What Does a Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic Do?

Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanics (Branch 2 - 313D) prepare, install, maintain or service residential air conditioning and heat pump systems. They work on any air conditioning system that is installed as an independent unit in a residential family dwelling. This equipment operates at less than 240V single-phase power with a maximum cooling capacity of 5 tons.

Additional information on training standards for this particular trade in the Construction sector can be found on the Ontario College of Trades(OCOT)  website at: www.collegeoftrades.ca/trades/training-standards1/construction.

Job Related Skills, Values and Interests:

  •  Reading and interpreting blueprints, drawings, job documentation, calculating system parameters and identifying/selecting system components and equipment
  • Measuring and laying out reference points for installation
  • Identifying and selecting hand tools, power tools, electrical measuring devices and specialty instruments
  • Coordinating permits, inspections, sub-trades, completing planning documents and communicating well with others
  • Assembling and installing residential Air Conditioning and Heat Pump systems
  • Inspecting residential equipment at site, performing site evaluations, coordinating material handling equipment, brazing and soldering piping, checking systems for leaks, evacuating and dehydrating AC and HP systems, wiring in AC and HP and completing installation records
  • Charging systems with refrigerant, setting and verifying electrical, electronic, automated control systems; starting up systems
  • Maintaining residential AC and HP systems by checking AC and HP accessories and components, cleaning or replacing filter systems and components; adjusting and replacing components, piping, refrigerant flow and metering devices; cleaning or replacing filtering systems and components
  • Servicing and/or maintaining electrical components of residential AC and HP systems
  • Clarifying and discussing the nature of the maintenance call with the client, determining the scope of maintenance work and writing up the work sheet; estimating costs of service or maintenance call
  • Instructing clients on equipment operation, routine maintenance or servicing procedures

    What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

    To become a Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic you should preferably have a secondary school diploma this is usually required by employers and unions today, but grade 10 is currently the legal minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades. Completion of a 10,000 hour apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job and in-school training, before successfully writing an examination to obtain your Certificate of Qualification. Please note that students who have completed Grade 10 have an opportunity to become registered apprentices while finishing high school under the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. Mechanical aptitude and solid math skills are required for this trade. Entry into apprenticeship can also be pursued through pre-apprenticeship training if available, or by applying to an employer, union or joint industry committee. Upon successfully completing the apprenticeship program and passing a trade examination, a person working in this trade is entitled to both a Certificate of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification.

    For additional information about this trade, check out:




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    What’s your Future as a Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic?

    Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanics normally work full time, in a combination of indoor and outdoor environments depending on the work location. Like most trades, there is a need for computer literacy and the ability to operate computer-controlled equipment. There is a growing demand for more efficient air conditioning and heating systems as well as existing systems that require maintenance, service and replacement making demand for this skilled trade relatively stable even during periods of economic downturn. Overtime and irregular hours are common during peak periods.

    Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanics find work with:
  • Plumbing, heating and air conditioning installation/maintenance/repair companies
  • Mechanical construction firms
  • Engineering firms
  • Self-employment

    Wage Rate
  • Apprentices usually start working at a wage rate @ half that of a fully qualified journey person
  • This rate generally increases as you acquire skills and competency in the trade, so that during the last six months of the apprenticeship, you are earning anywhere from 85-90% of a journey person’s hourly rate
  • Wages rates range from $22.00/hr, to a high of $35/hr depending on the geographic area where you live

Self-Rating Quiz

Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic for You?

Can you look at a diagram or blueprint and visualize how things come together?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy working with your hands and using different types of tools?

Yes      No

Are you able to bend, stretch, reach and work outdoors if required?

Yes      No

Do you like figuring out what’s wrong with something and then fixing it?

Yes      No

Would you be willing to work additional hours during peak times, including evenings or weekends?

Yes      No

Can you get the job done to deadline with minimal or no supervision?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, working as a Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic may be for you!

You may also want to explore other skilled trades that require similar interests and skills, including:

  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic
  • Sprinkler System Installer

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