How Kinetic Are You?

June 1st, 2017 | Posted by David Richardson in David Richardson | Home | Technical Blogs
David Richardson discusses kinetic and potential energy in the HVAC Industry

David Richardson, an NCI Curriculum Developer & Instructor

The use of energy is what drives an HVAC system. Many of us remember learning about potential and kinetic energy in high school and wondering, when will we ever use this stuff? The truth is potential and kinetic energy are both forces we either ignore or apply in our professional and personal lives. Let’s examine how we can apply these principles daily to our personal lives.

Kinetic Energy From The HVAC Perspective

When you look at technical definitions of potential and kinetic energy, they can make your head spin. To keep it simple, we’ll define these forms of energy in easy-to-apply terms. Potential energy is energy at rest. It can only accomplish work once set in motion. Kinetic energy is energy in motion. It is accomplishing work and fully in motion.

To illustrate, using natural gas in a gas furnace is an example of these two forms of energy. In other words, natural gas, as it sits in the supply piping, is potential energy. It is waiting for something to set it into motion and release its hidden power.

Once a thermostat calls for heat, a gas valve is energized, allowing gas to flow into the manifold and out through orifices. In this state, the gas is still potential energy, even though it’s moving. This is important to remember – just because we’re doing something, it doesn’t mean we’re productive.

Accordingly, it takes a heat source to unlock the hidden energy of the fuel. This is where a pilot light or hot surface ignitor contributes. With the white-hot heat of the ignition source, the gas is ignited, and thousands of Btus are released to provide heating. So, without something to “fire-up” the gas, nothing happens. This is another important aspect to remember.

Kinetic Energy From The Personal Perspective

Kinetic Energy is energy in motion

Objects in motion are objects using kinetic energy. A sprinter just leaping off the block is caught in that split second between Potential and Kinetic energy states.

You might be wondering what natural gas and a pilot light can teach us about applying potential and kinetic energy to our lives. For instance, all of us can accomplish great things if we set ourselves in motion, going in the right direction. But, if we lack forward movement, we are potential, we haven’t gotten started yet.

Indeed, there are many things that keep us at the potential level. Some of these include procrastination, laziness, complacency, wasting time, and waiting to be told what to do.

It’s sad to see these issues void all initiative. We’re often unaware how these issues keep us from achieving our hopes and dreams. Many stay at the potential level due to doubt, fear of failure, fear of loss, lack of self-belief, and lack of focus. So they compensate for these flaws by making excuses to justify lack of action.

People who are kinetic learn how to take their true potential and release it. They  learn the keys to getting things done. They are often easy to spot in a group. Kinetic people have initiative, are hard-working, and have a “get it done” mentality. They don’t make excuses and they take responsibility for their actions.

How to Become Kinetic

It takes a focused desire to change from being potential to kinetic. You must want it, it doesn’t just fall into your lap. You’ll need to fight the inertia of potential energy to get into motion. Just as a pilot flame ignites a large burner, desire can bring about big results as the driver for your goals.

One thing kinetic people have in common is they are avid readers. They learn from other kinetic individuals who document “how-to”get things done. Authors such as; Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Denis Waitley, and Jeffrey Gitomer have shared their thoughts and experiences on how to improve.

Take Small Steps

Some small steps you can take right now to activate the kinetic you include:

  • Know what you want to do, or where you want to go. Then, write it down.
  • Determine how long you want it to take to get there. Not placing a time for achieving your goals is a trick potential energy uses to keep you in a rut.
  • Define specific action steps to take so you can start chipping away at your goal.

Keep in mind that you should improve your attitude and become aware of your actions to be successful at this. Just like a bad gas valve won’t allow a furnace to start, a bad attitude won’t allow you to start making use of your kinetic energy.

Some people choose to remain potential and have no desire to release their true kinetic ability. Others want to release their kinetic energy, but just don’t know how. It is an elite group that has figured out how to harness their potential and consistently release the kinetic. Which description best fits you?

David Richardson serves the HVAC industry as a curriculum developer and trainer at National Comfort Institute, Inc. (NCI). NCI specializes in training focused on improving, measuring, and verifying HVAC and Building Performance.

If you’re an HVAC contractor or technician interested in becoming kinetic, contact David at or call him at 800-633-7058. NCI’s website is full of free technical articles and downloads to help you improve your professionalism and strengthen your company.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

Leave a Reply