What is the Purpose of Gas Analysis in the Cement Industry?

The cement industry plays a pivotal role in the construction sector, providing the fundamental building material for infrastructure development worldwide. Cement production involves complex chemical processes that require precise control and monitoring. One crucial aspect of this control is gas analysis. At Highmark Analytics, we want to help you understand the purpose of gas analysis in the cement industry and its significance in ensuring quality and efficiency.

Understanding Cement Production

Before delving into the specifics of gas analysis, it’s essential to understand the basics of cement production. Cement is manufactured through a process that involves several stages, including crushing and grinding raw materials, blending them, and finally heating them to high temperatures in a kiln. This results in the formation of clinker, which is then ground into a fine powder to produce the final cement product.

The Role of Gas Analysis

Gas analysis plays a crucial role in cement production for several reasons:

  1. Monitoring Combustion

One of the primary applications of gas analysis in the cement industry is monitoring combustion processes. In the kiln, where raw materials are heated to produce clinker, precise combustion control is essential. Gas analysis allows plant operators to monitor the composition of gases within the kiln, ensuring that the combustion process is efficient and that emissions are within acceptable limits.

  1. Quality Control

Maintaining consistent product quality is paramount in the cement industry. Gas analysis helps in quality control by monitoring the chemical composition of clinker and cement. By analyzing the gases released during the production process, operators can ensure that the desired chemical reactions are occurring, leading to the formation of high-quality clinker.

  1. Energy Efficiency

Energy consumption is a significant cost factor in cement production. Gas analysis aids in optimizing energy efficiency by providing insights into combustion efficiency. By adjusting parameters based on gas analysis data, operators can reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, leading to cost savings and environmental benefits.

  1. Emission Monitoring and Compliance

Environmental regulations require cement plants to monitor and control emissions of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter. Gas analysis systems are instrumental in continuous emissions monitoring, ensuring that cement plants comply with local and international environmental standards.

  1. Process Optimization

Gas analysis data is invaluable for process optimization. By analyzing the composition of gases at different stages of production, plant operators can identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, or deviations from the ideal process conditions. This information enables them to make informed decisions and implement improvements to enhance overall productivity.

Gas Analysis Techniques

Several gas analysis techniques are commonly used in the cement industry:

  1. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy

FTIR spectroscopy is a powerful technique that allows for the simultaneous measurement of multiple gases. It is particularly useful for monitoring emissions and processing gases in cement plants. FTIR analyzers can detect a wide range of gases, including CO2, SO2, NOx, and VOCs.

  1. Gas Chromatography

Gas chromatography is a versatile technique for separating and quantifying individual gas components. It is often used for analyzing gas samples from various points in the production process to determine the concentration of specific gases.

  1. In-situ Gas Analysis

In-situ gas analyzers are directly installed at specific points in the cement plant, such as the kiln or stack, for real-time monitoring. These analyzers provide continuous data, allowing for immediate adjustments to the process.

  1. Extractive Gas Analysis

Extractive gas analyzers collect samples from various process points and transport them to a central analyzer for measurement. This approach is suitable for applications where in-situ analysis is challenging due to extreme temperatures or hazardous conditions.

The Benefits of Gas Analysis in Cement Production

The integration of gas analysis into cement production processes offers several key benefits:

  1. Improved Product Quality

By ensuring the proper chemical reactions occur during production, gas analysis contributes to the consistent production of high-quality cement. This quality assurance is crucial for meeting customer expectations and industry standards.

  1. Enhanced Efficiency

Gas analysis helps cement plants optimize their processes, increasing energy efficiency and reducing operational costs. This is particularly important in an industry with high energy consumption.

  1. Environmental Compliance

With stricter environmental regulations, cement plants must monitor and control emissions effectively. Gas analysis systems provide the data needed to meet regulatory requirements and minimize environmental impact.

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making

Gas analysis provides real-time data that allows plant operators to make informed decisions quickly. This enables proactive troubleshooting and process adjustments, improving overall plant performance.

Highmark Analytics: Your Partner in Gas Analysis Solutions

As the cement industry continues to evolve and face new challenges, reliable gas analysis solutions are essential for ensuring efficiency, compliance, and sustainability. Highmark Analytics is your trusted partner in providing state-of-the-art gas analysis systems tailored to the specific needs of cement plants.

Our expertise in gas analysis technology and a commitment to innovation and customer support make us a leader in the industry. We offer a range of gas analyzers, including FTIR spectroscopy and in-situ systems, designed to meet the unique requirements of cement production.

