This article has been reviewed by Billy Stevens for accuracy.
Having the right HVAC equipment is integral to increasing customer satisfaction and productivity for residential HVAC contractors. The types and quality of the tools enable techs to complete a range of jobs, from simple to complex, and can potentially boost first-time fix rates — both of which are key to increasing service requests and adding more money to your bottom line.
The following provides a detailed HVAC tools list that all HVAC contractors should ensure they have available for success in 2024.
Essential HVAC Tools for 2024
It takes many different roles to run a successful HVAC business. There are the HVAC technicians completing projects at job sites, the customer service representatives responding to requests, and dispatchers ensuring the right tech makes it to the right job. All these employees require different tools to get the job done, but techs require the widest assortment of equipment and devices.
Learn which types of tools are valuable for enhancing the efficiency and productivity of the entire operation.
HVAC Hand Tools
From complex installations and repairs to routine maintenance, these hand tools enable HVAC techs to provide efficient service. Ensure each tech has the following in their tool bag:
- Cutters: Metal and tubing cutters allow techs to slice through most HVAC materials.
- Hammer: A lightweight hammer allows for convenience and strength on HVAC jobs. Choose hammers with comfortable grips and durable fiberglass constructions.
- Hand seamers: Crimping and straight-jaw hand seamers help connect sheet metal.
- Headlamp or flashlight: Techs need a handheld or wearable light source to illuminate the often dark and tight spaces around HVAC equipment.
- Hex keys (Allen wrenches): Many types of HVAC equipment use hexagonal bolts and screws, making hex keys a necessity.
- Pliers: Sets should include multiple types of pliers, including channel lock, slip-joint, and needle-nose pliers for handling bolts, pipes, and wires of multiple sizes.
- Screwdrivers and nut drivers: Consider a set with a full range of nut drivers and screwdrivers, including those with Phillips-head and flathead bits.
- Staple gun: Staple guns secure foil lines and joists when assembling ductwork.
- Tape measure: Ensure techs take accurate measurements with a tape measure before beginning an installation.
- Tin snips: Offset and straight snips enable techs to cut and shape thin pieces like sheet metal.
- Wire strippers: Wire strippers help techs remove insulation from electrical wires to make safe electrical connections.
- Wrenches: HVAC techs need several wrenches, including fixed and adjustable wrenches for general uses, as well as crescent and pipe wrenches for specific applications.
HVAC Power Tools
These power tools are critical to many aspects of HVAC service:
- Angle grinder: Cut, grind, and refine materials for HVAC jobs with an angle grinder.
- Circular and handheld power saw: With circular blades, techs can cut pieces to the right size for ductwork, framing, and trimming. Handheld power saws cut through many materials for installations.
- Extension cords: Extension cords are necessary for getting more range out of corded power tools. Avoid overly bulky extension cords.
- Power drills: Drills enable effective fastening of parts to HVAC units. Battery-powered, cordless drills are ideal for efficiency and adaptability for many uses. Consider a power drill with at least 24 volts and multiple bits.
Advanced HVAC Tools
For complex jobs and troubleshooting tasks, your techs need these items in their toolkit:
- Awl: Awls allow techs to score sheet metal for straight cutting. Techs can also use awls to create holes in different materials.
- Caulking gun: Provide techs with a dripless caulking gun to fill holes and seal air ducts.
- Coil fin straightener: Air conditioner condensers and evaporators may get clogged or bent out of shape. The coil fin straightener fixes these issues to promote better airflow and heat exchange.
- Core removal tool: Air conditioning systems may have broken cores. The core removal tool allows for seamless repair or replacement without losing refrigerant.
- Crimper: Crimpers make it easier to conform certain materials to piping.
- Gauges: Measure refrigerant pressure and detect system leaks with gauges. Techs need several types, including manifold gauges and refrigeration gauges.
- Leak detector: Locate the source of leaks by scouting out moisture with refrigerant leak detectors.
- Multimeter: Use this safety device to measure voltage and test electrical circuits.
- Nitrogen regulator: Nitrogen regulators reduce high pressure in gases and liquids to prevent them from releasing simultaneously.
- Psychrometer: Diagnose issues with HVAC systems with a psychrometer, which measures airflow, air mixtures, and relative humidity.
- Reciprocating saw: Reciprocating saws cut through many materials used for HVAC projects. Be sure to have plenty of replacement blades. For a durable tool, consider the Sawzall.
- Thermal imaging cameras: When diagnosing complex issues with HVAC systems, thermal imaging cameras help techs identify the source of the problem.
- Thermometer: Thermometers ensure precise measurements of air and refrigerant temperatures. Portable digital thermometers are a great option.
- Vacuum pump: Keep moisture out of the work area with a vacuum pump to avoid hazards.
HVAC Safety Tools
Ensure the safety of your techs and customers by adding the following equipment to the toolkit:
- Lockout/tagout devices: Comply with OSHA guidelines with the correct lockout/tagout protection, which prevents equipment from starting during a job.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE): This is clothing and accessories designed to protect service techs while on the job. It includes:
- Cut-resistant gloves
- Duct masks
- Safety glasses
- Slip-resistant shoes or steel-toe boots
- Safety harness/fall protection: Harnesses and similar equipment protect techs from falling when working in elevated areas.
- Voltage tester: Non-contact voltage testers ensure electrical power is shut off before handling electrical parts.
Add HVAC Software to Your Toolkit
Maintaining the proper set of tools is crucial as it can set any HVAC business apart, even small, residential contractors competing with multiple large contractors in the area. A fully equipped toolkit can boost first-time fix rates and customer experience, helping your business grow. It also bolsters the employee experience for techs.
When going over your HVAC technician tool list, don’t forget software tools that support techs, such as dispatching, scheduling, and quote-building software. Some platforms combine these tools into a single solution of HVAC field service management software.
Sera’s field service software offers a great resource for HVAC techs — the Intuitive Tech App. The app helps techs provide a more consistent experience with all jobs through the following:
- Generating multiple quotes within minutes
- Providing two-column quoting that highlights membership cost savings
- Offering better suggestions for add-ons during quoting with an intuitive task-picker
- Allowing techs and customers to review information about quotes and completed jobs
- Enabling techs to send real-time updates about arrival times to customers using location GPS services
Field service software allows for better coordination between techs in the field and dispatchers and other staff in the office. It streamlines daily functions, like scheduling, dispatching, and invoicing, to improve efficiency and support greater profitability.
Sera’s FSM platform is built on the four pillars critical to enhancing efficiency for small-to-medium-sized field service businesses like residential HVAC and plumbing contractors.
To learn more about HVAC software, contact us today to schedule a 15-minute discovery call.