Learn How HVAC Systems Work

How HVAC Systems Work

If you want to learn how to become an HVAC technician, you’ve come to the right place. Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program will help prepare you for a career in an in-demand profession.

Before we dive into how you can learn all about how HVAC systems work by enrolling in Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program, let’s refresh our memories on what HVAC technicians do.

HVAC technicians are widely skilled trades workers in terms of the skills they use on the job each day.

An HVAC technician’s main duties include installing, maintaining and repairing various indoor climate control systems like furnaces and air conditioners. Each of those tasks is more complex than can be described in this post (that’s where Coyne’s program comes in). Installation, for example, can require HVAC technicians to use some or ALL of these skills:

  • Reading blueprints
  • Testing electrical components 
  • Testing tubing and piping 
  • Using power tools 
  • Providing great customer service
  • And more! 

In addition to possessing a variety of skills, HVAC technicians can work in a variety of settings. Such work environments include:

  • Homes
  • Schools
  • Factories
  • Office Buildings

Any building that needs heating or air conditioning, whether it’s residential or commercial, has been visited at some point by an HVAC technician.

HVAC System Works

Their work helps HVAC systems work as well as they can, increasing the quality of life for the building’s occupants. They also help people and companies save money on their electric or natural gas bills, as well as reducing the effect of heating and cooling on the environment. 

As mentioned in the open, now is a good time to be getting into the HVAC field. The HVAC technician employment rate is projected to grow by 13 percent through 2028. The continued construction of building and an increased prevalence of service contracts, especially during slow seasons, are reasons for the strong growth rate. 

The BLS suggests that the workload for technicians who focus on installation, especially of newer, greener systems, may experience periods of unemployment after initial installation booms. However, service contracts are becoming more common and will help technicians stay working during down periods.

As more and more people continue to need refrigerators, heating systems and air conditioners, the employment future for HVAC technicians should remain healthy.

There are a number of certifications that HVAC technicians can earn that showcase mastery of additional skills. For example, HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants are required to pass an exam administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Certifications help make technicians more marketable to contractors and other potential employers. 

Before achieving such certifications, most HVAC technicians begin by enrolling in an HVAC training program like the one at Coyne College. HVAC training programs are gaining popularity due to the demand for qualified HVAC professionals. 

Speaking of such programs, let’s get to what you can learn as a student in Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program. 

Coyne College is a career training institution in Chicago and Chicagoland with a rich history of preparing skilled trades workers to back it up. For more than 110 years, Coyne has offered programs like its HVAC Refrigeration diploma program to set students up for career success.  

Coyne College’s HVAC-R program will prepare you to perform the essential functions of an HVAC-R technician, including installing, maintaining and repairing HVAC-R systems in a multitude of settings.

In our program, you gain an in-depth understanding of how HVAC systems work. Our curriculum features instruction on the parts of HVAC systems to help you know them inside and out. 

Our experienced instructors will cover HVAC basics with the goal of you understanding HVAC to build a foundation from which to launch your career

In Coyne College’s HVAC program, you will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the HVAC profession. Some of the required courses in the program’s curriculum include:

  • Gas Heating
  • Commercial Controls and Applications
  • Troubleshooting Systems and Installation
  • Air Conditioning, Electric Heat and Heat Pumps
  • And more!

In the program, you will become well versed in the intricacies of HVAC by learning from experienced instructors who have significant experience in the field. At the end of the HVAC-R program, you will be ready to enter the workforce as an HVAC-R technician and do things like fixing a heating system and performing air conditioning unit repairs.

Our HVAC program is available both during days and at nights to accommodate your busy schedule. The program can be completed in as few as 42 weeks and is offered at our Chicago Loop campus at State and Madison.

At Coyne College, support goes beyond the classroom. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of career assistance resources, including mock interviews and resume help. These resources can help students secure apprenticeships after completing the program.

You’ll also have the chance to take advantage of our extensive network of connections in the field that can help you find employment at the conclusion of their training programs.

At Coyne College, you’ll receive a well-rounded education that will serve as the foundation of your skilled trade career. 

