Did you know about the Sprint Pro Gas Leak Detector?

Are you still using a stand-alone gas leak detector, or thinking of buying one? If you have a Sprint Pro 2 or higher, then there’s no need, because these Sprint Pros all have gas leak detection capabilities built in. In this post we’ll be looking at that capability in detail.

How to detect leaks with a Sprint Pro 

Before you begin, you’ll need to have a gas escape probe (GEP) handy – if you have a Sprint Pro 3 or higher, this will have been supplied with the machine, but if you have a Sprint Pro 2 you’ll need to buy it separately.  

Having plugged in your GEP, go into the test menu and scroll down to select gas escape detection. Your sensor must reach the correct temperature before you can go any further; the machine will do this automatically and progress is shown on the menu (the machine will let you know when the probe is ready). The Sprint Pro will then ask you to verify that you’re in clean air, at which point you zero the machine.  

Then, place the probe in the area you wish to inspect, and keep it in place for at least a few seconds before moving it on to the next area to be checked. The Sprint Pro will make a sound like a Geiger counter (a series of clicks) and show a full colour bar graph display of gas levels as you approach a gas leak the sound will increase in pitch and the bar graph will indicate higher levels. Once you have located the leak, you can stop the test by pressing ESC. 

Once you have finished looking for leaks, it’s best practice to use leak detection fluid to check all disturbed, suspected and inspected pipework, joints, fittings, test points and flanges in line with your local regulations. 

Incidentally, the GEP is a precision instrument and can be damaged by impact. If your GEP is dropped, struck or otherwise damaged, it’s a good idea to check that it still works by plugging it into the Sprint Pro to make sure it’s recognised. If the Sprint Pro finds a fault in the GEP, it will let you know by means of a visual warning on the display. If this happens, or the GEP is visibly damaged, it must be repaired or replaced. 

You can find more information about using the Sprint Pro to detect gas leaks on page 22 of the Sprint Pro manual (click here for a PDF version).  

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.

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.

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.

Why it’s Important to Measure Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)?

In the EU and UK it is now obligatory for all new domestic heating and plumbing products (rated up to 400 kw) to comply with maximum nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission levels. This is line with a great deal of international regulation: NOx emissions are controlled by law or regulation in many countries (including the US, Canada, Australia and Singapore) and these may vary further by sector (maritime and automotive may have their own specific codes and limits, for example). 

The regulation of NOx required because this gas is a major pollutant, associated with thousands of deaths worldwide through its effects – both direct and indirect – on human health. It has been associated with asthma in children, lung inflammation and a host of other respiratory disorders, as well as cardiovascular damage. NOx is dangerous to animals, plants and ecosystems and is a major constituent of acid rain and smog. 

Despite its singular name, NOx is actually a collective term for nitrogen oxides – a family of highly reactive and poisonous gases – which are produced when fossil fuels are burned. Although NOx pollution is a global problem, large cities are particularly badly affected through vehicle exhaust fumes and heating system emissions; around a third of any large city’s NOx pollution comes from heating. In addition, nitrogen dioxide reacts in sunlight with other gases (such as volatile organic compounds) to generate ozone, which is a greenhouse gas.  

Why measure NOx?

Since NOx emissions are increasingly regulated, they must be measured to ensure compliance with relevant directives. The measurement of NOx from boilers and other domestic appliances is also carried out to check that these are running safely, and to ensure the owner/operator and those around them are not being exposed to excessive NOx. 

Measuring NOx with a flue gas analyser/combustion analyzer

As well as having to meet the demands of regulation, the HVAC sector recognises the growing importance of NOx measurement due to the worldwide focus on sustainability and green issues, and awareness of its harmful effects on health. This is reflected in a growing market for combustion analyzers that calculate NOx (e.g. the Sprint Pro 5 and the Sprint Pro 6).  

In the short to medium term, demand for NOx measurement seems likely to increase; the reduction of NOx emissions is a key component of sustainability policies worldwide and HVAC engineers and designers are prioritising the design of better, cleaner forms of heating (which will have to be benchmarked, verified and maintained).  

Over time, highly efficient, ultra-low-NOx systems are likely to dominate, and the measurement of NOx will therefore become an increasingly important parameter and a more prominent part of day-to-day work in the HVAC sector. 

Our Sprint Pro 5 and 6 models come complete with dedicated NO sensors allowing for a range of NO and NOx measurement options