Best HVAC Books: 17 Books to Master Your Trade in 2020

Mike PersingerApril 30th, 2020
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Doctors, lawyers, engineers—where do you think they learned the foundations of their trades? Yes, they spent a lot of time receiving expensive instruction from a college or university, but what were those lessons based upon? Textbooks.

Textbooks are one of the most basic elements of learning. Since elementary school you’ve been exposed to them. They’ve helped you learn everything from fifth-grade social studies to high school trigonometry. And if they haven’t already, they’re sure to help you with your HVAC career.

There are textbooks for just about everything, including HVAC service and repair. HVAC textbooks offer important insights into HVAC engineering, service and repair. Without these books, it would be hard to do your job well.

Let’s face it, as much as HVAC technology has advanced through the years, these units still break, and when they do you need to be ready to tackle the problem. An HVAC textbook can be a great place to start.

Here are some of the best books on HVAC:

The Best Overall Books on HVAC

Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

  • Great for all levels of HVAC expertise

  • An excellent HVAC troubleshooting book

  • Available as an HVAC eBook for easier accessibility

This HVAC textbook is a great resource for anyone looking to get started in the industry. It’s a book of fundamentals for new techs, with important reminders and updates for more experienced HVAC professionals.

Although this book was first written in 1968, it was updated in 2017 to its 20th edition and features timely, relevant information on the latest in HVAC technology. It was written by Andrew Althouse, Alfred Bracciano, Daniel Bracciano, Gloria Bracciano and Carl Turnquist.

“Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning” covers many HVAC concepts, including HVAC theory, troubleshooting techniques and practical tips to install and repair units. The most recent edition also includes information about energy efficiency and safety, which are increasingly important in modern HVAC maintenance and repair. These lessons include simple, step-by-step instructions featuring helpful illustrations.

This HVAC textbook takes these concepts a step further by discussing business fundamentals and service techniques to prepare techs for the real world. The complete text can be supplemented by a number of online learning modules and workbooks, if desired. 

Although some consider this book to be great for beginners, many seasoned HVAC professionals believe it’s an excellent HVAC troubleshooting book. The information contained within “Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning” is second to none and almost every tech can benefit from its knowledge.

A three-month rental on Amazon will set you back about $90, But for $130 you can get a hardcover copy to keep. It’s definitely worth the investment to buy and keep this one as it will be a great HVAC reference for years to come.

Residential Construction Academy HVAC

  • An excellent HVAC repair book for all residential applications

  • Includes helpful illustrations and visuals to aid HVAC troubleshooting

  • One of the few HVAC books to focus solely on residential heating and air conditioning

This HVAC textbook, written by Eugene Silberstein in 2011, has an important distinction—its focus on residential heating and air conditioning. 

Like several of the other books mentioned, it starts by discussing HVAC theories and concepts. From there, it progresses toward practical, hands-on information about real-life HVAC problems. But it does so through the lens of heating and air conditioning at home.

Its teachings are based on NAHB/HBI and include many eye-catching graphics and illustrations to help readers understand complicated HVAC concepts. This HVAC training book also includes step-by-step procedures to resolve some of the most common and complex home heating and air conditioning issues. 

This HVAC textbook also has sections devoted to oil heat, natural gas, electric and geothermal heating systems, boilers, hydronic heating and radiant heating.

“Residential Construction Academy HVAC” is available on Amazon for $125, but you can get one-year access to the eBook through the publisher for $36.

The Best HVAC Troubleshooting Books

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology

  • Offers excellent information on HVAC theory

  • A great resource for on-the-job troubleshooting

  • Endorsed by HVAC academics

This HVAC training book, written by Bill Johnson, Jason Obrzut, Eugene Silberstein, John Tomczyk and Bill Whitman, is a cornerstone of HVAC knowledge. If you went to an HVAC trade school you might have a later edition of this book already!

The reason this book is beloved by academia is its emphasis on HVAC theory. It dives into the how and the why deeper than any other textbook by describing the complex engineering concepts that make HVAC possible. But the benefits of this HVAC study book don’t stop there.

“Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology” is one of the best books on HVAC because it also includes practical, hands-on advice on how to resolve some of the most common HVAC issues. These explanations are enhanced by easy-to-understand examples, photos and diagrams to augment readers’ understanding.

This book, now in its ninth edition, has been helping HVAC professionals for more than 25 years. One of the most recently updated HVAC training books, it’s known for being on the cutting edge of HVAC technology.

Although this HVAC textbook is available on Amazon for $179, you might want to consider accessing it online by purchasing access directly from the publisher (two years for $100). For many, this book is used so often that physical copies are worn out long before they’re no longer needed.

System Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Procedures

  • Covers an exhaustive list of HVAC issues

  • Very affordable HVAC reference book

  • Considered an industry standard in HVAC troubleshooting

This book, written by John Tomczyk in 2002, might be nearly 20 years old, but the information contained within is timeless. The HVAC troubleshooting guidance offered by this excellent reference book covers myriad topics and is easy to read.

“System Diagnostics and Troubleshooting Procedures” covers many of the most common air conditioning and refrigeration system problems including:

  • airflow

  • air in the system

  • compressor inefficiencies

  • dirty condenser

  • low/high condenser entering air temperatures

  • oil logged evaporator

  • overcharge and undercharge

  • refrigerant cycle malfunctions

  • restricted metering device

  • suction and liquid line restrictions

It gives readers the information needed to not only diagnose, but correct this diverse list of HVAC issues, and more. 

