WHAT IS A REFRIGERATION & AIR CONDITIONING MECHANIC?
On a typical construction job, RACMs work with any type of primary or secondary refrigeration and air conditioning system, other than the duct work and sheet metal items associated with the system.
In other words, they:
- Remove refrigerants from refrigeration and air conditioning systems
- Install, remove, recycle, store and dispose of primary and secondary refrigerants
- Transport, handle and use refrigerants and other dangerous goods
- Use electrical and other measuring and testing devices
- Solder, braze, weld and use other pipe-joining techniques
- Maintain the equipment, including changing out controls, contactors, motors and compressors, repairing burnt or broken wires, or making upgrades to existing refrigeration and air conditioning systems
- Work with refrigeration and air conditioning units, appliances and accessories designed for the use of natural or propane gas as a fuel for heating or cooling that do not exceed 400,000 BTU (117 kW) input
Skills & Abilities
The refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic trade is most rewarding to people who enjoy using their specialized skills in a variety of working conditions and working with little supervision.
To be successful in the trade, RACMs need:
- The physical stamina required to:
- Lift heavy pipes weighing in excess of 25 kilograms
- Be on your feet for long periods
- Sometimes work in cramped positions
- Mechanical ability
- The ability to work alone or with others
The term of apprenticeship for a RACM is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.
A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may apply for a Prior Learning Assessment.
To find answers to your questions and learn more about a career as a Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic, contact UA Local 488 Plumbers & Pipefitters..
For a quick summary of a career as a refrigeration & air conditioning mechanic, ask about the refrigeration & air conditioning mechanic trade card.