Best HVAC Books & Training Guides

Tony Case
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Air conditioning is one of life’s great luxuries. This coveted comfort is one of the main draws of most modern homes. Having air conditioning installed in your home is a must for most because there are very few modern conveniences one can count on.

It is not uncommon for people to spend thousands of dollars on a new air conditioning system, however, most people do not know what they are doing.

NameCategoryProduct
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning TechnologyBest OverallRefrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration RepairBudget PickAir Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair
Modern Refrigeration and Air ConditioningUpgrade PickModern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

1. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology

Our rating: 9 / 10

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology

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Pros:

  • Easy-to-understand language
  • Features detailed practice questions

This handbook is the most comprehensive study guide for HVAC technicians and was written by the non-profit society. The chapter that’s most useful for beginners is the air conditioning systems chapter. It explains how the system works and the different components that help achieve efficient cooling.

For the more experienced technicians, it also covers some of the more advanced concepts of HVAC systems. There’s also a chapter dedicated for refrigeration. Refrigeration is the other major part of the HVAC industry.

What’s great about this book is its accessibility to beginners. There are many illustrations and images to help you understand the concepts more clearly. This book has been recommended by many people as the best HVAC study guide for mechanics.

2. Commercial Refrigeration:

Our rating: 7 / 10

Commercial Refrigeration:

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Pros:

  • Best seller on Amazon
  • Well-written and easy to understand
  • Covers all aspects of commercial refrigeration
  • Applicable even to highly experienced technicians
  • Covers all manufacturing standards
  • Covers all aspects of service repair
  • Includes worthwhile pictures and illustrations
  • Excellent for contractor technicians
  • Gets into technical details without being overwhelming
  • Covers installation, inspection, and maintenance

Cons:

  • May require readers to have prior technical knowledge
  • Not for beginners
  • May require additional resources for optimum use

This is one of the best technical books for air conditioning techs out there, and it’s frequently recommended to those who want to succeed in commercial refrigeration. Anybody will benefit from reading this book, and most of the people who have written reviews about this book have been contractors.

3. Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Our rating: 7 / 10

Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

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Pros:

  • Comprehensive and detailed
  • Well written and easy to understand
  • Great assortment of images and diagrams
  • Information on troubleshooting is well laid out
  • Laid-out in a format that’s easy to follow
  • Good instructions on preventive maintenance
  • Covers all types of air conditioning and refrigeration systems

We loved this book for its detailed and helpful information on air conditioning and refrigeration. The book is organized to be easier to follow and some parts of it are even formatted for quick reference. The book includes a lot of images and diagrams that make it much easier to follow. Plus, it has a lot of information that’s not covered in other similar texts.

There are also several appendices that include things like tables, material listings, and conversion formulas for the English to Metric system. The format and writing style are incredibly easy to understand. The book makes a great reference for homeowners or first-time technicians. Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning includes information on troubleshooting as well.

4. Guide to NATE/ICE Certification Exams

Our rating: 7 / 10

Guide to NATE/ICE Certification Exams

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Pros:

  • Complete step-by-step study guide
  • Teaches you the material in a structured, easy-to-follow format
  • Highly recommended ¦ by the instructors

Cons:

  • Does not include all material found in the real exam
  • Some reviewers feel the practices are overly redundant
  • Limited room for more development on the subject

(Exam Guide) by Paul Whitehead

When it comes to HVAC certification, most internships and entry level positions will require the A1 or A2 exam. This guide by Paul Whitehead is geared toward guiding you through the foundation of the A1 and A2 practice exams. You’ll cover the subjects that will be on the exam, and learn from real example questions included in the book. ¦

Included is a complete study guide and practice exams filled with real questions to help you practice on your own time. The exam guide is great for those that have an idea of what kind of practice material they will need for the A1 and A2 exams.

5. Electricity for Refrigeration

Our rating: 7 / 10

Electricity for Refrigeration

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Pros:

  • Covers the fundamentals of refrigeration, HVAC, and electrical materials
  • Written by a refrigeration and air conditioning professional
  • Diagrams clearly explain the technical terms
  • Covers basic electrical theory
  • Lessons are easy to follow
  • Covers basic electrical theory
  • Includes a test at the end of each chapter
  • Provides room to make notes

Cons:

  • Multiple typos and spelling errors
  • At times, it's difficult to understand
  • Material becomes a bit redundant

Learning the Fundamentals of Refrigeration

If you have a basic understanding of both electricity and HVAC, this is the book for you. Written by an HVAC and refrigeration professional, Electricity for Refrigeration, Heating, and Air Conditioning: Learning the Fundamentals of Refrigeration covers how to apply basic electrical theory to HVAC and refrigeration systems.

From the information received in this book, you can design, install, and repair refrigeration, heating, and air-conditioning systems without any issues.

