Let’s admit it: the last place you’d think where comedy would thrive is the HVAC&R world.
After all, it is a fairly small niche for comedy in comparison to other areas, such as politics, where there’s always something to talk about.
But for Andrew Greaves, the comedic genius behind HVAComedy, there’s plenty of fertile ground to find the inspiration he needs to get HVAC techs chuckling.
Available through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, HVAComedy features short videos created by Greaves about the day-to-day trials of being an HVAC tech. Launched three months ago, the comedy platform has quickly built a faithful following of more than 7,000 HVAC techs who check in weekly to see Greaves’ latest video.
“Comedy or humor is a universal unifier,” says Greaves, “I think many HVAC techs have felt under- appreciated or frustrated at times. HVAComedy helps them step back from their day-to-day challenges and laugh at them. We let the individual HVAC tech know that ‘Hey man, you’re not the only one going through this – we’re all in this together.’”
An HVAC tech with five years’ experience, Greaves, who hails from Lexington, Kentucky, also holds a HVAC journeyman’s license and will soon be testing for a plumber journeyman’s license. He entered the HVAC industry after successfully completing a two-year degree through Bluegrass Technical College, also located in Lexington. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, and also worked in building maintenance.
So why HVAC?
“While I was working in building maintenance after my time in the Marines, the HVAC tech who serviced the systems on our building caught my attention,” Greaves said. “I realized how important that person was to making sure our building was comfortable. That led to my decision to become an HVAC tech.”
Greaves genuinely loves what he does. The thing he likes the most about the HVAC trade is it is continuously evolving.
“There is always something new to learn,” said Greaves who works for Johnson Controls. “For example, I have been studying variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology. It has been the dominating HVAC technology internationally (in Asia and Europe) for the last 30 years. Its presence in the U.S. over the last decade continues to grow. I want to be an expert in this technology by the time it becomes the dominant HVAC technology in the U.S.”
“I’ve come to learn that HVAC is really vital to society,” Greaves added. “And that’s why it’s so important to me and other techs to keep developing our skills.”
For that reason, Greaves relies on YELLOW JACKET HVAC&R tools to get the job done.
“YELLOW JACKET has a permanent place in my tool box – they make the best hoses, manifolds and refrigerant tools,” Greaves said. “The YELLOW JACKET TITAN™ Test and Charging manifold is a great example. It’s a workhorse that I rely on, day-in and day-out. Sure, I’ve tried the new digital manifolds, but there will always be a sweet spot in my heart for the analog equipment.”
Stepping into Comedy
Greaves got his toes wet in HVAC comedy when he served as a moderator to the “HVAC Know It All” blog, which provides serious information on how to use specific products, as well as product reviews. From there, Greaves formed his own YouTube channel, AK HVAC, which also addressed serious HVAC questions.
Greaves wrote a few parodies for AK HVAC, and to his surprise, his comedy received a positive reception from those watching his videos.
Realizing that his comedy was striking a nerve, or a funny bone, Greaves launched HVAComedy.
“I try to bring comedy relief to the all-too-real, day-to-day challenges of being an HVAC tech,” says Greaves, “from feeling under-appreciated by customers to feeling overworked by employers.”
Greaves’ time in the military also has served as a source of inspiration.
“I started experimenting with video comedy when I was in the military,” he says. “At times, life in the military really sucked. At other times, it was great. Most of all, you realized that you could get through it, especially if you could share your stories and laugh with your fellow Marines.”
For his skits, Greaves says he often draws from his own daily experiences as an HVAC tech. And, he also relies on the suggestions of his growing fans, whose comments often lead to additional insights. Greaves says most of his online traffic comes at the end of the day when many HVAC techs are winding down and looking for a little humor to relieve the stress that they’ve been through.
“Sometimes, it’s like my skits write themselves,” he says. “All I need to do is embellish a bit more, or add a touch of exaggeration.”
“I don’t think HVAC techs want more attention,” Greaves notes, “I think we just want our customers, our employers, and our friends and family to better understand what we go through to help make our customers and their buildings more comfortable.”