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The Importance of Combustion Analysis

Monday, November 12, 2018

It's almost winter and combustion analysis on your fuel-burning equipment is important.

Improve Efficiencies and Safety
Good equipment maintenance practice, which includes combustion analysis, enables the HVAC technician to fully verify and maintain the equipment operating specifications for safe and efficient operation. Many manufacturers suggest that flue gas analysis be performed at least annually. Adjustments that affect combustion will tend to drift with time. Wind conditions and seasonal changes in temperature and barometric pressure can cause the excess air in a system to fluctuate several percent. A reduction in excess air can cause, in turn, a rapid increase of highly toxic carbon monoxide and explosive gases, resulting in rapid deterioration in system safety and efficiency. Low draft pressures in the flue can further result in these combustion gases building up in the combustion chamber or being vented indoors. Excessive draft pressures in the flue also can cause turbulence in the system. This can prevent complete combustion and pull explosive gases into the flue or cause flame impingement and damage in the combustion chamber and to the heat exchanger material resulting in premature equipment failure.

What is Combustion Analysis?
If you have a fuel-burning system like a Furnace, Makeup Air Unit or a Boiler, you need to have a flue to exhaust the combustion gases. When the system is operating properly, there will be a certain mixture of exhaust gases that indicate how much of the fuel is burned and if the air-to-fuel ratio is satisfactory. Our technicians will used advanced equipment to monitor the gases flowing through your system's flue.

Benefits of Combustion Analysis
By learning what the composition of the system's flue gases are, one can figure out if too much air is getting into the combustion chamber or if there's too much fuel. If there's too much air we can find places where additional air is getting pulled into the combustion process. If there's too much fuel we could locate the source of that as well. Proper operation starts with proper maintenance that includes combustion analysis.

Heat energy leaving the system exhaust flue (or stack) is often the largest single source of lost fuel energy and is made up of the Dry Gas loss and Latent Heat Loss. Although some flue loss is unavoidable, an equipment tune-up using combustion analysis data can often significantly reduce this source of heat loss and save fuel costs by improving fuel efficiency.

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