We take a look at hvac tools so that you can see what you will need to begin your career in the heating and air conditioning industry. (If you are just wanting to do the work on your own heating and cooling systems, you will not need all of the tools of a professional.) The types and number of hand tools that you will require to start your new job will vary from employer to employer and depend on whether you will be working as an installer, service technician, or both.
We begin our look inside the tool bag with a look at the basic set you will require to start as an entry level service mechanic. You will need some general hand tools such as a set of screwdrivers, a set of nut drivers, a tape measure, channel lock pliers (medium sized), a small crescent wrench, a torpedo level, allen wrench set, and a utility knife.
You will also require some basic electrical tools such as a pair of lineman's pliers, needle nose pliers, diagonal wire cutters (dikes), and a pair of wire strippers. Finally, you will need a small flashlight to perform inspections on equipment as well as a pocket thermometer to measure air temperatures, and a service valve wrench.
**NOTE** These are typically the tools that most employers will require you to have while they supply the more specialized things such as test meters etc.
For the entry level hvac equipment installer job, you will normally be required to purchase some specialized hvac tools. The basic tool bag will contain right and left handed snips in both straight and offset types, a tinner's hammer, seaming tongs (also called hand seamers), hand crimpers, hand notchers, and a snap lock punch. Other specialized needs will include an offset duct stretcher which is used to pull the ends of metal ducts close enough to get drive cleats started on them. You will also need various lengths of hand folding tools to prepare metal ducts for joining after they have been cut off.
**HOT TIP** You can get a combo drive tool that includes a duct puller, folding tool, scribe, and ruler all in one.
To work with ductboard or flex ducts, you will need a duct knife and a ductboard knife as well as a strap gun.
Generally speaking, most employers will provide electrical testing meters such as a digital voltmeter and a clamp on ammeter as well as an infrared non-contact thermometer for service technicians. They will also normally provide a portable oxy acetylene torch, vacuum pump, refrigerant recovery machine, and refrigerant guages to both service technicians and installation technicians.
**NOTE** Most employers will provide them but they will expect you to know how to use them properly and how to take care of them.
As you can see, it will require a relatively small investment to begin your new job in the hvac industry. An estimate of the cost of the basic hvac tools required is from $200-$300 for an entry level service technician or an installer. In most cases, a new service technician will do some of both jobs and therefore will spend about $500 for both sets.
**HOT TIP** Tools are a great way to gauge a perspective employee or employer. If a new employee shows up with a bag of old rusty tools, it is a pretty good indication that he/she does not consider them to be valuable and worth taking care of. The same goes for employers. If you show up to a new job and the boss issues you old tools that haven't been properly maintained, it is a good sign that he does not care about his employees either.