Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are an integral part of most contemporary buildings. The professionals who design the systems that control air quality and temperature are known as HVAC engineers. HVAC engineers are a category of mechanical engineers and their work is coordinated with other construction specialists. HVAC engineers often have expertise in trades such as electrical or plumbing that are a part of climate control systems. They must be familiar with federal, state, and local building codes and regulations in order to remain in compliance with the law.
Engineering an effective HVAC system requires the ability to perform heat load and loss calculations and an understanding of how air flows through various types of structures. There is a wealth of considerations for professionals designing systems to fit the special needs of hospitals, restaurants, schools, and areas such as computer rooms.
An HVAC engineer assesses the needs of building occupants (e.g., people, animals, products) and the purpose of a structure in order to design an optimal climate control system. The design encompasses the layout of all the system components and usually includes schematics or other drawings. They choose the appropriate equipment and prepare cost estimates.
HVAC engineers plan and coordinate every aspect of a system installation. They ensure that all safety procedures are followed and that the work is completed according to code. They meet with clients and building inspectors as required. As each step of the installation is completed, the engineer tests the operation. As well as designing climate control systems for new construction, HVAC engineers can conduct performance evaluations of existing systems and recommend improvements to increase efficiency.
As a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer, you will ensure temperature and ventilation systems are working efficiently and safely.
The job role of a HVAC engineer involves the following duties:
- Surveying sites ahead of fitting heating, ventilation or air conditioning systems
- Planning the placement of pipework, ducts and control panels
- Installing HVAC components
- Performing quality checks to ensure systems are working efficiently and safely
- Carrying out maintenance on HVAC systems
- Finding and fixing faults
- Helping customers to reduce their energy use
There are several routes of becoming a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineer. You could complete a college course, or an apprenticeship.
You should explore these routes of becoming a HVAC engineer to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options require qualifications, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.