When you’re searching for quality HVAC services, you probably want a technician that knows what they’re doing. Lots of service companies advertise experienced staff, but how can you know for certain? One of the best ways to check if an HVAC technician is knowledgeable is by checking their certifications. HVAC certifications can demonstrate proficiency in services like air conditioning repair, installation and maintenance services as well as other key aspects of the industry.

There are many HVAC certifications available. Some concentrate on a core body of knowledge professionals should possess, while others are a result of industry standards for energy efficiency and sustainability. We’ll compare key details about some of the most common HVAC certifications you’ll come across in your search for services.

Certification from NATE

The North American Technician Excellence certification is the largest program for HVAC competency, with tens of thousands of certified technicians. Other organizations like the ACCA and the federal Environmental Protection Agency cooperate with the NATE program to standardize the certification exams. To pass, participants must meet a minimum score of 70%. To maintain NATE certification, technicians must receive continued education or retake an exam every two years.

Full certification is a multiyear process consisting of four separate tests. The first two are offered for entry-level technicians while the other set of exams provide full certification and senior-level status:

  1. Ready-to-Work Certificate – This certificate offers core knowledge and skill sets that can reaffirm any education or training already completed. The Ready-to-Work certification is particularly beneficial for recent graduates of trade programs.
  2. HVAC Support Technician Certificate – After 6 to 12 months of experience, this exam is offered to teach fundamental topics relevant to full NATE certification.
  3. Core and Specialty Certification – After a technician has been in service for two or more years, they can receive NATE certification. Participants will have to pass both the core exam as well as a specialty exam for installation or servicing specific types of HVAC products.
  4. Senior-Level Efficiency Analyst Certification – Senior status is the highest NATE certification offered. Technicians should be certified in two specialty services—one in heating and the other in air conditioning—to be eligible to apply for the senior certificate.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Certification

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers was founded in 1894. ASHRAE and its members offer research and education about HVAC products with the intent to promote sustainability, energy efficiency and healthy indoor air quality. Through their work, ASHRAE creates industry standards with federal recognition. These standards are applicable not only to HVAC equipment, but to the buildings themselves as well as their other systems.

Most of ASHRAE standards are focused on commercial properties and industrial facilities, as they typically have the highest rates of energy use. They’ll study how HVAC system design can be improved as well as how equipment should be installed and serviced. ASHRAE also studies how the engineering and architectural design of the building itself affects energy use.

ACCA Certification

Another nationwide HVAC accreditation organization, the ACCA stands for Air Conditioning Contractors of America. This organization promotes rigorous training and hosts sessions for participants to complete both on-site and online. Contractors wanting accreditation have two programs to pick from:

  • The Existing Homes Program for Residential Service and Installation (RSI): This track ensures technicians can install, replace and maintain HVAC equipment common in residential properties such as homes and apartments.
  • The New Homes Program: The New Homes track prioritizes designing and installing HVAC systems with ENERGY STAR®-certified equipment for qualifying homes. Random audits are performed to make sure members maintain their proficiency.

Industry Compentency Exams

Industry Competency Exams are handled by NATE to make sure technicians meet industry standards for entry-level (one year or less) experience. These are distinguished from the NATE certification exams but cover similar topics. Testing is offered for residential HVAC equipment as well as light commercial heating and cooling. Separate tests are even available for commercial refrigeration.

To be ICE-certified for residential equipment, technicians will have to pass both a core exam as well as specialty sections for services like furnace installation, service or even knowledge of components. Commercial ICE certifications don’t include the core exam and will review all relevant knowledge rather than specialty sections.

EPA Section 608

The Environmental Protection Agency provides in-depth regulations for the HVAC industry. One of the most well-known sets of regulations is the federal Clean Air Act. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, the EPA requires technicians who work with equipment capable of releasing refrigerants to pass a certification test. To earn the Section 608 Technician Certification, the test should be specific to the equipment the technician works with and administered by an approved organization.

HVAC Excellence

The HVAC Excellence Certifications of Achievement encompass a broad range of competency tests for different levels of proficiency in the HVAC industry. For example, the Heating, Electrical, Air Conditioning Technology (H.E.A.T.) + student outcome assessments are designed for high school students who have completed qualifying HVAC education programs. Additional testing is offered for those seeking employment as well as for experienced technicians seeking Professional or Master Specialist accreditation.

The Best Service Comes from Certified HVAC Professionals

When you request service from technicians who are certified by organizations like NATE, ASHRAE and the ACCA, you’re giving your HVAC system a higher standard of service. Benefits of choosing certified HVAC technicians include:

Demonstrates proficiency and dedication: Technicians who are committed to their customers’ sense of comfort will seek out certifications to demonstrate their expertise. When you see a service company in Croydon offering NATE- or ICE-certified staff, you’ll know they go the extra mile to improve their services such as air conditioning installation.

Can help lower costs and speed up services: Technicians who devote the time and resources required for these certifications often need less time and fewer resources when servicing your equipment. Not only can things like furnace repair, maintenance and installation proceed more quickly, but the faster progress can also reduce labor expenses.

If you’re looking for certified HVAC services in Croydon, consider requesting an appointment with Indoor Comfort Systems HVAC. Get in touch by giving us a call at 215-741-5505 today.