Combustion analysis and safety are one of the focal points of an energy audit. Often time, homeowners are unaware that problems exist with their combustion equipment and appliances (e.g. furnace, hot water heater, clothes dryer and gas stove). These items should be serviced on a regular basis, as they are likely to be one of the largest operating expenses in your home.
A comprehensive energy assessment will address combustion safety by using state of the art combustion analysis equipment. It is important to analyze the flue on the furnace or water heater, along with checking carbon monoxide levels in the stove and oven (gas stoves). Analysis will test and check the following items:
- Oxygen Mixture.
- Carbon Monoxide levels.
- Equipment Efficiency.
- Flue Gas Draft.
By using a certified professional auditor, a homeowner can rest assured that strict testing procedures including carbon monoxide levels, flue gas draft, and combustion appliance zone testing are being followed.
Often times, an energy auditor will perform “The Worst Case Draft Test.” In practice what this means is running all of your combustion appliances simultaneously, while also turning on all exhaust fans. The professional will then check to ensure all dangerous fumes and combustion gases actually make it out of your house. This will prevent “back drafting” into the interior of your home where the fumes can cause real problems. Such back drafting is the primary reason for greatly diminished interior air quality and the accumulation of toxic fumes.
In the US, there are some 15,000 emergency room visits and 500 deaths per year related to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Many of which could be avoided with proper interior air ventilation.
It is important to note that these tests should only be conducted AFTER all weatherization retrofits are completed. The reason is simple: Testing after all weatherization work is complete assures that your home is in safe working condition after work is completed.
The Combustion Safety Test checks combustion appliances or heating equipment such as the furnace, boiler, water heater, and the stove to ensure that they are working safely and efficiently. Some of the most common combustion safety problems include gas leaks, spillages, carbon monoxide, and open return air ducts in HVAC systems. Check out the video below to see a combustion safety test in action.