By Dan Kelly
May 6, 2019
Changes are happening in the HVAC-R industry
In our fast-paced society, everything around us is changing at such a breakneck speed that it can be hard to keep up. But the truth is that everything is changing, and your job is to be alert and educated on the manufacturer’s equipment and their associated performance requirements, while also preparing for environmental compliance.
This is especially true for the HVACR industry. When it comes to performing combustion analysis on anything from atmospheric to condensing boilers, the instruments you use should be able to grow with you and your business. The choices you make today could very well impact the success of your business and customer compliance when it comes to air quality standards, for you have the opportunity to present a better future for both you and your customers tomorrow.
How do the newest analyzers provide the best-quality work?
There are several considerations any seasoned contractor takes into account when performing combustion analysis:
- Cost of ownership
- Ease of use and maintenance
How can you, as a contractor, make your job more efficient? Better still, how can you reduce the possibility of human error from the beginning to end of the process? New technological advances in combustion analysers make it possible. Advancements like documentation and reporting directly from the analyser and mobile app, along with the ability to perform firmware upgrades at no cost, help in greatly reducing error and cost of ownership. Using features like these also helps your work stand out from your competition, and keeps your business ahead of the game.
I’m fine with the analyser I’m using. Why should I consider investing in the newest technology?
The quality of your work says so much about you and your business. Just as you stand behind the work you do, the instruments you use should stand behind you. The analyser you are using should be:
If you believe that your current analyser falls short in these areas, then it may be time to consider a newer instrument that will provide you with advancements imperative to maintaining a business in these changing times. The following are ten advancements to look out for in the most advanced analysers used in the field today.
The 10 Advancements to Look Out For in the Newest Combustion Analysers
1. Intuitive characteristics
No one wants to pick up an unfamiliar tool and fumble around with it because either the manual or the instrument itself made no sense. However, some the most advanced designs in combustion analysers today are coming from the USA with a variety of users in mind. Now you can pick one up and virtually begin using it because it functions very similarly to the way your phone or computer operates. Tailor-made analysers, designed using technology to work the way you think, will result in you spending much less time deciphering a lengthy instruction manual.
2. Interchangeable lithium ion and disposable batteries
While the combustion analysers of the past used either lithium ion or disposable batteries, a new design out of America uses both. “Now you don’t have to worry about batteries dying in the field, because you can simply swap out one or the other,” said Rudy Leatherman, training manager for HBB Pro Sales group. “A lithium ion battery will provide about twelve hours of operation. If the battery runs out and you don’t have time to charge it, you can swap the battery out promptly with four AA batteries. This is a nice feature to have,” he said.
3. Ability to add NO, NO2, and SO2 to unit
Advancements in the newest analysers allow your instrument to grow with you. This means that, when changes arise in the industry, their versatility allows you to add features instead of having to replace your instrument. The combustion analysers today are expandable so that you can buy a basic analyser with oxygen and carbon monoxide sensors, allowing end users to add sensors in the field as necessary.
4. Bluetooth® that connects to the app
Before, boilers were tuned by pulling a flue gas sample from the stack. In the case of a rear breach boiler, hose extensions were available, but it took a long time to pull the flue gas sample from the breach of the boiler to where the burner was being set-up. However, this is no longer the case. Now, with the standard hose length, you can transmit test results to your iPhone, iPad, or Android devise via Bluetooth®, and get live continuous read outs. With newer Bluetooth® enabled analysers that connect to an app, you get fast results, and you can analyse and document your report from a smart device.
5. Sensor Advancements
To prevent cross-sensitivity and provide more accurate test results with the CO sensor, a filter removes NOx and the sensors are hydrogen compensated to provide flue gas samples with more accurate CO readings. Oxygen sensor technology has also advanced to where sensor life is expected to be up to 5 to 7 years. That is most definitely worth the investment.
6. Integrated hose and probe connection
Sample hoses have evolved from being somewhat cumbersome toward progressing to modular connectors that facilitate hooking up the analyser. Some hose and probe assembly even come with replaceable probes so that, in the event a longer probe is needed or the existing probe is damaged, the hose does not need replacing as well.
Mr. Kevin Jackson, a lead boiler mechanic for the United States Marine Corp at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, explains that, “Newer analysers have integrated the hose, the probe and the actual analyser. The cord is now integrated, and acts as one big modular plug. The fact that they design them this way is great because it makes my life a lot simpler.” With the latest technology in combustion analysers, the hose and probe interaction is now a one-click connection.
7. Integrated Magnets
New analyser designs come with integrated magnets, eliminating the need to buy optional magnetic boots or cover accessories for the analysers. This way, you can attach the analysers to the back of the boiler, while being hands free to conduct the test.
8. Touch screen
Using touchscreen technology enables both the display and keypad to drive analyser functions. Modern touchscreens are now available that are large enough to be read at distances of at least 4 feet. These industrial touch screens also allow for easily tailored preferences when viewing customer data. This feature is a convenient extension of the analysers intuitive characteristics.
9. Data-logging feature
Today’s modern analysers feature more intuitive data logging features, allowing end users to quickly capture results, view them in a variety of ways and save them for future planned maintenance work for the customer. The most advanced analysers today offer very convenient data-logging features.
Mr. Kevin Jackson stands behind the latest data-logging features as a professional stroke of genius. While taking samples, he states that the analyser logs the information electronically. “When I get back to the shop later, I can actually download this data. And, once I put it into my computer, I can manipulate it as a graph for a customer. Once these logs are created, they can then be stored in a file for future reference, so I will know the maintenance history of every boiler and can schedule for the type of maintenance needed.” With easy-to-interpret data at your disposal, you can better inform your customer of the work you are doing for them.
10. Calibrations performed within unit
The newest combustion analysers virtually do your calibrations for you. By transferring all sensor information using Near Field Communication (NFC), you are ensured delivery of accurate results. With NFC, the user simply taps the new sensor to the combustion analyser, and the analyser provides the calibration code and type of sensor. It also identifies in which position the user should be placing the sensor within the analyser, all while giving the user a calibration confirmation message.
Don’t forget to consider a sample conditioner
A sample conditioner is essential when you require the upmost in accuracy for your NOx & SO2 measurements. Using a sample conditioner condenses the moisture out of the flue gases, maintaining the integrity of your NO2 & SO2 readings, which gives increased accuracy.
Dan Kelly, Product Manager, Combustion and Portable Instruments, Bacharach