Our industry is fortunate to have a wide array of technologies to offer our customers. However, for technicians who do not specialize in one segment of the trade, it can be quite difficult to be proficient in all of these technologies. For example, a technician who works on a commercial ice machine one day and an ultra-low-temperature cascade refrigeration system the next day may be challenged on diagnosing a problem with either system. Or, worse, a technician may work on a CO2 supermarket refrigeration system one day and an oil-fired boiler the next. It is definitely a challenge to be good at troubleshooting or maintaining both of these systems. 

So, how do you become proficient at servicing and maintaining this wide array of system designs and technologies? I think one important key is not stressing about memorizing everything but becoming extremely proficient at finding the information when you need it. We have a great tool at our disposal — the internet — and, as technicians, we need to learn how to use it well. The internet and the smart devices we use to access it are great, and we need to rely on them for getting the correct information when we need it.

There are several ways the internet can provide us with the information we need. One place to look is on an equipment manufacturer’s website. Manufacturers generally provide good technical information and support for the systems they build. Many times, the information can be easily downloaded, but sometimes you may need to call or email the manufacturer for it. If you have a question on a particular component, you can also try going to the component manufacturer’s website for information, as they generally also have good information to reference and download. 

Sometimes you can find the information on a website other than the component or equipment manufacturer’s. Typing in just the first part of the model or part number followed by the term “service manual pdf” or a similar phase can sometimes get you the information. For example, if I was looking for a service manual for a Hoshizaki ice machine, I would type something like “KM ice machine service manual pdf” into a search engine, such as Google, and see what comes up. Typing in just the first part of the model number generally provides better results than the complete model number, which might be too specific to get a good result. There is no golden rule to searching the internet, so sometimes you will need to try a few different approaches to get what you need.

You can also try getting some information from a YouTube video or a chat forum, but since this information may not be coming from the manufacturer, you will need to verify its accuracy, which at times may be difficult. My personal gauge for this type of information is if it doesn’t make sense, it probably is not accurate, so I move on to the next source. 

In general, the information is out in cyberspace when you need it, but you have to be willing to go get it. Becoming proficient in finding information when you need it can save you time and frustration on many jobs.

Publication date: 10/10/2016

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!