Top Tools for HVAC Techs and Business Owners
HVAC techs and business owners need some of the most diverse toolkits to run their day to day. Installations and service calls need different tools sets. On top of that, the business will run on a totally different toolkit, requiring software, systems, and ways to create efficiencies. What do you need to get started? What tools should you add to your toolkit?
We’ve talked to HVAC business owners and have compiled our list of all the essential HVAC tools you need for your day-to-day and running and growing your HVAC business. We’re going to cover the following areas:
- Daily HVAC tools (the basics, technical tools, and uniform basics for your business)
- Business efficiency tools
- HVAC growth and marketing tools
HVAC Tool Cheat Sheet
Every HVAC pro has to start somewhere. You need a solid foundation to build up from. which will depend on the types of services you provide. Your tool kit will inevitably grow as your gain experience and become more technical.
Even if you’re new to the trade, this list of tools isn’t news to you (that’s why we’re not going into too much detail). Here’s a quick overview and checklist to make sure you’ve got what you need in your toolkit.
Basic HVAC Tools:
- Screwdrivers: Phillips and flathead screwdrivers are essential (insulated is best)
- Assorted nut drivers
- Electric Drill: Impact and/or driver (18 volt is best) with spare batteries and various drill bits
- Assorted pliers (insulated wire stripping, needle nose, open-face, linesman, channel-lock pliers)
- Pipe wrenches
- Manual hand saw or a sawzall
- Hammer (straighter claw is helpful)
- Hang tongs and reds
- Left, right, and straight cutters
- Large straight shear cutters
- Crescent and pipe wrenches
- Hole cutter
- Panduit gun (for adjusting and cutting zip ties)
- Duct knife
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- 25 foot tape measure
- 4” step ladder (or higher)
- Extension cord
- Caulking and dripless caulking gun
- Magnetic bubble level
- Duct tape
- Magnet tray
- Half inch zips
- Screw case
- Service wrench and key
- Wire nuts and fuses
Sheet Metal Tools:
Not all HVAC techs need to complete sheet metal work (and on top of that, you might not be able to complete sheet metal work if you’re not licensed for it. As far as sheet metal work tools are considered, here’s a lit of the basics:
- Duct knife
- Tin snips or aviators: left, right, and straight
- Folding bar or dive bender to bend sheet metal
- Hand seamers
- Staple gun
- Tubing cutter
- Deburring tool
Technical HVAC Tools:
If you’re going to work for another business owner, then double check to see what they have for their crew before going out buying technical equipment. Some of the items listed in the technical tools section are supplied by the business owner, others are not.
- Recovery unit: used to recover or remove refrigerants from cooling equipment and air conditioning systems to make sure it does not leak into the environment.
- Carbon monoxide detector: this tool is important for HVAC technicians to wear at all times to detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide on the premises during an installation or service call.
- Thermal image camera: these heat-sensitive cameras help technicians find problem areas in the systems that they are working on during a service call or installation.
- Megohmmeter: this device helps you understanding if the compressor in your client’s air conditioner is working efficiently and correctly.
- Phase testers: phase testers are useful electrical work in HVAC units as they tell the technician understand the unit’s motor rotation.
- Refrigeration Gauge: (60” hoses recommended with a quick release De minimis fitting): refrigeration gauges help you read the pressure of liquids and gasses inside an HVAC system. Quick release fittings help ensure that you reduce little to no amounts of refrigerants into environment)
- Temperature gauge/sensor: unless your refrigeration gauge has a multimeter, you should invest in a temperature gauge, which helps you read the temperature of the HVAC unit you’re working on.
- Vacuum/reclaimer pump: this pump helps the technician remove vapor from the unit before servicing it. It can be used to recover refrigerant liquid, which can be repurposed after the service is complete. Vacuum pumps can be expensive, and your employer might have one for company use.
- Various refrigerant storage tanks: refrigerant storage tanks are used to store recovered refrigerant from cooling systems.
- Refrigerant scale: if you’re servicing a refrigeration unit then a refrigerant scale will help you measure how much refrigerant you’re putting into the unit.