With Highmark Analytics, you can:

  • Monitor combustion processes with precision.
  • Ensure consistent product quality.
  • Optimize energy efficiency and reduce costs.
  • Meet environmental regulations and reduce emissions.
  • Enhance process control and productivity.

Gas analysis is vital to cement production, serving multiple purposes, from quality control to environmental compliance. By leveraging advanced gas analysis techniques and solutions, cement plants can achieve improved product quality, energy efficiency, and sustainability while meeting the demands of an evolving industry.

As you strive to enhance your cement plant’s performance and sustainability, partner with Highmark Analytics for comprehensive gas analysis solutions tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about how our expertise and technology can benefit your operations.

How Does the EPA Measure Emissions?

Monitoring and reducing air emissions have become paramount in our increasingly environmentally conscious world. Not only is it essential for safeguarding the planet, but it’s also crucial for your business’s sustainability and compliance with regulations. Highmark Analytics helps you explore the world of air emissions monitoring and why it matters for your company.

Why Air Emissions Monitoring Matters

Air emissions monitoring is the process of tracking and measuring various pollutants and gases released into the atmosphere by industrial, commercial, and residential activities. These emissions can significantly impact the environment and public health, making it essential to keep them in check. Let’s take a closer look at why air emissions monitoring matters:

Environmental Protection: At its core, air emissions monitoring is about protecting our environment. By closely tracking and managing emissions, we can identify and mitigate sources of pollution, which ultimately leads to a cleaner, healthier planet.

Regulatory Compliance: Many countries and regions worldwide have strict regulations governing air quality and emissions. Failing to comply with these regulations can result in fines, legal consequences, and reputational damage. Air emissions monitoring is a proactive way to ensure your business stays within the bounds of the law.

Public Health: The quality of the air we breathe directly affects our health. Pollutants released into the atmosphere can lead to respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, and other health issues. Monitoring air emissions helps mitigate these risks and protect public health.

Corporate Responsibility: Beyond legal requirements, air emissions monitoring is a powerful tool for demonstrating corporate responsibility. Consumers increasingly expect businesses to take action on environmental issues. You can enhance your company’s reputation and brand image by actively reducing emissions and sharing your efforts with your audience.

Measurement Techniques in Air Emissions Monitoring

Air emissions monitoring employs various measurement techniques to quantify pollutants accurately. These techniques are crucial for obtaining reliable data to guide your company’s environmental efforts. Let’s explore some common measurement techniques in more detail:

Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS): CEMS continuously measures emissions in real-time. They are often used in industrial settings, where precise and continuous monitoring is crucial for compliance and process optimization. CEMS can track a wide range of pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter.

Stack Sampling: Stack sampling involves collecting samples of emissions directly from chimneys or stacks and analyzing them in a laboratory. This method is particularly effective for assessing specific pollutants in complex industrial processes. It provides accurate data for compliance reporting and process improvement.

Ambient Air Monitoring: Ambient air monitoring stations are strategically placed in urban and industrial areas to measure air quality in real-world conditions. They help assess the impact of emissions on the surrounding environment and public health. Common measurements include levels of ozone, particulate matter, carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds.

Remote Sensing: Remote sensing technologies have gained prominence in recent years. These methods, which include satellite and drone-based monitoring, offer a non-invasive way to detect emissions from a distance. They are especially valuable for assessing emissions from hard-to-reach or hazardous locations, such as forest fires or industrial accidents.

Emission Factors: Emission factors are mathematical equations that estimate emissions based on factors like fuel consumption, production rates, and process data. They provide a simplified yet effective way to estimate emissions when direct measurements are impractical or costly.

The Role of Data Analysis in Air Emissions Monitoring

Collecting data through monitoring is just the beginning. The true value of air emissions monitoring lies in analyzing and interpreting that data. Data analysis allows us to:

Identify Trends: By analyzing historical data, we can identify trends and patterns in emissions, helping businesses make informed decisions about process improvements and emission reduction strategies.

Detect Anomalies: Data analysis can reveal unexpected spikes or anomalies in emissions, which may indicate equipment malfunctions or process inefficiencies that need immediate attention.

Predict Future Emissions: Advanced data analytics can help predict future emissions based on current conditions and historical data. This forecasting capability is invaluable for proactive emission reduction planning.

Optimize Operations: Businesses can use emission data to optimize their operations, minimize waste, and reduce energy consumption, leading to cost savings and improved environmental performance.

