CHS students gearing up for a career in HVAC

Joshua Davala (left) and Tony Riggenbach, both Carrollton High School students enrolled in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program at Buckeye Career Center, are shown working on a furnace in the HVAC-R lab at Buckeye.

During the month of December, most Ohioans are once again digging in their closets for coats, gloves and scarves for another cold winter; but heating and cooling technicians are reminding homeowners to also make sure their home’s furnace is in working order.

Matt McGraw, a certified HVAC-R contractor, teaches the Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration high school course at Buckeye Career Center and is preparing students for future careers in the field. McGraw says homeowners should have their units professionally serviced once a year and change the filter every three months.

“It could be dangerous if your filter is dirty. Not only for the health of the house, but the unit could overheat and be a fire hazard,” McGraw said. He emphasizes that December is a good time to check the condition of your furnace’s filter as we enter the peak heating season when temperatures regularly hover near freezing.

One of McGraw’s students, Tony Riggenbach, is a junior in the program from Carrollton High School. Riggenbach attends Buckeye in the morning and interns at Avalon Heating and Cooling in Dellroy, helping the company with unit installations and maintenance. His advice to homeowners this December: “Make sure you don’t have shorts in the wires,” said Riggenbach.

Joshua Davala is also a BCC HVAC-R student from Carrollton High School. He says “you want to maintain your unit so when it does get cold, it’s not dying or failing in the middle of winter – because then I’ll have to go fix it.”

McGraw is in his first year of teaching the program at BCC and is preparing for a lab renovation yet this month. The project includes a fresh coat of paint, along with delivery of 4 new heating and cooling systems and other equipment. “The students will unbox the units like they are starting a new job and install them like they are in someone’s house.” McGraw also plans to keep the old units for training purposes. “Our industry changes every 2-3 years. We’re continually updating a lot of the equipment. Now, a lot of the furnaces have wi-fi. We’ll have a mix of new and old stuff so they (the students) understand what they are going to see in the workforce,” said McGraw.