What's in My HVAC Technician's Van?

by Team eLocal
At most companies, maybe this isn’t news I’d share, but since this what we DO at HomeServe... We had phase one of our new multi zone mini split AC/heating system installed. What a process! The two-man crew was amazing. They never once complained about multiple trips up and down the 50+ stairs of our Pittsburgh row home. And they went with the flow when it came to working alongside their inquisitive canine coworkers. Phase two to add units to the rest of the house gets underway in about four weeks. The logistics of working in a house that was built before 1900 are not for the average HVAC company. Shout out to our HVAC pros who do this type of work everyday!

If you've ever peeked inside an HVAC technician’s van or truck, you know these vehicles are packed to the brim with the tools and materials that let your service person do their job effectively. Although an HVAC truck stock list may vary by season, region and the technician's experience level, many vehicles maintain similar inventories.

Let's explore what's inside the average HVAC service truck.

What Does an HVAC Technician Typically Keep in Their Van?

HVAC technicians service various commercial and residential systems each day, so their vans must carry the items needed to complete most standard repairs. Having the right tools and materials can be particularly important during dangerously cold or hot weather conditions when a quick repair can be crucial, so an HVAC van’s inventory typically includes HVAC equipment and basic tools.

HVAC Equipment

Most HVAC trucks contain the standard tools used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning system repairs. These specialized tools may include:

  • Refrigerant gauges, scales and sensors. Refrigerant gauges, scales and sensors are helpful when diagnosing air conditioner malfunctions. Gauges and scales measure levels of refrigerant fluid in a cooling system, and sensors detect leaks and assess filtration levels.
  • A multimer. Multimeters test voltage so HVAC techs can troubleshoot a unit’s electronic components.
  • Oxyacetylene torches. Technicians use oxyacetylene torches to weld and solder copper pipes during repairs.
  • Inspection mirrors. An inspection mirror lets technicians see behind pipes and other obstructions.
  • Sheet-metal shears. Metal shears let HVAC techs cut access holes in metal ductwork.
  • Pipe wrenches, calipers and cutters. Because HVAC technicians often work with pipes and tubes, they come equipped with tools for measuring, tightening, cutting and disassembling pipes of various sizes.
  • Wire strippers and crimpers. Electrical work during the HVAC repair process is common and may require the use of wire strippers and crimpers.
  • A fuse puller. This tool is used to safely remove electrical fuses.
  • A filter puller. This telescoping tool includes a hook to help technicians remove filters in hard-to-access places.
  • Service wrenches. Service wrenches are used to open and close a compressor’s refrigeration valves.

Basic Tools and Materials

Most HVAC service trucks also include items needed to perform routine repairs on drywall, plumbing systems and anything else impacted by HVAC-related repairs. Relevant items may include:

  • Common hand tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, Allen wrenches, drills and pliers
  • Nuts and bolts in assorted sizes
  • A utility knife
  • A level
  • A powerful flashlight
  • A tape measure
  • Assorted clamps

Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the basic tools, HVAC technicians may carry miscellaneous materials such as:

  • First aid kits
  • Permanent markers
  • Forms, such as invoices, estimate sheets and service agreements
  • Manufacturers' reference manuals
  • Cleaning materials, like rags and degreasers
  • Protective equipment, including knee pads, disposable coveralls and work gloves

Many HVAC technicians also carry tablets for access to manufacturers’ digital resources and communication channels.

What Common HVAC Parts Does a Tech Typically Have on Hand?

HVAC technicians typically won’t know what parts they’ll need until they've diagnosed a malfunctioning system. However, most techs stock common parts, particularly when components are interchangeable among multiple systems. Regularly stocked parts often include:

  • Filters
  • Refrigerant fluid
  • PVC pipes, connectors and glue
  • Fittings
  • Capacitors
  • Motors
  • Circuit boards
  • Start devices
  • Humidifier pads

What Parts Does an HVAC Tech Typically Have To Order?

Because vans have limited storage space and maintaining inventory can be expensive, technicians may need to order higher-priced or larger parts such as compressors, as well as manufacturer-specific components. Fortunately, many parts are available the same day through local warehouses or can be rush ordered so you can have your system up and running quickly.

What Kinds of Services Should You Expect an HVAC Tech to Be Able to Do?

Most licensed HVAC technicians can perform basic maintenance tasks such as cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils, lubricating a system’s moving parts and tightening loose electrical connections. They're typically capable of performing standard inspection checks such as measuring airflow and looking for refrigerant leaks.

Your technician should also be able to successfully diagnose most HVAC problems, including associated electrical issues, and recommend the repairs or maintenance needed. Once the diagnosis is complete, your technician should be able to order the necessary parts and execute most standard repairs to get your unit up and running. If repairs are cost-prohibitive or won't effectively restore an older system, your tech may also recommend a complete replacement.

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