What do you say — are you ready to get to work? Heat up your career at Coyne College by visiting https://www.coynecollege.edu/.  


Must-know Tips for DIY Electrical Wiring and Switching

DIY Electrical Wiring

People take on DIY projects in their own homes for a number of reasons. Whether they want to save money, feel more independent or enjoy fixing things themselves, any DIY project requires some basic know-how to be done properly. Installing or replacing electrical switches and wiring is no exception. These DIY Electrical Wiring tips can help make the process of installing electrical wires and switches a breeze, especially for a DIYer.

Have the right tools handy

Like any other DIY job, you want to make sure you have the right tools to do the job. They can include a multimeter, a non-contact voltage detector (tests the heat of wire without touching it) and a combination sheath and wire stripper. Being equipped with the right tools will help you be prepared for anything throughout the electrical switch wiring process.

Know your wires

When connecting electrical wiring to an outlet, it’s important to not confuse your wires or put them in the wrong terminal. The white wire is the neutral wire and goes into the neutral terminal, which is marked by silver/light-colored screws. The black wire, on the other hand, is the hot wire and goes into the hot terminal, the one opposite the neutral terminal. If there’s a ground wire, it will be a copper wire held in place by a screw on the same side as the neutral terminal.

Knowing the difference between the wires will allow you to wire your home correctly and avoid the high voltage of swapping the neutral and hot.

Three-inch rule

It’s always better to have too much wire than not enough. There are wire extensions available if you end up cutting them short, but the wiring will work better if it is intact.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to have wiring that is long enough to extend 3 inches outside of the electrical box.

Hide gaps in drywall with oversized plates

When you’re installing electrical switches, it’s pretty easy to cut a hole in the drywall that is too big. Thankfully, there are oversized plates available at hardware stores that you can use to cover your switches.

They are typically in sizes up to 3/4 inch wider and longer than regular switch plates. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference, unless they’re professional electricians or fellow DIYers.

Quality switches and outlets are worth it

While it might be tempting to scrimp on some supplies as a DIYer, electrical switches and outlets aren’t one of them. They tend to be only slightly more expensive, but also last longer. A good way to tell a quality switch or outlet is by the presence of a back-wire feature.

Quality switches and outlets are worth it

Test the voltage

Be sure to test the voltage of wires and circuits before touching them. Testing electrical components with tools such as a wire sniffer or a multimeter will tell you if they are safe to touch or if an electrical current is flowing through them. Electrical work can be a dangerous job, especially if you’re unsure about what you’re doing. Always test before touching.

Do proper research

In today’s age of the internet, you can learn how to do anything online. For that reason, there’s no excuse not to do your homework before installing electrical wiring and switching in your home.

Searching for tutorials on how to wire a light switch is a great way to learn more about how to do it. On YouTube there are countless tutorials on DIY Electrical Wiring, from electricians and home improvement pros available that literally show you how it’s done.

Get an education

As great as internet learning is, it does have its limitations, and it’s no substitute for a trade school program. Learning how to do electrical work in an educational setting is the best way to ensure you know what you’re doing in home DIY electrical wiring.

What’s more, you can also make a career of electrical work. Electrical education programs are readily available at trade schools across the country. If you’re in Chicagoland, Coyne College is a great option.

Get an Electrical education

Spark your career at Coyne College

Coyne College in Chicago offers two programs for aspiring electrical workers: Electrical Construction and Planning, and Electrical Construction Maintenance.

Our Electrical Construction and Planning program can be completed in as few as 78 weeks, while the Electrical Construction and Maintenance program can be finished in 42 to 56 weeks, depending on whether you take day or night classes.

As a student in Coyne College’s electrical programs, you will gain a comprehensive knowledge of electrical work by taking courses such as:

  •     Electrical and Electronic Principles
  •     Electrical Test and Equipment Safety
  •     Electrical Construction – Residential
  •     Electrical Theory and Applications

You will learn the ins and outs of the electrician trade in a setting that focuses on your individual success. Coyne College’s highly knowledgeable instructors have years of real-world experience under their belts and are eager to help you make the most of your education.

