Skills Oil And Solid Fuel Heating Mechanic near Grand Falls-Windsor (NL)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as an oil and solid fuel heating mechanic in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Oil and solid fuel heating mechanics (NOC 7331).


People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Troubleshoot and repair malfunctioning oil burners, and their components and controls
  • Lay out oil burner heating system components and assemble components using hand and power tools
  • Test installed unit and adjust controls for proper functioning
  • Perform scheduled maintenance and service
  • Instruct apprentices
  • Install oil burner components and connect to fuel supply, ventilation and electrical system
  • Read and interpret blueprints, maps, drawings and specifications
  • Install, maintain and repair coal and wood heating systems

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

  • Read short text entries in logbooks and forms, and comments on technical drawings and other documents. For example, they read text entries in work orders to learn about furnace faults and required repairs. They read instructions on labels to learn furnace start-up and operating procedures. (1)
  • Read short instructions on furnace and appliance labels. For example, they scan instructions on water heaters to learn how to avoid fire and explosion hazards. (2)
  • Read memos and notices to learn about matters such as upcoming training and changes to billing, inspection and warranty procedures. For example, they read notices from insurance companies to learn which solid fuel stoves are covered under residential policies. (2)
  • Read trade magazines, newsletters and product brochures for information about industry practices and new products and tools. For example, an oil burner mechanic may read articles in trade magazines such as Oil Heating to learn about new plastic piping systems. An oil furnace installer may read product brochures to become familiar with new high efficiency oil furnaces and products such as oil lift systems. (3)
  • Read installation, operating and service manuals to understand the functioning of appliances and to gather technical information to perform troubleshooting, repair and maintenance procedures. For example, they read service manuals to understand the operation of oil and solid fuel heating systems and to learn installation, maintenance and troubleshooting procedures. (3)
  • Read regulations governing the installation, operation and modification of oil and solid fuel furnaces and heating systems. For example, oil furnace installers read regulations issued by occupational health and safety commissions and the Canadian Standards Association to learn installation requirements governing oil storage systems and required clearances, electrical current set-ups and flue configurations for oil-burning furnaces. (3)
Document use
  • Observe warning symbols and regulatory signs. For example, they note toxicity hazards by observing symbols on product labels. They may learn about injury risks by noting warning signs posted at construction sites. (1)
  • Scan labels on product packaging, equipment and technical drawings to locate data such as part identification numbers, operating specifications and dimensions of oil and solid fuel furnaces and appliances. (1)
  • Complete entry forms such as furnace cleaning reports, warranty claims, work orders, time sheets, job estimates, parts requisitions and inspection checklists. They record contact information, dates, service intervals, identification numbers, dimensions, quantities, unit prices and instrument readings. (2)
  • Locate quantitative data in graphs. For example, they scan graphs to determine ideal delivery pressures, flow rates and water heat rates. (2)
  • Obtain information from lists and tables. For example, they locate quantities, descriptions, dimensions and unit costs for parts, materials and supplies from parts lists. They determine spray angles, nozzle capacities, air pressures, efficiency rates and other data in specification tables. (2)
  • Scan a variety of technical drawings to identify the order, positions and dimensions of furnace parts and components. For example, oil burner mechanics may examine burner component assembly drawings to determine the correct placement of junction boxes, motors, gaskets, blower wheels and transformers. They view sets of scale drawings to determine clearances, spans and locations of stoves, furnaces, oil tanks and appliances. (3)
  • Study process schematics to learn how furnace systems operate, identify control devices and troubleshoot faults. For example, they review wiring schematics for furnace systems to locate circuits, solenoids, transformers and fan motors. (3)
  • Write brief reminder notes. For example, they write notes to remind themselves how to reassemble components such as damper assemblies, oil burners and solid fuel injection systems. (1)
  • Write entries in forms and logbooks to record their observations and recommendations. For example, they may describe the condition of parts in work orders and warranty claim forms. Oil burner mechanics may write short text entries into inspection reports to recommend the replacement of old oil tanks. (1)
  • May write e-mail and short letters. For example, they may e-mail manufacturers to request technical service bulletins. They may write letters to issuers of building permits to clarify application procedures, timelines and inspection rulings. (2)
  • May write lengthy text entries in forms. For example, may outline the sequence of events leading to workplace incidents and steps taken after in accident report forms. (2)
  • May write furnace start-up and operating procedures. For example, heating mechanics may write sequences of start-up procedures for owners of modified furnace systems. (2)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • May receive cash payments from customers and make change. (1)
  • May calculate expense claim amounts for travel and supply purchases. For example, they may calculate reimbursements for the use of personal vehicles using per kilometre rates. (2)
