furnace boiler and service work is done at odd hours not all but quite a bit
In a place with several workers you'll be on an on call system
Some places give you a phone so they can ahem contact you anytime

In a union shop your're better off

you can PM if any more questions or my opinion
Last edited by tyreman on Jul 22nd, 2020 8:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cambridge,Ontario
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2006
860 posts
323 upvotes
Toronto
I've done it for 3 years and decided this was not for me.

But as @tyreman mentioned, its an apprentice program and be prepared to receive minimum wage for a couple of years while you get the experience.

Once you get your licence, all is pretty standard and you can start your own business if you have sufficient drive to make it.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 13, 2018
8 posts
4 upvotes
marketb wrote: I've done it for 3 years and decided this was not for me.

But as @tyreman mentioned, its an apprentice program and be prepared to receive minimum wage for a couple of years while you get the experience.

Once you get your licence, all is pretty standard and you can start your own business if you have sufficient drive to make it.
What reason did you stop? let me know, thanks.
tyreman wrote: Contact your closest community college or just look up on their site 1st

Its an apprenticeship program now last few years so you have to go in stages

Also have to have an employer who will take you on!!

Some places pay piece work or by the job even repairs and installs so ask yourself how good you r mechanically........ be real honest ...........if you spend all day you wont make any money

Some places seasonal and lots non union


I done it for 30 years

You also have to have(well if you dont you may wish you had) separate liability insurance even if working for a company
you can PM if any more questions or my opinion
Thanks for the kickstart idea and useful information, I will give few calls to acquire more information.
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2006
860 posts
323 upvotes
Toronto
I stopped because it's a tough job, and I was not really interested in it. Dont get me wrong, I dont shy away from hard labor, my first job was a stone mason building houses in another country.

For me, these are the show stoppers:
1. You only get called when someone's heat or cooling is broken.
2. You will also learn sales and convince your client that fixing it, although is cheaper will be more costly than getting a new one.
3. The smell of oil/gas when doing gas lines for furnaces.
4. All the carrying of sheet metals, countless cuts, elbows, ducts, etc...
5. Talk about carry, there is a lot of lifting of A/C units and furnace. At one point, I was carrying the outdoor A/C unit alone.

The pros:
1. Lots of skills, welding, gas fitting, copper lines, sheet metal work, electrical, etc..
2. Money was decent since some customers were giving tips.
3. TRAVEL. A. LOT.
4. Meet new interesting people. (A vietnamese guy offered us beer @ 7am when we got to his place to replace the A/C)
5. You will know prices, vendor locations, equipment specs, etc.. to start it on your own.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 13, 2018
8 posts
4 upvotes
marketb wrote: I stopped because it's a tough job, and I was not really interested in it. Dont get me wrong, I dont shy away from hard labor, my first job was a stone mason building houses in another country.

For me, these are the show stoppers:
1. You only get called when someone's heat or cooling is broken.
2. You will also learn sales and convince your client that fixing it, although is cheaper will be more costly than getting a new one.
3. The smell of oil/gas when doing gas lines for furnaces.
4. All the carrying of sheet metals, countless cuts, elbows, ducts, etc...
5. Talk about carry, there is a lot of lifting of A/C units and furnace. At one point, I was carrying the outdoor A/C unit alone.

The pros:
1. Lots of skills, welding, gas fitting, copper lines, sheet metal work, electrical, etc..
2. Money was decent since some customers were giving tips.
3. TRAVEL. A. LOT.
4. Meet new interesting people. (A vietnamese guy offered us beer @ 7am when we got to his place to replace the A/C)
5. You will know prices, vendor locations, equipment specs, etc.. to start it on your own.
Wow thanks for detail response man, it provided me a lot of information.
Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2007
869 posts
56 upvotes
Cambridge
You got it guys ..........its a boot licking trade compared to an electricians, plumbers and full of crazy responsibility...And as a bonus you get to correct all the slackers jobs
I know owned a shop for quarter of century and that was enough
PM if you need to hear some good ones
People always telling you what you have to do but other trades way easier run and less "policed"
Your always called when with significant other, family, miss kids things, late a night or summer later work
often if not owner frequent layoffs, no real pensions in non union shops
And as was posted I met a fantastic amount of people in ALL walks of life lots of legal and they tell you lots of stuff facts
trades well hvac were best in 1970’s and 1980’s
now piecework and by job for hvac in a lot of cases
Last edited by tyreman on Jan 15th, 2018 10:34 am, edited 5 times in total.
Cambridge,Ontario
Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2007
869 posts
56 upvotes
Cambridge
How long you stay in it marketb?
Cambridge,Ontario
Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2007
869 posts
56 upvotes
Cambridge
Oh and know how to spell Assume
It makes an A** out of you and me!!
Cambridge,Ontario
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2006
860 posts
323 upvotes
Toronto
I stayed for 3 years. Great life stories i still tell people after 15 years. And besides, the HVAC industry has been pretty static.

