One of the first things you learn about in HVAC technician training or school is that it is your responsibility to stay up to date on the industry, technologies, and training. Once you graduate, you are on your own.
The smart HVAC tech will work just as hard at maintaining his or her level of knowledge after schooling ends as they did in acquiring it. One of the best methods is to read and own HVAC books and training guides. This article will explain why you should have your own library of HVAC books and which ones you need to start your collection with.
The HVAC industry isn’t sedentary. It is an ever-evolving and changing landscape that requires top-notch techs to offer value to their customers. The customer expects the tech to know what they are doing and dealing with. Books will help you and your techs stay on top of the changes in the industry.
HVAC-focused books are great to have. They are portable, easy to keep around for reference, and you can toss them in your truck to take to the job site in case you need to look up something on the spot.
Selecting Quality HVAC Books
How do you know which books to choose? You can always ask your neighbor, but they may be clueless. Instead, you need to decide If the book you are looking at is worthy of making your shelves at home. Here are things to consider before you buy.
HVAC Tech Level
One thing to consider is your current HVAC tech level. Are you a seasoned pro looking to stay up on the new gadgets? Or are you a tech still in training looking for a head up over the competition?
Entry Level HVAC Tech
Entry-level techs will do good to keep the studying habits from training going long after they have their certifications. Since the studying habits are still fresh, maintaining that level of study will only do good.
Entry-level techs should look for books that are refreshers of what they just learned as well as looking for books that offer experiences and knowledge for the next level of their careers.
Advanced/Experienced HVAC Engineer
The advanced technician and experienced engineer will need more. These books should focus more on the future. Books that explain and cover emerging technologies, procedures, and tools. The seasoned professional should be apprised of what is currently being taught in the classroom and needs to have the right books to stay on top of those things.
These techs need to focus on finding the books that cover what is coming in the world of HVAC technologies and procedures. They should also look for newer books that have emerging ideas for their trade.
Preparing for HVAC Exam
If you are an HVAC tech in a position of having to prepare for a certification or exam, you will need books that align with your current course of study. Many books will cover the topic in different ways. One of them (or more) may help your understanding of a procedure or using a tool that you didn’t quite understand from your instructor or reading the classroom books.
It never hurts to have more study materials that cover topics in various ways. Never stop learning.
Bar Code Number (ISBN)
The ISBN is a number assigned to every published book since 1970. It is a unique identifier for a particular book using a 13-digit numerical code. Before 1970 the SBN ( a 9-digit code) was used for commercial books. The ISBN number can be either 10 digits or 13. The more published books over the years have created the need for the 13-digit number we see most often today.
The bar code number is a quick way to identify the age of a book. If the book has an ISBN, it is a modern book, if it is an SBN, it is older, and if there isn’t a code at all, the book is considered antique and is most likely a part of the public domain.
Hardcover vs. Paperback
Hardcover books are generally more expensive and harder to carry around than their paperback counterparts. Which one you prefer is a complete personal judgment call. However, paperbacks won’t last as long if they are continuously used.
If you plan to take your books with you, choose paperback. If you keep them in the home study to use when you aren’t in the field, hardcover may be more practical.
Electronic vs. Regular Books
Aside from hardcover and paperback, you also have the opportunity to purchase and download eBooks. Amazon Kindle is a free reader that can be used on almost any mobile device. Once the books are downloaded to your device, you won’t need to connect to the internet to read them.
Electronic books are ideal for use in the field to gain an advantage over the techs that need to leave to get more information or call someone else to help out.
If English isn’t your first language, you will want to find books in your native language. While this can prove difficult for some titles, more and more electronic books are being translated in various languages all the time.
It never hurts to make things easier on yourself. If you need to read in another language to understand a process thoroughly, then books may be the best method of doing so.
Since the HVAC industry is ever-changing, it is a good idea to stay with current books. You can check the publication date to find out how old the book is. While the newer books will be the most up to date, this doesn’t mean that older books aren’t worth a purchase.
Older techniques are still used today and, in many situations, can be the difference between completing the job and having to start a different route. While technologies change, some procedures and practices are timeless.
Finally, you will want to make a note of the price and attempt to not go over your budget. One of the good things about books is that they don’t change. If you can’t easily afford the book today, it will still be there tomorrow.
Often waiting a few days or weeks can see a price drop or a special of some sort to save you a bit of money. Be on the lookout for coupons, deals, and specials to save even more.
8 Best HVAC Books Reviewed
What books need to be in your HVAC technician library? The list below will definitely get you started. We cover the 8 best HVAC books, reviewed, and compared to help you find the right purchase for your current or future needs.
1. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology 8th Edition
|Book Type||Ebook, Hardcover|
|Best For||HVAC techs, experienced techs|
|Number of Pages||1728 pages|
|Date Published||January 1, 2016|
Best HVAC troubleshooting & diagnosing book goes to the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology (8th edition). This book covers most of the common and a lot of uncommon methods for troubleshooting repairs.
Geared for those that have a handle on their systems, the book is also a valuable resource for those just starting out. While you may not fully understand everything the book covers until you have a few years in the field, this valuable book will have you finding the problems and on your way to fixing them before long.
Because it is a classroom textbook, you can use it as a rental from Amazon. You will be required to return it after your semester is over, though.
2. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair 2nd Edition
|Book Type||Ebook, hardcover, paperback|
|Best For||HVAC techs, beginners/entry-level|
|Number of Pages||352 pages|
|Date Published||August 22, 1988|
For those of you in the field, the DDE field is the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair (2nd edition). This book is a no-nonsense guide to all manner of repairs. A lot of modern techs scoff at the dated materials in this book but soon find themselves turning its pages.
While the information isn’t new, the book is written so that the HVAC student can understand. It also has enough details to make the seasoned pro get use from the applications held within. It is ideal for everyone that is repairing HVAC systems and needs to know the most appropriate method of doing those repairs.
3. Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
|Book Type||Hardcover, paperback|
|Best For||HVAC students, entry-level techs|
|Number of Pages||1679 pages|
|Date Published||January 29, 2016|
Are you looking for the best HVAC training book? You just found it. If you are an HVAC student, or a recently certified graduate, the Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning book is a must-have.
Not only will you get that hands-on approach to the system, but you will easily understand those portions that seem to make no sense to you at all. While more experienced techs may not find a lot of new information in the pages, there is a wealth of knowledge to be had by those without the in the job experience, yet.
4. Commercial Refrigeration: For Air Conditioning Technicians 2nd Edition
|Book Type||Ebook, hardcover|
|Best For||HVAC techs, experienced field techs|
|Number of Pages||320 pages|
|Date Published||June 1, 2009|
The field tech and well-experienced tech will find the best commercial refrigeration repair book called Commercial Refrigeration: For Air Conditioning Technicians (2nd edition). This book covers everything you are already doing, but without your bad habits.
When you want to make your job easier, find those little short cuts that aren’t wrong, this is the book you need to turn to. This should be purchased twice. Buy the hardcover to keep at home for studying. Then buy the eBook to keep on your field tablet for easy reference when needed in the field.
5. Guide to NATE/ICE Certification Exams (3rd edition) 3rd Edition
|Best For||HVAC students, anyone looking to be certified|
|Number of Pages||416 pages|
|Date Published||January 7, 2009|
The best HVAC certification guide books will have you more than prepped and ready for the NATE/ICE exams. Out of all of the options for this exam, the Guide to NATE/ICE Certification Exams (3rd edition) is arguably the best.
It not only covers the material on the test, but the 400 plus pages go into detail to explain the how and why, as well. Consider it a classroom in a book, without the boring lectures. You can learn almost everything you need to know to pass the exam in this book. What else could be better?
6. HVAC Licensing Study Guide, Second Edition
|Book Type||Ebook, paperback|
|Best For||Beginners/entry-level, HVAC students|
|Number of Pages||432 pages|
|Date Published||October 4, 2012|
Students and entry-level techs need a boost when it comes to becoming licensed. The best HVAC books for the HVAC apprentice is the HVAC Licensing Study Guide (2nd edition). This book will not only cover everything you need to know for the exams but will explain each aspect in general knowledge terms.
Formatted in an easy to read and understand layout, the study guide will help you long after the exam is over, as well. Anyone looking for a field companion to help refresh on things they don’t use often but need to know should download the ebook version for their phone or tablet.
While you are studying, the paperback version may just spell the difference between failing the exam and becoming HVAC technician certified.
7. Electricity for Refrigeration, Heating, and Air Conditioning 10th Edition
|Book Type||Ebook, hardcover, paperback|
|Best For||HVAC students|
|Number of Pages||720 pages|
|Date Published||January 1, 2018|
Electricity for Refrigeration, Heating, and Air Conditioning (10th edition) is the best HVAC book on electricity in HVAC installation and service. If you are an HVAC student or still green in the field, this book will save your bacon.
