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A Calender of Events

A year's worth of heating history, down through the ages Read More


Kids do the darndest things, especially to heating systems. Read More

Come Fly With Me

We can learn so much about heating from the middle seat. Oh, and also from the aisle seat! Read More

When I'm 64

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? Read More

Give Us Hug

Hugs, warm showers and baths, thermostats that do what they’re supposed to do, balanced HVAC systems – all these things lead to happier, more-productive people. Isn’t that something you just want to rush out and tell people about? Read More

It's A Wonderful Life

How that famous holiday film and the inventor of vacuum heating came together in an old, New York City building. Read More

How To Get Read

These days, anyone can be a publisher. All you have to do is start a blog, a Facebook page, or a Web site. Build a following among your customers, and then just tell your story. Read More

No Thanks

Even at Thanksgiving, there are some things to which I will still say, "No thanks!" Read More

Want To Be Fascinating?

Put down the Facebook for a while and pick up these books. You’ll wind up knowing less about your pal’s Osso Buco photo but your brain will thank you for it. Read More

Perspectives From the Front

“The committee time they’re spending talking about it probably costs more than the savings they might see." Read More

My Day As a Potted Plant

What is the purpose of the new kid? Read More

A Labor of Love

I’ll bet the sixth or seventh generation will remember Robert just as fondly as he remembers those who came before and worked so hard building an American business. Read More

Channeling Mr. Horton

When it comes to this business, some things said in the '70s still apply today. Read More

You Don’t Need a Weatherman

Do energy-management systems make sense on old steam systems? Read More

What's In a Label?

Which has to do with political leanings and buying habits. Be careful how you define green. Read More

A Grand Punch in the Mouth

Remember what life was like before the Great Recession? Good. Read More

Creative Solutions

There's more than one way to get that job done! Read More

A hundred-year conversation about Germany

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Read More


I can only hope that we have learned something from all of this. Read More

We Put the Fish in Efficiency

What exactly is high efficiency higher than? Read More


Ray came down on me like a Mosler safe and taught me the dangers of hubris. Read More

Still Reaching

Twenty years later, some things still apply. Read More

George Washington's Axe

The building superintendent was from Russia, spoke little English, and had, while in Russia, worked on locomotives. All of which made him perfect for the job of keeping historic Fraunces Tavern up and running. Read More

Vertical Heating

A contractor installed thermostatic radiator valves on the supply side of all the radiators. The steam looked at those TRVs, shrugged and used the return lines to overheat the radiators. Steam is like that. It’s just looking for an air vent. Read More

Training or Learning?

Do so many trade shows still make sense? Read More

The House by Cedar Hill

The child is father to the man. Read More

Musings on Green Buildings

Think globally; pipe locally. And watch out for those windows! Read More

Newby Advice

Just starting out? Here's some advice you didn't ask for. Read More


It’s a tiny tale of life in an old New England city, but if repeated enough, it could be the way America comes back. Read More

What Might Have Been

At its start, the Pierce Foundation provided the funding for the Bureau of Research of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (which became ASHRAE). Somewhere along the way, the money got away from ASHRAE. It’s out there doing what I suppose is very noble work, but I wonder what Mr. Pierce would have thought of all of this. Read More

Novel Thoughts

What I've learned by reading the Pulitzer winners. Read More

Lester on Licensing

You gotta love this guy. Read More

Energy Mismanagement

How do we get people in apartment buildings to save energy? Now there's a good question! Read More


When it came to exploring for new ways to please a client, this guy was Magellan. Read More

Advanced Learning

Training doesn't necessarily mean learning. Read More

The Bling Thing

What my highly educated son-in-law has to say about contractors who use iPads and electronic tapes. Read More

Just Plain Nuts

Which has to do with some customers Read More

What If Apple Made A Boiler?

Some thoughts about the Nest thermostat, and a bit beyond that. Read More

Maybe I'm Amazed

Quite a year, this 2011! Read More

The Nameless Driver

It’s the culture you build that defines you, with or without a name. Read More

The Work

Cast-iron boilers do not come from catalogs. Read More

Solving a diveter-tee problem

About an old friend, and why that radiator in the upstairs bathroom wouldn't heat. Read More

Lester gets an idea

My friend can be very creative at times, and always persuasive. Read More

There's more to life than texting

Another (and I think, smarter) use for your smart phone! Read More

Where Did the Boilers Go?

Ever stop to think about how many abandoned homes there are in America right now? Read More


A story about working people who see more than others. Read More

Between Here and There

What I learned on my trip to Iceland. Read More

As Maine goes,

Maine is a good barometer for the future of oil heat Read More

Paul and Joe

Two sharp guys make it in New York City Read More


If you really set out to try, how would you go about losing business, and I mean losing it forever? What would you do? Read More

Thinking Business

Within every problem there is a business. But you have to keep your eyes open, and you have to think. Read More

What a rep should be

At least as far as I'm concerned. Read More

The 80/20 Rule

Sometimes, you just have to fire a customer. Read More

What's the future of hydronics?

