Occ. Code 7132200





New York State Department of Civil Service


Classification Standard




Refrigeration Mechanics are responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair and installation of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in a State facility. Incumbents, as specialists, are responsible for supervising and training other members of the operation and maintenance staff including skilled, semiskilled and relatively unskilled workers, in servicing and repairing refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.


The types of equipment Refrigeration Mechanics work with include ammonia brine, freon, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, methyl chloride and lithium bromide units, absorption cold generators, all types of coolers, refrigerators and freezers, air-conditioning units and systems, humidifiers, compressors, ventilators, cooling towers and other similar and related equipment.


Most positions in this class function as part of the mechanical-electrical trades staff of a facility and are found in the State University system and at institutions in the Departments of Mental Hygiene and Correctional Services.




Refrigeration Mechanics are responsible for journey level work in the operation, maintenance, repair and installation of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. This includes overhauling compressors, pumps and electric motors, replacing parts and controls as necessary and installing new equipment. A facility should have 150 tons of refrigeration equipment counting units of three tons or more, walk-in coolers and similar commercial type installations before a Refrigeration Mechanic is classified for that facility.


Maintenance Assistants (Refrigeration) under the supervision of a Refrigeration Mechanic operate and make running repairs to refrigeration and air‑conditioning equipment. This includes inspecting equipment for leaks and electrical or mechanical failures, adjusting controls, cleaning condensers and other parts, lubricating moving parts, preparing brine mixtures and assisting the Refrigeration Mechanics in major repair and installation work.


In some facilities Plant Utilities Assistants are responsible for the operation and repair of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment on a shift basis as well as their normal duties of operating and maintaining the facility's heating plant. Electricians may be responsible for repairing electrical motors and wiring involved with refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment or inspecting such work performed by a Refrigeration Mechanic.


Employees engaged in other building and maintenance trades are classified under a variety of commonly used titles descriptive of their work; i.e., Carpenter, Plumber and Steamfitter, etc.




Performs required periodic maintenance and emergency repairs on refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.


·      Inspects, tests, diagnoses trouble and dismantles malfunctioning systems and components.


·      Overhauls compressors, pumps and electric motors; replacing parts as necessary.


·      Overhauls and replaces control devices, calibrating and recalibrating them as necessary.


·      Rewires electrical systems of components as necessary.


·      Performs seasonal start-up and shut-down operations on air-conditioning units and systems to insure efficient operation and to prevent freeze-ups.


·      Locates and seals leaks in both gas and brine units, removes air from lines and replaces with proper refrigerant.


Installs new equipment both as replacement units and new installations.


·      Studies blueprints and schematic drawings to identify the location, size and type of components.


·      Lays out reference points for the installation of components using structural measuring tools.


·      As necessary assembles components of system for installation following written and schematic instructions.


·      Mounts compressors, condensers and other components in specified locations.


·      Cuts, threads and connects or welds tubing to inlets and outlets of components.


·      Installs control mechanisms with wrenches and acetylene torches.


·      Tests lines, connections and components for leaks with leak detector which indicates the presence of refrigerant.


·      May install electric wiring to connect components to power source.


·      Records temperature and pressure readings from gauges and temperature potentiometer and compares readings with manufacturer's specifications.


·      Adjusts controls to bring readings within specifications as required.


As assigned, supervises and trains Maintenance Assistants, Plant Utilities Assistants and other trades positions in the repair and maintenance of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.


·      Assigns work to staff providing oral and written instructions and diagrams as necessary.


·      Demonstrates proper methods and procedures for performing work.


·      Observes and inspects work in progress and at its completion to insure work is properly done.


·      Performs journey level work as required.


As required, operates a motor vehicle to transport material, equipment and personnel to job sites around a State facility.




The nature of a Refrigeration Mechanic's activities generally restricts relationships to employees working within the same organizational unit. Refrigeration Mechanics may supervise a small maintenance staff orally assigning work and providing written and oral instructions. On occasion incumbents may orally communicate with administrators and others in a facility to explain why work is being performed in the manner selected. Communication with the general public is not typical of the class.