At $35, this is one of the most affordable resources on the market. It’s available on Amazon in a convenient, spiral bound edition for easy use in the field. 

The Best HVAC exam study books

The Guide to the NATE-ICE Certification Exams

  • Includes helpful practice tests with answer keys

  • Offers insight into test structure and topics covered

  • Top-rated HVAC study book

The NATE-ICE Certification Exam is something most HVAC technicians have to pass to practice their trade. Requirements to be a licensed HVAC technician vary from state to state, but for the most part, taking and passing the NATE-ICE Certification Exam is required before a license is issued.

This can be an intimidating endeavor, especially if you aren’t a great test taker or dislike classroom-style learning. But there’s another way you can prepare for this exam, “The Guide to the NATE-ICE Certification Exams.”

As HVAC study books go, this is one of the best. It has a step-by-step study guide to familiarize readers with the concepts covered by the test. Once you’ve mastered each section, you can move on to the practice tests. 

“The Guide to the NATE-ICE Certification Exams” includes practice tests with 2,400 questions covering topics such as EPA certification, indoor air quality and safety, system components, electrical theory, tool requirements, duct fabrication and more. The guide includes an answer key.

This HVAC study book is a must-have if you plan to take the NATE-ICE Certification Exam. It’s a bit expensive at $85, but worth the investment if it means you’ll only have to take the test once.

EPA 608 Certification: Step by Step Passing the EPA 608 Certification Exam

  • Covers several types of EPA 608 exams

  • Extremely thorough in its example questions

  • Affordable and available as an HVAC eBook

This book offers an in-depth look at the EPA 608 refrigeration exam and includes information on the Core, Type I, Type II, Type III and universal exams. It is well-rounded and includes everything you need to pass the EPA 608 Certification.

One feature setting this HVAC study book apart is the inclusion of practice questions. But these aren’t just any questions, these are questions used in previous versions of the actual test. Use this study guide, and you’re sure to ace your EPA 608.

“EPA 608 Certification” is conveniently available as both an eBook and hard copy. Since it’s an HVAC exam study book, you might prefer a hard copy so you can write on the practice questions and take notes. Both are available on Amazon for less than $20. 

Best Books to Learn About HVAC Code

HVAC Equations, Data, and Rules of Thumb

  • Offers in-depth code insight

  • Includes helpful equations and HVAC troubleshooting tips

  • Comes in an eBook edition for ease of access

“HVAC Equations, Data, and Rules of Thumb” is an excellent HVAC textbook written by Larsen Angel and Arthur Bell. This 600-page behemoth covers everything you would ever need to know about HVAC design, equations and rules of thumb (as the name suggests).

Regarded by many as an industry standard, this is one of the best books for HVAC because of its exhaustive coverage of code requirements. It includes codes and standards from NFPA, ICC, NEC and ASHRAE. And as every good tech knows, understanding HVAC inside and out is important, but it means nothing without extensive code knowledge.

But this book on HVAC doesn’t stop there. It also includes information about a wide range of topics including design condition, cooling and heating load factors, automatic temperature controls and automation, auxiliary equipment, and more. 

This information-packed HVAC textbook is extremely affordable, selling for $49 on Amazon. If you prefer an eBook, it’s available for the same price.

DEWALT HVAC Code Reference

  • Convenient and affordable spiral bound guide

  • Recently updated to reflect current HVAC code

  • Used by many of the best HVAC professionals

This convenient code book is based on the 2018 International Mechanical Code, which is considered the foundation for HVAC code across the country. Although it’s small compared to some other HVAC textbooks, this book is mighty with HVAC code information to assist any HVAC professional, from novice to expert, on the best way to repair, modify or install HVAC equipment to code.

“DEWALT HVAC Code Reference” features many helpful, full-color illustrations and diagrams to help HVAC professionals understand how to do the job right the first time. It offers insights on many HVAC issues including chimneys, grease dust systems, materials and duct construction, vents, and more. 

This is one of the most affordable HVAC books available at $30. It’s conveniently spiral bound so you can flip through and easily find what you need while you’re on the go. Here’s where you can get it on Amazon.

Looking for More HVAC Books?

If, at this point, you’re still in need of a great, reliable HVAC resource then look no further than the library of resources offered by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). With more than 30 titles available on Amazon, they have amassed quite the collection of HVAC training and troubleshooting books. Here are a few of their titles: 

  • Residential Duct Systems

  • Residential Load Calculation

  • Commercial Load Calculation

  • Residential Equipment Selection

  • Duct Slide Rule

  • Air Distribution Basics for Residential and Small Commercial Buildings

  • Balancing and Testing Air and Hydronic Systems Manual B 

  • Residential Zoning, Manual DR

  • Commercial Applications, Systems and Equipment

As you can see, ACCA has covered almost every HVAC topic in the book, no pun intended. These guys know what they’re talking about and offer sound, reliable HVAC guidance no matter what the topic. Buy one of their books and you’ll be glad you made the investment.

The bottom line

Textbooks are an important foundation for learning, regardless of trade or vocation. Everyone, no matter how educated or experienced, can benefit from enhancing their knowledge with a well-written textbook.

Whether you’ve been in business for one day or decades, you should always be willing to add another good reference book to your office … or the back of your truck. To truly master your trade and edge out your competition, check out some of these HVAC training books. 

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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