What is an HVAC Service Engineer

We’re often asked for more information about the various jobs available in the HVAC industry, so we’re running a series of blogs looking at the day-to-day activities of different roles, as well as the qualifications and attributes needed to fulfil them.

Our series continues here with a look at the role of an HVAC service engineer. For details of other jobs, see the links at the bottom of the page.

Job description

An HVAC service engineer finds faults, carries out repairs and maintenance, and services and tests HVAC units and systems. There may also be some installation work involved.

The role can be crucial in preventing critical issues with HVAC systems that can lead to major problems such as Legionnaires’ disease.

Work can be undertaken on a wide range of commercial, industrial and residential sites such as offices, hotels, food and drink venues, leisure centres and schools.

Day-to-day activities

An HVAC service engineer’s daily tasks can include troubleshooting and fixing boilers, ventilation and air conditioning service equipment.

Many service engineers work from home and are provided with a company van, mobile and laptop. During a typical day, they would carry out site visits to meet with clients, undertake repair and maintenance work, and order parts.

They will also liaise with other professionals working on the site, as well as with their sales colleagues.

Qualifications

An NVQ or City and Guilds in an HVAC-related field or equivalent experience is required.

An HVAC certification is a necessity. For Air Conditioning Engineers, an F Gas Certificate is essential to work on equipment that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases (F Gases). These gases are used in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps.

Heating Service Engineers need to achieve an ACS or S/NVQ equivalent qualification in the area of heating the want to work and then join the Gas Safe Register.  

Engineers tend to focus on either Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, Domestic Heating or Commercial Heating. The large FM companies tend to have multi skilled engineers who will have their FGAS ticket, their Commercial Gas tickets and their 17th Edition electrical qualification.

A driving licence is essential as the role involves frequent site visits.

Skills and attributes

HVAC service engineers need excellent problem solving skills, technical ability and IT knowledge. The role requires experience and knowledge of testing, repairing and operating HVAC systems, as well as the ability to learn about new ones.

They often meet clients and other contractors face-to-face so a personable approach, as well as good communication and customer skills, is vital to the role. An HVAC service engineer works both alone and as part of a team, so also needs to be able to interact well with colleagues. They need to be confident working unsupervised on their own initiative or as part of a team.

Because many HVAC service engineers work from home, they also need to be self-motivated and proactive. They will be required to travel and work unconventional hours, so need to have a flexible attitude towards this.

Earning potential

HVAC service engineers typically earn £25,000 – £35,000 basic salary, depending on experience and the level of the role. They usually also receive a range of additional benefits including performance-related bonuses and the option to work overtime.

Job satisfaction

Working as an HVAC service engineer can be varied and interesting. It is a very hands-on role and involves meeting with a variety of people, from other professionals to customers.

But the work hours can be long and service engineers are often on a call-out rota. They may also be required to work away from home, all of which can be disruptive to their home life.

Training and career development opportunities can be good, with the chance to progress into a supervisory role. Rewards and promotions are often available for those who deliver good work.

Find out more

If there’s something you’d like to know about the role of an HVAC service engineer that we haven’t covered here, we’d be happy to help further. Or we could point you in the direction of HVAC service engineer roles available right now. Call us on 0115 8714 777.

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Nuaire Boss Shares Thoughts on Best Ventilation Company Survey

The boss of ventilation manufacturer Nuaire has shared his thoughts on the results of our Best Ventilation Companies to Work For survey and the challenges involved in attracting and retaining the best talent. 

Nuaire employs 550 people worldwide, with over 400 of those based at its factory and offices in South Wales. The firm was one of the top performers in Thornhvac’s Best Ventilation Companies to Work For survey. Managing director Mark Huxtable agrees that product quality and innovation are a key factor in attracting good people.

With 100 per cent UK based manufacturing, and a ventilation heritage dating back to 1966, Nuaire is a prominent employer in the UK ventilation industry. Most of its staff are from the local community, which has been shaped by the firm’s presence over several decades.

Huxtable joined Nuaire in 1988 and has been responsible for introducing a strong personal development ethic.

“Because we require high calibre, knowledgeable staff, we believe in training up apprentices and junior staff members,” explains Huxtable.

“The challenge for any manufacturing company is retaining high calibre staff who are keen to fast-track their careers. Where possible we recruit and promote from within to ensure our best people have opportunities for lateral and vertical movement and progression.”

Huxtable believes investment has helped the business thrive through recession and is key to attracting both customers and good sales people.