  • Prepare repair quotes and invoices. They calculate labour charges by multiplying hours worked by labour rates, add amounts for parts and materials and calculate applicable taxes. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure distances, temperatures, humidities, angles and electrical energies using a variety of measuring tools. For example, they measure clearances using tape measures and temperatures using thermometers. (1)
  • Take measurements using specialized measuring tools and equipment. For example, they measure carbon monoxide furnace emissions using combustion efficiency testing equipment and the movement of air through ducts using manometers. (2)
  • Calculate the amounts and quantities of items such as vents, fittings, hoses, piping, radiators, and ductwork needed for furnace repairs and installations. For example, they calculate the total ductwork needed by adding together the lengths of flues indicated on specifications and then adding a percentage to allow for wastage. (3)
  • Calculate volumes, pressures, air flows and velocities, R-values, K-factors, energy gains and losses, burner capacities and fuel consumption rates. For example, they calculate total air flow rates by multiplying air flow velocities by the cross-sectional areas of ducts and openings. They calculate the R-values of various floor structures. They determine combustion efficiencies by factoring draft measurements, stack temperatures and emission contents. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare measurements of temperature, emission, pressure, humidity, airflow, angle, electrical energy and distance to specifications. (1)
  • Compare readings from different measuring tools and equipment. For example, they judge the accuracy of combustion efficiency testers by comparing readings to those produced by gauges and other digital sensors. (2)
  • Manage small inventories of material and supplies. For example, they reduce inventory counts when stocked parts are used for furnace repairs. They periodically order supplies to replace those that have been used. (2)
  • Analyze heat cycling times, pressures, air flows and velocities, energy gains and losses, burner capacities and fuel consumption rates to troubleshoot faults and set controls. For example, they may analyze fuel consumption rates, temperatures and carbon monoxide readings to ascertain required adjustments to air-to-fuel ratio settings. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the times required to complete repairs and modifications. They consider the requirements of the tasks, lead times, their familiarity with the components, availability of parts and times taken to complete similar tasks in the past. (1)
  • Estimate percentages of wear and useful life remaining for parts and components such as burners, fans, motors and oil storage tanks. They consider the ages of the parts, their extent of wear and regulations governing the mandatory replacement of items such as oil storage tanks. (2)
  • May estimate the effect that repairs and modifications will have on furnace performance. For example, they may estimate efficiency gains which may be realized by using different fuels and higher-performance oil burners as percentages. (2)
Oral communication
  • Discuss ongoing work with parts clerks and dispatchers. For example, they may talk to parts clerks to order parts and inquire about delivery times for existing orders. They may speak with dispatchers to learn about upcoming service calls. (1)
  • May confer with supervisors about job tasks, schedules, work loads, procedural changes and safety protocols. For example, heating mechanics working for heating contractors may talk to supervisors about customer complaints and clarify work assignments and billing procedures. (2)
  • May discuss technical and financial matters with customers. For example, they may talk to customers about topics such as fees, regulations, furnace systems choices, maintenance procedures and schedules. They explain inspection outcomes, regulations governing the installation of oil storage tanks and provide step-by-step instructions for restarting furnaces. Self-employed heating mechanics may discuss payment options and negotiate pricing and installation times. (2)
  • Exchange technical repair and troubleshooting information with apprentices, co-workers, colleagues and manufacturers. For example, they may discuss complicated repair procedures with apprentices while demonstrating these tasks. They may also discuss unusual oil burner faults with co-workers and troubleshooting techniques with technical representatives on furnace manufacturers' help lines. (3)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Are unable complete repairs due to incorrect and unavailable parts. They inform customers, dispatchers and supervisors about the delays and carry out other work until the needed parts are available. (2)
  • Are unable to repair furnaces because specifications and instructions are unavailable. They consult with suppliers, manufacturers, supervisors and colleagues for advice and research websites to locate useable information. (2)
  • Are unable to meet deadlines due to unexpected technical problems and excessively worn and corroded fittings, tanks and furnace components. They enlist the help of manufacturers' technical representatives to troubleshoot unusual technical faults and inform customers, dispatchers and supervisors about the delays. They reschedule appointments and levy additional charges as required. (3)
  • Encounter customers who are angry about inspection outcomes and regulatory requirements. They explain the inspection procedures followed and outline the most economical ways to address faults and deficiencies. They outline regulatory requirements, cite specific clauses and acts and explain how the regulations help protect people, property and the environment. They refer unresolved complaints to insurance companies, regulatory bodies and supervisors for further information, follow-up and resolution. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide to replace parts when repairs are not feasible and economical. They consider the condition of parts and their replacement costs. (1)
