Combustion Analysis Training
Today, most oil fired equipment is still being serviced and adjusted with traditional manual combustion efficiency test equipment (or wet kits) for field service and seldom is testing is done on gas, coal, or wood burning appliances. These kits generally consist of a stack thermometer, draft gauge, wet chemical CO2 gas tester, slide rule and smoke pump. Although this equipment has served the industry well over the years, faster, more accurate, real time flue gas analysis is necessary.
Many service technicians are reluctant to used digital combustion analyzers; there is a certain comfort in using what we are used to, and in some cases we figure if we don't know, we cannot be held responsible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Failure to test does not absolve you of liability. Information is power whether it is used for you or against you.
With digital equipment, many errors with the measurement process are reduced or eliminated. Analog measurement errors can be the result of interpolation errors, calibration errors, poor repeatability of the measurement, and most importantly not having a procedure in place to consistently repeat the measurement process.
Tuning a system should happen in real time, not "after the fact" with a very highly "averaged" sample. (Each squeeze of a wet kit bulb represents a different snapshot of the flue gas. A traditional test blends all those snapshots together into one reading.)
Only digital analyzers allow you to take real time tests. You cannot do a real time test with a wet kit; it is physically impossible to take the sample fast enough and do the slide rule calculation.
Today testing is not an option, but a necessity on every gas, oil, wood, or coal appliance that you might service. The truth is digital combustion analyzers are faster, more accurate, more reliable, and have a higher repeatability than most analog tools. Digital analyzers stay in calibration, allow trending, allow more complex functions and save time. Digital analyzers allow data to be recorded and reported without human error, and provide reliable and accurate results for you and your customers. Data can be recorded much faster than any technician could ever do the calculations and data can also be recorded whether or not the technician is there to see it (eg. using features like the online mode on certain analyzers). In most cases, the data is an un-editable record, so what you see was what was measured at the jobsite. Permanent records allow the user to track system changes and determine if the system is operating within the design parameters or if changes have taken place.