Ice Breaker: The Making of a Refrigeration Technician

March 8, 2010
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Servicing and maintaining refrigeration systems requires a technician with a unique set of skills. Not only must a technician be proficient in the refrigerant cycle and all of its components, they also must be knowledgeable in many other trades. A refrigeration technician is also:

• Electrician: Understanding an electrical system and its applications is most definitely a big part of a technician’s job. While installing a system, a technician may be tasked to run an electrical service to the equipment. He needs to be knowledgeable in the sizing and installation of this wiring. When it comes to troubleshooting, a refrigeration technician must have a strong understanding of electrical theory since a major part of a technician’s job is working with electrical devices.

• Plumber: All refrigeration systems require some type of drainage. When installing equipment, a technician must be able to properly run any drain lines. And while servicing equipment, he needs to be able to solve any problems associated with poor drainage.

• Engineer: A technician may not realize it, but sometimes he is part engineer. He may be tasked with modifying equipment in order to satisfy a customer’s request or to enable a system to function properly. He will then need to change the system’s design or re-engineer its modifications.

• Welder and carpenter: Welding and carpentry are also required skills in our industry. Installing and servicing a system may require some minor welding work such as putting together a frame to hold a condensing unit or repairing a bracket on a system. Occasionally a technician must also use his carpentry skills when installing a walk-in cooler or freezer.

• Sales/Customer Service: Besides the technical skills required, there is definitely a sales and customer service component to being a technician. Refrigeration technicians are always selling their service, equipment or parts to a customer and at times dealing with irate, frustrated or unpleasant customers. They must be adequate salesman and have outstanding customer service skills.

• Outdoorsman: Occasionally a technician will have to deal with working on systems that are exposed to extreme weather conditions. Whether it is working outdoors on a condensing unit or inside a walk-in freezer, he needs to be prepared and capable of working under these conditions. A technician should know how to dress appropriately to be able to work efficiently under all weather conditions.

For the most part refrigeration technicians are the type of people who are not afraid to tackle a job and can fix just about anything they set out to. A good refrigeration technician would be a good technician in any of the construction trades. He has a unique skill set that covers a wide spectrum of trades. He normally adapts well when working with different technologies and equipment.

A good refrigeration technician is a jack-of-all-trades and yes, a master of some.

Publication date: 03/08/2010

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