Why Your Business Should Invest in Air Emissions Monitoring

Now that we’ve explored the importance of air emissions monitoring, measurement techniques, data analysis, and the impact on public health, let’s discuss why your business should consider investing in this crucial practice:

Environmental Responsibility: Beyond legal requirements, adopting air emissions monitoring is a tangible way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to environmental responsibility. In an era where sustainability matters more than ever, this commitment can enhance your reputation and attract environmentally conscious customers and partners.

Regulatory Compliance: Staying ahead of regulatory changes and ensuring compliance with emission standards is crucial. Non-compliance can result in legal consequences, fines, and damage to your company’s image. Implementing air emissions monitoring can help you proactively meet regulatory requirements.

Cost Savings: Air emissions monitoring can identify sources of emissions and inefficiencies in your processes. Addressing these issues can reduce energy waste and operational costs, ultimately improving your bottom line.

Competitive Advantage: Consumers are increasingly choosing environmentally responsible businesses. Promoting your emission reduction efforts can set you apart from competitors and attract a growing market of environmentally conscious customers.

Innovation Opportunities: Investing in emissions monitoring can drive innovation within your company. By seeking more efficient and sustainable processes and products, you can position yourself as an industry leader and seize opportunities for growth.

Take Action with Highmark Analytics

If you’re ready to take action and implement air emissions monitoring in your company, Highmark Analytics is here to help. Our expertise in environmental data analysis and monitoring solutions can guide you toward a greener, more sustainable future. We understand that implementing air emissions monitoring can be a complex and daunting task, but it’s a journey worth embarking on. Call us today to learn more.

How are Emissions Regulated in the U.S.?

Emission regulations are pivotal in maintaining air quality and safeguarding the environment. In the United States, the process of regulating emissions is a dynamic interplay between federal and state authorities, shaped by air quality standards, permits, and the pursuit of compliance. Read on to learn more about the intricacies of how emissions are regulated in the U.S., shedding light on the balance between attaining air quality standards, federal incentives, regulatory oversight, and how Highmark Analytics can contribute to navigating this landscape.

The Foundation: Air Quality Standards

Emission regulations in the U.S. are fundamentally rooted in the pursuit of attaining air quality standards. These standards serve as benchmarks for acceptable levels of pollutants in the atmosphere, aiming to ensure public health and environmental protection. The attainment of these standards is a driving force behind the regulatory framework, dictating the extent of permissible emissions.

Variability Across States

Emission regulations in the U.S. hinge upon the bedrock of air quality standards. These standards establish the permissible levels of pollutants in the atmosphere, prioritizing public health and environmental preservation. The regulatory framework is centered around achieving these standards, dictating the extent to which emissions are acceptable. Businesses must align their practices with these benchmarks, ensuring that their operations contribute to cleaner air and a healthier environment for all. The pursuit of air quality standards underscores the commitment to safeguarding our well-being and nurturing sustainable practices in the realm of emissions.

Ambient Air Quality Standards and Air Permits

Emission regulations exhibit dynamic diversity across states, acknowledging the intricacies of each region’s environmental and economic landscape. Empowered by the authority to establish emission standards, states build upon federal guidelines to cater to localized conditions. This diversity recognizes that a solution effective in one state might not seamlessly apply elsewhere. As a result, businesses operating across different states must adeptly navigate a nuanced regulatory framework, ensuring compliance with varying standards while contributing to a harmonious balance between economic progress and environmental preservation. The adaptable nature of state-specific regulations underscores the flexible approach to emissions management and the importance of tailored strategies.

Federal Highway Dollars: The Carrot

A compelling incentive in the realm of emissions compliance is the prospect of federal highway dollars—a rewarding carrot extended by the federal government. States vying for these funds must demonstrate a steadfast commitment to emissions reduction, effectively aligning economic benefits with environmental responsibility. The allure of federal highway dollars acts as a catalyst, propelling states and businesses toward more sustainable practices. This synergy between fiscal incentives and ecological stewardship not only fosters cleaner air but also underscores the pivotal role that financial motivation plays in steering the nation toward a future of reduced emissions and enhanced environmental well-being.

EPA Oversight: The Stick

In cases where regulatory enforcement proves inadequate, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wields a potent stick to ensure emissions compliance. This intervention underscores the federal government’s unwavering commitment to upholding air quality standards, even necessitating the assumption of monitoring and enforcement roles. The EPA’s vigilant oversight acts as a formidable deterrent against negligence, reinforcing the nation’s dedication to maintaining clean and healthy air. This regulatory stick serves as a safeguard for environmental integrity. It exemplifies the imperative role of federal oversight in fostering a collective responsibility toward emissions reduction, underscoring the gravity of upholding air quality standards for the well-being of present and future generations.

