569 episodes

Real training for HVAC ( Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) Technicians. Including recorded tech training, interviews, diagnostics and general conversations about the trade.

HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs Bryan Orr

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 845 Ratings

Real training for HVAC ( Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) Technicians. Including recorded tech training, interviews, diagnostics and general conversations about the trade.

    Getting More People Into The Trade

    Getting More People Into The Trade

    Eric Kaiser and Ty Branaman return to the podcast to talk about getting more people into the trade. They focus on how the HVAC/R industry could be better at attracting and training skilled workers, not just getting more bodies to fill HVAC/R tech and installer positions. 
    People are starting to see more value in skilled trades careers, but it's difficult to find people who share your company's values and want to grow as HVAC/R professionals. Skilled tradespeople need time, education, and money invested in them, so it can be difficult for HVAC/R business owners to make those investments when other jobs pay close to the same without the same degree of investment from the company and the employee. 
    To attract more people to the trade, HVAC/R business owners ought to focus on how to give their employees a means of giving a good life. That means making incremental changes to employee pay, benefits, and training to make the trades a competitive option for people who want to improve their skills and grow. We could consider increasing entry-level pay to attract skilled people, allowing us to be more selective in our hiring. Performance reviews can also be more goal-focused to help HVAC/R talent grow within a company. Companies also ought to focus on training their tradespeople to use the many tools at their disposal nowadays; providing these tools and acknowledging the needs of employees will make the industry much more appealing and competitive.
    Eric, Ty, and Bryan also discuss:
    Labor organizations Making gradual changes to the industry Competing with other similar industries Changing landscape of job ads and applications "Back in my day..." Ways of providing tools  
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    • 24 min
    Becoming a Complete Tech

    Becoming a Complete Tech

    Genry Garcia returns to the HVAC School podcast to talk about what becoming a complete tech really means and entails. He talks about his professional journey and what we must do to address our deficiencies.
    Career progression looks a bit different for everyone, with some technicians going to trade school and others starting as helpers and working their way up. We get used to taking readings and start noticing patterns. Then, we start understanding why we see certain pressures. Our experiences are our most valuable tools for becoming better technicians, but they can be reinforced with other learning materials, including books and podcasts.
    There comes a point when we acknowledge that we are solid technician but may want to specialize in a certain aspect of the trade. For Genry, that was building performance and humidity control; along the way, he listened to people who knew more than him and took on many jobs that he’d learn from and would keep him humble.
    Everything goes back to the basics; we have to be able to solve all the basic problems and understand the fundamentals. Then and only then can we start thinking about building performance and focus on becoming experts at it. However, we also have to assess our ecosystem and see if it would allow us to grow or if it’s more suited for stability. We also have to be willing to be wrong and grow from those mistakes.
    Genry and Bryan also discuss:
    The pros and cons of trade school Egos and admitting wrongdoing Mental models Humidity control Looking back on previous work with shame Building envelopes, pressures, and leakage Where and how to learn more about building science and performance Self-auditing and the Dunning-Kruger effect  
    Get in touch with Genry on Facebook by joining his Facebook Group HERE.
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    • 40 min
    Inductive Current Myths - Short #158

    Inductive Current Myths - Short #158

    In this short podcast in our electrical myths series, Bryan talks about some inductive current myths.
    There is a common myth surrounding voltage drop in inductive loads. When you decrease the voltage in a circuit with a resistive load, you'll see a relatively proportional drop in resistance (ohms) and current in accordance with Ohm's law. So, we'll see a decrease in current, but we have to keep in mind that load temperatures also affect the resistance (and the current, by extension).
    Some people will claim that reducing the voltage in an inductive load (like a motor or compressor) will increase the current. That is actually generally a myth; many people believe this myth because the current drop is NOT proportional, unlike in resistive loads. The resistance that shows up in a motor is called inductive reactance, which is an opposing magnetic field that creates back electromotive force (back EMF) and impedes the circuit. Back EMF and inductive reactance contribute to the impedance or total resistance of the circuit. Decreasing the voltage may cause the resistance to increase, as some of the work will start contributing to heat instead of mechanical motion; the motor derates, becomes less efficient, and draws more current than it needs, but it doesn't actually draw more total current.
    However, some variable-speed motors on VFDs may draw more current because the motor module speeds up the motor to make up for the voltage deficiency, static pressure, etc. ECMs also fall into this category and may draw more current if the motor module or VFD calls for it. However, in terms of simple electrical math without VFD logic, the current won't typically increase if the voltage drops, even in inductive loads.
     
