Keeping your cool

AT WORK

A technician in training seeks to master the world of the thermostat

At work

June 28, 2006|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Robert L. Tiedemann III

Heating and air conditioning service technician

Dynastics Inc., Lansdowne

Salary --$15.13 an hour

Age --23

Years in the industry --Five

How he got started --When he was 18, he started working in the air-conditioning and heating service and repair field for a contractor. Tiedemann decided to go to school in September to better learn his trade. He is now a first-year apprentice with the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 486 Training School in Rosedale. He works full time for Dynastics during the day and attends school two nights a week. He receives benefits, training, a company vehicle, and, when he graduates in four years, he expects to make more than $30 an hour.

Typical day --He works eight-hour days, five days a week repairing and installing air-conditioning and heating systems. Most of his work is residential. He can complete about five or six service calls a day. An installation of an air conditioning and heating unit it takes all day. Much of his job is troubleshooting electrical and mechanical problems and then completing the repairs. Preventive maintenance jobs make up most of the service calls in the spring and fall, while installations and repairs occupy the summer and winter months.

The good --"The fact that you're your own boss. Also the satisfaction that knowing when you got there, there was something wrong, and when you left, it was fixed."

The bad --The weather. "Working in torrential downpours."

Most asked question --Where to set the thermostat? To save money in the summer, set it for 75 degrees; in winter, 70.

Biggest misconception --That the thermostat determines how cool or warm the air coming out of the system is. "You get a lot of people that think if they set it for 50 degrees, the air coming out will be 50 degrees. The thermostat is the on/off switch for the system, and it will stay on until [an area] reaches the set temperature."

Hot and muggy --"Everyone waits until it gets extremely hot. Once it does, then everybody calls."

Job satisfaction --"I enjoy going out there and getting my hands dirty. Not sitting behind a desk full time. "

Philosophy on the job --"Do things right the first time. Measure twice, cut once."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest Special to The Sun

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