HVAC Technician Tools - I can remember when I first got out of HVAC school a few years back I wanted to know what kind of basic tools I needed to begin my work as an HVAC technician. Of course, I had lofty goals and wanted to rise to the top but my expectations at the time matched my skill level. That skill level was a lot of book knowledge and not a lot of field experience.
After all, admittedly there are many lights that do not turn on in the classroom that does turn on in the field after some experience. Stress can turn some light bulbs on while others turn on easily after you see something for real the first time instead of reading about it in a book.
HVAC Technician Tools
There are also others that help you while you are coming up. Many HVAC technicians will share knowledge while a few will not share knowledge. I can’t say why the ones who do not want to share knowledge want to keep things to themselves.
Perhaps they are afraid someone will take their job away from them. Anyhow, here are some details and a small list of tools you may find on some HVAC service and installation trucks. Some of these tools are basic while others are more advanced but a good HVAC technician will have most of these tools. This is my personal inventory and while I do not do much in the field anymore I still make use of these tools from time to time.
HVAC Technician Tools - Clamp on Multi-Meter and Infrared Temperature Sensor
These are the basic tools that are essential to every HVAC technicians tool bag. You can use these two tools for basic maintenance and basic troubleshooting. The infrared doesn’t work too well on copper pipe but it is great for delta tees from the supply to the return ducts. The meter shown is an old Sperry meter and is probably my third meter. I’ve since upgraded to a more expensive Fluke but that Sperry still works great. The amp clamp multi-meter is essential to an HVAC technician.
HVAC Technician Tools - Staying Organized
These types of carrying cases work great for an HVAC technician to carry little spare parts. These carrying cases also help you stay organized. This is an electrical kit I put together with basic electrical parts I would need for doing an electrical job. I have about 7 of these carrying cases for various HVAC and electrical parts.
Off the top of my head, I have one for small copper fittings (less than 1/2 inch). One for gas furnace pilot parts including flame sensors, thermocouples, pilot burners, and other gas furnace items a service technician would need or use during the course of troubleshooting and/or repairing a gas furnace.
One for oil burner parts. Two for electrical parts and these are separated by sizes – one for smaller control electrical and one for larger line voltage stuff. One for black iron fittings when I do gas piping jobs. One for refrigeration stuff like Schraeder valve cores and other such refrigeration things for doing refrigeration work. Okay, that’s it for the off the top of my head.
HVAC Technician Tools - Basic Hand Tools
These are the basic hand tools a new HVAC technician will need to get started. Things such as screwdrivers and wrenches along with a hammer and some other basic hand tools. For the screwdrivers, I recommend a 10 in 1 or a 5 in 1 which can be bought at many of the big hardware stores. To me, Kline makes some good hand tools so I would pick up a Kline 5 in 1 or 10 in 1, some Kline side cutters, and some Kline electrician pliers.
A good wrench set and a socket and ratchet kit. I like Craftsman tools from Sears. Then there is something that will make your life much easier and save a lot of time. That is a cordless drill. There are many different brands you can get but my personal favorite is Dewalt. It won’t hurt to have a spare battery or two also. A good tool bag will come in handy also to put all these tools in. A tool bag that has a shoulder strap so you can climb ladders with both hands-free.
HVAC Technician Tools - Manifold Refrigerant Gauges
The next basic tools you will need are your manifold refrigerant gauges. You will probably want to buy a set of two different gauges. One set for R-22 and other HCFCs and another for HFCs like R-410A. The reason is the oils for these refrigerants don’t mix well. One is synthetic oil and the other is mineral oil and you don’t want to contaminate the HVAC refrigeration systems you work on with one or the other type of oil which does migrate in residual from inside your gauge hoses and can contaminate systems.
HVAC Technician Tools - Other Advanced Tools
Many companies will provide the tools that cost a lot but some will make the HVAC technicians buy these higher-end tools over time through payroll deduction. Many companies will probably make you have your own vacuum pump but recovery machines are typically provided by the company. It truly depends on the company and its policies.
Other tools include recovery tanks, nitrogen tanks and a nitrogen regulator, tri-stand pipe vice, oxygen-acetylene kit for refrigeration brazing, a B-tank for soft soldering on chilled water and hot water loops, and other high-end electronic instruments like combustion analyzers. Start off with the basics and work your way up to the more advanced tools. It will all depend on your job and what is expected of you in that job.
- Bacharach Combustion Analyzer - a tool for advanced technicians and for tuning gas and oil furnaces among other uses.
- HVAC Pipe Soldering and Brazing Tips and Tricks - to help you learn more about something every HVAC technician will do in their career.
- HVAC Refrigeration and Triple Evacuation - great to know how to perform a triple evacuation.
- Refrigerant Pressure Temperature Chart - this is a tool you will especially when checking or charging a system.
- Essential Guides and Manuals for the Advanced Residential HVAC Technician - excellent guides for you to study and use as a reference.
- HVAC Electric Motor Basics - Know your motors and how to repair them.
HVAC Technician Tools
Technical Resource: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology