5 Electrical Safety Tips for HVAC Technicians
Electricity runs the world these days, and this sentiment is no different for HVAC technology. There’s no way around it—you need to have a bit of experience with circuitry, electricity, and wiring, to be able to handle the installation and maintenance of an HVAC system. While it’s not as intensive as training to be an electrician, there are still some serious things to consider when working on setting up such energy-intensive systems.
For the sake of safety and efficiency, we’re going to talk about five specific electrical safety tips that any HVAC technician should know. It doesn’t matter if you’re a greenhorn, or if you’ve been in the industry for decades, these tips are important to take into consideration.
Remember, don’t panic. Make sure you’ve got access to safety equipment, factually correct information, and never be afraid to take things slow and ask a professional for help.
1. Safety First
The beginning of every instructional video begins with safety. Your life, your personal health, and the health of your customers is the highest priority no matter what work you’re performing. Be sure to wear gloves, goggles, or any protective gear that might help you stay safe and secure from chemicals and electrical systems. Also, don’t let the grips and insulated components of tools and systems wear down too much, because there can be static shocks and other hazards that harm you if you’re not careful.
Don’t worry if you feel rushed or if you’re not as experienced with a piece of technology. You always have the option of slowing down or stopping entirely if you feel unsafe or in harm’s way!
2. A Knowledge of Basic Physics
When dealing with electrical components, it’s important to know at least a little bit of information on how things work. For instance, water can conduct electricity depending on the acidity, minerals, and other dissolved substances in the water. This should be taken into account every time you’re working with electricity and anything wet.
Friction can cause static electricity to build up as well, which can be released in a painful shock if you’re not careful. This type of information is important to know ahead of time so you’re not surprised or hurt when you recognize something is not working or unsafe.
3. Don’t Take Shortcuts
As you get better at the job, you’ll likely hear about shortcuts that other HVAC technicians might take. You might even see a nifty online tutorial about ways to skip entire procedures that you were trained about. This is likely a bad idea and it’s important to stay away from shortcuts.
There’s nothing wrong with taking your time to make sure you do everything safely and effectively. Shortcuts are a recipe for disaster in this industry, and they can lead to anything from safety hazards to whole botched system installations that leave customers frustrated.
4. Research Your Chemicals Ahead of Time
As an HVAC technician, you’ll be coming into contact with a lot of chemicals like natural gas, refrigerant, detergents, solvents, and more. It’s important to know which chemicals are flammable, which are harmful to inhale, which are going to contaminate a water source, and any other valuable information that might affect your work or life. Take the time to research these chemicals, and make sure your information is factual and from a reputable source.
5. Always Use the Right Tool for the Job
This goes for any professional, but it’s even more essential for our industry. HVAC systems are very precise and sized specifically for the homes they’re installed in. This means you need to work with the right sized equipment, as well as the right tool for the work that you’re performing. Using oversized tools, or a tool being used for a completely different job than it was initially intended for, is a recipe for disaster. Do some research to find which specific tools you’ll need for each job and try to improvise as little as possible.