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Heating and air-conditioning systems control the temperature, and the total air quality in residential, commercial, industrial, and other buildings. Refrigeration systems make it possible to store and transport food, medicine, and other perishable items. Craftsmen in this trade install, maintain, and repair such systems.
Heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration systems consist of many mechanical, electrical, and electronic components such as motors,
compressors, pumps, fans, ducts, pipes, thermostats, and switches. In central heating systems, for example, a furnace heats air that is distributed throughout the building via a system of metal or fiberglass ducts. Technicians must be able to maintain, diagnose, and correct problems through the entire system. To do this, they adjust system controls to recommended settings and test the performance of the entire system using special tools and test equipment.
After a furnace has been installed, heating equipment technicians often perform routine maintenance and repair work to keep the system operating efficiently. During the fall and winter, for example, when the system is used most, they service and adjust burners and blowers. If the system is not operating properly, they check the thermostat, burner nozzles, controls, or other parts to diagnose and then correct the problem.
Refrigeration mechanics install, service, and repair a variety of industrial and commercial refrigeration systems. They follow blueprints and instructions to install motors, condensing units, and other components. They connect this equipment to the ductwork, refrigeration lines, and power. After making all connections, they charge the system with refrigerant, check it for proper operation, and program the control system.