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HVAC Business Tools
Business gets busy. You’ve got to manage and organize one-off service calls, all while keeping track of service agreements. The more efficient you are, the easier running your business will be. Boosting productivity with little to no work is a win win. Here’s a list of tools that can help you run a more efficient and professional HVAC business.
Field Service Management Software:
The right field service management software offers all the functions you need to run an efficient HVAC business. The best options will automate your quoting and invoicing workflow, helps organize your appointments, keep track of client information (CRM), accept ePayments, and automate client communication. It will be your one stop shop for more efficient business operations.
What is a CRM? A CRM (client relationship management tool) is basically a digital Rolodex that helps you keep track of client contact information, account notes, system information, and service history. A good field service management software should offer this as a feature.
Best options include: Jobber
Electronic payments help you collect money quickly on and off the job site. It’s the fastest, most flexible, and easiest way to get paid. A good ePayment system will allow you to vault you client’s credit card and easily charge them again down the line with their approval. It should also integrate with your field service management software, and quote and invoice workflow to improve efficiency.
Accounting is absolutely necessary for any business owner. You need to balance the books, pay overhead, and cover salaries in an organized, clear, and succinct way. There are plenty of accounting options out there (even spreadsheets work for some) but if your accounting system doesn’t sync with your field service management software, you might accidentally miss important details that could cost your down the line.
Best options include: Quickbooks Online
Cloud File Sharing:
Every service call has its fair share of notes and details to pay attention to, which is where a good field service software comes in. It’s important that all your team members have access to this information in the field in case they need to review some work history. If your team can’t access this information they could make mistakes or they might have to go back to the office to get critical information. All of that costs time and money. Field service software can also store quotes, invoices, and all payment history.
But beyond cloud storage for your day-to-day, you’ll need a place to store other important documents. Employee contracts, tax documents, and policy and procedure documents to name a few. Make sure that you have a place to store these documents that are safe and secure.
How is your team communicating in the field? Texting? phone calls? what about instant messaging? Keeping everyone in touch with an easy communication method is important for productivity, transparency, and staying in the loop. We like the options below because you can send IMs, share files, and make phone calls through Google Hangouts.
Although uniforms don’t seem like tools, they can act as a branding tool, and work as a tool for productivity and safety.
You need to wear comfortable and protective clothing with lots of pockets when you’re completing an HVAC job. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure that you’re wearing functional, professional looking, branded clothing. Try to make sure your uniform isn’t dirty or worn. It’ll go a long way for professionalism and reputation.
- Professional, branded coveralls or
- Safety goggles
- An electrician’s bag, tool bag, or toolbox
- Knee pads
- New boots
- Boot covers
- Branded van
HVAC Business Growth Tools
Business growth tools are essential for any business owner who wants to have more than a few seasonal clients. You can’t move beyond your first few clients without putting in the time to improve your core services and marketing. Here are the best tools to help you.
Review Automation Software:
Client reviews are one of the most important components of business growth. In fact, 52% of people would be deterred from using a small home service business if they had poor online ratings. However, it’s tough to get these reviews while you’re completing jobs and on the road. On top of that, you need to remind clients to write a review, which can be challenging when you’re trying to remember all the other important things you need to do to run your business. Use a software that helps you remind your clients without creating too much work for you. That way, you can grow your business while you’re working on it.
Financing Payment Partners:
Sometimes collecting payment can be challenging. There are a lot of factors at stake that affect your cash flow. However, sometimes you need cash to help grow your business, buy equipment, and pay employees. Use financing to your advantage so you don’t get held up behind variables that will affect your growth.
HVAC Marketing Tools:
Marketing is a must for any business owner who wants more out of their book of business. It’s the only way to expand your client base! There are tons of marketing tools that can help you do that. There are tools that can help you build a great website, understand your website traffic, schedule and post social media content, design marketing materials, and share marketing and sales emails with your clients regularly.
Best options include:
Did we miss anything? What are your favourite HVAC tools?