“We don’t shy away from investment into new product development, our salesforce, our manufacturing facilities and in the latest technology, all of which help us deliver first class service to our customers.

“Through this long-term approach and investment in many facets of the business, Nuaire has attracted and retained a loyal, highly-skilled workforce which is the key attribute that often allows organisations to set themselves apart. We have recently refurbished our offices and named the meeting rooms after eight members of staff that have each served more than 40 years continuous service with the company.”

Huxtable is proud of the fact that there is a family feel to the business, despite its size and profitability.

“Many of our people have worked for the company for over 25 years, some as long as 40 years. Because so many have given decades of service to the company, the spirit of the company is one of solidarity, passion and loyalty. There is no blue-collar/white-collar divide.

“There is also plenty of potential for progression, and many of our senior people have worked in several departments of the company, which gives them invaluable experience and understanding of the business from all aspects. “

In keeping with the survey’s findings he believes Nuaire’s products are a major factor in attracting employees.

“We’re known for innovation and our customers are keen to know what’s next in the pipeline. There is a general buzz in the industry and in the trade press when we unveil a new, high-tech product innovation. That attracts new people to the company as they’re keen to be part of the buzz.”

 

 

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What do HVAC sales engineers look for in an employer?

The results of our Best HVAC Companies to Work For survey have been featured in a two-page article in the July issue of H & V News.

Our survey revealed that HVAC sales staff rate the quality of a manufacturer’s products above benefits such as flexible working and financial incentives when choosing an employer.

The year-long research project asked the views of sales personnel in the air conditioning, commercial heating and ventilation industries during a year long study to find the manufacturers sales people most want to work for and their priorities when looking for a new job.

Jason Thornhill of Thornhvac said: “We sought views on the manufacturers salespeople perceive as being the best to work for, whether they are currently employed by them or not, and why certain manufacturers are perceived as being better than others.

“The survey showed that product quality, good management and a comprehensive after sales service were the strongest influencing factors when people made their decision about which company they would most like to work for.

“A strong brand, the financial stability of the company and product availability were other key considerations.”

Product quality ranked highest by air conditioning employees

 

More than two thirds of respondents in each sector rated product quality as an influencing factor when choosing who to work for – and in the air conditioning industry it was chosen by almost 80% of sales people. Almost a third also mentioned good management practices as a reason for naming their employer of choice.

After sales service valued by heating sales engineers

 

Product quality and service were almost equally important to staff when choosing their top commercial heating manufacturer, with 73% stating that they preferred to work for companies with good products and 65% ranking after sales service and technical support as a deciding factor.

Good management attracts staff in ventilation

 

Good management was ranked by 46% of those questioned in the ventilation industry compared to 30% in air conditioning and 28% in commercial heating.

Jason said: “Unlike brand perception and product quality, the nature of a company’s internal management is something staff don’t really have a grasp of until they have worked there, although it’s certainly true that some manufacturers are well known for being well structured with a strong focus on employee engagement.

“I think there is probably a lot more that all HVAC manufacturers could do to communicate their employee satisfaction levels as a way of attracting high performing sales people to work for them. Perhaps ventilation firms are better at it than most.”

How important are financial benefits?

The survey findings indicate that financial rewards are not as important to HVAC sales people as more tangible factors like the products they are going to sell.

Jason said this tied in with other research undertaken by the recruiter as part of the 2015 study.

“We carried out a number of detailed interviews with sales engineers to gain a deeper understanding of their opinions and priorities when making a career move and time and again we heard that sales people want to work for well-known brand names that have high quality, innovative products.

“These sorts of companies may pay a slightly lower basic than smaller manufacturers but the bonus potential is usually far greater. Their bonus structures will have been developed over time and will be well defined. Smaller firms understand that their sales people might have a harder time getting their products out to market which is why they tend to offer a higher basic salary to compensate for the fact that bonuses are not quite as easy to come by,” he explained.  

As well as offering higher earning potential, manufacturers with innovative and well regarded products are attractive because of the technical nature of HVAC sales.

“A salesperson in the HVAC industry has a far more technical role to play in a project than someone selling in another field and that’s why HVAC sales engineers really need to believe in their product, its applications and benefits,” added Jason.

Retention is as important as attraction

The Thornhvac survey set out to find the best HVAC manufacturers to work for but Jason said this was only part of the story and manufacturers needed to focus on retaining good sales people.