It's commercial, and here's why. Read More

The Magical History Tour

A walk through Lower-Manhattan, and back into time, on a hot summer's day Read More

I have it on good authority.

It must be true. It's on the Internet! Read More


We reserve the right to be ridiculous. Read More

What's it worth?

It's about what the customer thinks, not what you think. Read More

Ways to Go Wrong on Your Next Job

There are lots of ways to screw up a heating job, and a heating business. If you want to be successful, study this list, and then do the opposite. Have fun! - Dan Holohan Read More


Lately, I'm noticing that those who go for the Eco-Bling often have no idea what they're doing when it comes to construction. They just want what's hip, Hollywood, and of course, noticeable to their friends and neighbors. Read More


Value is perception Read More


Looking for business? Look for problems first. Read More

On Questionable Quality

Is this the new American way? Read More

Pump and Circumstance

Some learn the hard way. Others never learn at all. Read More

Uncle Tony

Remember a beautiful man. Read More


On being a grandpa. Read More

Meet Bill Henry

Say hello to the guy who wrote Henry's Law. Read More


The things we take for granted. Read More

I'm a PC

When you run ads that knock your competitor you’re basically telling your competitor’s customers that they are stupid. And now you want them to buy from you? Read More

Delta Schmelta

Good luck with Brooklyn. Read More

The Great Experimenter

A bit about the late, great John Mills Read More

The Carbon Club

The group that did so much, and so quickly! Read More

Empty Wagons

Tough to sell from one of those. Read More

How are things in Heatingland?

Some wacky things in the news have made me wonder about the current state of Heatingland. Read More


You only have one. Call her. Read More


Life at the Dakota Read More

I choose to nod

Either you see what’s going on right now as a fantastic opportunity, one that will allow you to not participate in this recession, or you can see it as a really nasty thing, one worthy of your contempt. Read More

One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor

Within every problem there is a business for someone who's paying attention. Read More

So what do you do?

Which has to do with the trades. Read More

Supply House Extortion

Is that what it really is? Read More

Twelve things I learned this year

Here’s an even dozen things I learned this year by just being quiet, paying close attention, and thinking as hard as my old brain would allow. Read More

Lester on Efficiency

Violent, sure, but also quite scary. Read More

Holistic Heating

Holistic Heating means that you never listen to anyone's diagnosis until you've seen what you came to see. Read More

The Art of Troubleshooting

Too many times a heating man tries to solve a problem before he walks through the system. Read More

I don't get no respect.

Not if you're a radiator in Cape May! Read More

Jason, Rocky and Bullwinkle

It is good to be the hero. And I think that’s what these two wholesalers have become to their contractor customers. Heroes. Read More

Low-hanging fruit

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if America’s colleges and universities sent their young mechanical engineers out into the world with some hands-on experience? Read More

Quite a Messe!

Thoughts from ISH Read More

Something fishy

A tale about getting even. Read More

Quiet May shouts at us

People buy benefits. Features are not benefits. Read More

21 things you can expect from us as we begin your job

Contractors, feel free to use this one as a part of your presentations. Read More

A Customer Bill of Rights

If you're a contractor, you're welcome to use this for free. Read More

A Simple Copper Elbow

There is beauty in simple things. Read More

After the War Is Over

Predictions made by some pretty important Dead Men. These guys were good! Read More

An American Cathedral

Remember those who built it. Read More

An American Love Story

Which is about two people I will always remember, and how they chose to live their lives. Read More

Comfort and Efficiency

That's what consumers really want nowadays, and here's why. Read More

Comfort is Perception

We dress for the weather outside, regarless of the temperature inside. Read More


How much do you believe in your skills? Read More

Dangerous Dan and the Hole in the Ground

There comes a point in your life when you put the book down . . . Read More


It's important for us to be there. Read More

Don't look down.

Remembering a time of innocence Read More

Dopey Employees

All the marketing in the world can't get you around one properly placed dopey employee. Read More

Ernie's Estimates

What to do when a potential customer wants a complete design for free Read More

Feeling Taliesin

The spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright lives on within his beautiful home, which, sadly, is falling apart. Read More

First Rule of Troubleshooting

Remember that we're only human. Read More


Some insights from a 1917 brochure on how gaslighting led to gas heating Read More


Central heating is still relatively new, and we've come a long way in just one generation. Read More

Heating Lessons

They're everywhere! You just have to pay attention. Read More

How to become a better troubleshooter

Some things I learned along the way Read More

How to Heat a Cottage

The Breakers in Newport, RI was quite a challenge for this Dead Man Read More

Hydronic Considerations

There are Grandpas, and there are Boutiques. And then there are confused consumers. Read More

Hydronics' opponents

When hydronics steps into the ring nowadays, who's getting up off the other stool? Read More

I know you can't see this, but . . .

