Did you know about the Sprint Pro differential temperature monitor?

If you’re a heating or gas engineer, chances are that you sometimes measure temperature differentials (i.e., the difference between temperatures in two locations). For example, if you want to balance a domestic heating system, you need to measure and compare the temperatures of the flow and return pipework for each radiator, and if you want to get best performance from a modern condensing boiler you might tweak the flow/return differential. In this way, you can ensure a perfectly balanced, efficient system that won’t burn people or freeze up in the cold weather – and some very happy customers.

Traditionally, heating engineers have measured differential temperatures with a traditional thermometer, but if you own a Sprint Pro then you don’t need any additional equipment for this task.

How to measure temperature differentials with the SprintPro

First, find the differential temperature listing on the Sprint Pro menu and press it. To begin, you’ll need to connect either one or two thermocouple probes to the K-type connectors on the bottom of your device – make sure you get the flow and return the right way around! If you use a single probe, the Sprint Pro will display a soft key option to switch between T1 and T2 snapshot measuring points; in this case, you place the probe in the first position (T1) and take a reading, then move the probe to the second position (T2) and repeat the process. The Sprint Pro will calculate the differential for you. If required, you can also use this facility to measure a single temperature.

You can find full instructions (including some important safety precautions) in the Sprint Pro manual.

Once you have taken differential temperature measurements, you can either print these out or save them to your log (bearing in mind you can print them from there later). Alternatively, if you have the Sprint Mobile/Crowcon HVAC Companion app, you can Bluetooth the readings directly to your tablet or smartphone.

Why use Sprint Pro to measure temperature differentials?

If you don’t use your Sprint Pro to measure temperature differentials, you’ll either need to trust your touch alone (which can be risky and inaccurate) or invest in a two-channel differential thermometer, which just means more expense and extra kit to carry around. In contrast, the Sprint Pro lets you measure differentials quickly and easily and gives you the option of printing reports and/or storing them electronically.

Did you know about the Sprint Pro’s Ambient Air Monitor?

You probably know that the Sprint Pro has a host of useful functions, but have you ever scrolled through the menu of your Sprint Pro, found the ambient air monitor and wondered how you could use it?  

Well, you need wonder no longer – because in this post we will look at the Sprint Pro ambient air monitor and its uses.

Who needs to carry out ambient air monitoring? 

As a gas engineer, your need for ambient air monitoring may vary according to the type of work you do, but if you specialise in Carbon monoxide (CO)/Carbon dioxide (CO2) detection – for example, if you have CMDDA1 certification for dwellings or undertake COMCAT (commercial catering) reports in the UK, or have equivalent domestic or catering CO/CO2) certification elsewhere in the world – you will probably find this function very useful.  

How does ambient air monitoring work? 

In general terms, ambient air monitoring is simply the measurement of pollutants in the atmosphere, but in a gas detection context it refers to analysis of how much carbon monoxide is in the air.  

In some cases, the level of CO2 is also measured. The Sprint Pro 4 and Sprint Pro 6 both have a direct CO2 infrared sensor fitted, therefore they can measure both CO and CO2.

Ambient air monitoring may be carried out anywhere that CO and/or CO2 present a risk. For example, to detect CO leakages in the home (perhaps from a boiler), or to monitor CO2 levels in commercial catering premises.  

With the Sprint Pro, ambient air monitoring is carried out over a given time period, which may be anything from a few minutes to several days, during which time the analyser samples the ambient air at intervals of between one and thirty minutes. At the end of the test, the device gives readings for the current, peak and whole-test average rates for both CO and CO2. You can save these directly to your log and/or print them out as paper reports. 

Even when it comes to report printing, the Sprint Pro gives you options, so you can print as much or little of the relevant information as you need. This can be very handy when you have just taken literally hundreds of samples over a 7-day period! 

Ambient air monitoring for CO is available on all Sprint Pro models 

Why do I need ambient air monitoring functionality? 

Regardless of specialist certification, having the capacity to analyse ambient air is increasingly useful to HVAC professionals and gas engineers. This is particularly true in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the benefits of fresh air and good indoor ventilation have been highlighted. Excessive CO and CO2 are threats to both human and environmental health, and with growing awareness of this, and sustainability becoming an increasingly important social/political/policy topic, the need to quantify and measure them is likely to increase. 