Collaborative Conversations and Compliance

Communication with regulatory agencies is vital for businesses navigating emissions regulations. This collaborative approach allows businesses to explore compliance options, seek guidance, and ensure alignment with evolving regulations. Engaging in open dialogue with regulatory authorities can lead to tailored solutions that balance economic activities with environmental preservation.

Testo’s Analyzers: Ensuring Compliance and Precision Monitoring

In the pursuit of emissions compliance, businesses and regulatory agencies rely on advanced technologies to monitor and manage emissions with precision. One such technological cornerstone is the Testo 350 analyzer, a versatile solution renowned for its effectiveness in compliance testing, troubleshooting, tuning, and even semi-continuous monitoring.

A Multifaceted Approach to Emissions Monitoring

Testo’s analyzers, exemplified by the Testo 350, encompass a spectrum of functionalities designed to streamline emissions monitoring processes. These analyzers specialize in measuring critical parameters such as O2, CO, CO2, NOx (NO and NO2), H2S, and CH, providing comprehensive insights into emission profiles. Beyond pollutant concentration, Testo’s analyzers also excel in measuring efficiency, excess air, draft, ppm, MMBtu, and Gm/Brake Horsepower, offering a holistic perspective on emissions characteristics.

Enhanced Compliance Testing

For regulatory agencies tasked with enforcing emission standards, Testo analyzers offer a reliable tool for compliance testing. The precision and accuracy of these analyzers ensure that businesses adhere to mandated emission thresholds, fostering cleaner air quality and a healthier environment.

Efficient Troubleshooting and Tuning

Testo’s analyzers serve as indispensable assets in troubleshooting and tuning emission sources. These analyzers enable businesses to promptly identify and rectify emission-related issues by pinpointing specific pollutants and analyzing combustion efficiency. This not only prevents environmental harm but also contributes to the efficient functioning of industrial processes.

Highmark Analytics: Navigating the Regulatory Landscape

In the pursuit of emissions compliance, businesses can rely on partners like Highmark Analytics to navigate the regulatory landscape effectively. Highmark Analytics offers cutting-edge solutions that aid in emission measurement, monitoring, and management. Their expertise helps businesses accurately assess emissions output, optimize compliance strategies, and stay ahead of evolving regulations.

With Highmark Analytics, businesses gain access to advanced tools and insights that enhance their ability to meet emission regulations. Highmark Analytics empowers businesses to make informed decisions, streamline compliance processes, and contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment by harnessing technology and expert guidance.

Emissions regulation in the U.S. operates at the intersection of federal and state authority, guided by air quality standards and the pursuit of environmental well-being. Businesses play a pivotal role in this landscape, engaging in conversations with regulatory agencies, seeking compliance options, and leveraging partners like Highmark Analytics. As the nation strives for cleaner air and a healthier environment, collaborative efforts pave the way for a more sustainable future with the assistance of innovative solutions like those provided by Highmark Analytics. If you’re interested in learning more about emission regulation in the United States and how we can help, reach out to us today.

What Are the 7 Most Common Industrial Chemicals?

Hundreds of different industrial chemicals are used in industrial or warehouse settings. Some are used to create consumer goods, such are used in the production of chemicals, some are used to create energy, and some are the result of various chemicals or leaks in a building. Here are seven of the most common industrial chemicals you should know about.

1. Sulfuric Acid, or H2SO4

Sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive and strong mineral acid with the chemical formula H2SO4. It is commonly known as the “king of chemicals” due to its widespread industrial use and essential role in various processes. Sulfuric acid is a colorless, oily liquid that can cause severe burns when it comes into contact with skin or other organic materials.

It is important in producing fertilizers, detergents, batteries, and various chemical products. Sulfuric acid is also used in metal processing, oil refining, and wastewater treatment. Its strong acidic properties make it a crucial catalyst in numerous chemical reactions, and its significance in various industries makes it one of the most widely produced chemicals globally.

2. Ethylene, or C2H4

Ethylene is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas and the simplest member of the alkene family, with the chemical formula C2H4. It is a colorless and flammable gas with a slightly sweet odor. Ethylene plays a crucial role in agriculture, as it is a plant hormone responsible for several physiological processes in plants, such as fruit ripening and flower development. Apart from its biological significance, ethylene has various industrial applications.