I still remember one time in chinatown in TO while on a job, the boss dropped us off while we worked on the coolers in an open supermarket. 15 mins later, he called us out as he bought breakfast for us to eat...
Or the time when its -20C outside and we had to go to commercial rooftops to see why its not calling for heat....had to go back to the van to warm up every 30 mins.
Sr. Member
Nov 3, 2007
869 posts
56 upvotes
Cambridge
Sounds about same stuff here and not a real growth business static as you said
Lifting like a sherpa on mount Everest
one time one of my workers had t use a toilet in a old law office, we were installing new boiler and pipes
so he does his business in the old toilet in back of basement ,in back corner of century old basement at law office
trouble was no toilet hooked ....up it was just on the old wood built up platform
what a smell we had to clean it out..LOL
Cambridge,Ontario
Jr. Member
May 15, 2008
132 posts
8 upvotes
Don't mean to hijack this thread but in Ontario, what's the difference between HVAC technician and refrigeration and air-conditioning systems mechanic?

I know that the latter is a recognized trade under the Ontario Colleges of Trades but not HVAC.

Any insight into this is great.

Thanks
Sr. Member
Nov 8, 2006
860 posts
323 upvotes
Toronto
HVAC tech is pretty much the same as what you asked.

As per google: heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Sometimes, they add the R at the end for refrigeration.

LOL@ old platform...at least you made the dumpster cleaned it up right?
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2013
1550 posts
1278 upvotes
Toronto
I hate to interject but HVACis not any harder than any other trade out there.
The worse trades for being rough on your body must be ironworkers, rodmen and concrete workers.
Tiling also looks like a back killer.

Hvac lifts heavy furnaces and chit.
Plumpers lift heavy boilers and chit.
Elecchickens lift heavy transformers, panels, switchgear and chit.

Also large gauge cabling in the winter is a ****.
You are not bending that chit till spring.
But you gotta bend it in -20 degree weather cause it's gotta be terminated in the frozen generator by end of shift.

My other favorite is squeezing between I beams and drywall studs to fish BX through insulation and chit.

If the trades were easy, everyone would be doing them.
....
Newbie
Jun 25, 2013
44 posts
14 upvotes
MARKHAM
Centennial College has a new HVAC Co-Op apprenticeship program assuming you live in Toronto GTA.

Allows you to work towards the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic (313a).
Newbie
Jan 15, 2019
5 posts
Hello
I have 13 years of experience in HVAC in Illinois (residential and commercial) and 3 years in Air Conditioning in the UK (Split systems, VRV, VRF).
I'm going to move to Toronto.
What do I need to work at HVAC in Ontario?
What kind of course, training ... etc?
What's compulsory to be in the trade?
Thanks
Deal Addict
May 4, 2014
4741 posts
5839 upvotes
Toronto, ON
marketb wrote: 4. Meet new interesting people. (A vietnamese guy offered us beer @ 7am when we got to his place to replace the A/C)
Get the gas tech drunk while he's hooking up the gas lines in your house - that's just brilliant. He might as well offer a cigar too.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 15, 2015
1568 posts
198 upvotes
Markham, ON
If you've been in the field for 30 years, you must be the ones teaching the classes at the college. Maybe as a group, a rotational scheduled can be set up to teach classes instead of fighting over who wants to fix what
Deal Addict
Nov 14, 2006
2547 posts
1461 upvotes
GTA
Try to get into commercial/industrial if you can and take a night school to at least get your G3 (gas license) started. Residential is more peace work and dealing with customers is a bitch.
If you are fine going back to school full time than I recommened a George Brown HVAC course they have which will get you the basics and have your G2 when completed.

Ive been doing it for a while now and is a great paying job, highest paid among other trades (787 rate) other than elevator/escalator techs. My friends called me crazy when I went into a trade job at 19 years old and they all went to college/university to get business/teacher degrees? I came out at 25 fully licensed making close to 80K out the gate while they came out in tons of debt still living at home and i'm still ahead of most of them 15 years later. Now making well 100k+ in an union shop its a good job and as I get older will get more into building automation/quoting/management roles as that is what older techs do.

Good luck in your search OP.

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