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Carbon Monoxide: Five Skills a Combustion Analyst Needs

By David Richardson Tracking down combustion problems is like chasing ghosts. They’re invisible. They leave virtually no external indicators. If you’re chasing a ghost, you call Ghostbusters. If you’re chasing a combustion problem, you call a Combustion Analyst. Let’s look at what a combustion analyst is and five key skills they need to be successful. What’s a Combustion Analyst? Combustion Analysts are a specially trained breed of HVAC technicians who have a deep understanding… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Three Sherlock Holmes Quotes About CO Testing

By David Richardson One of my favorite fictional characters growing up was Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was an extraordinary detective with a gift for finding clues that others completely missed. His confidence, observational skills, and attention to detail added an extra appeal to the stories. Little did I know Sherlock Holmes’ qualities would apply to my CO (Carbon Monoxide) testing skills years later. Holmes solved his cases based on bite-sized clues and the logical order… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Four Combustion Test Instruments Every Technician Needs

By David Richardson Test instruments are an essential part of a technician’s daily work. The right models make your life easier while accurately measuring invisible HVAC system properties. Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of those invisible properties that any technician who works on fuel-fired equipment needs to measure and account for. To properly test for CO and discover its cause(s), you need the right diagnostic equipment and training. They allow you to discover and… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Carbon Monoxide and the Flu

By David Richardson The day before writing this I was in the doctor’s office for my yearly physical. One of the first questions the doctor asked me was “Have you had a flu shot this year?” He reminded me that it’s the time of year when many of us get “flu-like” symptoms that include: a runny nose, stuffy head, muscle aches, and fever. Since I’m a CO (carbon monoxide) guy, my thoughts naturally drift… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: Four Draft Pressure Tests You Can Use Daily

By David Richardson Last month we looked at draft pressure measurement fundamentals. At the end of the article, I mentioned four draft pressure tests that will help you identify safety issues. Let’s look at these measurements and how you can use them to better diagnose potential carbon monoxide (CO) problems. Draft Testing Safety Before you perform any draft test, measure CO from the equipment to verify safe operation. If CO is over 400 ppm… Read More

Carbon Monoxide: How to Perform a Draft Pressure Test

By David Richardson Draft testing is an essential skill you need to diagnose carbon monoxide (CO) problems. Draft is the force that controls combustion air to the burner. Your job is to assure draft pressure is kept within specific boundaries. Be careful, however. Certain assumptions about draft can lead you to misdiagnose a combustion problem. For example, industry standards assume that equal amounts of flue gas and room air always move through the venting… Read More