Home Appliance Repair Career and Job Highlights
Home Appliance Repair Career Overview
Those who have experience a breakdown of an in-home-appliance such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators realized how vital a repairer can be. Service technicians or home appliance repairers help to ensure that home appliance operate correctly and that potential breakdowns are avoided. Some workers work specifically on small devices like microwaves while others concentrate on larger devices such as dishwashers, washers, dryers, and refrigerators.
Repairers must carry out visual inspections, listen for unordinary noise, check for leaks and vibrations as well as disconnected parts in order to diagnose the problem. Workers will rely on service instructions, troubleshooters, and their own experience to identify hard to find problems. In order to look for corroded or worn parts, a worker might take the appliance apart. They utilize the wiring diagrams and employ tools like ammeters and watt meters to test for shorts or bad connections.
Once the problem has been located, a repairer will make the necessary repair or replace the part that is bad, like a belt, motor or gear. They then ensure that each part is aligned and tightened correctly, and repairers also take time to clean and lubricate components as needed. They use typical tools like pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers and files, while also using more specialized such as soldering guns. When working on appliances, it may be necessary to replace electronic components such as circuit boards.
Since refrigerators and window air-conditioners use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants, repairers must be careful to save and recycle the refrigerant as directed by law. Conservation of refrigerant involves a repairer making sure there are leaks in the system, then flushing it out of the system and recycling by using special filter-dryers so it can be reused. Documentation must also be kept of all refrigerant removal and disposal as guided by federal regulation.
Installation of home appliances like refrigerators, stoves, ovens, and washers is often carried out by home appliance repairers. The installation of pipes for gas connections may be needed as well. Installers will prepare the pipe so that they can connect it to the appliance and the feeder gas line. It might be necessary to cut holes in the walls and the ground and attach support devices to keep the gas line in place. When the gas line is installed, the gas is turned on and the installer checks for leaks. Repairers specializing in gas appliances will examine the heating device and replace tubes, thermocouples, thermostats, valves, and indicator spindles. They also respond to emergency calls concerning gas leakage.
Often times workers will be asked to assist the customer by answering any questions they might having concerning how their appliance should be used or cared for. For instance, a repairer might show a customer how to load the washer or dishwasher, or even improve the performance of a chainsaw by sharpening it. Repairers are responsible for filling out estimates for potential repairs; recording parts that are used in repairs and the hours spent on those repairs, as well as write up bills and collect monies from the customers. Repairers write up estimates of the cost of repairs for customers, keep records of parts used and hours worked, prepare bills, and collect payments. Repairers who work for themselves might also have to work with manufacturers to collect money on claims against work done on appliances still covered by warranties.
Home Appliance Repair Training and Job Qualifications
Applicants for home appliance jobs typically must have at least graduated from high school. Those looking to work as small appliance repairers normally will receive informal training on the job, though larger home appliance repairers typically gain formal training through trade schools, community colleges, or straight from an appliance manufacturer. Mechanical and electrical abilities are desired by employers, and repairers who work in customers’ houses must be kind and polite.
Applicants with traditional training in appliance repair and electronics are favored by employers. Most workers go through programs that last a year or two and offered high schools, private vocational schools, and community colleges. Since more manufacturers are incorporating circuit boards and electronic controls, training in fundamental principles of electricity and electronics is gaining importance.
Despite their training background, entry level workers are also trained by employers and manufacturers. A trainee working in a shop specializing in portable devices would work on one of type of appliance until it has been mastered. Once the appliance is mastered the trainee will learn how to fix a new one and so on. In shops that deal with larger appliances, trainees will start by aiding other workers on service visits. Of course, they might also study independently. As part of the job they must learn and understand how to read schematic drawings, diagnose malfunctions decide when to repair or replace components, and follow safety procedures. To master the job and gain skills in all areas of repair, it may take a technician 3 or more years of work experience.
Often times trainees can take advantage of training programs offered by manufacturers and department store chains and learn how to work with models and other equipment. Additionally, quite a few workers have their training supplemented by 2 or 3 week courses provided by manufacturers. In addition experienced repairers might go extra training courses as well as study service manuals on their own. Those given authority to do warranty work for manufacturers must receive occasional training.
All repairers that deal with refrigerants must receive certification for proper handling as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To receive certification a technician has to pass a written exam. The EPA authorizes various organizations, like trade schools and unions to administer exams to those seeking certification. One can even take an EPA authorized exam in their own home in some cases. Formal training is not absolutely needed to gain certification, but a lot of institutions will provide training courses to helper repairers pass the exam.
There are also other certification exams, besides that of the EPA, which can be taken to exhibit ones ability in the given field. Though becoming certified is not required for employment, it certainly helps one’s chances. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET) runs the National Appliance Service Technician Certification (NASTeC) program and these tests evaluate a workers ability to identify problems, make repairs, and service large home appliances. There are three areas of specialization where one can be tested: appliances related to laundry or dishwashers, refrigerators and air-conditioners, and cooking. To keep up with advancements in technology repairers can continuously take classes, however it is important to note the NASTeC certificate never expires. Another program where one can become certified is the offered by the Professional Service Association (PSA), and its objectives are comparable to the NASTeC program. One can receive the Certified Appliance Professional (CAP) credential by successfully completing the PSA test, and this credential is good for 4 years. However, repairers who have received certification need only obtain 60 or more credit hours of instruction each year to remain certified and avoid retaking the exam at the end of the 4 years.
Those working in larger shops have the opportunity to become an assistant service manager, a service manager or a supervisor. Select workers will be promoted to jobs in management like a parts manager or a regional service manager. Those who prove they interact well with others, especially other repairers and customers, and have the technical capability are most likely to advance. Repairers with the financial means and entrepreneurial know how might open shops.
Home Appliance Repair Job and Emlployment Opportunities
The job outlook is good since it is expected that there will continue to be more jobs than applicants. Some future workers will decide to work in other occupations that are more appealing to them due to easier work and better working environment than this occupation. The growth rate for home appliance repairers is projected to rise at a slightly lower pace than the average growth for all jobs through 2012. While the number of self-employed workers is expected to fall, the growth rate for hourly paid and salary employees is expected to grow on pace with the average.
As the number of houses and businesses grows, so too will the amount of home appliances. Additionally, since appliances are advancing rapidly in complexity, more qualified workers will be needed service them. Recently, the trend has been to replace old appliances that have expired warranties with new products, as opposed to paying to have them fixed. In the ensuing decade or so, appliances are expected to be more expensive and last longer, leading people to return to using repairers rather than buy new appliances. Even during bad economic times employment remains stable since the demand for repairer is fairly constant. On top of all the new jobs created, there will be opportunities to fill spots vacated by retirees or workers who move to new jobs.
As manufactures sponsor less and less training programs, the number of home appliance repairers that are self-employed will decrease. Typically manufacturers offer these training programs to larger companies, thus it undermines the workers efforts to start their own business. Often times the only way to stay up to date on improvements and advancements made with products is to go to work for a larger shop. As this trend continues, it is projected that a concentration in employment in large businesses will increase as small shops fade away. Despite these trends, those repairers who have developed strong ties within the industry may be able to work for their own business.
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