“Brand, product range and technical support are all useful for attracting employees but if manufacturers are going to keep their best people they need to be providing much more for their staff.

“Our interviews dug a little deeper and revealed that the best companies to build a career with are those that combine market presence, innovation and an awareness of customer needs with solid internal management structures and staff incentives that develop loyalty and reputation.”

To take part in the 2016 Best HVAC Manufacturers to Work For survey visit:  www.thornhvac.co.uk/best-companies-survey

To receive a full copy of the 2015 reports visit: www.thornhvac.co.uk/reports

 

 

 

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Interview crimes and how to avoid them

If you have ever left an interview saying, “I could have answered that question better than I did,” you are not alone. Even those with a strong skill set and vast experience do not always know how to sell their qualifications effectively to hiring managers.

Here are some common pitfalls which can easily be avoided:

Failing to research a company – do your homework

There’s no point walking into an interviewer’s office if you haven’t prepared in advance. Learn as much as possible about a prospective employer – it’s time and money well spent. Use your professional network and HVAC publications to determine the company’s business priorities, competitors and market position. This will help you demonstrate how you can make a difference at the firm.

Saying too little or too much

You do not want to skip vital information but you also do not want to go into too much detail. Both extremes can create a negative impression with interviewers. If your responses are too brief, interviewers may wonder if you are hiding something; if they are too lengthy, people may switch off. Practise your responses with friends, family or colleagues. They can provide useful feedback.

Ignoring prompts from the interviewer

One of the most valuable, yet underrated, skills is the ability to listen, understand and absorb what the other person is saying. If you concentrate too intently on forming your responses, you can miss critical information offered by the interviewer.

Throughout the discussion, interviewers may provide useful clues as to what they are looking for in candidates, allowing you to tailor your answers to their requirements. If you learn to adopt this technique, then interviews can be far more interactive and productive, giving you an opportunity to tell your potential HVAC employer exactly where you might fit into the organization.

Not being yourself

You may want to ‘sell’ yourself from the off but be very careful not to overstate your case. Some sales managers get so focused on saying the right thing, that they do not give an accurate portrayal of their skills and interests. It will benefit both you and the employer if you present an accurate picture of your qualifications so an appropriate match can be made to the position.

Failing to ask questions, especially when prompted 

Interviews work both ways, so be ready with your own questions. This is an important opportunity for you to find out whether the HVAC company interviewing you is right for you and your career. Ask about the role itself, how you might fit into the organization and how your career might develop within the organisation. Prepare a few questions before you arrive and don’t be afraid to take in a notepad and pen so that you can write down any additional points that arise.

See our website for more interview tips and check out our latest HVAC jobs

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CV writing tips for HVAC sales engineers

Employers receive dozens of CVs for every role and some of the most sought after HVAC jobs will attract hundreds of applicants. So how do you stand out from the crowd and secure an interview for your ideal HVAC sales job?

 Don’t let potential employers switch off when reading your CV

With so much competition for top jobs in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, you’ll want to make sure the employer has a good reason to stop and read your application.

The quickest way to catch their attention is in your brief profile statement at the top of the document. Avoid general phrases that could apply to anyone such as “highly motivated self starter” and highlight key qualities as specifically as possible.

For candidates applying through Thornhvac, part of our role is to do the hard work for the employer and sift through the applications carefully. If you have seen a job on our website and are interested in applying, make sure you include key information that relates specifically to the job description so that we can see immediately that you have the relevant experience for the role. 

Most employers are inundated with applicants for every job and they aren’t mind-readers so don’t be afraid to state the obvious while keeping your CV concise and to-the-point.

It may sound obvious but your CV should say who you are, your skills (and relevant air conditioning and HVAC experience) and why you’re the best person for the job.

Tailor your CV to each specific job you apply for – it is vital to ensure the script is relevant to each job application, rather than sending the same generic CV.

Here are our top tips for a great HVAC sales CV

  • keep it simple and in a readable font. Two pages of A4 is more than enough.
  • Include key information – personal details, including name, address, phone number, email address and any professional social media presence should be clear.
  • Showcase achievements – offer evidence of how targets were exceeded and ideas created, but always be honest. If you’re a good salesman – say so and mention any targets you’ve hit or smashed!
  • Be specific and honest – you may well be caught out in interview if you are economic with the truth.
  • Check and double check – avoid sloppy errors, take a fresh look the next day and ask for a second opinion from a friend or colleague. You rarely spot your own mistakes.