The importance of being Gas Safe registered 

In 2009, the Gas Safe Register replaced Corgi as the mark of approval for all plumbers and heating engineers who work with gas appliances. Now, in order to work with gas appliances and installations in the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, you must be on the Gas Safety Register – if you’re not, you may face prosecution.  

However, there are additional benefits to being Gas Safe registered, and in this blog post we’ll take a look at them. 

What’s the purpose of the Gas Safe Register? 

The Gas Safety Register was introduced to protect the public from rogue gas engineers and plumbers, because millions of lives are put at risk by faulty gas work every year and illegal work costs millions of pounds annually to fix. Gas Safe makes sure that everyone on its register is competent to carry out the type(s) of gas work they’re registered for, and their registration is updated every year. If a Gas Safe-registered contractor breaches the terms of their registration, Gas Safe can investigate them and may revoke their registration.  

This gives members of the public a lot of reassurance, because they know they can check with an independent organisation and make sure that their gas contractor is qualified and legitimate. Customers can quickly and easily check an engineer’s registration with Gas Safe, and many use the Gas Safe website as a first port of call when looking for a heating engineer or plumber to work with gas. 

What is more, Gas Safe has the power to investigate anyone, either registered or unregistered, who is suspected of working with gas illegally. 

How does being on the Gas Safe Register help my business? 

Perhaps the most obvious benefit to being Gas Safe registered is the seal of approval from a recognised authority. If you’re registered you can use the Gas Safe mark on your vehicle, clothing, adverts and paperwork, and your contact details will be on the Gas Safe website that so many people use to find suppliers.  

There are also practical benefits. Gas Safe is a network of gas experts and registration gives you immediate access to a host of resources and expertise. These include the latest technical bulletins, industry standard updates and safety alerts. When you are registered, Gas Safe will provide contact details for your local Gas Safe inspector, whom you can contact for advice – they’ll even send you a monthly magazine! 

Sounds great! How do I sign up?  

There are several routes to registration: you find all the details on the Gas Safe website (click here to view it).  

What to do – and what not to do – with your Flue Gas Analyser/Combustion Analyzer

A durable, accurate and versatile flue gas analyser/combustion analyzer is a wonderful thing. For many heating and gas engineers, it’s tough to get a day’s work done without one. That’s why it makes sense to treat your analyser well – and in this blog post we’ll be giving you some tips on how to do just that. 

How to keep your analyser happy 

  • The most important rule of all is this: get your flue gas analyser/gas combustion analyzer calibrated every year, on time, without fail. No excuses! 
  • If you can, book your analyser in for service or recalibration at the time you need it least (for example, if you are going on holiday or planning some time off). 
  • Keep an eye on your machine’s condensate trap and remove any water promptly, and always before you put it back into your bag. 
  • Make sure the flue probe is connected to the analyser before turning the analyser on (to purge the probe and instrument) and until the instrument has switched off (so that the probe is purged as the machine shuts down). 
  • When you take a sample from the flue, make sure the tip of the probe is in the centre of the flue. This puts the thermocouple in the hottest part, which provides the most accurate temperature reading and efficiency calculation. When you have taken your readings, put the flue inspection cap back on. 
  • Don’t put your probe in the flue and then switch the boiler on – this runs the risk of excess CO ruining reducing the lifespan of your sensor. 
  • When finishing a job, wait for the device to switch off, then remove the probe and then put the analyser in the bag. NEVER put the analyser in the bag whilst the instrument is shutting down or purging, because if you do, debris from the bag may be sucked into the instrument and cause damage. 
  • It’s dangerous to leave your analyser in a vehicle overnight. Not only could it be stolen, but overnight temperature fluctuations can lead to a build-up of condensation inside the device, which may cause it to malfunction. 
  • Only initiate start-up and purge in clean, fresh air (i.e., not in a room with the appliance already running).  
  • Take care of your flue probe; if it’s not completely air tight it may draw in ambient air and give inaccurate readings. Top tip: if you cover the end of the probe that usually attaches to the analyser and then blow through the other end, you should not be able to blow right through the probe. If you can, it’s leaking. 
  • When you have used the flue probe, let any condensate drain out.  
  • Check filters regularly and discard any that get dirty or damaged. Always carry spares.
  • Keep the display screen and buttons clean, for ease of visibility and use. 

