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Improve Appliance Safety and Efficiency, and Reduce Toxic Compound Risk with Combustion Analysis

Testo 330 Combustion AnalyzerWith rising energy prices a constant concern, homeowners want to know that their heating and air system is operating efficiently, but also safely. [Digital Combustion Analyzers] give HVAC/R professionals a more accurate, real-time flue gas analysis. Whether you’re working with gas, oil, wood, or coal appliances, combustion analysis aids in measuring carbon monoxide for environmental compliance and helps you improve combustion efficiency and safety in residential systems. It’s important to perform a combustion analysis during routine service or after modifications have been made that can affect the combustion process. Perform a combustion analysis when you want to:

  • Verify the equipment’s safety before and after service.
  • Calculate and reach the equipment’s maximum combustion efficiency.
  • Determine how much toxic compounds the equipment produces.
  • Review operational conformance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Improve Fuel and Combustion Efficiency
As equipment ages, its efficiency level lessens. Natural gas or propane combustion appliances such as boilers, furnaces, or water heaters, and gas fireplaces that are improperly installed or tuned can be operating inefficiently, wasting energy and creating health hazards. Dirt, debris, back drafting, deteriorating burners, etc. can affect the combustion process, creating toxic emissions and compromising residents’ and equipment safety. Combustion efficiency is a measurement of how well the fuel being burned is being used in the combustion process. Obtaining an accurate snapshot of an equipment’s combustion efficiency means performing a combustion analysis and knowing what to compare them against. Heat energy leaving a system’s flue can be a major source of lost fuel energy. An analysis of the combustion gases can pinpoint problems like too much air or too much fuel, and therefore help residents reduce the heat loss and save fuel costs by improving fuel efficiency.  

Begin the combustion analysis by measuring the flue gas concentrations and the gas temperature. The analysis may also include the measurement of draft pressure and soot level. Use calculated combustion parameters like combustion efficiency and thermal to interpret the measurements. Efficiency calculated by the combustion analyzer is a modified equation that considers combustion efficiency and stack losses, and provides a sound estimation of the appliance's steady-state efficiency.

Improve Safety and Reduce Emissions
When fuel-burning appliances are not properly vented, operating, or maintained, carbon monoxide,  sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other toxic compounds accumulate during the combustion process.  A reduction in excess air can cause a rapid increase of carbon monoxide which deteriorates the appliance and system safety, and compromises the safety of the residents. The CDC estimates that unintentional CO exposure accounts for 500 deaths in the United States each year.  Combustion analysis can monitor and help prevent these toxic compound emissions in accordance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations. 

High levels of carbon monoxide emissions form primarily because of incomplete combustion, which happens because of:

  • Insufficient mixing of air and fuel.
  • Insufficient air supply to the flame
  • Insufficient time to burn
  • Cooling of the flame temperature before combustion is complete
  • Irregular maintenance.

While the desirable level of carbon monoxide in the home is zero, it’s quite impossible to obtain. Performing routine maintenance, system inspections, proper setup and operation, and combustion analysis, can limit the formation of carbon monoxide, keeping it at an acceptable stack level. The goal is to minimize exposure in accordance with local regulations, and make sure residents are safe.

HVAC professionals should include combustion analysis as part of their standard maintenance routine for residential customers to ensure appliances are operating safely and efficiently in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and conform to environmental measurements. Use digital, hand-held combustion analyzers like [Testo 330-1G LL kit 2] which has a full color graphic display that allows the user to visualize the flue gas measurement data graphically. The combustion analyzer combines field-replaceable, pre-calibrated sensor technology and a high level of safety for a long product life span and easy handling.  The Testo 330-1G LL printer kit 4 has upgraded high-range 0-3,000 ppm NO module (1 ppm resolution) for great testing options.  The Testo 330-2G LL kit 1 combustion analyzer measures O2, CO (to 30,000ppm), temperature, pressure and other required combustion efficiency parameters. In addition, this flue gas analyzer has NOX upgradeability, on-site printout capability, large memory and graphic tuning chart to show ideal combustion efficiency. Testo 330-2G LL kit 2 combustion analyzer includes sensors to measure O2, CO, and NO, for maximum combustion efficiency. In addition this flue gas analyzer measures boiler combustion analysis of temperature, pressure and other required combustion efficiency parameters.

Digital combustion analyzers reduce or eliminate the many interpolation, calibration, and repeatability errors associated with traditional wet kit combustion analysis, and provide real-time, reliable results for you and your residential customers.