Flue Gas Analysers: Meet the new generation saving lives, time and moneyJuly 12, 2016
The use of flue gas analysers by engineers was, at one time, an optional part of the job, but now they’re an essential tool.
So why is this equipment so important?
Flue gas analysers measure the gases present in an appliance’s flue, helping to determine whether the boiler is set up correctly, efficiently and safely. For obvious reasons, no one wants excess carbon monoxide emissions in the flue which, if leaked, can have potentially harmful or even fatal effects on people.
Changes in technology
Things have changed considerably since the first flue gas analysers were introduced to the market. Unlike today, their use wasn’t widespread, but pioneering companies like British Gas quickly saw the benefits of the increased control it gave their service engineers. Early analysers simply measured the CO and CO/CO2 ratios, but now they also provide a number of other useful functions and features such as pressure measurements, built-in let-by and tightness tests, differential temperature measurements, gas leak detection and boiler efficiency calculations.
Due to modern boiler technology, the professional gas engineer cannot determine a boiler’s efficiency and safe operation. They can only do this and know the effects of any adjustments to the air/gas ratio valve with the help of a flue gas analyser.
Changes in the industry
Since the HHIC and Gas Safe Register introduced TB143 in April 2014, it has been mandatory for any registered engineer to use an electronic flue gas analyser to ensure a new gas appliance is correctly installed and that CO and CO/CO2 ratios in the flue are below a safe level. However, a flue gas analyser is also essential for any routine service, fault diagnosis or the repair of any fuel burning appliance.
Providing customers with proof of flue gas readings has also become increasingly vital. The latest analysers can send gas readings via Bluetooth to smart phones and tablets, and create PDF reports for email – something which has really caught the imagination of all generations of gas engineers. From newly-qualified engineers to those on the verge of retirement, they’re telling us that Bluetooth technology and our free Anton Sprint Mobile app has revolutionised their way of working. These developments are now freeing up time to do additional work and, in some cases, even giving engineers their evenings back now that all their reports and paperwork are done while on the job!
In line with British Standards, flue gas analysers can also be used to conduct ambient CO build up tests to determine if an operational appliance is causing an accumulation of potentially lethal carbon monoxide gas in the property.
Analysers have to remain up-to-date with changes to the relevant industry standards, such as the introduction of a new appliance “sweep test” to the BS:7967 2015 standard. Our range of eVo analysers will have a new option for this sweep test in the list of available in-built CO safety tests, with automatic alarms when the CO concentration rises above the permissible 10ppm.
Credibility, efficiency and accuracy
One of the most important aspects of flue gas analyser use today is traceability, i.e. proving that an engineer has left an appliance in an efficient and safe state following installation or servicing. The industry has traditionally been very paperwork heavy, with printed reports from the analyser and hand-written forms and reports created in triplicate.
Today’s wireless Bluetooth technology adds unrivalled traceability. The readings are transferred straight from the analyser to the reports, eliminating the potential mistakes of written forms. The customer report also links the analyser serial number, date and time, and the calibration due date for the instrument. This gives the engineer indisputable proof that the service they’ve provided is valid. This peace-of-mind is proving very popular with engineers and their customers alike.
Large contractors, housing associations or any company with multiple engineers, often have their own work systems that our analysers can integrate directly with via the Bluetooth technology. Smaller businesses can use our free Sprint Mobile app which enables companies to get the benefits of paperless Bluetooth reporting, without the investment in their own bespoke software.
Keep your business fired up at Plumbase
With increased reliance on flue gas analysers, there’s pressure on engineers when their trusty instrument is having its mandatory annual calibration and service.
Plumbase is currently the only merchant with national coverage to offer analysers for hire in every branch, giving engineers the option to continue working while their own flue gas analyser is serviced and re-calibrated. Given the safety applications a flue gas analyser is used for, it is absolutely vital that it is used only with a valid certificate of calibration. Plumbase has recognised this stress on their customers and has invested in this fleet of loan units to provide a much-needed service to today’s heating engineer.
Head to your local Plumbase branch to find out more.
Damian Cairns – Sales Director, Anton