Refrigeration Mechanic  What They Do

Just the Facts


Installs and repairs industrial and commercial refrigerating systems.

This career is part of the Architecture and Construction cluster Maintenance/Operations pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Observes and tests system operation, using gauges and instruments.
  • Adjusts valves according to specifications and charges system with proper type of refrigerant by pumping the specified gas or fluid into the system.
  • Tests lines, components, and connections for leaks.
  • Dismantles malfunctioning systems and tests components, using electrical, mechanical, and pneumatic testing equipment.
  • Adjusts or replaces worn or defective mechanisms and parts, and reassembles repaired systems.
  • Brazes or solders parts to repair defective joints and leaks.
  • Performs mechanical overhauls and refrigerant reclaiming.
  • Keeps records of repairs and replacements made and causes of malfunctions.
  • Installs expansion and control valves, using acetylene torches and wrenches.
  • Installs wiring to connect components to an electric power source.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves kneeling, crouching, stooping, and/or crawling more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Mechanic (HVAC Mechanic) --
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Service Technician (HVAC Service Technician) --