6. HVAC Equations

Our rating: 6 / 10

HVAC Equations

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Pros:

  • Updated with new content including the latest ANSI/ASHRAE standards
  • Clear formatting for easier reading
  • Illustrations are great for visual learners
  • Features detailed information and content about HVAC units and their uses
  • Suitable for use in classes or in self-education

If you’re looking for a comprehensive resource on HVAC and want to be able to take it with you on the go, check out the HVAC Equations, Data, and Rules of Thumb: ANSI/ASHRAE Fundamentals, Design, Installation, and Operations = ASHRAE Handbook, Chapter 6.

This book is a great resource on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It’s written by an expert in the field, William F. Prien, and has been cited in more than 600 textbooks.

7. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair

Our rating: 6 / 10

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair

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Pros:

  • Helps you troubleshoot problems yourself
  • Different units are explained
  • Sorts troubleshooting by equipment types
  • Includes schematics and illustrations
  • Includes an index at the end

Overall, we love this book because of the trouble-shooting method it provides. It divides the troubleshooting into different areas of the cooling system and explains reason for failure if a unit is not cooling or cooling improperly. It also explains likeable aesthetics that customers will have if the unit is fixed right the first time, while including diagrams, electrical circuits, typical manufacturer schematics and troubleshooting flowcharts.

8. HVAC Licensing Study Guide

Our rating: 5 / 10

HVAC Licensing Study Guide

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Pros:

  • Suitable for all 50 states
  • Covers fundamental knowledge, codes, and regulations
  • Lots of easy-to-see illustrations
  • Provides test tips and tricks

(6-Pack) by Firstline Contributors

The most important things a new HVAC tech must learn is how to read blueprints and how to troubleshoot. This comprehensive HVAC licensing study guide is an excellent resource for new technicians. It covers fundamental knowledge, codes and regulations, and troubleshooting information needed for technicians to succeed.

The HVAC Licensing Study Guide includes a six-pack bonus so you can have a copy for yourself and donate a copy to a new HVAC tech or apprentice learning the trade. After you go through the book, take practice tests on your own and improve your skills for the big test.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best HVAC system for the money?

In the age of Google and Siri, the library may seem a little old fashioned. And while it’s not a cool choice for enjoyable date nights, it’s an important option for those in search of knowledge. For our modern age of information, the good old library is still a great place to go hunting for books and information.

What is the most reliable HVAC brand?

A brand doesn’t matter. When purchasing a home heating and cooling system, what really matters is the quality of the system, not the brand. There are some great brands like Trane, Carrier, and Bryant out there that have great support and service, but all these companies buy their parts from the same handful of manufacturers.

Because these parts are interchangeable, the quality is the same. No matter who the manufacturer is, if the compressor is made by Ingersoll Rand, the lines are made by Saint Gobain, the coils came from Johnson Electric, you are going to get equal quality.

How difficult is HVAC Training?

It is very important to understand that training is the most expensive part of HVAC and will also cost you a lot of money. If you prefer to learn on your own, you have two options: self-study books and online courses. You can always find a book for any type of HVAC technology and read through it yourself.

You will receive the information you need but will be deprived from the personal guides or instructors that are important in completing your journey. Online courses can help you avoid spending big bucks on training but they lack the personal information that is needed.

A combination of training and books that also contains some personal instruction can help you beat the costs of going to an accredited school. The school training will be a lot faster and cheaper but it will require money, time, and effort to complete the training.

What classes do I need for HVAC?

In most cases, it is wise to find a program with a hands-on approach to teaching you how to become an HVAC Technician. Some programs teach you how to operate the controls after studying the theory behind them, others teach you how to do it from a mechanical standpoint, and still others provide you with the basic technical knowledge of how everything works.

However, nearly all HVAC programs require that you take some of the following courses:

  • Mechanical Drafting
  • Refrigeration
  • Analog and Digital Controls
  • Basic Electronics
  • Basic Electronics (A lot of programs have this as an elective rather than a required course)
  • Typical Curriculum for an HVAC Technician Program
  • Introduction to Drafting
  • Refrigeration I
  • Refrigeration II
  • Basic Electronics
  • Communications
  • Analog Controls
  • Digital Controls
  • Basic Mechanical
  • Buildings Construction

Conclusion

You definitely don’t need anything more than this book to start learning about HVAC, but if you’re looking for a more detailed guide, we suggest online HVAC training courses. If you want to build or repair HVAC equipment with confidence then you’ll need to have a basic understanding of how they work. With this understanding, you can troubleshoot problems and learn the various codes that relate to the industry.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning TechnologyBest OverallRefrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration RepairBudget PickAir Conditioning and Refrigeration Repair
Modern Refrigeration and Air ConditioningUpgrade PickModern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning