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HVAC or Electrician? Ping AC

SC53SC53 Posts: 603 Officer
BIL’s grandson is going to trade school, but undecided between going electrical or AC.  Need your insight AC man and others. Polar can jump in too.
this is Deland area.

Replies

  • saltyreefersaltyreefer Posts: 245 Deckhand
    I'm an a/c tech. I vote electrician lol
  • ResinheadResinhead Posts: 10,980 AG
  • AC ManAC Man Posts: 6,374 Admiral
    edited March 2019 #4
    I can't think of anything in the trades worse than the AC trade other than roofing. Polar will tell you the same thing. We both live it..

    My Dad was a union  electrician and AC contractor. We did both.

    This was a different era. Times have changed. I grew up working for my dad. As he said electricians bend pipe and pull wire. Unless you were a controls electrician. It is pretty simple. As the AC tech I always had to tell our electricians how to wire controls. They had no idea.They just wanted to know how many wires and what size

    AC  and refrigeration takes 10 years before you have a clue what you are doing. May as well spend the time to do something that doesn't beat you to a early grave that makes more money.

    Glad to here young people getting into the trades. It is all I know. Go electrical!


  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 2,190 Captain
    Go electrical; and learn the controls side.  

    A competent control guy can make big $, and not sweat as much as other trades. (Controls guys need to know computers). 
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 7,552 Admiral
    I'm an a/c tech. I vote electrician lol
    I went electrician & wish I'd went a/c.
  • AC ManAC Man Posts: 6,374 Admiral
    stc1993 said:
    I'm an a/c tech. I vote electrician lol
    I went electrician & wish I'd went a/c.
    As someone who did both, why? 
  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 2,190 Captain
    Also; gotta consider what can be outsourced for cheap labor in the future.  Talk to electricians and sheet-metal guys; and they will say cheap low-skilled labor came in and cut the wages down. 

    Gotta find something that is not easily outsourced to cheap labor is all I'm trying to say. 
  • AC ManAC Man Posts: 6,374 Admiral
    edited March 2019 #9
    Go electrical; and learn the controls side.  

    A competent control guy can make big $, and not sweat as much as other trades. (Controls guys need to know computers). 
    Agreed. One thing I was told is you gotta do something in your trade others do not want to do or cant do. Best advice i ever got. Love jobs others are afraid of.
  • stc1993stc1993 Albany, GA Carrabelle, FLPosts: 7,552 Admiral
    AC Man said:
    stc1993 said:
    I'm an a/c tech. I vote electrician lol
    I went electrician & wish I'd went a/c.
    As someone who did both, why? 
    I guess because it's something I never learned much about.  That & electrical construction is hard work.
  • sigiiligansigiiligan Posts: 158 Deckhand
    As an old electrician I say AC... I know people who owned their own small residential AC company and have done very well for themselves... Most people will pat what ever price you name to get their back on in Florida... If you go electrical absolutely learn the control side of things, that's where the real money is at. 
  • chronicbreakchronicbreak Posts: 1,124 Officer
    Shoot this thread could get discouraging...my son is taking the AC class at the Jr college.  I did tell him that he needed to follow it up with the commercial classes.  

    Not sure if it was here or elsewhere but have heard that AC was the way to go cause the average age of an AC repairman was getting up there.

    We gave him the choice of electric or AC and he picked AC.
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  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 13,293 AG
    Shoot this thread could get discouraging...my son is taking the AC class at the Jr college.  I did tell him that he needed to follow it up with the commercial classes.  

    Not sure if it was here or elsewhere but have heard that AC was the way to go cause the average age of an AC repairman was getting up there.

    We gave him the choice of electric or AC and he picked AC.
    Both fields have a need skilled people.  I don't think any AC techs or Electricians ever want for work. 
    Like is like a Helicopter.  I do not know how to operate a Helicopter  
  • SC53SC53 Posts: 603 Officer
    Thanks guys.  
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 2,263 Captain
    When young I enjoyed AC work. When you get older it gets rough pulling parts and tools on a roof. I'm not sorry about the trade I chose, but you see electricians running around with pocket of tools and I had to have a truck full. 
     I agree to go to commercial classes. I would also suggest he look into local union for training. Top of the line training with work experience and job placement.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 13,293 AG
    Gary S said:
    When young I enjoyed AC work. When you get older it gets rough pulling parts and tools on a roof. I'm not sorry about the trade I chose, but you see electricians running around with pocket of tools and I had to have a truck full. 
     I agree to go to commercial classes. I would also suggest he look into local union for training. Top of the line training with work experience and job placement.
    I was an attic rat in high school, spent summers doing new construction ac/electrical.   Definitely young mans work running flex and home runs through attics.   Trim work was easy enough though.   
    Like is like a Helicopter.  I do not know how to operate a Helicopter  
  • oaksoaks Posts: 105 Deckhand
    25 years in A/C on the construction side..(Club houses-Hi-rises-Car Dealerships)
    There are no young people available to bring up through the ranks anymore. No one wants to do this work anymore and now its all about labor costs, which in turn resorts us to using subcontractors/pieceworkers. Times are changing..If i had to start over, i would definitely go into the controls end. Everyone wants a "smart building". Everything from a BMS to life safety systems all require some smarts to operate/install and that part is not going away as everything we touch gets more efficient and now communicates with each other.
  • Gary SGary S Posts: 2,263 Captain
    oaks said:
     Everyone wants a "smart building". Everything from a BMS to life safety systems all require some smarts to operate/install and that part is not going away as everything we touch gets more efficient and now communicates with each other.
    The problem I saw with the smart buildings is they were being made smart with technology that is obsolete before it goes out of warranty. We had one windows based system that would not work if DOS was updated. 
     In all fairness I was old school, I liked relays and switches. When told I was going to be sent to school for training 2 years before retirement I told them to send someone that could use it. I was on my way out and didn't have a interest. 
     I did think the Dunham Bush bearing less compressors were cool though. No gears just a motor and a impeller. All rode on a magnetic field. It was quieter than the pumps in the room.
  • pottydocpottydoc Port Saint JoePosts: 4,067 Captain
    edited March 2019 #19
    Shoot this thread could get discouraging...my son is taking the AC class at the Jr college.  I did tell him that he needed to follow it up with the commercial classes.  