Cared-for analysers live longer 

While there are quite a few rules for analyser care, most of them become second nature over time and are well worth sticking with. A decent flue gas analyser/combustion analyzer is an important investment, but with a little care and attention, that investment will last you for many years. 

To find out more information about flue gas analysers/combustion analyzers visit our solution page.

Our Partnership with Preferred Sales

Background

Founded in 1962, Preferred Sales Inc. (PSI) is a standout manufacturers’ representative in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania specializing in the plumbing, HVAC, and hydronics industries. Based in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, Preferred Sales’ trading territory encompasses all of Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Over six decades, PSI has evolved into a multi-faceted manufacturers’ representative agency built on consultative selling, technical training, product troubleshooting and installation guidance to provide “any contractor any solution.”

Views on HVAC

Many equipment manufacturers in the US are now urging contactors to use a combustion analyzer when installing and maintaining their latest generation of high efficiency products. Preferred Sales pride themselves in providing training and product knowledge to their customers. Through the distribution of knowledge, expertise, and technique, PSI is able to provide confidence in the solutions for their end customers.

Working with Crowcon

Preferred Sales are a new partnership to Crowcon. This partnership will work hand in hand with PSI’s current customer base already present from over 60 years of trading. Preferred Sales now hold stock for our combustion analyzers in their Hermitage, PA warehouse. This combustion analyzer (the Sprint Pro) stops you from having to store, charge, carry, calibrate, and transport multiple devices. Our device allows you to conduct all critical test measurements with just one high performance, innovative solution. “We are excited to add Crowcon to the other valuable partners on our line card. We feel this partnership continues to enhance the growing list of business and jobsite solutions we provide to our wholesale customers and contractors across the territory.” – Matt Guidish, Director of Marketing at Preferred Sales.

Did you know about the Sprint Pro Tightness Tester?

Pressure testing is all in a day’s work for many gas engineers, but the right equipment can make all the difference.  

Did you know that you can use the Sprint Pro flue gas analyser to carry out tightness testing, with no need for additional U gauges or other bulky equipment? In this post we’ll explore how and why you can tightness test with the Sprint Pro. 

What is tightness testing? 

Tightness testing is a type of pressure test, applied to a gas supply system at the meter. Other forms of pressure testing include the let-by test (which checks for leaks in the emergency control valve [ECV]), temperature stabilisation test, standing pressure at the meter test (a measurement of the gas when it’s stationary), and working/operating pressure at the meter test (which assesses the flow and pressure of gas when appliances are being used). 

Tightness testing measures the pressure in gas pipes, in order to find evidence of leaks. A tightness test is generally carried out after a let-by test and temperature stabilisation test. The tightness test is sometimes followed by a purge and then a standing pressure test, followed by a working/operating pressure at the meter test. This allows the engineer to make a full assessment of the system.  

Using the Sprint Pro to conduct a tightness test 

All Sprint Pro models except the Sprint Pro 1 can be used to tightness test. To begin, go into the pressure menu and select let-by/tightness. You will need to attach the pipe and matching pressure relief valve to the Sprint Pro’s positive pressure inlet – the valve makes setting the desired pressure, and adjusting it if required, very easy.  

As you scroll through the Sprint Pro’s pressure menu, you’ll find that tightness testing follows let-by testing and temperature stabilisation. Full instructions for tightness testing are given in the Sprint Pro manual (click here for a PDF version).  

It is very important to note that the parameters for tightness testing, and any increases/drops in pressure that are permitted, depend on many variables, such as the age and size of the pipework, whether appliances are attached and several others. Ultimately, you as the engineer must decide whether to pass or fail the tightness test when the analyser displays the results. 

Once the test is completed, you can either print the results immediately (although this erases them from the system) or save them to the log (and they can always be printed from there). Alternatively, if you have the Sprint Mobile/Crowcon HVAC Companion app, you can Bluetooth directly to your tablet or smartphone. 

Why use a Sprint Pro for tightness testing? 

