Heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics (NOC 7313)

About this job

Heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics install, maintain and repair residential, commercial and industrial heating, ventilation and cooling systems.

Individuals work for installation contractors, construction companies, food wholesalers, engineering firms and retail outlets and chains, home and building renovation firms, hospitality and servicing businesses. They may also be self-employed. They may work on large projects for retail chains like grocery stores, warehouses or commercial outlets and housing developments, or they might work on smaller jobs in homes, convenience stores or restaurants.

Watch the video below to learn what a typical day is like for a refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic.

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Refrigeration & air conditioning mechanic


Common job titles
  • hydronics technician
  • installer-repairer-servicer, central a / c
  • mechanic, a / c / heating / refrigeration
  • mechanic, HVAC (heating, ventilation, a / c)
  • mechanic, journeyman / journeywoman
  • mechanic, transport refrigeration

Duties

Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics:

  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings and other specifications
  • Measure and lay out reference points for installation
  • Use hand and power tools to assemble and install refrigeration or air conditioning components, such as motors, controls, gauges, valves, circulating pumps, condensers, humidifiers, evaporators and compressors
  • Measure and cut piping, and connect piping using welding and brazing equipment
  • Install, troubleshoot and overhaul entire heating, ventilation, air handling, refrigeration and air conditioning systems
  • Start up system and test for leaks
  • Recharge system with refrigerant, test regulators, calibrate system and perform routine maintenance or servicing
  • Repair and replace parts/components for entire refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation or heat pump systems
  • May install, maintain and repair equipment in refrigerated trucks used to transport food or medical supplies
  • May prepare work estimates for clients as well as write work orders, inspection sheets and other paperwork

Work environment

People in this job generally work 40 hours per week. Overtime and on-call work is sometimes needed to finish a project on time or to quickly repair critical equipment (for example, freezers containing food or medical items).

Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics typically work onsite at the job, which may be in buildings under construction or in warehouses, office towers, hospitals, schools or stores. While working, they may be in a cold area like a freezer for a long period of time or work in a hot area when repairing the heating system or air conditioning. Some people in these jobs may do some work in an office, filling out paperwork. There are also times when they may need to work outside and must deal with different weather conditions.

People in these jobs may need to work in small spaces and cramped positions. Sometimes, they work from heights and lift heavy items. Some safety risks come from using heavy equipment or from electrical shock. On-the-job safety training is provided and safety procedures must be followed, particularly when handling potentially harmful refrigerants.

They should be able to work on their own, be good at solving problems and have good communication and customer service skills.

Insights from industry

Many job openings will come from the need to replace those who retire.

The construction industry has traditionally created strong demand for workers in both residential and non-residential sectors. Government funding for capital projects is also an important source of work. Also, there’s been an increase in companies who need their heating, refrigeration and air conditioning systems serviced.

An increased focus on the environment and energy conservation has created a demand for energy-saving heating and air conditioning systems. With the need for better energy management and environmentally safe refrigerants, older systems in existing homes and buildings are being replaced with more efficient systems.

The increasing use of technology in refrigeration and air conditioning, such as control systems, as well as new forms of refrigerants, requires mechanics to be up to date with the latest systems and developments. Workers with current technological knowledge will have more employment opportunities.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics may begin their careers as shop hands or in entry-level positions, or they may begin as apprentices.

With experience, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics can advance to supervisory positions or start their own businesses.

People in this career who upgrade their skills and know how to use new technology and equipment can position themselves as specialists, which can help to advance their career.

Additional resources