It is a vital raw material in the production of plastics, including polyethylene, one of the most widely used polymers worldwide. Ethylene also manufactures solvents, antifreeze, synthetic rubber, and various chemical intermediates.

3. Sodium Hydroxide, or NAOH

Sodium hydroxide, commonly known as caustic soda or lye, is a strong and highly versatile base with the chemical formula NaOH. It is an odorless, white, and translucent solid, but it is typically sold in the form of pellets, flakes, or a concentrated aqueous solution. Sodium hydroxide is an essential chemical in various industries due to its powerful alkaline properties. It is widely used in chemical processes, such as the production of paper, textiles, and detergents.

Additionally, it plays a crucial role in water treatment, where it is used for pH regulation and removing metals and impurities from water. Handling sodium hydroxide with care is essential, as it is highly caustic and can cause severe skin and eye irritation. Safety precautions should be taken to prevent accidents or injuries when working with this chemical.

4. Propylene, or C3H6

Propylene, also known as propene, is a colorless and flammable gas belonging to the alkene family of hydrocarbons. With the chemical formula C3H6, it consists of three carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms. Propylene is an important building block in the petrochemical industry and has various industrial applications. One of the primary uses of propylene is as a raw material in the production of polypropylene, a versatile thermoplastic polymer.

Polypropylene is widely used to manufacture various plastic products, such as packaging materials, containers, automotive parts, and textiles. Additionally, propylene is essential in the synthesis of other chemicals and intermediates, including acrylonitrile, propylene oxide, and isopropanol. These chemicals serve as precursors for the production of plastics, synthetic rubber, and various other materials.

5. Nitrogen, or N2

Nitrogen is an essential element and a vital component of life on Earth. It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, making up about 78% of the Earth’s atmosphere. With the chemical symbol N and atomic number 7, nitrogen is the most abundant gas in the air we breathe. Although nitrogen gas is inert and non-reactive under normal conditions, it plays a crucial role in various biological and industrial processes. One of its primary functions is as a vital element in the building blocks of life, as it is a fundamental component of amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids.

Without sufficient nitrogen, life as we know it would not be possible. Overall, nitrogen’s significance extends across multiple domains, including agriculture, industry, and the foundation of life itself. Its abundance in the atmosphere and its versatile applications make nitrogen a crucial element that impacts numerous aspects of our daily lives.

6. Carbon Monoxide, or CO

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas comprising one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. It is produced when carbon-containing fuels, such as gasoline, natural gas, wood, or coal, do not undergo complete combustion due to a lack of oxygen. This gas is highly toxic and poses significant health risks to humans and animals. In industrial settings, carbon monoxide is used in certain chemical processes and as a reducing agent in metallurgy.

However, strict safety measures and ventilation protocols are implemented to prevent exposure to high concentrations of this toxic gas. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, it is crucial to ensure proper ventilation and regular maintenance of fuel-burning appliances. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in living or working spaces is also essential for early detection of elevated levels of this gas.

7. Natural Gas, or CH4

Natural gas is a fossil fuel primarily composed of methane (CH4). However, it may also contain small amounts of other hydrocarbons, such as ethane, propane, butane, and impurities like nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. It is formed over millions of years from the decomposition of organic matter deep within the Earth’s crust. The extraction and use of natural gas raises environmental and safety concerns, particularly about methane emissions and potential leaks during production, transportation, and distribution.

Here at Highmark Analytics, we can help you monitor for dangerous gases caused by industrial chemicals or leaks in an industrial setting. One of the products we offer is a lower explosive limit, or LEL, monitoring system that can measure both carbon monoxide and natural gas. If you are interested in learning more about any of our chemical or gas monitoring systems, reach out to us today to discuss the needs of your industrial business and how we can help to keep your employees safe.

How Often Should a Combustion Analysis Be Done?

At Highmark Analytics, one of the services we highly recommend is combustion analysis. However, this is not a term many individuals or businesses are familiar with. Here is more information that you should know about this service, including when it should be done, how frequently it should be completed, and specific terms you should familiarize yourself with concerning combustion analysis.

When Should a Combustion Analysis Be Done?

Determining the ideal timing for combustion analysis is essential to ensure accurate readings and effective adjustments. While performing the analysis, it is recommended to allow the boiler to operate for at least 15 minutes before taking any measurements, allowing the flame to stabilize. However, conducting the analysis during the fall or spring seasons may pose challenges, as the boiler may shut off based on temperature or pressure before the process is completed.