Using a Sprint Pro for pressure testing means less to carry around (no bulky water gauges, for example) and the clarity of results displayed digitally. The Sprint Pro also creates an audit trail in the form of digital logs, which can provide great peace of mind in case of any dispute or query.

Our Partnership with Pass Ltd 

Background  

Founded in early 2001 and based in Stockton-On-Tees, PASS Ltd is a leading supplier of test equipment, training, and calibration. Built on delivering an exceptional customer experience, they have grown to offer one of the most comprehensive catalogues of test and measurement, thermal imaging, and industrial safety products, as well as a broad calibration scope. In 2014, their calibration and repair laboratories gained UKAS accreditation. PASS Ltd pride themselves on offering a fast, affordable service; therefore, they have developed an online asset management portal for larger businesses to provide 24/7 access to asset details and service tracking. Additionally, as an accredited training provider specialising in low and high voltage courses, PASS Ltd offers an ever-expanding range of classes including City & Guilds and MCA accredited programmes.   

Views on HVAC 

PASS Ltd understand that confined spaces can be extremely dangerous and this is what makes these areas such a cause for global concern. They acknowledge that not all confined spaces are fully enclosed but point out that these locations may still pose a significant risk due to hazardous substances or conditions within or nearby the space, for example, a lack of oxygen. It is therefore critical to provide education and training on dangerous gases and environments to those working in the HVAC industry.    

Working with Crowcon  

PASS Ltd have been a long-term partner of Crowcon. For over seven years our partnership has enabled new areas of growth within the HVAC and portables industries. PASS Ltd attest that “our partnership has allowed us to supply a range of gas detection products and services that are reliable and diverse, improving the safety of our customers working within the Gas, HVAC, and Plumbing sectors. Crowcon’s quality and values align well with PASS’ ethos; they are the perfect partner to support our mission of raising end-users’ and businesses’ awareness of gas exposure.” 

Where do Flue Gas Analysers Fit into the UK Government’s Decarbonisation Plans?

When the UK government announced, in March 2021, that £1 billion of already-allocated funds would be redirected to projects designed to reduce greenhouse gases, the energy sector sat up and listened. And with good reason – as it turned out, £171 million will be allocated to an industrial decarbonisation plan that focuses on hydrogen gas generation and carbon capture and storage technologies.  

However, the news extended beyond green energy production and is relevant to domestic and industrial HVAC applications. In a gesture that reflects the role HVAC engineers and manufacturers can play in sustainability, more than £900 million will be spent upgrading public buildings, like schools and hospitals, with greener fittings such as heat pumps, solar panels and insulation, which will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

But where does this leave the individual households and business units that many HVAC staff visit daily? That is a question that several commentators have asked, and it seems that – for now at least – the main drive to reduce the environmental impact of privately-owned heating and plumbing systems will continue to come from the manufacturers, engineers and installers working in the HVAC sector. 

And that’s quite a responsibility. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2020, there were approximately 27.8 million households in the UK; government statistics from 2019 indicate that around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK (specifically of carbon dioxide, along with methane, F gases and nitrous oxide) came from those residential settings. That’s a lot of excess CO2 to clean up. 

So, what can HVAC people do to help decarbonisation? 

If they have decent equipment, heating engineers and plumbers can help to reduce that figure by 15%. For example, they are well placed to measure CO2 and other greenhouse gases: while most flue gas analysers will measure CO2, some can also measure NO/NOx (for example, the Sprint Pro 5 and Sprint Pro 6) well.  

A flue gas analyser that gives a wide range of easy-to-read and interprets measurements allows engineers to see when appliances are not working correctly and whether an upgrade (for example, to a government-subsidised heat pump) might be in order. 

This is a pressing need: many households hang onto appliances for as long as possible, even though older appliances tend to be much less environmentally friendly than their modern counterparts. This is bad enough for the environment, but using a malfunctioning older appliance is the worst of all possible outcomes. 

A good flue gas analyser will provide the readings required to convince many customers to decarbonise their homes or businesses more effectively. It will also allow the engineer to fix many problems in more modern and efficient appliances, bringing them back to their original operating standards and protecting the planet once more. 

