As more and more heating appliances make their way into our houses and workplaces, it is becoming a necessity to have a flue gas analyser at hand. These are simple electronic devices that measure and display the products of combustion from both commercial and domestic fuelled appliances.
From boilers and chimneys to furnaces and heaters, all these combustion equipment produce a wide range of gases or emissions. This includes gases like CO, CO2, soot particles, oxides, among other flue gases. In addition to measuring products of combustion, flue gas analysers can also measure ambient air quality in a room. So, why do you even need a flue gas analyser in the first place? Why not just get some smoke and CO detectors?
Why You Need an Flue Gas Analyser (FGA)
a. FGA’s Eliminate Need for Multiple Gas Detection Systems
Flue gas analysers provide crucial, first hand information on almost all the different products of combustion. All standard flue gas analysers display data about CO, CO2, and even O2 levels. They also measure the air, flue temperature, pressure and other factors to determine all parameters.
Of course, there are different types of gas detectors that can also work for some of these gases i.e CO, CO2 and smoke. However, it would cost a lot more to get individual testers for every single gas. A flue gas analyser eliminates the need for all these other gas detectors since it encompasses a wide range of combustion gases.
b. Comprehensive Building Safety
This is probably the most important reason for having a flue gas analyser (FGA). Whether for your family at home or for professional engineering and maintenance purposes, a flue gas analyser monitors a throng of dangerous gases and emissions that could be hazardous to inhabitants.
The health effects of combustion products like smoke and CO can include persistent coughing, eye and nose irritation, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness and even death in more severe cases. Even in small doses, some of these gases can cause serious health problems in the long run, especially for children and the elderly. An FGA will ensure that any combustion product is detected early and avoided.
c. Faster Data Acquisition and Improved Appliance Efficiency
Being an electrical sensor, FGAs have one of the fastest and most comprehensive data obtaining capabilities. Unlike most detectors that simply sound a warning when certain gases reach a particular saturation level, flue gas analysers actually gives a live, comprehensive report on almost all the combustion products available.
What’s more, all the data can be easily printed out for comparison and review later on. And unlike older mechanical tools, FGA’s can run continuously. So if there are any leaks or issues with appliances such as furnaces and boilers, the issue can be resolves as soon as the early signs start appearing. This means that not only do you save a lot of energy that would have been wasted; you also save some money on unnecessary energy bills.
d. Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
In this day and age where global warming is at an all time high, it’s up to each and every one of us to play their part and reduce the ever growing carbon footprint. By performing regular flue gas analysis, big companies can work together and get carbon credits while protecting the environment. Once an FGA detects any leaks or issues, they can be fixed to minimise energy wastage and stop emissions from entering the atmosphere.
- Read also: Best Gas Leak Detectors
What to Look for When Buying a Flue Gas Analyser
a. Type of Fuel Being Analysed
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the type of fuel being used by the appliances you’re going to analyse. Getting it wrong could set you back quite a lot. For instance, a flue gas analyser testing for natural gas won’t give you accurate readings if you try it on an LPG fired appliance. The good news is that most FGAs provide a choice of fuels in the setup parameters or startup sequence. The standard list usually includes biogas, wood, coke, biomass, natural gas, LPG, coal, heavy oil and light oil.
b. Appliance Log Book Ratio Readings
Being familiar with FGA tech, you probably know about the inclusion of ratio readings in your device’s log book. This was a move by the UK central heating industry aimed at improving safety standards. So when you’re looking for a flue gas analyser, make sure it adheres to these standards and has the basic CO:CO2 ratio which has been used as a health check for appliances like boilers for years. Since these are the most common of all flue gases, the health check ratio of CO to CO2 is a simple test of safe combustion and gas conversion.
c. Dedicated Room Test Function
It’s also important to buy a flue gas analyser with a dedicated CO room test function, especially for professionals. This function helps ensure all engineers are in compliance with the CO safety clause in the BS7967. It simply provides users with live, by the minute data for logging directly into your FGA. All the pass and fail points are detailed in BS7967.