Everything you are currently learning in the classroom is covered here in a simple, well-thought-out approach that will have your brain turning on light bulbs faster than ever. Get to the top of your class and stay at the top of your game in the field with this book.
8. HVAC Equations, Data, and Rules of Thumb, Third Edition
|Book Type||Ebook, paperback|
|Best For||All HVAC tech levels and students|
|Number of Pages||656 pages|
|Date Published||December 21, 2015|
There are HVAC books, and then there is the best must-have HVAC standard book. HVAC Equations, Data, and Rules of Thumb (3rd edition) is the later. This book needs to be on every tech’s shelf and installed on every HVAC mobile device.
From formulas to conversions, this book has it all. Not only that, but you will get a full understanding of why to use specific formulas, when to use them and how to apply them. This understanding will go a long way to helping you remember the formulas as well as knowing what you are actually using them for.
Other Sources to Continue HVAC Learning
Once you graduate and are in the field, are there other sources for continued learning besides books? Of course there are. Here are some of the more accepted ones.
- You can always get more information on refrigeration and HVAC in general by using the resources found on the ESCO group website. This includes texts, courses, materials, and distance learning.
Never let it be said that technology doesn’t offer you opportunities. As of the last count, there were over 4 dozen HVAC related mobile apps available for download. Not all of them are worth a look, of course, but here are a few you should grab right away.
- HVAC Flashcards are a great training tool to help you get past that next exam or certification test. The cost is about $5, but it is cheaper than most books and will help you learn faster.
- The Free HVAC Dictionary will keep you up to date on all the terms and technical jargon of the industry. It is a free download from Google.
- You may not remember all the conversion tables and formulas you need when working with HVAC equipment. There’s an app for that. The All Electrical Formula has everything you need.
- HVAC School is an app with a podcast, technical formulas, training devices, and more. For those in school or in the field, it is a great way to stay current.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much should I spend on an HVAC book?
On average, you can expect to spend more than average for HVAC tech books. Any decent book is going to have a higher price tag, and you can expect to pay between $50 and $200 for the best books in the industry.
Which of the HVAC textbooks is best for me?
The best books for you are the ones that will help you pass exams, gain a better understanding of current technologies, or expand your learning to help your career grow. No two books will be the best for everyone. It will depend on where you are in your career, and what it is you need to learn.
Isn’t all of the information available for free online?
Some of the information is free online, yes. You can also get free mobile apps and other low-cost resources. However, HVAC specific books are more inclusive, show you exactly what you need to know, and you don’t have to go through five or six different websites to find the specific information you need.
How important is it for me to learn about refrigeration systems?
If you want to become a certified HVAC technician, it is the most important aspect of your job. Just like a surgeon needs to learn about the biology of the human body, the HVAC tech needs to learn about the life-force of the HVAC system.
Is it really worth taking the NATE/ICE and other exams?
Taking the NATE/ICE exams are not essential to becoming an HVAC technician. However, they are essential for becoming the best HVAC technician. By taking and passing the exams, you let employers know you are well prepared for any situation and do what it takes to stay on top of the game.
Where can I download free air conditioning eBooks?
Free HVAC book downloads are rare and hard to come by. A lot of the free books are only offers for getting your personal information to sell you more items and fill your email inbox. In most cases, you won’t even get the book you were after, or it will be a partial print out of the PDF version. If you do search for free HVAC training books for download, be wary of off-site access and other forms of online security issues.
Can I get my HVAC certification online?
You can study and practice for the exam online. However, for the EPA 608 certification, you will need to take the test by a certified proctor. This isn’t a common practice to do online as you have to be able to prove you are the one taking the exam and to help prevent cheating.
Is EPA certification the same as HVAC certification?
No. EPA certification is a requirement to work with, dispose of, and handle refrigerant. HVAC technician certification is not required by federal law, but many employers or state laws do require it for employment. You can become an HVAC technician by title without a certification, but you cannot purchase or work with refrigerant systems in the field without the EPA certification.
How can I get a Universal HVAC certification?
To get the Universal classification of the EPA 608 certification, you need to take and pass all three sections of the exam. If you fail any of the three Type exams, you will get EPA 608 certified for the Type exams you do pass, but you cannot be universal without passing all three.
Staying up to date on all things HVAC is a crucial step in maintaining and advancing your HVAC technician career. One of the best methods for doing so is to purchase books that keep you updated and informed.
There are a lot of choices out there, and the decision process can be complicated. However, if you are starting your collection or library from scratch, the best book to start with is the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology. This is currently the most up to date and informative book on HVAC technology in the business. It should be in every tech’s bookshelves.