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HVAC Sequence of Operations Template: Streamline Your Troubleshooting Process


When it comes to the fundamentals of HVAC equipment, your sequence of operations ranks high. Whether for a modulating variable frequency drive (VFD) furnace, heat pump, or air conditioning unit, the sequence of operations outlines step-by-step how the unit operates. Without one, troubleshooting or installing the equipment becomes more difficult and much less efficient. 

Following a sequence of operations document benefits both the HVAC company and the customer, and is even more powerful when used as a smart form that can connect to your existing processes, like quality assurance, estimating, and presenting to customers. For that, many HVAC contractors turn to a comprehensive business solution like ServiceTitan HVAC Software.

Below, we’ll share an HVAC sequence of operations template, broken out into furnace, air conditioner, and heat pump, which you can download and customize. We’ll also share how ServiceTitan helps HVAC companies streamline their operations and provide a superior customer experience.

What is an HVAC sequence of operations?

A sequence of operations chronologically lays out in detail how a piece of equipment functions. For example, see below for ACHR News’ example of a heat pump’s heating mode sequence of operations. You could change and customize the sequence of operations for a combi system that serves as a heat pump and hot water heater.

Mechanical components:

1. Turning on the heat powers the solenoid valve in the reversing valve.

2. The compressor pumps out high-pressure, superheated refrigerant vapor.

3. The vapor leaves the compressor and passes through the reversing valve.

4. Refrigerant flows through the insulated, indoor vapor line to the finned indoor coil. Airflow from the indoor blower removes heat from the refrigerant vapor, warming the indoor air and heating the house. When enough heat is removed, the vapor condenses into a high-pressure liquid. 

5. This liquid leaves the indoor coil, flows through the small copper refrigerant liquid line, and exits the building.

6. At the end of the liquid line, the refrigerant passes through a metering device in the outdoor coil, resulting in a temperature and pressure drop.

7. As the cool liquid enters the outdoor cooling coil surface, it expands and absorbs heat from the outdoor air passing over the finned surface. Heat, from the outside air, causes the low-pressure liquid to evaporate. The refrigerant is now a cold vapor.

8. The cold refrigerant vapor travels through the larger, outdoor vapor line to the reversing valve. The reversing valve directs the refrigerant into the accumulator.

9. The accumulator holds liquid refrigerant and refrigerant oil and controls their flow back to the compressor. They flow out through a small port inside the accumulator bottom.

10. Refrigerant vapor flows through the suction line to the intake of the compressor. The cycle then repeats.

Electrical components:

1. Turning on the heat powers the solenoid valve in the reversing valve.

2. The thermostat calls for first stage heat.

3. This sends a 24-volt signal through the "Y" terminal to the compressor contactor in the outdoor unit. The compressor and outdoor fan motor start.

4. At the same time a 24-volt signal flows through the "G" terminal to the indoor blower relay. The indoor blower starts.

5. Heat is on.

ACHR outlines 10 additional steps if first-stage heating isn’t adequate, including de-energizing the heating relay. 

By understanding the exact standard operating procedure for a piece of equipment, technicians can better problem-solve on the job. 

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Why should HVAC companies use a sequence of operations?

According to ASHRAE, an organization dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, standardized advanced control sequences reduce engineering time, programming and commissioning time, and energy consumption. They also help improve indoor air quality and provide a common set of terms to enhance communication between specifiers, contractors, and operators.

When their temperature isn’t reaching the heating or cooling setpoint, a customer is going to call your business. HVAC systems are complex, and whether you’re a seasoned technician or it’s your first time in the field, following a process when troubleshooting systems helps streamline diagnoses by being able to pinpoint exactly where an error occurs—whether it’s in the actuator, fan coil units, air handling units (AHU), or air damper.

“If you don't know the sequence of operations, it's very hard to troubleshoot something,” says Chris Hunter, ServiceTitan Principal Industry Advisor. “So when something quits working, if you don't know what was supposed to happen, because the sequence of operations said that was the next step, it can extend your troubleshooting time and diagnostic time significantly.”

A sequence of operations template provides a great starting point, as operations are uniform across most brands. However, companies can customize the templates and make slight variations for different HVAC setups, like when a commercial building’s HVAC system uses an economizer during cooling mode, variable air volume (VAV), or custom, advanced HVAC controls.

Current solutions for an HVAC sequence of operations 

When creating and managing contracts, some independent contractors use paper forms and several different software programs. Manually flipping through the pages of a sequence of operations takes time, increases chances for error, and doesn’t solve related workflow challenges.

Heating, ventilation, refrigeration, and air conditioning service companies that use templates in addition to HVAC software find a streamlined workflow increases efficiency, customer satisfaction, and revenue.

How an HVAC sequence of operations template improves documentation

An HVAC sequence of operations template saves time by providing you with a customizable form you can use over and over again. Technicians can use it as a checklist when troubleshooting or even installing new equipment. 

Our sample HVAC sequence of operations document includes a detailed sequence of events for a heat pump, air conditioner, and furnace.

>>Click here to download ServiceTitan’s HVAC sequence of operations template.

Empower employees with all-in-one HVAC business software

A sequence of operations helps technicians in the field, but integrating it within ServiceTitan’s cloud-based HVAC software streamlines operations from your office to the field, increasing efficiency and productivity.

Gain digital access to sequence of operations

ServiceTitan offers customers a content portal, where they can upload training documents and checklists, like the sequence of operations. This ensures the training manuals and documentation don’t get lost, and technicians can always access it with ServiceTitan Mobile.

Streamline operations with forms

Turn your sequence of events into a mandatory checklist for your technicians using ServiceTitan Forms. When technicians fill out forms, they can also attach a photo or video. Photos added to forms are automatically attached to the job, and you can see them in the Audit trail and Files tab.

The failed step and corresponding photo from the form can then easily be transferred over to an estimate, and your techs or sales reps can show the customer exactly where their system broke down and what the repair entails.

Maximize profit on every job

While digital forms save your techs time, ServiceTitan HVAC Software improves efficiency throughout your entire operations, even before techs arrive at a job.

Use HVAC scheduling and dispatching software to match techs to the right job for the most profit. Drag-and-drop scheduling makes the job of your CSR or dispatcher easier, so they can make quick updates. With all customer and job information in one place, such as a customer’s property data and previous jobs, your techs stay in the loop and can spot larger sales opportunities.

ServiceTitan’s reporting capabilities give you greater insight into granular details of each job, so you can make informed decisions about labor, job trends, or recurring services. Tracking performance metrics allows you to make meaningful improvements and take your HVAC business to the next level.

Level up your company’s operations with ServiceTitan

If your team faces challenges relating to paper forms, communication, and organization, it may be time to examine your current processes.

While an HVAC sequence of operations template is a good start, a comprehensive solution like ServiceTitan truly streamlines your operations, automates tasks, and improves profitability.

>>Ready to learn how HVAC software will transform your business? Schedule a demo to see our software features in action.

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