    Not sure if it was here or elsewhere but have heard that AC was the way to go cause the average age of an AC repairman was getting up there.

    We gave him the choice of electric or AC and he picked AC.
    Absolutely have him take the commercial classes. No matter which trade he (or others) decides on. Much more professional on the commercial side. The money is usually better, also. If a guy is graduating any kind of trade school right now, he can go to work tomorrow. We can’t even  find green, no experience, no skills people. It’s the same with all the trades. If a young guy really wants to make some serious cash working in a trade, I would highly recommend line work over all the rest. There’s not a power company or contractor out there that doesn’t need people right now. 
    The part about aging is true through out the trades. A bunch f us are getting old, and ready to retire and chase fish and Bambi.
  • MelbourneMarkMelbourneMark Posts: 2,190 Captain
    Gary S said:
    oaks said:
     Everyone wants a "smart building". Everything from a BMS to life safety systems all require some smarts to operate/install and that part is not going away as everything we touch gets more efficient and now communicates with each other.
    The problem I saw with the smart buildings is they were being made smart with technology that is obsolete before it goes out of warranty. We had one windows based system that would not work if DOS was updated. 
     In all fairness I was old school, I liked relays and switches. When told I was going to be sent to school for training 2 years before retirement I told them to send someone that could use it. I was on my way out and didn't have a interest. 
     I did think the Dunham Bush bearing less compressors were cool though. No gears just a motor and a impeller. All rode on a magnetic field. It was quieter than the pumps in the room.
    I've seen a few of those quiet compressors, I was amazed at the lack of noise. 


    I think a lot of the control problems is the constant software updates.  The bigger companies sold their equip cheap, and made up the $ on the backside with the long-term service contracts.   (At least that's what was explained to me by purchasing and sales people a few years ago) 

    the "green" buildings are pretty cool, and some things make sense. But, other things do not appear to warrant the $.  Just my .02.  I'm not paying for these bldgs haha. (Well many are govt bldgs..) 
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,010 AG
    edited March 2019 #21
    I wouldn't want to be an AC tech in Florida, that's for sure.  They should get hazardous duty pay for working in a Florida attic in summer, if you ask me.

    My (meaningless) vote goes for electrician.
  • AC ManAC Man Posts: 6,374 Admiral
    edited March 2019 #22
    I wouldn't want to be an AC tech in Florida, that's for sure.  They should get hazardous duty pay for working in a Florida attic in summer, if you ask me.

    My (meaningless) vote goes for electrician.
    Here is what it boils down to being in both trades since I was 16 now 62.

    Construction in AC and electrical both suck. You are a attic rat pulling duct or wires. I'm thrilled someone is willing to do it but they dont make much money and are hard to come by. Usually beginners.

    As I said before I am thrilled young people are willing to get into the industry.

    However, it takes 10 years experience to move beyond being a duct or wire jerker.

    AC and refrigeration is extremely complicated if you move up the food chain. If you stick to residential and light commercial it is not to bad for AC or electrical.

    If you want the big bucks in either trade you gotta pay your dues and get into controls and the science of how things work.

    Most do not and just have a 8 to 5 job and find a average pay and education job.

    My AC and refrigeration company is service, and retrofit, along with custom high end technology projects. We do zero new construction.

    Here is a good point my brother made today to his auto mechanic complaining how hot it was in the shop.

    He told them how would you like it if the car you worked on was on the roof of a mall in 115 degree heat in the sun and your tools were in the truck a quarter mile away and you had to haul torches 50 lb drums of refrigerant and all tools across the parking lot and up a 24 ft extension ladder and across the roof to the vehicle and you couldn't pick up a wrench because it burned your hand. Not to mention heat stroke. I think not.

    It is all I have ever done and was thrilled doing it because I wanted my dad to be proud of me. Now my son third generation is doing the same thing. Company is now 51 years old. Haven't worked in the field in 20 years. It is a young mans game. I would die today working on a roof or attic in the summer. Lol

    90% of the jobs today did not exist in the 60's and that is why you see young people moving away from the trades these days. Heck, all my friends worked as a laborer for general contractors when we were kids. Never knew of one friend ever to work in a restaurant.


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