The first reference that you should obtain is free. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying or NCEES develops, administers and scores the P.E. exam. The NCEES also publishes an exam specification with the various topics that can be on the exam. It is important to use this document to help direct your studying.
The second must have reference is the NCEES HVAC and Refrigeration Sample Questions and Solutions. This reference is important because it allows you to get familiar with the test format, test material and level of difficulty. I would suggest going through this reference earlier in your studying to provide further direction and focus in your studying.
The Mechanical Engineering Reference Manual or MERM is the most popular and most comprehensive manual designed for the Mechanical Professional Engineer. It is recommended that the engineer be familiar with the contents of this book and to bring this book to the exam. This book has a lot of information on a wide range of mechanical engineering topics, so it is important to use the NCEES exam specifications and the previously discussed criteria to determine what is important and what isn't important.
TThis is a must have resource for the HVAC and Refrigeration portion of the exam. It contains valuable information that can be used during the exam and is a common resource for the practicing professional engineer. Important resources found in this book include but are not limited to:
Roof, Wall, Window material properties
Duct sizing formulas, graphs and material properties
Pipe sizing formulas, graphs and material properties
This book provides information on various HVAC equipment and systems. It is recommended that this book be reviewed prior to the exam, in order to gain an understanding of the different pieces of HVAC equipment. Often times, engineers in training do not get exposed to all the popular pieces of equipment during their training period. This book will provide the necessary exposure to the various equipment and systems.
This book provides information on various HVAC Applications. It provides various scenarios encountered by HVAC Engineers and how the systems and equipment discussed in the previous book are used in different applications. It is recommended that this book be reviewed slightly prior to the exam, in order to gain an understanding of the different applications encountered. Often times, engineers in training do not get exposed to the wide variety of HVAC applications. This book will provide the necessary exposure to the various applications.
The final book in the ASHRAE series is ASHRAE Refrigeration. This book discusses the various refrigeration systems and excludes the HVAC portion of HVAC/R. This book is necessary to bring into the exam because of the thermal properties of foods and refrigerant pipe sizing. All of the ASHRAE books go into much more detail than is necessary for the exam, it is important to remember that for this exam the level of complexity must allow for a problem to be completed in 6 minutes and the problem must not be too obscure and detailed.
ASHRAE 15, Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systems
Often times the HVAC engineer will have to design a Refrigeration System and this system and this system must meet the requirements set forth in this standard. It also provides safety designations and classifications of refrigerants.
ASHRAE 55, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy
This standard provides the method and requirements for determining optimum thermal environmental conditions for human occupancy.
ASHRAE 62.1, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
This standard provides the minimum ventilation requirements for indoor occupied spaces. This standard is used often by practicing engineers when determining outside air and exhaust air requirements for spaces, since many governing city, state and federal agencies require their projects to meet this standard.
ASHRAE 90.1, Energy Standard for Building Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
This standard provides the minimum energy efficiency requirements for common HVAC equipment. This standard is used often by practicing engineers when selecting and modelling HVAC equipment, since many governing city, state and federal agencies require their projects to meet this standard.
The National Fire Protection Agency provides codes and standards related to fire protection. The only recommended NFPA codes are those relating to HVAC systems. These codes are (1) NFPA 90A and 90B, which are titled the Standard for the Installation of Air Conditioning and Ventilating Systems and the Standard for the Installation of Warm Air Heating and Air Conditioning Systems