 For more advice on applying for HVAC sales roles contact us on 0115 8714 777. To see our latest HVAC sales job vacancies visit http://www.thornhvac.co.uk/vacancies 

 

 

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How much does a HVAC sales engineer get paid?

It’s the all-important question that many of us don’t like asking but salary is something you’ll be keen to consider when applying for HVAC sales jobs and looking for the next move in their HVAC careers.

Thornhvac carried out a HVAC salary survey last year with the results showing a definite North/South divide.

The study revealed that HVAC sales engineers in London and the South East are commanding much higher salaries than those in the North.

The survey looked at salaries by region in the heating, air conditioning and ventilation sectors in the UK and was part of Thornhvac’s commitment to inform employers and those working in the industry.

The results were most marked in the commercial heating sector with 60% of commercial heating sales engineers covering the Midlands and the North of England earning a basic salary below £40k, compared to 35% in London and the South East.

In London and the South East, 16% of heating sales engineers earn a basic salary of £50k, compared to 5% in the Midlands and North.

In the ventilation sector, 42% of sales engineers in London and the South East earn a basic salary above £45k – in the Midlands it’s 36% and in the North it’s 17%.

Air conditioning sales engineers’ salaries follow the same trend – with 42% earning an annual basic salary above £45k in the South East, compared to 16% in the Midlands and 28% in the North.

However, the survey did show that those working in the North are more satisfied with their salaries in HVAC sales than those in London and the South East. This goes to show that it’s not always about the money but where you are based that must be taken into consideration. These trends were mirrored in the other HVAC sectors

And when it comes to pay and benefits in HVAC, then the Midlands is the place to be. Sales professionals in the ventilation sector benefit from the highest bonus packages nationally in the Midlands where a third of ventilation sales engineers earn a bonus worth more than £20k on top of their basic salary.

In the South East, this figure is 18% of sales engineers and in the North just 5% fall into the top bonus bracket.

You can request your copy of the Thornhvac Salary Survey 2015 here:

www.thornhvac.co.uk/reports

 

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Which Are the Best Air Conditioning Manufacturers to Work For?

The best air conditioning  manufacturers to work for in the UK have been chosen by those who currently work in the industry.

Thornhvac conducted a study throughout 2015 to find out which air conditioning manufacturers people perceived as being leaders in their field and good companies to work for.

The research highlighted four big names in the air conditioning sector – Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric, Airedale and Toshiba – as being amongst the best to work for according to those questioned. There were mentions for many other manufacturers of air conditioning products and some interesting feedback from those involved in the study.  

Nearly 80% of those questions felt that the best companies to work for also had the best products on the market and almost a third mentioned good management practices as a reason for choosing them.

This wasn’t about asking people to tell us about their current or past employer and what they thought of them. It was about perceptions within the industry.

Our key objective was to understand why some companies had a good reputation with those working in the air conditioning sector and what factors influenced those opinions.  

The survey gave respondents an opportunity to mention specific details about companies they had personal experience of and this provided some useful information on some of the less high profile brands. This will be particularly useful in our work as we talk to candidates about the different career opportunities we have available in the air conditioning sector.

The air conditioning industry is continually evolving and innovating. This is why we are repeating our research during 2016 and updating our results annually.

To have your say in the 2016 Best HVAC Manufacturers to Work For survey visit:  www.thornhvac.co.uk/best-companies-survey

 

To receive a full copy of the 2015 reports visit: www.thornhvac.co.uk/reports

 

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What is a cooling design and development engineer?

There’s a wide variety of jobs available in the HVAC sector, and we’re often asked for more details on specific roles.

So we thought we’d run a series of HVAC job descriptions. In this latest one, we look at the work of a cooling design and development engineer.

Job description

The role involves working for an HVAC manufacturer to design, develop and test refrigeration, cooling and air conditioning components, technologies and systems.

Day-to-day activities

This is a hands-on role in the R&D of refrigeration, cooling and air conditioning products and components. It involves testing them and analysing data, as well as designing components, developing programs for new products and managing budgets.

Other daily activities can include overseeing product efficiency, as well as using simulation tools to help select components, analyse data on heat transfer and thermodynamics, and carry out tests.

The job also requires the development of lab programs for new products, and the use of computer programs such as Matlab.

Budget management of projects is also part of the role, along with the co-ordination of supporting activities.

Qualifications

A degree in mechanical engineering is generally required, and a Masters degree is preferred to demonstrate an understanding of the science of thermal fluids.

