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Skilled to Work: Rooftop service call with Local 91 Sheet Metal Workers Union

How journeymen HVAC technicians keep commercial air conditioning units running efficiently

BETTENDORF, Iowa — The signs of a Midwest spring could be found this week on a commercial building rooftop in Bettendorf. Hail did some damage to an air conditioner unit Local 91 journeyman HVAC technician Eric Carr was working on.

"They can be massaged open with a blade if you're very gentle, but we're talking about thin metal," Carr said as he carefully straightened out the fragile fins. "These are made with the thinnest of metal."

It was a small part of Carr's regular preventative maintenance check on several units as the summer heat cranks back up.

"We had a couple of nice days and that nice hot weekend. And so people are needing repairs as always and then we have a good list of regular customers who get it done twice a year," Carr said.

Some of the other components that get a look include the air conditioner belts and filters. They're relatively inexpensive and easy to replace, and regular maintenance improves efficiency and extends the lifetime of equipment. 

Finally, the technicians give the units a good spray down with a hose. The mist feels good in the summertime. Technicians say the paychecks are good too.

"As far as pay and benefits go, it's absolutely phenomenal," Carr said.

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