  • Decide not to repair furnaces and oil tank installations that do not conform to regulations, bylaws and permit requirements. They consider the severity of deficiencies, regulatory guidelines and risks to safety, property and the environment. (2)
  • May select furnace component manufacturers and parts suppliers. For example, self-employed heating mechanics consider the popularity of brands, warranty coverages, selections, pricing and timeliness of deliveries when selecting heating goods wholesalers. (2)
  • Select parts, tools, equipment and procedures needed to perform services. They consider furnace makes, models and ages, services being performed, regulatory and insurance requirements and availability of parts, tools and equipment. (3)
  • May set fees for services such as furnace installations, repairs and inspections. For example, self-employed heating mechanics consider the fees charged by competing oil and solid fuel service companies and the quality of the service they provide. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Judge the condition of parts such as heat exchangers, fittings, fans, motors and pumps. For example, oil burner mechanics inspect burner nozzles for signs of excessive fuel use and erratic spray flows and angles of disbursement. They inspect associated fittings for signs of wear and leakage. (2)
  • May evaluate the performance of apprentices. They consider apprentices' abilities to troubleshoot and repair faults and to locate information such as specifications. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety and quality of installations and repairs. They consider the condition of components and fittings, diagnostic test results and instrument readings, manufacturer specifications and regulations issued by insurance companies and the Canadian Standards Association. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Oil burner mechanics organize their daily activities to meet deadlines established by customers, dispatchers and supervisors. They plan their tasks and organize their time in ways that optimize their efficiency. Oil burner mechanics may be required to prioritize appointments and provide emergency on-call services to customers at all hours of the day. (2)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Oil burner mechanics may coordinate and schedule the activities of apprentices and helpers. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember details about past installations and repairs. For example, they may remember the material requirements and regulatory requirements of completed jobs to gain insight into upcoming jobs that are similar.
  • Remember frequently used parts and equipment specifications such as burner fuel flow rates, nozzle sizes, outputs and air settings.
Finding Information
  • Find information about parts. For example, they may find identification numbers, warranties, specifications, costs and availabilities by reviewing catalogues and pricelists and by talking with suppliers. (2)
  • Find furnace and heating system specifications by reviewing architectural drawings and product specification sheets, by reading standards issued by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and by speaking with engineers, building safety codes officers and clients. (2)
Digital technology
  • May use word processing. For example, self-employed heating mechanics may use basic text editing and text formatting features of word processing programs such as Word to write business letters to clients such as insurance companies. (2)
  • May use databases. For example, heating mechanics working for larger companies may use basic features of their organizations' databases to retrieve customers' contact information, query inventories and locate parts specifications and details of previously completed repairs. (2)
  • May use communications software. For example, they may use e-mail to communicate with customers, dispatchers and supervisors and to send and receive attachments such as inspection reports and work schedules. (2)
  • May use the Internet. For example, they may launch Internet browsers to access specifications, safety codes and regulations, technical service bulletins, warranty information and repair procedures from websites operated by manufacturers and regulatory bodies. They visit bookmarked sites and locate information using general search functions. (2)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Oil burner mechanics generally perform furnace and stove installation, maintenance and repair tasks while working alone. They may coordinate job tasks with dispatchers, customers, superintendents and general contractors to gain access to worksites, coordinate power start-ups and shut-downs, move large components and locate building systems. Occasionally, they may also be required to coordinate with other tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians. (2)

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is important to oil burner mechanics due to the requirements of various certifying bodies and the need to keep abreast of changes to regulations and industry practices. They may be required by employers and insurance companies to maintain certifications in Wood Energy Transfer Technology, Workplace Hazardous Material Information System, first aid, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and confined spaces. They learn on the job and through conferences, seminars and workshops offered by regulatory bodies, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. They also read newsletters, trade magazines, repair manuals and regulations published by manufacturers, insurance companies and organizations such as the Canadian Standards Association and provincial safety codes councils. (2)

Labour Market Information Survey
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