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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California/Nevada
    Posts
    3,729

    How to learn boilers and chillers?

    ...so i thought i hit the jackpot.

    i got hired into a company that advertises boilers and chillers, AND they send me to some AC classes.


    ...come to find out... the owner told me he doesn't know anyone who gives classes on boilers and chillers,
    and every time they get a job for that stuff, they contract out.


    they send me to buildings with hydronics
    so i guess if it's not the filter or something simple ...i'm out


    the books i bought gloss through the basics, they don't talk about troubleshooting, or even PM inspections,
    i don't even have the skill to tell someone their system is opporating safely.


    the union has a monopoly on this stuff?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    4,970
    hmmmmm .... I know what your saying there. Someone calls us saying they have a boiler ........ I tell them to call a plumber

    I don't mess with them being I have never gotten anyone willing to teach me much about them being they knew I would end up as competition, can't blame them.

    Have taken boiler classes but that didnt take place of hands on experiance. Class ended up with 90% looking for basics when it was set up for people already working under supervision , as a brush up to get a boilers licence and have all the required hours. Yep ....... bad description of course and probably purposly

    Well at least it supplied you a good book ....... still doesn't replace hands on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,376
    You want to learn chillers? Either become a chiller plant operator or trail behind a seasoned chiller tech. The former won't give you as much mechanical experience, but if you use the opportunity well, you can learn a lot about chillers by being around them all the time. No two plants are alike, but they all operate in a similar fashion; they're trying to chill water for either process or space conditioning purposes.

    Boilers? Same deal. Either spend time being trained to operate one or working with a seasoned boiler tech (an ex Navy snipe boiler tech...they can tell you a thing or two about steam!)

    Chillers are very expensive machines; you gotta be on your game to both operate them correctly and to service them correctly. If you want to go the service route, look for being trained on performing chiller stops....great way to learn the various machines out there.

    As for classes, my own community college is looking at creating a commercial air conditioning course, which would touch on chillers, boilers, VAV's, etc. Even at that it would be an introductory course...the learning curve for all of this stuff is pretty steep. If I were you I'd quietly keep an eye open for an opportunity in your current position to make your desire to learn this equipment possible. You get a chance, go for it. Good chiller and boiler operators and techs do not grow on trees.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Chicago, N/W burbs
    Posts
    8,004
    Find a building that has boilers and/or chillers
    Ask to meet the building engineer
    Ask him who services their chillers and boilers
    Go and get a job there
    You'll start out being replaceable by an oily rag
    work your way up
    OR you can join the United States Navy
    Do the oily rag thing as a BT (Now they're all MM's)
    Get out of the Navy
    If you're in Canada then you get OOt of da Navy.....LOL
    Find a commercial contractor
    start all over again with the oily rag thing
    work your way up
    attend multiple classes and seminars
    most designed to sell you something
    get frustrated at the lack of training on the things you need to learn
    learn some more
    eventually learn enough to get by
    then get drunk on new years eve and spend your pathetic lonely life posting on an hvac chat forum about how you got to where you are
    drink another shot
    kick the dog
    chew some snuff
    rub one out
    die
    R2B4BTU

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,263
    Oi Otto, I feel some of your pain. Sitting around alone on NYE sucks arse. I have the kids tonight, so no goin out for me Ah well. Here is one to you !
    I r the king of the world!...or at least I get to stand on the roof and look down on the rest of yall

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    2,089
    Quote Originally Posted by wolfstrike View Post
    ...so i thought i hit the jackpot.

    i got hired into a company that advertises boilers and chillers, AND they send me to some AC classes.


    ...come to find out... the owner told me he doesn't know anyone who gives classes on boilers and chillers,
    and every time they get a job for that stuff, they contract out.


    they send me to buildings with hydronics
    so i guess if it's not the filter or something simple ...i'm out


    the books i bought gloss through the basics, they don't talk about troubleshooting, or even PM inspections,
    i don't even have the skill to tell someone their system is opporating safely.


    the union has a monopoly on this stuff?

    go on line and look up IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers), find the stationary local near you check their web page. If they have a link to training check there. Local #39 IUOE has classes through out Northern Calif. Members have first crack at the classes but almost all classes have someone in it who is not a member. the calss will cost ,ore for mon members.