The Best Flue Gas Analyser Reviews
1. Advanced Set Testo 327-1 Flue Gas Analyser
Like most of Testo’s FGAs, the 327-1 boasts of a simple, user friendly experience. At 500g, the 327 is one of the lightest FGAs on the list; it’s also incredibly durable for its size. This FGA can be described as an introductory instrument to the world of flue gas analysis. With the 327 from Testo, users will be able to grab flue draught measurements, CO2, C, CO, and O2.
The bright LED backlit display ensures that engineers can easily get the readings even in dimly lit boiler rooms. As for the battery, it does pose a slight challenge since it keeps a charge for about 5 hours. The 327 stands out with its ergonomic housing which is as durable as it is functional. This Testo FGA has been TUV tested and found compliant with all ENS0379 requirements.
2. Standard Testo 310 Flue Gas Analyser
If you’re looking for a simple, user friendly and affordable flue analyser, the Testo 310 is your ideal choice. It combines the simplest functions with high levels of accuracy when measuring. It provides engineers with all the basic measurements on various heating systems as well as more complex combustion systems.
This includes CO, O2, Direct O2, flue gas, ambient temperature, and settings to switch in between fuel types. The Testo 310 FGA works with biomass, fuel oil, wood, natural gas, and propane. After only 30 seconds, the 310 is up and ready to test with a stainless steel 180 mm probe that is ideal for residential, boiler efficiency applications. There’s also an included USB cable for charging the unit which packs a 10 hour battery life.
3. Anton eVo2 Sprint Gas Analyser
By adding to the functionality of Anton’s Sprint range, the evo2 gas analyser comes with an unmatched ability to perform a plethora of high accuracy analyses. Even the price range alone tells you to expect comprehensive flue gas analysis. The Evoke 2 can test for CO-CO2 ratio, CO, temperature and efficiency calculations, XS air, time, differential pressure and draught measurements, working pressure reports, time CO buildup tests among others.
The Anton eVo2 Sprint Gas Analyser comes equipped with a dedicated, built in memory that can store a record of up to 200 readings. Engineers can then recall this data for viewing on a monitor or for printing. The main unit is also magnetic so engineers can attach it to a boiler to other metallic surface and work hands free. Enhanced, comprehensive, and easy to use, the Evoke 2 is indeed a professional’s best tool.
4. TPI 709R-Kit 2 Flue Gas Analyser
Here’s an FGA that goes head to head with Anton’s leading model when it comes to functionality. Also incredibly easy to use, the TPI 709R-Kit 2 Flue Gas Analyser is designed to measure the CO-CO2 ratio, temperature and pressure measurements, O2, CO, excess air and efficiency.
The unit comes with 10 different fuel options for accurate measurements including wood, LPG, light and heavy oil, natural gas, among others. This standard FGA kit comes with a temperature sampling probe, external large water trap, soft carry case with shoulder straps, protective rubber boots, ambient air probe, pressure adaptors, rechargeable battery pack and charger, spare particle filter and instruction manual.
5. Testo 330-2 LL Pro Set Flue Gas Analyser
Testo has done it yet again with a unit made for the specific needs of professionals. The Testo 330-2 LL – Flue Gas Analyser is a sturdy, accurate and reliable long-life device build specifically for engineering purposes. In addition to the usual draught measurements, it measures flue gas temperatures, combustion air, CO2 concentration, CO, O2, gas air ratio, flue gas loss, efficiency, static gas pressure and gas flow.
The Testo 330-2 LL – Flue Gas Analyser incorporates three different high quality sensor sockets – a permanently integrated O2 sensor, configurable CO sensor and NO sensor. The CO sensor has a measuring range of 8000 ppm, with an automatic fresh air dilution range of 30,000 ppm. The 330 boasts of one of the most robust memory functions. It can over 500,000 readings and results for all your customers in perfect chronological order. The blue-tooth function is a nice touch for wireless printing of results.