Hot Off the Presses scours the internet for newly published books from unknown authors, and saves everyone else the trouble of actually reading books to find out if they’re good or not. New posts every Tuesday and Thursday. This is meant for entertainment purposes only, not serious consumer advice. And there will be spoilers.
This was a surprise on my daily grind of scrolling past Book 49 of the Problematic Sexy Werepires series and a bunch of murder mysteries with covers by Lisa Frank. At first I wasn’t sure I was in the right place, but sure enough, I was looking at products on Amazon listed as “fiction and literature.” This book is literature, and we’re all just going to have to live with that. Is it a heart-pounding thriller? A scintillating romance? An epic adventure? Why, it’s none of these things, and less! HVAC Troubleshooting handbook Questions Answer: HVAC Troubleshooting Chiller Cooling Tower Ahu Fcu heat load calculation Hvac design by Mohammad Imran is a story about how HVAC units work, how their malfunctions can be diagnosed and repaired, and (spoiler alert!) how to evaluate potential new hires to your HVAC business.
My father was an engineer (I mean, he still is, but he was one also), so I feel like I understand the mindset. A good engineer is the sort of person who will own a car, buy a second car, and then when you ask them how many cars they own they will go to the garage to count them. No shortcuts or assumptions, because everything has to work right, without excuses. And they need to be diligent in this way because engineers have one of the most important jobs in the world. Whether they are structural engineers, traffic engineers, or today’s heroes HVAC engineers, their chief role is simple: to save us from architects. Architecture is a centuries-old prank in which people who pay a lot of money to look homeless build model railway villages in real life, and watch us try to drag our tired, brittle bodies through buildings that feel like they were designed by Cenobites. Despite paying them a lot of money for their services, we’ve never been able to convince architects to make things that anyone actually wants, and so it is especially important that, if we have to live in a cement cube cantilevered over a highway, we can at least keep the interior cool and dry.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Our story begins with a prologue, in which Willis Haviland Carrier invents the electrical air conditioning unit in 1902, and the modern home setup by 1933. Carrier’s idea was to combine mechanical cooling methods with an electrically powered compressor. By the way, architects don’t call ideas “ideas.” They call them “discoveries.” So you don’t have an idea for a new type of balcony; you discovered a new type of balcony. God, they’re obnoxious.
I learned a lot of technical jargon, and even a little bit of what it means. A ton of refrigeration is the rate of heat transfer needed to make a ton of ice in a day. I learned that oil analysis is a thing. Tribologists can study the oil coming out of a machine for contaminants, wear debris, and other signs of invisible malfunction deep within the machine. I learned about load calculations, and there is even a helpful paragraph that explains what a hammer is.
The principles of an AC unit are simple, but the device itself has many parts. The compressor pushes the fluid at high pressure, causing the fluid to radiate some of its heat. Then the fluid’s pressure is reduced, causing it to evaporate and draw heat energy from the air. It’s like the fluid is a rag and you’re continually soaking up the heat in your house and wringing it out into the world, where hopefully a bunch of extra heat isn’t going to kill us all. Fingers crossed on that one. Then the plot thickens when you consider the effects of water evaporating and condensing. The condensation caused by the cooling process allows AC units to regulate humidity as well. A parade of different HVAC machines and setups flickers past my eyes at this point, and I will admit after two readings I still cannot tell you exactly what I read about dual enthalpy air handling units or split air cooling towers. But this book is about troubleshooting, so let’s shoot some trouble! What can go wrong with my HVAC system, and what do I do about it?
Instead of building a house in the shape of the number seven and expecting you to be grateful for it, HVAC engineers have to actually identify mistakes and fix problems. Vibrating machine? Loose compressor belt. Bad air quality? Filter not fitted and sealed properly. But then there’s a twist. While the title promises us advice on how to fix an air conditioning unit, it offers more help in getting other people to do it for us. The last third or so of the book is interview questions you can ask prospective hires to gauge how prepared they are for the cut-throat world of HVAC installation and repair. Just for fun, let’s see how many of you would cut the HVAC mustard.
A customer job is taking longer than it should and you have another appointment coming up. What do you do?
What variable is described using the term CFM?
Your client doesn’t want to work all day in a Brutalist nightmare with no natural light. Do you build it anyway (hint: you are a genius who can do no wrong)?
What is a 2-way valve and a 3-way valve? Where would we use them and why?
Overall, HVAC Troubleshooting handbook Questions Answer has most of the things I was expecting from a good debut novel. I was a bit disappointed that nobody mentions the Room Temperature Room where John Goodman works, but maybe that’s coming in the sequel. There is setup and payoff, twists and turns, and plenty of lessons on the nature of mankind. Seriously, make sure your filter is properly fitted and sealed, when will we learn? At ten dollars it’s a steep price for a story so niche, but someone out there is going to get a lot out of this. Check it out if you’re looking for something different.
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