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    • 9 min
    Why it REALLY gets hot upstairs w/ Alex Meaney

    Why it REALLY gets hot upstairs w/ Alex Meaney

    Alex Meaney returns to the podcast to explain why it REALLY gets hot upstairs and what we can do about it. He also talks a bit about his new business.
    Heat technically doesn’t rise; warm air is less dense than cooler air, so cooler air sinks as warmer air rises. In many cases, people blame stratification and the stack effect for warm upstairs areas, but there may actually be other issues at play, especially if the issue only seems to happen in the summer. 
    Many apparent convective problems are actually due to building science errors, especially poor insulation when walls are exposed to attic space. When air moves via convection, it brings the heat it contains with it, which can contribute to comfort problems. To help figure out what is going on, try to see what the floor temperature is; a cold floor usually indicates a building design mistake, particularly a joist bag problem. 
    Some of the solutions that may sound good aren’t actually that effective, including placing return ducts higher. In many cases, we have to think about fixing the actual building, not the HVAC system. Some attics that are poorly ventilated and insulated will need to be reinforced.
    Alex and Bryan also discuss:
    Mean HVAC Consulting & Design Wind washing and exposure within the insulation R-value Pressurization and how it relates to hot air “rising” Manual J and its shortcomings with significant heat gains/losses Duct design and using a Ductulator Soffit vents, ridge vents, blown-in insulation, and infiltration Why building science skills are important for HVAC technicians Poorly conceived home designs Diagnostic tips and tricks Vapor-permeable air barriers Sizing, capacity, and power consumption  
    Learn more about what Alex is doing at meanhvac.com. 
    If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.
    Check out our handy calculators HERE.

    • 49 min
    Electrical Myths - Single phase is Really 2-Phase - Short #157

    Electrical Myths - Single phase is Really 2-Phase - Short #157

    In this short podcast, Bryan busts the common electrical myth that single-phase 240v power is really two-phase power.
    When power goes into a structure that runs 240v appliances, we may understand that two 120v sine waves are 180 degrees out of phase with each other, but that isn’t 100% accurate. If we were to use an oscilloscope to watch the electrical sine waves, we would see two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase because the transformers are center-tapped. Center-tapping creates a neutral center point that becomes our reference.
    The transformer has two sides: a primary and a secondary. The number of wraps on each side is proportional to the other, and the number of wraps also dictates whether a transformer steps the voltage up or down. However, when you use the center tap as a reference, that also makes the voltage appear to be halved. 
    In many residential structures, a single phase of power goes into the transformer from the power company. If you were to use the center tap as your reference on each side of that transformer, you would read 120v; the two 120v readings add up to 240v. However, if you were to use the other side as the reference (as in a corner-tapped transformer), you would read 240v. 
    On an oscilloscope, you would see the same thing; using the center tap as the reference, you would see two 120v sine waves completely opposite each other. If you were to measure completely across the transformer, however, you would see a single 240v wave, which is larger. 
    Remember: only one phase comes from the power company. We only appear to get two separate waves because of our available point of reference.
     
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    • 9 min
    Pumping Away, Hydronics Changes And Electrification

    Pumping Away, Hydronics Changes And Electrification

    Moe Hirsch joins the podcast to discuss the hydronics side of the industry, particularly focusing on Dan Holohan’s Pumping Away and exciting developments in the hydronics market, especially regarding electrification.
    Pumping Away is many people’s entry point to hydronics. It contains some good basic information about boilers, especially when it comes to learning about the pressures involved in pumping and how the components manipulate pressure throughout the system. 
    Boilers use many of the same fundamentals as compression-refrigeration HVAC systems; pressure drops are similar, as are phase changes in steam boilers. Boilers also employ pumps instead of compressors, but the processes are similar. 
    The pump or circulator makes a pressure differential within the boiler, which adds pressure to the circulator outlet and results in negative pressure on the suction side. However, problems like air bubbles and magnetite buildup can negatively impact performance.
    The electrification side of the boiler industry is exciting, especially because of the relative safety of electricity compared to combustible fossil fuels. However, electrification comes with its own set of concerns, especially when natural gas prices are low. In some markets, electrical grids also haven’t caught up with the demand for electricity yet.
    Moe and Bryan also discuss:
    Moe’s recent work in the industry Changes in boiler infrastructure over the years Pumping away from the boiler vs. pumping at the boiler Pressure’s role in boiler systems Similarities between parallel racks and boilers Challenges with ECM circulators Evolution of boiler motors and controls Magnetic and hydraulic circulation Low-temperature heat pumps with radiant heated systems Moe’s ideal HVAC system Natural gas health and safety risks (carbon monoxide)  
    To learn more about what Moe is doing, check out turnupthecomfort.com or contact Moe directly at info@turnupthecomfort.com. 
    If you have an iPhone, subscribe to the podcast HERE, and if you have an Android phone, subscribe HERE.
    Check out our handy calculators HERE.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
845 Ratings

845 Ratings

Zaphoid's cousin ,

Love it.

Loads of information in this podcast broken up into manageable nuggets.

Takoateli ,

What an incredible free, learning resource!

These podcasts are always fun to listen to and hugely informative.

DeanPP ,

Good Drive Listening

A Great listen on the ride in to start the morning off right.

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