For this challenge, we asked our Mission: HVAC students to do a little bit of research into upcoming or trending technologies that could impact the HVAC industry. Here’s what they found:

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Blake Hodge: Technology is Transforming the HVAC World

As with every other aspect of life, technology is transforming the HVAC world. Products such as smart thermostats, electronic refrigeration manifolds, and so many others have changed the way workers in the HVAC field operate. New technology gives technicians an upper hand when troubleshooting, engineers a more advanced view when designing, and homeowners a better understanding of their system. Technology continues to strengthen within the field and there are no signs of it slowing down.

At my job, I have installed smart thermostats, used digital gauges, and installed ductless air systems. Smart thermostats such as EcoBee and Nest have become a very popular request among consumers. Having the ability to control their HVAC system on their mobile devices helps save energy and gives them the opportunity to control their system from anywhere. Some smart thermostats can even be wired to control other parts of their home like automatic door locks, blinds, or lights.

The advancement and use of digital gauges help me better understand systems because I can check superheat or subcooling at the click of a button. When pulling a vacuum on a system, the built-in digital micron gauge gives me the knowledge of what state the system is in.

Although new technology is very beneficial in the field, it does take time and patience to learn about these devices, which may frustrate some. For example, when I traveled to Atlanta this year for the AHR Expo, I saw a condensing unit with a built on digital gauge showing pressures and temperatures. While this can be very helpful, it may also confuse some technicians that do not know how to operate these digital gauges. Having the ability to learn and adapt to these technological advancements is one of the main problems among people when new technology is introduced.

Overall, I would say that this new technology is very beneficial in the HVAC field. It helps boost workforce efficiency and creates more happy customers. While new technology will keep being introduced, we must continue to learn and adapt to everything being thrown our way. Even though there will be setbacks and difficulties with the new technology, I believe that it is a big help for all, and we must be patient with it.

Michael Clemons: Always Moving Forward

In the HVAC industry companies are always trying to make the next big thing. From ductless A/C’s to thermostats you can control from 100 miles away, the HVAC industry has and will always be moving forward. One of the more common pieces of new technology I’m seeing are mini splits. I have my opinions of them, but they do have their advantages.

They are great for areas that don’t have enough room for traditional split systems. The one downside to them is they aren’t easy to work on, to say the least. One of the newer split systems from Lennox like the XC25’s. I am young so I understand a lot of this new technology and can adapt to if faster. But to push a button and have the board tell you what is most likely wrong is helpful.

Looking ahead to things we may move away from thanks to technology? I would say checking capacitors. With a lot of manufacturers putting more electronically controlled motors in, I think soon all of the new units will be capacitor-less.

Technology is a bit telling…I believe in the next couple of years there is going to be a lot of change with HVAC equipment. Even in the last few years, we went from little tech to having A/C units that can communicate to thermostats to tell the homeowner when something goes bad.

Personally I can’t wait to see what HVAC industry manufacturers come up with next.

Brenan Vogt: HVAC Techs Stepping Up Their Game

There are lots of advancements in the field of HVAC that cause techs to step up their game and learn about these new technologies, however, getting into the trade at a time like this I think is very beneficial.  With air conditioners, new advancements are being made so that compressors are DC drive, and can be fully modulating instead of the traditional style of single or dual stage compressors.  This requires new knowledge to be obtained and they can be a little bit more tricky to work on because of this.

Communicating equipment has been around for a good while now, but the changes in the technology I’ve found to be a struggle for some of the older techs to tackle.  To adapt to these changes, classes are extremely helpful because you are able to better understand how the equipment works and become more efficient diagnosing issues with this specialized equipment.  I believe that eventually all equipment will be ECM controlled because of its higher efficiency rating, so this will separate the good techs from the great ones.

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