Heating and cooling tools are used for temperature and climate control and testing in many environments. Some of these tools are designed for specific purposes (see our hand tools for hvac article). For instance, AC manifold gauges can be used to test HVAC systems and HVAC Technician tools like Clamp-on Multi-Meter and Infrared Temperature Sensors are two basic maintenance and troubleshooting tools for HVAC systems.
HVAC Technician Tools – Manifold Refrigerant Gauges
Another basic cooling tool needed for refrigeration work is a manifold refrigerant gauge. Ideally, an HVAC technician should use two different gauges; one set for R-22 and other HCFC’s (hydrochlorofluorocarbons) and a second gauge for CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbon) like R-41A. This is because the oils for these refrigerants don’t mix well as one is synthetic and the others are mineral oil. To avoid contaminating the HVAC refrigeration systems being serviced, a technician works with one or the other type of oil. This avoids migration of residual oil into gauge hoses, which, with the wrong oil, can contaminate the system.
Other Advanced HVAC Cooling Tools
Additional HVAC cooling tools include:
- Vacuum pump
- Recovery tanks
- Nitrogen tanks
- Nitrogen regulator,
- Tri-stand pipe vice
- Oxygent acetylene kit for refrigeration brazing,
- B-tank for soft soldering on chilled water and hot water loops
Technicians working for an HVAC company are usually supplied with these high end tools that can be expensive. Other high-end electronic and electrical instruments like combustion analyzers are often necessary as well. However, many companies require technicians to have their own vacuum pumps. Pump size varies with the size of the system being evacuated.
In addition, there are tools necessary for higher flammability, higher pressure, and higher toxicity refrigerants including:
- Electronic manifold gauge set that can be used with flammable refrigerants, ammonia and high pressure refrigerants (up to 50 bar)
- Manifold gauge set for use with carbon dioxide (up to 160 bar)
- Refrigerant recovery cylinder
- Refrigerant recover machines for hydrocarbons and all flammable refrigerants except ammonia
- Ammonia recovery pump set
The signing of the Montreal Protocol Treaty in 1987 and the Clean Air Act, Section 608 rules and regulations signed in 1963 make it illegal to use refrigerants for an HVAC triple evacuation but every HVAC technician or HVAC contractor should have nitrogen tanks for the primary purpose of doing evacuations. The size of the system determines how much nitrogen is necessary. For most residential and light commercial systems, several 60 CFM tanks should do.
Remember, whenever a refrigeration system is opened for service, proper evacuation is necessary before resealing it. This is where the right vacuum pump comes in. Removing contaminates from the system before re-sealing is critical.
The vacuum pump should be capable of blank-off to at least 300 microns or lower and it must be connected to both high and low sides of the refrigeration system. The HVAC technician should have a vacuum gauge that reads microns that can be connected to the further point in the system.
Having the Right Tools for the Job
At Hanover Supply Company, we help ensure that HVAC technicians have the right tools to do an outstanding job. In this rapidly changing, technology-driven industry, it is important for technicians to build their knowledge and skills about what tools do what jobs in the best ways possible.
Stop by or call us at our Randolph or Chatham stores to find out how we can help you with everything you need to do your job right. Hanover Supply Company is New Jersey’s premier supplier of heating and cooling tools required by residential, commercial, and industrial plumbers. We also support homeowners interested in learning more about how their systems work. Whatever your plumbing needs, Hanover Supply Company can help!