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Career Profile: Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

Install or repair heating, central air conditioning, HVAC, or refrigeration systems, including oil burners, hot-air furnaces, and heating stoves.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 380,400 people employed as heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers in the United States. The median annual salary is $50,600. Entry level employees earn approximately $31,910 per year and senior employees earn approximately $80,820 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Test electrical circuits or components for continuity, using electrical test equipment.
  • Repair or replace defective equipment, components, or wiring.
  • Discuss heating or cooling system malfunctions with users to isolate problems or to verify that repairs corrected malfunctions.
  • Connect heating or air conditioning equipment to fuel, water, or refrigerant source to form complete circuit.
  • Install, connect, or adjust thermostats, humidistats, or timers.
  • Comply with all applicable standards, policies, or procedures, such as safety procedures or the maintenance of a clean work area.
  • Braze or solder parts to repair defective joints and leaks.
  • Lay out and connect electrical wiring between controls and equipment, according to wiring diagrams, using electrician's hand tools.
  • Inspect and test systems to verify system compliance with plans and specifications or to detect and locate malfunctions.
  • Record and report time, materials, faults, deficiencies, or other unusual occurrences on work orders.
  • Perform mechanical overhauls and refrigerant reclaiming.
  • Adjust system controls to settings recommended by manufacturer to balance system.
  • Install expansion and control valves, using acetylene torches and wrenches.
  • Install dehumidifiers or related equipment for spaces that require cool, dry air to operate efficiently, such as computer rooms.
  • Recommend, develop, or perform preventive or general maintenance procedures, such as cleaning, power-washing, or vacuuming equipment, oiling parts, or changing filters.
  • Cut or drill holes in floors, walls, or roof to install equipment, using power saws or drills.
  • Mount compressor, condenser, and other components in specified locations on frames, using hand tools and acetylene welding equipment.
  • Measure, cut, thread, or bend pipe or tubing, using pipe fitter's tools.
  • Schedule work with customers and initiate work orders, house requisitions, and orders from stock.
  • Supervise and instruct assistants.
  • Lay out reference points for installation of structural and functional components, using measuring instruments.
  • Lift and align components into position, using hoist or block and tackle.
  • Install or repair self-contained ground source heat pumps or hybrid ground or air source heat pumps to minimize carbon-based energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Study blueprints, design specifications, or manufacturers' recommendations to ascertain the configuration of heating or cooling equipment components and to ensure the proper installation of components.
  • Install auxiliary components to heating or cooling equipment, such as expansion or discharge valves, air ducts, pipes, blowers, dampers, flues, or stokers.
  • Keep records of repairs and replacements made and causes of malfunctions.
  • Install or repair air purification systems, such as specialized filters or ultraviolet (UV) light purification systems.
  • Estimate, order, pick up, deliver, and install materials and supplies needed to maintain equipment in good working condition.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
380,400
Annual Openings:
38,500
Increase in Openings by 2030:
5%
Annual Salary Range:
$31,910 - $80,820
Education Requirements:
Some college