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Why is Combustion Analysis Important on a Furnace or Boiler

Intro: What is Combustion?

Basically, your furnace or boiler needs the correct amount of fuel (oil, natural gas or propane) and oxygen to heat your home to operate safely. Only a combustion analyzer can verify and validate that your heating system is using all the proper amounts safely. Unfortunately many systems, even brand new and recently installed are not properly adjusted.

Think about it for a minute. The equipment was adjusted to manufactures specification at the factory. Then it was shipped by truck and or rail to their distributor. Who sold it to the supply house where it sat until the plumber purchased it. Then it was dropped into their truck and a helper drove it to their shop, then delivered to your home where it likely was "manhandled" into your basement. Do you think all that travel kept it in perfect and ideal manufactures spec? Yeah, I thought so. Keep reading.

One of the first investments I made when hanging out my "shingle" in 2009 was a combustion analyzer. This investment, near the price of our first vehicle - a 2001 Chevy Astro Cargo van purchased on eBay for $2,500 - was simply the best investment made to ensure the safety of the clients who call on us to service and repair their heating equipment.

(Sorry Al, I used the only company analyzer while "doing side jobs" before you fired me for religious purposes - but thank you. Wouldn't be here without you)

Sadly, not many local plumbing, heating or HVAC contractors use the proper tools to confirm a safe system they installed or work on. Why not? Great question. It should be a "code requirement" or a licensing requirement in New York, but municipalities, in my opinion, are revenue focused while portraying, instead, that they are "protecting the constituents" who voted them into office.

(Are you an Plumbing and/or HVAC professional who uses the proper test equipment? Please email me. I'd love to be friends. We are a different breed above the rest)

When we purchased our 2nd and 3rd combustion analyzer the supply house manager bluntly said, "I wish all other contractors made this purchase". (It wasn't a sarcastic remark due to the large revenue sale) Now he asks if I need extra paper for the thermal printer. (We use a lot of thermal paper)

(TS: ready to actually love going to your job? Wink next time we see each other)

So why is performing a combustion analysis important when inspecting, doing an annual heating tuneup, servicing, repairing and/or commissioning (initial startup) important? Technically it....

  1. It provides verification and validation of the safety of the appliance before and after servicing, commissioning and/or winterization.
  2. It allows Calculation of combustion efficiency
  3. We can monitor the pollution the appliance is producing.
  4. Verifies conformance with manufactures guidelines.
  5. Minimizes warranty issues and assure equipment longevity.

That's a mouth full but vital in the operation and performance of the combustion process. In layman's terms....

Combustion Testing Results

Save money

A properly tuned heating system saves energy thus lowering your fuel expenses.

Save time

An experienced HVAC technician who uses the proper test equipment is not guessing if the system is operating properly. No, you can't tell just by looking at the flame. Only a tech who uses a properly calibrated combustion analyzer can confirm and validate complete combustion with sufficient O2 and minimal or zero CO and CO2.

Avoids callbacks

Testing the combustion process verifies that safely switches, devices and limits are likely not to trip the system preventing a "no heat" call to your plumber or HVAC professional. (Hopefully us)

Reduces liability

Confirming the heating appliance is operating properly and to manufactures specifications results in a documented test result which is printed, attached to the appliance and a picture clear on your receipt (Yeah, we are a paperless company. Your detailed 4 page PDF receipt is immediately emailed to you after completion of the service)

Maintains equipment warranty

All heating equipment manufactures require annual testing by a licensed and certified HVAC professional. Why? Not only to prevent bad press (negative reviews) but to maintain your warranty.

Provides confidence

Not only will you and your family take comfort in knowing your equipment is operating in a safe manner, so will the HVAC technician when they leave your home knowing he/she left your home with a safe heating appliance. (We all like to sleep sound at night - except with those emergency service calls)

Provides increased comfort

Heating equipment running safely will result in a comfortable home for you and your family - or occupants of your property.

Provides increased safety

With little or zero carbon monoxide being produced your family and the occupants of your home are safe. Each and every single day and night.

Increases energy efficiency

Using the specified BTU's and correct fire rate of The fuel (oil, natural gas or propane) will maintain the rated efficiency or AFLU of the system as specified by the equipment manufacture. (See Save Money)

Lowers environmental emissions

Carbon dioxide will be within industry acceptable ranges resulting in less greenhouse gases that pollute our atmosphere and destroy our ozone layer.

When you call our Long Island plumber to perform an annual heating tuneup, service or repair to your gas heating equipment trust that we use the best and most accurate test equipment to ensure complete and safe combustion which is our number one priority. Our test equipment is tested on a weekly basis and calibrated on a seasonal rotation. (These expensive tools don't last forever with 100% accuracy)

On every heating service call we perform a complimentary combustion and draft analysis on your gas heating appliance. The factory trained and experienced Pipe Doctor technician will make any adjustments, if possible, and printout the results for reference by the HVAC technician who services your equipment at a future date. These results are attached to our "Service Record" tag that will be clearly visible. If your system can not be adjusted, by law, we are required to lockout the system. We will provide a written quote to repair and/or replace the appliance and discuss why we must ensure your safety as HVAC professionals.

Actual Heating Service Call Facts

(Year 2015)

  • 64.7% of all gas heating appliances are not within manufactures specifications during the combustion process
  • 37.2% of these gas heating appliances are producing 50ppm or higher levels of carbon monoxide
  • 100% of these heating appliances were repaired and/or replaced
  • $72,830 of estimated fuel savings for clients after repairs

Priceless. Cost of potential injury or fatality of occupants residing in their home who have a properly combusting heating system.

(Yes, I love the numbers and calculations. What business does not love numbers?)

If you reside or manage property in the New York City - Long Island metropolitan area within our service area we'd love to be your HVAC service provider for life! We specialize in service and repair. We do not work for contractors or sub-contract work. We do not build homes, building or work on major renovation projects. Call us at 516-348-6300 or email is at service@pipedoc.net

If you are outside our service area, you can get a referral to a local licensed plumbing or HVAC professional here. Or here.

(If you are a plumbing or HVAC professional and want to discuss how to protect your clients with methods discussed in this article or website, please email me. Tired of working for a mediocre plumbing or HVAC company and looking for a career with a rapidly growing residential service contractor? Send me your resume! We offer an exceptional salary and benefit package)

Coming Up Next: Actual Gas Heating Annual Tuneup service call dated November 13, 2016 to follow shortly with video documentation of the before, during and after progress.

If you need more information on Combustion Analysis in Long Island, then please call 516-348-6300 or complete our online request form.