The INSPECTOR – Heat Exchanger & Furnace Video Inspection – Mobile, AL & Baldwin County, AL
Things You Should Know About Furnace Safety Inspections
- Why some heating companies check heat exchangers differently than other heating companies?
- Why you should have your heat exchanger checked?
- What is means if your heat exchanger has a crack or hole in it?
- Why one heating company says the heat exchanger needs to be replaced and another heating company said your heat exchanger is just fine.
Safety Inspections & Ethics
With today’s liability situation, HVAC companies need to do a very thorough and complete safety inspection of a homeowner’s furnace and heat exchanger. Only about 20% of the surface of a heat exchanger can actually be viewed with a flashlight and a mirror. With today’s technology, claiming to have done a complete examination of heat exchanger without an inspection camera, borders on fraud, or at the very least, it would incompetent.
The manufacturer of your furnace (Lennox, Trane, Carrier, Amana, etc.), the gas company and our company all recommended an annual inspection of the safety mechanisms of your furnace, the general operation of your furnace and an inspection of your heating exchanger on your furnace annually. This inspection does not need to be preseason, just annually. We find that our customers employ us to perform this inspection, which part of our “Precision Tune-Up” (or PTU for short) not only to make sure everything is running correctly, but to make sure they are safe in their home.
A Historical Approach to Heat Exchanger Inspections
The heating industry has historically used a “Smoke & Mirror” approach to checking heat exchanger for cracks of leaks. The technician will heat up the furnace, place a smoke bomb inside the heat exchanger and then look for leakage above the heat exchanger.
Did you know? The American Gas Association, states, “Any visibly crack or hole in the heat exchanger is a reason requiring replacement of the heat exchanger.” Not recommending. Not encouraging… but REQUIRING!
The problem with the basic smoke-bomb test is that the smoke does not always fill the entire heat exchanger or flow through a crack. Also, with an air conditioning evaporator coil mounted on the tip of the furnace, it is often virtually impossible to visually see the smoke escaping from a crack.
Tech will also use a flashlight and mirror to visually inspect that part of the heat exchanger he can see. The problem here is simple, the tech can usually only inspect up to 20% of the heat exchanger. Leaving 80% or more of the heat exchanger still out of visual range of the tech! That is why this inspection has earned the dubious nickname. “Smoke & Mirrors”.
Unfortunately, very few heating companies utilized The InspectorTM camera system with the proper training… probably due to the cost. Recently, inexpensive low definition cameras have come on the market. These low definition cameras do not come with any professional training.
INFRARED CAMERA TECHNOLOGY IS THE KEY
Infrared photography shows corrosion within a furnace heat exchanger very dramatically and completely, regular color cameras completely miss the corrosion. The Inspector TM is not a black and white camera. The Inspector TM is a true a high resolution infrared camera, and infrared can only be viewed on a “Duotone” monitor.
Inspector Camera – Did you know?
Did you know – A coin collector can use The Inspector TM brand camera to grade and appraise and old coins, but with one of those knock-off cameras available to a tech, a coin collector may or may not be able to tell if the coil is a dime or a nickel!
Basically two main trust gaps are created in the scenario of a technician assuming that homeowner will blindly trust them. The obvious problem is a visual one. With the cheap low-res cameras, there is no true detail in the image, so the homeowner is not sure all of what they are viewing. The problem is eliminated when using the Inspector TM camera because the image the homeowner is shown a true high resolution. Another aspect of the clarity of the image a homeowner sees with the Inspector TM camera is the fact that the image is able to be defined. The US military uses infrared imaging for the very same reason that the Inspector TM camera does. They use it because infrared much more clearly defines that contrast of a portrayed image.
For example, if looking at rust and corrosion with an infrared camera, the details are clearly presented in brightly contrasted shades of what is called “Duotone” or halftone reproduction of an image (in this case on black and gray contrasting pixels). Competitors wrongly try to cheapen the value of infrared imaging by claiming that the Inspector TM is merely a black and white video camera. This I s a dishonest attempt to devalue a superior product and throw up a smoke screen as to the fact that their inferior resolution cameras fail to show a clear enough image for the average homeowner to believe in and trust.
True-Infrared Camera Technology
Inspector TM camera is a true infrared camera system. Other may tout that their system is color system, and while that would be a good thing if this were a television, it is the worst thing possible for a heat exchanger inspection camera.
Our commitment to you!
We don’t charge any more money for our inspection of your heat exchanger; the inspection is already paid for in the Diagnosis Fee or the PTU cost.