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Understanding Furnace Combustion Analysis

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Having a professional heating services technician perform a combustion analysis is one of the best ways to maximize the performance of your furnace. Yet many people hesitate simply because they do not understand enough about this useful test. If you would like to improve your knowledge of HVAC diagnostic techniques, read on. This article will provide a handy introduction to the world of combustion analysis.

The Basics

At the heart of combustion analysis is the fact that the exhaust gases coming out of your furnace contain useful information about how the appliance is performing. This technique uses specialized equipment to measure the levels of different substances within your exhaust flue. With this information, a furnace technician can make subtle adjustments to maximize the efficiency--and the safety--of your furnace.


The principal tool used in combustion analysis today is known as a digital combustion analyzer. This tool consists of a probe that is placed inside of your exhaust flue, as well as a hand-held analyzer which interprets the data being sent to it by the probe. The probe is capable of detecting the presence of a variety of different combustion by-products, from carbon monoxide, to soot, water, and oxides of nitrogen. It also measures the temperature and the dew point of the exhaust gases.

Making Necessary Changes

Based on the readings taken from the combustion analyzer, your HVAC technician will make a series of adjustments to optimize your furnace's performance. There are two main types of adjustment they can make. The first involves changing the pressure of the fuel entering your combustion chamber. The second has to do with the quantity and speed of air being drawn into your chamber. Both types of adjustment are designed to boost the amount of fuel being combusted inside your furnace.

What Combustion Analysis Can Do For You

Combustion analysis can benefit you in three distinct ways. First of all, the data provided by a combustion analyzer allows a technician to optimize the fuel efficiency of your furnace. In other words, you can maximize the amount of heat extracted from a given quantity of fuel, thus saving money on your monthly energy bills.

Second of all, combustion analysis ultimately works to reduce the levels of toxic emissions being produced by your furnace. From carbon monoxide, to sulfur dioxide, to nitrogen oxide, such gases contribute to grave environmental threats. For that reasons, the emission rates of such substances are regulated on a federal level.

Finally, combustion analysis will act to improve the safety of you and your family. That's because, should your flue or ventilation system become damaged, those toxic emissions could end up entering the air of your home. Combustion analysis allows a furnace technician to make changes that will keep the levels of such unwanted substances as low as possible, thus reducing the threat they pose to you and your loved ones.