Considering these factors, the optimal time to perform a combustion analysis is during periods of heavy load, such as mid-winter when the heating demand is at its peak. This ensures that the boiler operates continuously and under typical conditions, providing reliable and representative data for analysis. By conducting the combustion analysis during this time, accurate adjustments can be made that help to optimize the boiler’s performance.

How Frequently Should a Combustion Analysis Be Completed?

The frequency at which a combustion analysis should be done varies. You may need to run this type of analysis on every thermal system or boiler in your commercial facility about once a quarter, whereas you need to run this on a home system about once a year. The frequency can vary depending on the size of the facility and the load of the boiler or thermal system. Additionally, for safety reasons, you should have an analysis completed every time you service a thermal system. Our team can work with you to help you determine the frequency at which a combustion analysis should be performed.

Important Combustion Definitions You Need to Understand

Combustion parameters are crucial in determining the efficiency and safety of boilers and burners. Let’s explore some key definitions and considerations related to combustion analysis. This will help you to better understand why combustion analysis is being done and the terms a professional uses.


The air used for burner combustion consists of approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and small amounts of argon and other gases. Adjusting the air supply to the minimum required to achieve optimal efficiency is essential. Insufficient air or excessive fuel results in a “lean” condition, reducing efficiency. Conversely, too much air or insufficient fuel leads to a “rich” condition, potentially causing sooting and high emissions, including carbon monoxide.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of combustion and is expressed as a percentage of the flue gas volume. When measuring carbon dioxide levels, it is crucial to consider the oxygen content. Ignoring oxygen levels could mask the presence of carbon monoxide in the flue gases. Burner manufacturers typically aim for 8.5% to 10% carbon dioxide readings in the flue gas. It’s important to note that carbon dioxide can form carbonic acid when combined with water, which may damage standard-efficiency boilers or chimneys.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous byproduct of incomplete combustion. It is measured in parts per million (ppm) rather than as a percentage of flue gas. To illustrate how small a part per million is, consider that one part per million is equivalent to one day in 2,739 years or one inch in 16 miles. It is crucial to strive for carbon monoxide levels as close to zero as possible.

CO Air Free

“CO air free” is used when measuring carbon monoxide in flue gases. It refers to subtracting the excess air from the calculation to determine the actual carbon monoxide content in the flue gases. Sometimes, technicians are tempted to add more air to reduce carbon monoxide levels. However, adding excess air dilutes the carbon monoxide reading. The ANSI Z 21.1 standard sets the limit for CO air free in flue gases at 400 ppm. If carbon monoxide is measured without factoring in the air-free portion, it is referred to as “as measured” carbon monoxide.

Excess Air

Excess air is the additional air supplied to the combustion process to ensure safe operation. It acts as a protective measure, preventing fuel inefficiencies, increased carbon monoxide gases, and produced soot. Excessive air in gaseous fuels usually is around 15%, though liquid and solid fuels higher ranges. The higher the excess air, the more fuel required to produce required heat for the process.


Draft refers to the velocity of flue gases through the boiler. Excessive drafts can pull flue gases too quickly, reducing boiler efficiency. Conversely, low draft levels can damage the burner. The draft is slightly negative for Category 1 appliances, usually around -0.05 in. w.c. It is essential to consult the manufacturer’s specifications for draft requirements. Most condensing boilers have a positive flue and require a sealed vent.

Stack Temperature

Stack temperature indicates the heat transfer capability of the boiler. If the stack temperature is too high, it suggests that the burner is not efficiently transferring heat into the boiler. Various factors, such as dirty heating surfaces, over-firing, water-side scale buildup, excessive draft, or high water velocity inside the boiler, can contribute to high stack temperatures. On the other hand, if the stack temperature is too low, flue gases may condense and cause damage unless the boiler is specifically designed for condensing.

Ambient Temperature

Ambient temperature refers to the temperature of the combustion air for the burner. When using a combustion analyzer, it should be done in the environment where the combustion air is drawn, as close to the burner as possible. Testing performed outside the combustion air source can yield false readings. If the boiler draws air from the boiler room, calibrate the analyzer in the combustion air duct that feeds the burner. In cases where there are multiple boilers in a room, some using outside air and others using room air, testing needs to be performed twice, once for each type of burner.

What is Highmark Analytics’ Role in Combustion Analysis?

At Highmark Analytics, our team is here to sell, service and calibrate equipment used for testing boilers and thermal systems, from your home to steam boilers for facilities and piston-driven engines in commercial settings. Our team evaluates gas combustion equipment used in these settings, calibrates and retests to ensure accuracy and functionality during instrument field use. Call us to learn more and to get started today.