Helping to reach net zero 

In late 2021, the UK government set out its plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and every heating engineer in the country has a part to play in that project. While checking flue gases may be an everyday event for many HVAC engineers, the fact remains that household and business emissions account for a substantial proportion of CO2 output and emissions of other dangerous gases. While persuading a single household to operate with lower carbon emissions may not seem like a big deal, the impact can be very substantial when this is scaled up across the country. 

The importance of annual calibration for your flue gas analyser/combustion analyzer 

For many heating engineers, the flue gas analyser/combustion analyzer is vital kit; so much so, that most would have problems working without one. However, calibration and servicing generally require the engineer to send the analyser away for a while. That’s why, when the annual calibration date comes around again, some find themselves tempted to put it off, just for a while … 

Please ignore that temptation. It is absolutely vital to get your flue gas analyser calibrated every year, and failing to do so could cost you your job – or worse. Prompt annual calibration is simply not negotiable, and in this blog post we’ll explore the reasons why. 

Annual certification required 

A flue gas analyser is safety equipment and its accuracy may be – quite literally – a matter of life or death. The  sensors inside flue gas analysers react with the gasses they detect and degrade slightly over time. Compiled over the course of a years active use, the degradation can lead to inaccuracies in the readingsAdditionally, like any equipment, things can go wrong and parts can fail; that’s why all flue gas analyser manufacturers require an annual certificate of calibration, and the impact of not having one can be legally, financially and personally disastrous. 

Imagine, for example, that an accident has occurred and somebody or something has been harmed because your flue gas analyser failed to detect an issue. If that analyser was uncertified and had not been calibrated within the time period required (which would be easy to ascertain, since gas reports have the relevant times and dates printed on them), then you and/or your employer may be held criminally and civilly liable for this, having failed to exercise your duty of care to your client.  

That’s why, if your combustion analyzer is showing any signs of failure, or if your annual calibration is due, you need to book it in promptly. 

What about costs? 

Sometimes, engineers are tempted to put off calibration for fear of the costs. And yes, there may be charges involved due to damage or wear and tear: but what price do you put on safety (both the safety of the people you serve the security of your own job or business?) If cost is an issue, there may be ways to mitigate this. Manufacturers know that calibration is a recurring cost and some offer pre-pay options to make this easier to manage; some offer pre-pay options for parts as well. If you’re not sure whether this is the case for your device, it is worth talking to the manufacturer because the savings can be substantial. 

What happens during calibration? 

During its annual service and calibration, your flue gas analyser will be checked over and any components (for example, an oxygen sensor) will be replaced as required. A known concentration of certified test gas will be passed into the analyser and the instruments software will be adjusted to make sure it takes into account any drop off in sensor response and to ensure the analyser responds appropriately to all gases across the range of detection.  

Don’t wait – calibrate 

As you can see, calibration and any associated changes are vital to the functioning of your analyser, so you should never postpone or overlook your annual calibration: in fact, you must not use a flue gas analyser at all, once the previous calibration has expired. This applies however often (or not) you use it: the risks are the same.  

To find out more, visit our dedicated HVAC page.

Our Partnership with Acutest

Background

Acutest have established themselves as a leading player in test instrument supply, repair and calibration, asset management and bespoke training services. Acutest are a complete solution provider who match to each customer’s need. Their team of external account managers support customers with onsite product demonstration as part of the solution identification process. Serving across sectors including utilities (distribution network operators), sole traders, public sector and white goods. Acutest are a trusted partner to many sectors, who have a diverse customer base including the utilities, street works and rail sectors, facilities maintenance teams, manufacturing, processing and industrial plants as well as individual contractors and electricians.

View on Flue Gas Analysers

Providing workers within these sectors with the correct equipment is vital, therefore providing these workers with an essential tool is key at Acutest. This tool is used every day; therefore, Anton by Crowcon flue gas analysers provide an easy-to-use tool that detects CO (Carbon Monoxide) and NO (Nitrogen Oxide).

Working with Crowcon

Acutest have been a long-term partner in which our gas analysers prevent users from having to store, charge, carry, calibrate and transport multiple devices. Our equipment allows Acutest customers to conduct all critical test measurements with just one high performance, innovative solution. “Our partnership with Acutest has enabled them to supply their customers with a readily available, reliable product as well as customer support. Anton by Crowcon provide innovative tools for every engineer needs and has been a go to on many occasions.”