NATE to add hydronics tests

ARLINGTON, VA. North American Technician Excellence, an organization that tests and certifies service technicians in the HVACR industry, will release five new tests, including four related to hydronic heating. "Our first new certification release will be the Energy Efficiency Technician Test and, thereafter, four hydronics tests," NATE President Rex Boynton said. "These will be available over the

ARLINGTON, VA. — North American Technician Excellence, an organization that tests and certifies service technicians in the HVACR industry, will release five new tests, including four related to hydronic heating.

"Our first new certification release will be the Energy Efficiency Technician Test and, thereafter, four hydronics tests," NATE President Rex Boynton said. "These will be available over the next 18 to 24 months."

NATE has planned to add other tests for some time, he said. The organization initially focused on residential and light commercial applications, but its technical committee also is considering exams on commercial and industrial HVAC and refrigeration, master (senior) certification, water-source and geothermal heat, pumps, boilers and hydronic heat.

"Now that the NATE program is growing, we are going to revisit our testing agenda," Boynton said. "The energy efficiency test for technicians will be more encompassing than the energy efficiency sections of the current 10 NATE specialty service and installation tests. For a technician to take this certification, there may be some NATE certification testing prerequisites."

The hydronics tests will include: hot water for oil service; hot water for oil installation; hot water for gas service; and hot water for gas installation specialty tests. NATE will administer the tests and its coalition partners will provide the training, Boynton said.

NATE is a coalition consisting of many partners: Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors ¯ National Association; Air Conditioning Contractors of America; Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association; Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute; American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers; Building Performance Institute; Edison Electric Institute; Electric Power Research Institute; Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association; Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International; National Energy Management Institute; Refrigeration Service Engineers Society; Sheet Metal Workers International Association; U.S. Department of Energy; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

NATE subject matter experts are working with experts from DOE and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency to develop a practices analysis for the technicians’ energy-efficiency certification. From that, NATE will create an energy-efficiency test, which will certify technicians by testing their knowledge of industry-determined, approved skills and standards for energy efficiency. Technicians thus certified will be able to determine if a structure and its heating and cooling units are energy efficient.

NATE Technical Committee experts are working with those from the Hydronics Institute Division of the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association to create tests of knowledge of skills and standards for gas or oil hydronics technicians. While four tests will be developed initially, other tests are being considered

NATE’s goal is to have the certification tests reflect the tasks, knowledge and skills that 80% of technicians have an 80% likelihood of encountering at least once yearly, Boynton said. For further information on NATE, contractors can call 877/420-NATE (6263), or visit its Web site, www.natex.org.