Discover everything Coyne College’s electrical programs have to offer by visiting https://www.coynecollege.edu/ or calling 800-720-3990 today.

Alumni Spotlight: Walter Arzet – HVAC

Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning

Walter Arzet exercised due diligence before deciding to go into the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning industry. It paid off, though, because he found his true passion – and lifelong career.

Arzet, a 1986 graduate of Coyne College in Chicago, was undecided about what to do after high school. “I talked to people, and I went to the schools: three different schools, three different trades,” he says. “You want to get to the source of why people are doing it or don’t want to do it.” That meant talking to people who were working in the field before enrolling in Coyne’s HVAC program.

Read moreAlumni Spotlight: Walter Arzet – HVAC

Electrical Safety Checklist for Your Home

Electrical Safety Checklist

Electricity in homes has become fairly essential to our everyday lives. For all of its advantages and capabilities, electricity in the home can be quite dangerous. Many dangers relating to electricity in homes are related to the potential for it to start fires. That’s why it’s crucial to take the proper safety precautions. Using this electrical safety checklist can help protect your home, your family and yourself while reaping the benefits of electricity and everything it powers.

Make sure your alarms are working properly

As noted earlier, fires are perhaps the biggest threat electricity poses to your home. That being said, smoke alarms are essential to your home’s fire safety. Make sure your smoke alarms have healthy batteries and replace them if necessary. It’s also a good idea to test them once a month and change the batteries every six months, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Use surge protectors

If you’re not doing so already, you should use a surge protector to connect various appliances to their power outlet. The surge protector keeps your appliances safe by diverting excess voltage to the outlet’s grounding wire in the event of a power surge, as is the case of lightning striking a power line. Surge protector power strips also allow you to plug more than a single device into an outlet. It’s important to not overdo it, though.

Check cords, outlets and light bulbs for damage

Frayed electrical cords are major fire hazards. Take a look at any extension cords you may be using to ensure they are working and not damaged. While inspecting extension and appliance cords, be sure to note the condition of your home’s outlets as well. You’ll also want to make sure the cords aren’t exposed to any water, which is also a safety hazard. Check all the light bulbs in your home, too, and double-check that they’re the right wattage.

Check Bulbs Electrical Safety

Replace filters

One of the primary causes for reduced circulation in a house is a dirty air filter. Restricted airflow results in your heater or air conditioner having to work harder to heat or cool your house. The harder or more often they run, the more you’ll be paying for them on your electric bill. You’ll also want to clean or replace the filters on your refrigerator and range exhaust hood. Cleaning your dryer duct is crucial as well, as it’s very easy for too much lint to catch fire.

Check your appliances

Conduct an inspection of your home’s appliances to make sure they’re all working correctly. Ones that aren’t functioning properly or won’t turn on could be an indication of faulty electrical components. There may also be dust or debris that is hindering their function, as is commonly the case with refrigerators and dusty refrigerator coils. You’ll also want to unplug any appliances that aren’t being used. Not only will it reduce the likelihood of an electrical fire, but it’ll also cut down your electric bill.

Schedule an inspection

When in doubt, have a pro check it out. If you’re uncertain about the state of your home’s electrical wiring, don’t hesitate to have a professional electrician perform an inspection. They are able to tell you if everything is running smoothly and if there is a problem, they can help you fix it sooner rather than later. Sometimes early detection can be the difference between a simple inexpensive fix and a costly home repair.

Electrician Inspection for Home

These tips can go a long way toward making your home safer and prevent electrical fires.

How would you like to help keep families and homes safe by using electrical skills and knowledge to conduct inspections? At Coyne College in Chicago, you can train to become a field-ready electrician.

At Coyne College in Chicago, you can choose from two electrical work training programs: Electrical Construction and Planning and Electrical Construction and Maintenance. In either program, you’ll learn the essentials of electrical work in a setting dedicated to your individual success. Coyne College’s highly knowledgeable instructors have years of practical, real-world experience and are eager to help you make the most of your education.

