Difference between commercial plumbing and commercial HVAC

There is a high demand for people to become technicians in the areas of both commercial plumbing and commercial HVAC.  Both are relatively high paying, do not require a college degree, and have similar work environments.  In addition, both careers have several paths that one can take to become licensed in the field.  Moreover, both fields require licensing.  You can either go to trade school or enter into an apprenticeship and learn on the job.  However, there are many differences between the two, as well.

An HVAC technician can be called on to design, install or repair an HVAC system. They are also commonly asked to then connect those systems to fuel and/or water supply lines, as well as install electric wiring and controls for the system.  He or she may also be asked to test the individual components of the system in order to ensure that the unit is working properly.  Additionally, an HVAC technician can be called on to measure a system’s energy usage and make recommendations on how to improve a system’s energy efficiency.


HVAC technicians who have additional training and certification in refrigeration may also be called on to create, install or repair large commercial refrigeration units.  Either way, if you go through a training program at a technical school in order to become an HVAC professional, there are other specializations that may be acquired.  These include working with solar paneling as well as working with water based heating systems.


Technical school courses to become an HVAC technician take less time to complete than a formal apprenticeship.  In addition, technical schools also offer training in related skills such as computers and electronics.


While there are two different types of commercial plumbers, they can all be called on to install pipes, fixtures, and hot water heaters.  They also inspect, test and repair pipe systems and pipelines.  Commercial plumbers that work for construction companies need to be familiar with both state and local building codes and ensure that a new building’s water and sewage system is in compliance with these codes.  Commercial plumbers that work for manufacturing companies and industries should be familiar with installing, maintaining and repairing pipes that carry water, steam, air, acids and/or waste byproducts.


When it comes to becoming a plumber of any kind, an apprenticeship is the most common form of training.  However, in order to get into the field this way, you will be required to finish an exorbitant number of hours.  Technical schools that offer plumbing courses often teach safety tips, local plumbing codes and regulation, as well as blueprint reading, math, applied physics, and chemistry.  While job growth in this field is over 20%, plumbers who know how to weld will find even more employment opportunities than those who have not learned this particular skill.


Regardless of the field that you are looking to get into, no one job is better than another. You should consider the requirements for each field and determine which line of work best suits both your  interests and your talents.