The five tools I would say that would be most crucial to success in this industry are a really, really good set of digital gauges, a Fluke 902 [true-RMS HVAC clamp meter], easy-carry oxyacetylene, iPhone, and Sprinter van. Back that all up with integrity/honesty, and you’ll succeed.
President at Digi-Cool Industries Ltd.
British Columbia, Canada
My top five tools are:
• A 4-in-1 screwdriver that has Phillips tips and can remove ¼- and 5⁄16-inch screws;
• A crescent wrench — this will help disassemble things;
• A gauge set — a must-have to check system pressures;
• A multimeter — this is needed for checking electrical components and can accept a temp probe for superheat adjustments and supply and return temps; and
• A Magnehelic gauge — this is very important for diagnosing system airflow restrictions.
Beyond the basics, the advanced or secondary HVACR tools that have helped the most are: a clamp-on amp meter for testing motor and compressor-amp draws, drill gun to aid in removing panels and putting screws in, and a thermal imaging camera. We use these for many things, such as checking radiant floor heating systems, electrical panel proactive maintenance, motor testing, locating insulation problems, and locating moisture areas.
I believe every technician should have a Magnehelic gauge for checking static pressure and a thermal imaging camera for predictive maintenance — we have been using one for the past six years. And, any specialty tool needs to be checked for calibration on a yearly basis.
Russ Donnici, CEM, REA, CLEP, CHD
Mechanical Air Service Inc.
San Jose, Calif.
Publication date: 2/4/2013