If you're teaching others, be they employees or customers, please read this. Read More

In vino veritas

What wine can teach us about those who buy heating systems. Read More

Jen's Dilemma

When it comes to sales, it's all about perspective. Read More

It's only natural!

It's a people business, and in more ways than one. Read More

It's the Neighbors

What motivates people to conserve energy and buy new heating euqipment? It's the neighbors! Read More

Lester does ISH

A scary American gets his first look at Germany Read More


It's good to know folks are watching out for me, but sometimes I long for the old days. Read More

Lost and Found

It's amazing what you can find (and lose) inside a heating system! Read More

Memories of Starbucks

Not the coffee shop. This place was much better. Read More

Missy, at year's end

Sometimes, wishes come true. Read More

Modern Times, Old Buildings

Living with an old heating sytem can be a challenge, unless you're a collge student, that is. Read More


How Frankie makes a very good living Read More

Never work for these people

The wisdom of many contractors, complied for your ready reference Read More

Guest Blog: On Hiring, by John Cataneo

Thoughtful comments from a successful NYC plumbing and heating contractor Read More

On Salesmanship

It's all about rapport, and thinking about the other person's needs before your own. Read More

On the Fence

Business lessons are everywhere. Read More

On Vigilance

Iin the mechanical world, we can never be too vigilant. Read More

One-Hundred Reasons

Why should I do business with you and not the other guy? Read More

Only Gus Touch!

Gus knows how to zone a system. Read More

Radiator tales you may not have heard

You can't make this stuff up! Read More

Recommended Reading for Heating Professionals

Great books that may change the way you see the world. Read More

Remembering Gil

Gil Carlson was my teacher, and I will remember him always. Read More

Screwdriver Willie and the cold tenants

Some old steam systems have orifices instead of steam traps. Be careful what you touch! Read More

Show and Tell

Visual aids make for a powerful presentation Read More

Snowmelting, Turfwarming and the Snows of December

Some random thoughts and nice memories on those three subjects Read More

So quiet, so thorough!

Get the right guy if you want great service Read More

Some Thoughts on a Snowy Morning

On doing the right thing. Read More

Square Pipes

Makes sense once you clear your mind! Read More


What my sister-in-law, Missy, taught be about troubleshooting, and about life Read More

Technicolor Engineering

Learn to speak in colors and clients will better see the beauty of what you do Read More

Temperature Scales

Ever wonder how they came to be? Read More

The dopey kid who used to wear your clothes

Some things to consider before finding fault with somone else's work Read More

The Dreaded Bear Report

Fatherly food for thought Read More

The Fitting

Or how Tommy and I found this really odd tee Read More

The Golden Rules of Hydronic Heating

Bite-size bits of truth for you to enjoy. Read More

The Quality of Heating Work

Will mediocrity always be a part of this trade? Read More

The Radiator

The often unseen beauty of everyday things Read More

The World According to Missy

Which has to do with love, not heating Read More

They're not that different

How I came to be a well-known writer in Iran Read More

Things to Consider

A few things to consider as you go about the business of heating Read More

Think before writing

Poorly chosen words can wind up in court Read More

This one's for Mark

I'm speaking out for those who often can't. Read More

Three Models

Three business models to consider, and one important question - Do you really know how to sell? Read More


Those who have learned The Steam have an even greater lesson to teach us. Read More

Times change

Times change, but there will always be knuckleheads. Read More

To Delight the Customer

Some insight from a manufacturer, and some advice from a Dead Man Read More

Tom's Thumb

Some guys just know how to get the job done! Read More


There's something missing from central heating, and I think it's something we all long for. Read More

Washington Steam

How the Dead Men once heated the D.C. Mall Read More

Wasted Energy

And on a grand, glorious (and pretty amusing) scale Read More

We're Probably Not the Low-bidders

Contractors, feel free to use this one as a part of your presentation Read More

What's the Right Temperature?

It all depends on where you're coming from! Read More


Some thoughts on changing times Read More

Where Babies Come From

Ferguson proves that a good wholesaler adds plenty of value. Read More

Why measure?

Kids in our business say the cutest things. Read More

You may be wondering how we arrived at the price on your job.

Contractors, feel free to use this one as a part of your presentation Read More

On Firing, by John Cataneo

Guest Blog: Some days you hire, other days you fire. Here's some superb advice on the firing part. Read More