Skills and attributes

A cooling design and development engineer needs to have an understanding and / or experience of R&D in the air conditioning, refrigeration or cooling sector. They will be able to consider not only the design and testing of a product, but also the safety, cost effectiveness and manufacture of new designs, as well as modernising existing products.

Technical and analytical skills are essential, as is a comprehensive understanding of air conditioning and refrigeration design. Experience of system simulation and psychometric testing are also vital skills for the role.

The role also demands IT skills and proficiency in Matlab or EES, as well as knowledge of industry developments, standards and legislation.

The ideal candidate for the job would have an eye for detail, and be able to work on their own initiative or as part of a team. Project management experience is also highly desirable.

Flexibility and a willingness to travel both at home and abroad are also a requirement  for the role with many HVAC companies.

Earning potential

Cooling design and development engineers can earn up to £45,000 basic salary, depending on background, experience and qualifications, with a range of additional benefits.

Job satisfaction

Career development can be good and, depending on the company you work for, there can opportunities to work internationally or even relocate abroad.

The work is varied, and can be creative and rewarding.

Find out more

If there’s something you’d like to know about the role of a cooling design and development engineer that we haven’t covered here, we’d be happy to help further. Or we could point you in the direction of cooling design and development engineer roles available right now. Call us on 0115 8714 777.

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Which are the Best Commercial Heating Manufacturers to Work for?

The best commercial heating manufacturers to work for in the UK have been selected by those working in the HVAC industry.

The survey, which was conducted by Thornhvac throughout 2015, set out to find the companies that were perceived as being leaders in their field and ones that people really wanted to work for.

We weren’t necessarily asking people to comment on their current or past employer, rather to tell us how they felt about the brands within the industry from a career perspective.

As well as gathering information gained from personal experience, it was the perceptions of HVAC brands that interested us most and why some companies were more desirable to work for than others.

Respondents considered almost 30 different UK heating manufacturers. There were a number of companies that clearly stood out in the survey including Vaillant,  Ideal Boilers,  Bosch Thermotechnology, Hamworthy Heating, Broag-Remeha, Hoval, Viessmann and Baxi.

Product and service were almost equally important to staff when choosing their top commercial heating manufacturer which shows just how critical good after sales support is to reputation and morale.

The study also asked employees which companies they believed had the best products and what qualities were most important when deciding what makes a good product.

The results were slightly different here and although the same manufacturers appeared at the top of the list, some scored higher for their products than they did as an employer.

The commercial heating industry is continually evolving and innovating and nothing stands still for too long. For this reason we will be repeating our research during 2016 so that our results are updated annually.

We have also introduced a survey of the domestic heating sector for 2016. This lists the main manufacturers of domestic boilers and includes an option for respondents to mention any manufacturer if their choice hasn’t been listed.

To have your say in the 2016 Best HVAC Manufacturers to Work For survey visit: www.thornhvac.co.uk/best-companies-survey

 

To receive a full copy of the 2015 reports visit: www.thornhvac.co.uk/reports

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Which are the Best Ventilation Manufacturers to Work for?

The best ventilation manufacturers to work for in the UK have been chosen by those who work in the HVAC industry.

Thornhvac conducted a survey throughout 2015 to find out which ventilation manufacturers people most want to work for and why.

We wanted to know which companies were perceived as being leaders in their field and why and we sought the opinions of people currently working within the industry.

This wasn’t about asking people to tell us about their current or past employer and what they thought of them. It was about perceptions within the industry. We wanted to know why some companies had a good reputation with those working in the ventilation sector and why.

Respondents ranked more than 40 different ventilation manufacturers with Nuaire, Vent Axia, Flaktwoods and Elta Fans topping the league table. 

The survey showed that product quality, good management and service and technical support were the strongest influencing factors when people made their decision about which company they would most like to work for.

A strong brand, the financial stability of the company and product availability were other key considerations amongst those questioned.

The survey gave respondents an opportunity to mention specific details about companies they had personal experience of and this provided some useful information on some of the less high profile brands. This will be particularly useful in our work as we talk to candidates about the different career opportunities we have available in the ventilation sector.

The ventilation industry is continually evolving and innovating and nothing stands still for too long. For this reason we will be repeating our research during 2016 so that our results are updated annually.

To have your say in the 2016 Best HVAC Manufacturers to Work For survey visit: www.thornhvac.co.uk/best-companies-survey

To receive a full copy of the 2015 reports visit: www.thornhvac.co.uk/reports

 

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