To give you a little story about me, I started in this business in 1966 (that is not a typo) as a 16-year-old kid. I was fortunate enough to be “taken on” by a contractor who took me under his wing and taught me the basics. He also made sure that I attended any manufacturer’s training if it fit the schedule. I owed this man a lot. From there, I made sure to take classes and attend training every chance I got.
Of course, back then systems were a lot simpler. Back then there were no S.E.E.R. ratings — just E.E.R. ratings and a good unit was around 6 E.E.R.. Furnaces were rated by “steady state efficiency” and EVERYTHING was 80% efficient by that rating. That applied to both commercial and residential products.
Air conditioning basics haven’t changed that much but how the units are controlled sure have. Staging has been added and even “inverter technology” allowing for compressors to operate as “variable speed” to match the load to the unit taking S.E.E.R. ratings up into the 20+ area (a log way from 6 E.E.R.). Heating has gone from simple thermocouples and heat activated fan controls to solid state boards, ECM motors, flame rectification and so on. Commercial products have very sophisticated controls, internet capabilities via BACnet, or MODbus, or some other “language” along with the capabilities to be hooked up to computers. Even simple thermostats are now becoming WI-FI enabled so people can check on their system from anywhere in the world and make changes. We have come a long way from the “dark basement”, “cold roof”, or hot back yard — All because of new technology.
So, now I am in a position to try and assist techs and try to teach them just as my original employer/mentor did for me. I just came back from our factory where I was for a week of training. We have a lot of new and exciting products coming out soon and I was there to learn about them so I can help people when they call in for assistance on that product once it is released. I can’t tell you about it yet, as it is proprietary information, but it is very, very, exciting.
All I am trying to say with this post is we all need to continue to learn if we want to stay in this business. Too often I have techs tell me — “I’ve been at this business for over 20 years. Why are you asking me that question?” And I will occasionally respond to this comment — “There are 2 types of people in this business, those with 20+ years experience and those with 1 year experience 20 times over — which are you?”
So now I’ll ask all of you the same question — do you attend training regularly or do you avoid learning about the new technologies coming out? Do you truly have 20 years (or whatever) experience, or just the one year 20 times over?
WE ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN if we truly want to succeed in our industry.