    I know out local does have a boiler class or two.
    Old snipes don't die they just loose their steam

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    4,366

    The bible....

    .......Steam Plant Operation.

    If you are serious about leaning boilers, order this book. There is more information in it than you'll ever absorb. I always use this book as a reference. Priceless.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Tgs...um=4&ct=result
    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
    -Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    East Stroudsburg, PA
    Posts
    13,215
    Or, read every single word that Dan Holahan has ever written, get a job with a residential boiler contractor as Otto's oily rag, )don't worry, you'll be on the call schedule a week later, ) then find a job with someone doing light commercial, as an Otto rag, bug all the older guys a lot. Volunteer to help with big stuff.

    For chillers, learn the hydronics and refrigerant cycles, then get a job doing chillers, where you'll find out that what you know isn't enough.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    somewhere i belong
    Posts
    149
    Nothing replaces hands on experience but reading anything you can get your hands on can't hurt. Attached is some good websites to browse around for boiler stuff. sorry don't work on chillers.

    www.powerflame.com
    www.smithboilers.com
    www.websterfuelpumps.com
    www.hurstboiler.com
    http://www.johnzink.com/products/bur...gp_lit.htm#man (gordon Piatt burners)
    www.suntecpumps.com
    www.maxitrol.com

    Hopefully days of reading might teach ya something you didn't know. best of luck
    another day of just living dream

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    in my lumpy chair
    Posts
    1,952
    Quote Originally Posted by brocco82 View Post
    Nothing replaces hands on experience but reading anything you can get your hands on can't hurt. Attached is some good websites to browse around for boiler stuff. sorry don't work on chillers.

    www.powerflame.com
    www.smithboilers.com
    www.websterfuelpumps.com
    www.hurstboiler.com
    http://www.johnzink.com/products/bur...gp_lit.htm#man (gordon Piatt burners)
    www.suntecpumps.com
    www.maxitrol.com

    Hopefully days of reading might teach ya something you didn't know. best of luck
    Nice links
    I dont warranty Tinkeritus

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,263
    Oops sorry about the self pity lame ass hijack last night...

    Good links

    About that book, is it all steam? Or dose it touch on water? I personally stay mostly away from steam, just not many around here any more, and often they have been hacked and modified so much over the years that they are just a huge PIA. I am sure that there are plenty of industrial one that are in good order, but I don't get into the really big stuff. I do enjoy water boilers though, and the mod cons are fun.
    I r the king of the world!...or at least I get to stand on the roof and look down on the rest of yall

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    where the beer flows like wine
    Posts
    2,871
    Centrifugals chillers are some of the most complicated machines and a specialty by itself, if you want to learn about them ask your boss to send you to Entech sales and service in Texas they offer many classes for almost any chiller in the market.
    Reciprocating and scrolls chillers are not different than a roof top air-conditioning unit and no too hard to figure out if you know refrigeration, screws are a bit more complicated but no too difficult either and absorbers are a whole new ball game.
    Boilers are fairly easy to learn and work on, I recommend you a trip to the little red schoolhouse in Illinois its free and pretty good, they teach you all you need to know about boilers, here a couple of links

    http://www.entechsales.com/Mechanica.../Training.aspx

    http://schoolhouse.itt.com/LRS-Schoo...Facilities.asp

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Lady Lake, Florida
    Posts
    799
    I believe more than a few of us have fell for those promises made and never fullfilled that the tech will attend technical qualification classes because the shop is a local rep for a given brand. As I learned the hard way maybe 1 tech in a shop of 4 techs, the service manager, and owner attends the classes. None of those listed will ever completely teach the others and controls who gets what work. These shops usually have a high turnover rate despite being listed as factory reps for specific brands and types of equipment. Eventually you will find a decent team oriented shop.

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