As a student in Coyne College’s electrician programs, you’ll gain comprehensive knowledge about relevant subjects, such as, such as:

  •      Electrical and Electronic Principles
  •      Electrical Test and Equipment Safety
  •      Electrical Construction – Residential
  •      Electrical Theory and Applications

In addition to flexibility and quality instruction, Coyne College’s career services department can help you with job placement, including apprenticeships. Coyne College has more than 120 years of experience in helping transform students with dreams into qualified, skilled trade professionals. With day and night options available at our Chicago Loop campus, we’re committed to helping you fit a skilled trades education into even the busiest of schedules.

Discover everything Coyne College has to offer and begin your journey to a new career today by logging on to CoyneCollege.edu or call us at 800-720-3990.

HVAC Technician Career Facts and Forecast

HVAC Technician Career

An HVAC technician career is important as there’s no getting around the fact that people need HVAC systems to maintain comfortable environments indoors. This means talented individuals who work on HVAC systems, HVAC technicians, are and will continue to be important members of the labor force. Here are some quick facts about HVAC technicians and some insight as to what the future holds for the profession.

At Coyne College in Chicago, you can earn a HVAC-R diploma in less than a year. At the end of the program, you’ll be equipped with the technical skills and knowledge to begin your career in the HVAC industry thanks to our knowledgeable instructors. To learn more about all Coyne College has to offer, visit us at coynecollege.edu.

HVAC Technician Career Facts Coyne College

5 Common HVAC Issues in Chicago

HVAC Issues Chicago

As with other home appliances, HVAC systems are not immune to problems over their lives. Some problems you may experience are more common than others. There are some that are minor, which you may be able to troubleshoot yourself, while others may require major repairs or even replacement after having a professional HVAC technician perform an inspection. Here are some of the most common issues people in Chicagoland experience with their HVAC systems, along with some possible solutions.

Impaired airflow

If you’re not feeling enough hot or cool air coming through your vents, there’s likely something that is blocking it. One of those things could be a dirty filter. Make sure to change your filter in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines or every three months. If you have a reusable filter, be sure to wash it regularly, about every three months or so, depending on the amount of dust in your home. You’ll also want to make sure all of the registers are open. If they’re not, the air won’t be able to circulate into rooms and back through to your HVAC system.

Running too much or not enough

If your HVAC system is running too much or not enough, this may indicate a problem.If it’s running too much, you could be experiencing a dirty filter that needs to be washed or replaced. There might also be dust or debris in your vents that is preventing the air from heating or cooling rooms. An HVAC system that is running too much isn’t good for your wallet, as it will increase your electric bill.

A furnace or air conditioner that is not running enough is likely a problem with the unit if the thermostat is working properly. In that case, it’s a good idea to call an HVAC technician to take a look and evaluate the situation before determining the best course of action. Their expertise can help resolve issues of inconsistent temperature in your home.

HVAC Furnace

Pilot light burning yellow

Your pilot light should always burn blue. If it is burning yellow or another color besides blue, you have a problem. Yellow is the color you have to watch for, as it’s an indication that the flame is contaminated by carbon monoxide. You should have an experienced HVAC professional come to your home to troubleshoot the issue. It’s also vital that you find the source of the carbon monoxide immediately.

Problems with thermostat

If you’re having trouble with your thermostat, there are some basic steps you can take to troubleshoot the problem. The first thing you’ll want to do is check that it’s sufficiently powered. If it runs on batteries, try replacing the batteries. Most modern thermostats are connected to the electrical wiring of the building, so you’ll want to check the status of the breaker it’s connected to if that’s the case. If it’s on and running, make sure the settings are adjusted appropriately to your liking and nothing is askew. If issues persist, you’ll need to have an HVAC technician troubleshoot the problem.

HVAC Thermostat System

Excess water

The presence of excess water in or around your furnace or air conditioner is never a good sign. It’s typically an indication of a crack in the pipe that runs off the condensation into the ground. Water inside your HVAC unit is arguably worse, as the water can damage other parts of the system and can indicate a need to replace the coolant and the unit as a whole.

Would you like to make a career of troubleshooting issues with HVAC systems? With a certificate in HVAC Refrigeration from Coyne College in Chicago, you can make that dream a reality.

Learn Heating and Cooling at Coyne College

Coyne College’s HVAC-R program is designed to teach you the skills and knowledge you need to begin your career as an HVAC technician. As a student in Coyne’s program, you will actively engage in learning the finer points of the occupation. Some of the classes in the HVAC-R curriculum include:

  • Introduction to Mechanical Refrigeration Systems
  • Air Conditioning, Electric Heat and Heat Pumps
  • Introduction to Commercial Controls
  • Gas Heating
  • And more!

You’ll get a mix of textbook and hands-on learning from instructors who have valuable experience in the HVAC field. They’ll teach you the whys and the hows of HVAC work to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding by the time you graduate.

Coyne College has more than 120 years of experience helping aspiring skilled trade professionals in Chicago build the foundation of their careers. With day and night class options available at our Chicago Loop campus, we do our best to help you fit a skilled trades education into your schedule.

To schedule a visit, contact an advisor or request more information about the program, call 800-720-3990 or visit https://www.coynecollege.edu/contact.

HVAC-R Program Alumni Spotlight: Rafael Cardenas Jr.

HVAC-R Program

HVAC-R graduate Rafael Cardenas Jr. speaks on his experience at Coyne College and provides advice to prospective students. If you like working with your hands, have a mechanical aptitude and are looking for a career with a tremendous future, becoming a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technician could be a perfect fit. As the world shifts to an increasingly energy-efficient, technology-based HVAC-R systems, and a construction industry driving new commercial and residential construction, will fuel the need for qualified technicians, installers and mechanics.

Hear more from Rafael and for more information on our HVAC and Refrigeration program visit us at https://www.coynecollege.edu/ or give us a call at 800.720.3990.

Raphael: My name is Raphael Cardenas Jr. I went to Coyne for the HVAC program. I’m a pretty good worker with my hands I would say. I just picked a different career to follow that had something do with my hands still. It was HVAC that I chose. I looked up different places and a lot of good reviews from Coyne. My brother-in-law actually attended Coyne and my cousin attended Coyne. Both of them are doing pretty good, so I figured if they could do it, I can do it.

Typical day, those night classes start at six. There was some classroom work, maybe getting over what the plan for the day was going to be. Then a lot in the labs, actually working on hands on with all the materials, all the stuff you’re going to learn. Most challenging part of classes is probably getting to class. That was really the most challenging part. Making it every day, trying to be every day. Especially working full time, trying to make it to class every day was the challenging part.

As far as class, I wouldn’t say it was challenging. Unless you push yourself to do it, or you’ll want to do it. You don’t pay attention, you’re really wasting time, but pay attention to the labs. Hands on stuff because that’s really going to help when you really out there in the field. You’re going to remember back to what you did back in class and it will really help you out.

The Future of Skilled Trades Programs

Future of Skilled Trades

In the coming years, the United States is expected to experience a shortage of skilled workers. Many of the current workers in fields such as electrical work, plumbing and heavy equipment operation are baby boomers who are approaching retirement age. What’s left in their wake will likely be a skill gap. This presents an excellent opportunity for students who want to make a living in these fields as opposed to an occupation that requires a four-year degree. Let’s take a quick look at the outlook for two such professions.


HVAC Technicians

HVAC technicians spend their days installing, repairing and maintaining HVAC systems. Currently, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a 15 percent increase in the employment of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers through 2026. The BLS attributes this rise in part to the push for more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems. HVAC technicians will play a significant role in creating a more sustainable tomorrow.

People rely heavily on HVAC systems to maintain comfortable temperatures in their homes, especially in warmer climates where the air conditioner is likely to be running most of the year. It’s important to have a well-trained workforce of HVAC technicians available for when heating and cooling problems arise.

HVAC Trade Programs Chicago


Electricians keep the lights (and everything else that uses electricity) on. They install, maintain and repair electrical wiring and components in buildings. Like HVAC technicians, employment of electricians is projected to increase in the coming years. According to the BLS, there’s expected to be a 9 percent spike in electrician jobs through 2026 relative to 2016.

