Running an HVAC business is a lot of work (but the HVAC salary is ver lucrative); and luckily there are tons of resources to make that job a little easier. A significant way to get a leg up is to network and rely on the knowledge and experience of the thousands of other businesses like yours. There are tons of excellent trade associations for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration businesses. Not only do they offer and share tons of insider know-how, but you can also get training and legal assistance. On the surface, it might look like they all offer similar things, but what you’re really getting as a member of an HVAC professional trade association is legitimacy. You’re joining forces with tons of other HVAC professionals, along with the history they bring.
10 HVAC trade associations you want to be a member of.
1. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is among the world’s largest and most prominent HVAC/R organizations. ASHRAE offers a vast amount of resources to its members, including apps, manuals, a wide range of standards and guidelines, training and certification, and more. ASHRAE’s stated mission is to develop and advance sustainable technology in the HVAC field, including reducing sound pollution and researching green energy. There are four different tiers of membership with various benefits associated with each and various groups and committees within the association. Members can also attend conferences to network with others in the HVAC industry and improve their heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration skills.
2. Air Movement and Control Association
The Air Movement and Control Association (or AMCA) is an international non-profit organization based in North America whose goals and mission include providing education, legislative protection, legal advocacy, and certification for businesses and individuals in the HVAC industry. The AMCA certifies approved technologies, so members can be sure of the quality and specifications of AMCA-approved equipment that they sell. Like other HVAC/R associations on this list, the AMCA provides many educational resources, including online training and research for all things to do with heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.
3. Refrigeration Service Engineers Society
As the name implies, the RSES is an HVAC/R trade association that focuses on refrigeration and cooling, offering training and resources to the air conditioning and refrigerating experts among its membership. The RSES was founded in 1933 and began publishing what later became known as the RSES Journal, which members can access today. The Refrigeration Service Engineers Society and the RSES Journal provide education and advanced research on installation, maintenance, technical information, industry, and consumer developments in the HVAC/R industry.
4. Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE)
The CEE’s goals include influencing markets to push the HVAC industry towards more energy-efficient and sustainable technologies. Better and more efficient HVAC technology is good for everyone, so heating and air conditioning contractors who join CEE will not only be joining an HVAC trade association but will be putting their voice behind a movement towards a better future.
5. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
The ASME is a global engineering community based in the United States. They’re a non-profit association that is a place for professionals to gather across different engineering disciplines, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration. While less specific to HVAC, the ASME is a great professional organization with tons of cross-disciplinary resources designed to share skills and advance technologies. Becoming a member of ASME will put you in contact with over 100,000 mechanical engineers and professionals, give you access to hundreds of courses and training resources and provide a large community of like-minded people.
6. Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) also expands beyond HVAC professionals, serving firms associated not only with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning but also with plumbing, piping, and other mechanical services. More than 2600 individual firms are members of the MCAA trade association, where they enjoy access to events, virtual conferences, manufacturer and supplier training, and other specialized resources. The MCAA is also a partner of the United Association. This labor union represents over 360,000 workers in fields related to plumbing, pipe-fitting, HVACR, welding, sheet metal, the energy sector, and more, along with their various trade associations.
7. Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA)
The Radiant Professionals Alliance, or RPA, is a national trade association representing those working in radiant heat and cooling. You’ll find more specialized training and resources than from those associated with broader trade associations in the HVACR industry, including certification, business strategy, best practices, and codes and standards for equipment. As with other trade associations on this list, RPA members enjoy access to training, seminars, and conferences, with opportunities to network, share industry knowledge, and more.
8. International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR)
The International Institute of Refrigeration is based in Paris, as is immediately evident from their website, primarily in French (with an English language option that you can select at the top of the website). There are members all over the United States. At the same time, it is truly an international association, consisting of scientists, professionals, and general contractors and subcontractors from around the world, including sectors related to every aspect of the refrigeration industry. The International Institute of Refrigeration offers training and online resources to further its mission to promote knowledge of refrigeration as it relates to food safety and transportation, comfort in homes and commercial refrigeration, energy efficiency, health, and medical applications, and more. The IIR/IIF also promotes advanced scientific research into the science and technology of refrigeration.
9. Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute is a trade association not for HVACR contractors but for HVAC equipment manufacturers. The AHRI certification available to members assures customers that the equipment is safe and efficient, developed to the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute standards, made possible by their advocacy with government groups to create proper regulations standards in the HVAC industry. Members of AHRI receive discounts on certification programs and get a seat at the table when standards are being negotiated. This professional association is a must for all manufacturers in the HVACR industry.
10. Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
As the name implies, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America is another more specialized professional organization for air conditioning technicians and contractors. In addition to the certification programs, resources, and training available to members, you also get savings in other ways through your membership, including 25% off online technician training and $200 off QA contractor accreditation, as well as savings on marketing, websites, and transportation. More industry benefits and resources are available on their website.
In addition to the above trade associations, there are tons of HVAC buying groups across the country that you can be a part of. Supplying through a buying group gives you benefits such as reduced shipping rates, increased buying power, and wholesale discounts. Here are just some common buying groups for you to consider:
Search your area to find an HVAC/R buying group near you.
Choosing which HVAC trade associations or buying groups to be a part of can seem challenging, but each one in the above list provides different levels of support and plenty of training and resources for your sector of the industry. Once you’ve chosen which group to join, you should also consider the next step in leveling up your HVAC business (you can even communicate with members of these associations if you have an HVAC business for sale).
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By joining forces with relevant trade associations and getting the right tools to help you along the way, your HVAC business will enjoy increased success and be able to provide greater service to your community.