Since the tasks and activities of the class are thing-oriented relationships with others are not a classification factor.




Refrigeration Mechanics report to such positions as Plant Utilities Engineers, Electrician Supervisors, or Maintenance Supervisors. The supervisors may prescribe work priorities, furnish materials, give the nature and extent of work and provide plans, diagrams and specifications. In some cases these activities are performed by the Refrigeration Mechanic. The Refrigeration Mechanic's work is periodically inspected by the supervisor but a Refrigeration Mechanic works with the considerable independence that is typical of journey level trades positions.


As the specialist in the field Refrigeration Mechanics supervise Electricians, Plant Utilities Assistants, Maintenance Assistants and other Refrigeration Mechanics on special large projects involving refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, making work assignments, giving instructions, providing diagrams and drawings and observing and inspecting work in progress and at its completion to insure directions are followed. They regularly supervise a Maintenance Assistant (Refrigeration) assigning work, providing directions, observing work and inspecting work after its completion.




Refrigeration Mechanics use the standard hand and power tools in repairing and installing refrigeration and air-conditioning systems and components. They also use a variety of testing equipment, gauges, and calibrators to detect leaks and other malfunctions, to obtain pressure readings and to adjust control mechanisms. They also use acetylene torches and pipe threaders to connect tubing.




·      Working knowledge of the safe and efficient operation of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.


·      Working knowledge of the procedures, materials and tools used in the maintenance, repair and installation of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.


·      Working knowledge of the properties and qualities of the various refrigeration gases and solutions.


·      Ability to read and interpret technical manuals, specifications, blueprints and schematic drawings.


·      Ability to lay out and draw rough sketches and diagrams of work to be performed.


·      Ability to recognize and to rectify mechanical and electrical problems existing in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.


·      Ability to train and supervise skilled, semiskilled and relatively unskilled workers.


·      Ability to perform medium to heavy physical labor.




Refrigeration Mechanic Trainee 1, NS:  Must be 18 years of age or older; possess a High School diploma or general equivalency diploma recognized by the New York State Education Department; be proficient in English and math; full-time permanent service in a position allocated at Grade 12 or below which is primarily engaged in the performance of unskilled and/or semiskilled labor and trades tasks. 


Refrigeration Mechanic Trainee 2, NS:  Successful completion of a 52-week probationary period as an Refrigeration Mechanic Trainee 1, NS; completion of 45 hours of Technical Math coursework and 15 hours of Blueprint Reading/Schematics coursework or passage of an equivalency exam or proof of successful completion of equivalent training; 144 hours of refrigeration mechanic trade-specific instruction; and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training.  Trainees must maintain a C or better average in their coursework.


Refrigeration Mechanic, Grade 12: Successful completion of a NYS two-year Refrigeration Mechanic Traineeship or NYS two-year refrigeration repair and maintenance training program; OR successful completion of any equivalent refrigeration two-year training or apprenticeship program;* OR four (4) years of full-time experience in the mechanical or electrical trades under a skilled journey-level mechanic or electrician which would provide training equivalent to that given in an apprenticeship program, one (1) year of which must include both training and work in the operation and maintenance of commercial type refrigeration or air-conditioning equipment.. Apprenticeship training in the mechanical or electrical trades or training gained by completion of technical courses in the mechanical or electrical trades at a school, institute, or branch of the Armed Services may be substituted on a year-for-year basis.


* Successful completion of the traineeship and the training program includes a total of 288 hours of trade-specific class room instruction, 45 hours of technical math course work, 45 hours of technical communications course work, and 15 hours of blueprint/schematic reading course work.  Course work must be completed with an average of C or better.  Additionally, successful completion of the traineeship also includes 4,000 hours of on-the-job training.



Revised:  4/09


NOTE:  Classification Standards illustrate the nature, extent and scope of duties and responsibilities of the classes they describe.  Standards cannot and do not include all of the work that might be appropriately performed by a class.  The minimum qualifications above are those which were required for appointment at the time the Classification Standard was written.  Please contact the Division of Staffing Services for current information on minimum qualification requirements for appointment or examination.