Also like HVAC technicians, electricians are and will continue to be part of the implementation of greener technology. Solar panels are becoming more common in residential settings. Wind and other forms of renewable energy also require the know-how that electricians bring to the table in order to be harnessed effectively.

The BLS suggests that electricians who can do many things well will have more success in the workforce. Seeing how much we rely on electricity for so many things we do in our personal and professional lives, we will need more electricians to keep things working.

We’ve established that there’s a demand for skilled trades workers. So how can you capitalize on the current demand for skilled trades workers? That’s easy. All you need to do is enroll in a program that teaches the trade you’re interested in.

Electrician Trade Programs

Start your Future at Coyne College

Skilled trades training programs are commonly offered at trade schools and community colleges. Let’s take, for instance, Coyne College in Chicago. Coyne College offers training programs in both HVAC refrigeration and electrical work (two, actually: Electrical Construction and Planning and Electrical Construction and Maintenance). In each of the programs, students gain a fundamental understanding of the trade and get immersive hands-on learning that will help prepare them for entering their field. Programs are taught by professionals who have years of experience under their respective belts. They can pass tips on to you that can only be learned from working in the field.

What’s more is that the programs at Coyne College Chicago are shorter than those at traditional colleges and universities. For example, Coyne’s HVAC Refrigeration program can be completed in a little as 42 weeks. This can allow you to take advantage of the growing demand and excellent earning potential that skilled trades work presents. Additionally, Coyne College offers both day and night options so you can fit a skilled trades program into your schedule.

In short, the future of skilled trades (and the programs that teach them) is bright. Find out for yourself all that Coyne’s programs have to offer by calling 800-720-3990 or visiting our homepage at https://www.coynecollege.edu/.

Skilled Trades Careers Can Ease Transition to Civilian Life

Skilled Trade Career - Coyne College

In honor of this past Memorial Day, we’d like to take a moment to share with you our commitment to men and women in uniform. At Coyne College, we know the transition to civilian life after years of military service can be a challenging one. Fortunately, a career in skilled trades can help smooth it out. We’re dedicated to providing top-tier training programs that can help veterans establish meaningful, in-demand careers.

In many ways, the skilled trade professions embody similar traits to being in the military. For example, in electrical construction, you have the opportunity to work with other electricians to supply the wiring and conduit needed to power a building. Skilled trades work also requires using highly specialized skills to get the job done. While it may take time to foster a strong bond with your fellow trades workers and the task may not be as high-stakes as it is fighting to preserve our freedom, these aspects of skilled trades jobs can help you get acclimated to civilian life once more.

Coyne College offers six different skilled trade programs that provide training in electrical work, HVAC and refrigeration, as well as select allied health professions. Our programs include:

  • HVAC Refrigeration
  • Electrical Construction & Planning
  • Electrical Construction & Maintenance
  • Medical Assistant
  • Medical Billing & Coding Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician


Many of these fields are expected to experience continued growth in employment in the coming years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections. At Coyne, you’ll receive stellar instruction from professionals with valuable real-world experience.

Skilled Trade Careers in Chicago

You’re also not alone once you’re in classes at Coyne College. We offer academic assistance to help you stay on pace to graduate, should you need it. Additionally, our Career Services team can help you navigate the job search process with resources such as resume help, mock interviews and more. Be sure to check out our Resource Center page to learn more.

Some of Coyne’s programs can be completed in as little as 42 weeks from your start day. This means you’ll be able to get to work and apply your skills sooner than you would by enrolling at a traditional four-year college or university. With day and night class options available, you can fit a skilled trade’s education into your schedule.

Skilled Trade Profession in Demand

Paying for training to improve your return to civilian life shouldn’t cost a fortune for those who have already made the greatest sacrifice. A variety of scholarships are available to veterans, including the Military Award Program (MAP) provided by the Imagine America Foundation – Adult Program. You can also apply for federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For more information or to speak with one of our helpful admissions representatives, call us today at 800-720-3990.