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Heating Systems Troubleshooting & Repair

Maintenance Tips and Forensic Observation

Heating Systems Troubleshooting & Repair
Maintenance Tips and Forensic Observation

John Certuse, P.E.


This is the print version of this title. It also comes in an eBook format

that you can read on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Android device. 

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Most of the work technicians routinely perform is in maintaining existing equipment as opposed to installing new systems. The procedures and visual observation conditions presented in this title will enable technicians to perform their tasks more effectively. By knowing how the equipment is designed, built, and how the materials behave over time, they will be better able to execute a maintenance program extending equipment life and reducing unplanned malfunctions. This book’s emphasis is on implementing these actions correctly and in a timely basis so that equipment experiences an increase in “life expectancy,” reliability, more efficient energy performance, and a reduction in the possibility of future failures and liability. While the main focus of this work is on equipment installed in residential homes, the procedures detailed certainly apply to larger commercial heating equipment as well.


  • Addresses troubleshooting and repair actions on residential heating equipment and controls.
  • Detailed procedures cover visual observations and inspection of impending equipment failure as well as necessary preventive maintenance actions.
  • Includes icons throughout with maintenance tips, forensic observations.
  • Presents visual equipment inspection observations as well as step-by-step procedures for preventive maintenance, along with numerous photographs of failed equipment detailing the consequences of inadequate preventive maintenance.
  • An affiliated website ( contains supporting video footage of demonstrations of failed equipment and proper/improper maintenance procedures. Color photographs of illustrations in the book also will be available on the website.

John Certuse is a Registered Professional Engineer, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, and President of The National Academy of Forensic Engineers. A graduate of The Massachusetts Maritime Academy, he is a licensed Pipefitter and Oil Burner Technician and has provided failure analysis and fire investigation causes of equipment for the legal and insurance industries since 1990.  He has contributed articles to the Oil Heating Journal.



  • Ch. 1—Maintenance Theory
  • Ch. 2—Heating System Types and Preventive Maintenance
  • Ch. 3—Installation to Code and Ongoing Maintenance
  • Ch. 4—Boiler Design
  • Ch. 5—Residential Furnace Design
  • Ch. 6—The Oil Burner and Fuel System
  • Ch. 7—The Gas Burner System
  • Ch. 8—Soot Damage and Poor Indoor Air Quality in Homes
  • Ch. 9—Heating System Controls and Required Preventive Maintenance
  • Ch. 10—Combustion Chamber Refractory
  • Ch. 11—Boiler Water Chemistry
  • Ch. 12—Boiler and Furnace Annual Inspection and Cleaning Review