Tools of the HVAC Trade


February 20, 2015

Various electronic gauges and instruments are required.

As with any other trade, an HVAC technician typically owns his personal set of hand tools that goes with him wherever he may be employed. At the most basic level these include hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, levels, files, tape measures, flashlights, caulkers, etc.image of HVAC tools

Beyond that there is a variety of specialized gauges and instruments required to be a full-fledged HVAC professional, some of which may be provided by an employer but not necessarily so. Be prepared to invest hundreds if not thousands of dollars building your toolkit as an HVAC technician.

A word of wisdom: don’t try to save a few bucks with cheap tools. Better quality will more than pay for itself with longer life and by enabling you to do your work with greater efficiency. Here is a sampling of some of the basic tools no HVAC technician should be without, according to experienced HVAC technicians.

This list doesn’t cover all of the tools you may be using as an HVAC technician. You can expect that much of the larger, more expensive tools and equipment will be provided by an employer. These include items such as HVAC torches and tanks, vacuum pumps, refrigerant scales and recovery equipment, HVAC leak detector, tubing benders and cutters, and much more. If you ever decide to go into business for yourself you’ll need to purchase all these items and more, but starting out you can rely on your employer to provide many of the bigger tools of the HVAC trade.

Some employers provide a tool allowance, sometimes earned via performance-based incentives, to aid their technicians in buying and replacing their tools of the trade. As I noted in my blog about plumbing tools, good quality trade tools are not cheap and theft is a serious problem for trade workers, so it pays to identify yours with your name or distinct markers to discourage thieves and aid law enforcement in possibly retrieving stolen tools.

Next I will examine the kind of work done by electricians and follow up reviewing their tools of the trade.