What Does a Combustion Analyzer Measure?

What Does a Combustion Analyzer Measure

LAST UPDATED: September 15th, 2020

Understanding combustion analysis is one of the most significant things that you require to study if you want to be an expert in the world of thermodynamics, especially when you are thinking of being a technician. Now, if you are wondering why we need this item, then this is the perfect article for you.

Here we have discussed in detail the benefits of using this product and what does a combustion analyzer measure. Plus, we have also suggested how you can use the data provided by a good combustion analyzer into your work.

Why Do We Need a Combustion Analyzer?

We use these items for several reasons, and here are some of them:

  1. For measuring stack temperature
  2. Calculating flue pressure
  3. Checking the gas levels
  4. Carbon Dioxide and water analysis (including surface carbon dioxide analysis)
  5. Thermogravimetric investigation
  6. Inlet temperature
  7. Excess air
  8. Combustion efficiency

And the list shall keep on going. So, what is the point of having such a vast set of data? Well, with all these data, you can draw out a pretty accurate measurement of efficiency.

In short, if you want to find out whether your boiler, furnace, or heater is doing its job correctly, then you need this tool.

What Does a Combustion Analyzer Measure?

There is a vast number of things that you can measure using a combustion analyzer.


Well, firstly and most importantly, we can use these to measure the efficiency of your boiler. Now, to measure the efficiency of a product directly, you need to figure out all the losses that are occurring in the machine during combustion.

And, trust us, there are lots of things that will be causing the losses. If you want more detailed information on losses, then this list should clear that out for you.

• Incomplete combustion or unburned gas
• Radiation
• Unburned particles
• Sensible heat loss
• Loss of energy at various components
• Other forms of energy loss

However, these are not the only things that might hamper the efficiency of your machine. By using this equation, you can figure out the efficiency.

Efficiency = 100% – (100 × (Total Heat Loss)/(Fuel Heating Value))
In case you are wondering, what is the best efficiency for a given machine, then here is a chart of the ideal efficiency range for some machinery.

Home Fireplace:10 to 40 %
Space Heater:50 to 80 %
Residential gas furnace with low-efficiency atmospheric burner:70 to 80 %
High-efficiency gas or oil condensing furnace:85 to 95 %
Gas-powered boiler:75 to 85 %
Oil burner heating system:70 to 85 %

By the way, apart from combustion efficiency, there are various other efficiencies that you can measure using these analyzers. Using this device, you can measure maintained efficiency, environmental efficiency, and safety.

Therefore, if you are looking for something to measure the productivity of a heat-operated machine, then this is a must-have.


Another measurement that you can calculate using these fantastic devices is the stack temperature of a boiler, furnace, or heater. To do that, all you have to do is insert the probe into the gas exhaust of the machine.

Remember to do one thing, when you are inserting the probe, make sure that you are inserting the probe at the highest point of exhaust temperature. Generally, these points are situated near the base or towards the center of the flue chamber.

Do not undermine the importance of precisely calculating the stack gas temperature. You see, the amount of stack gas is inversely proportional to the operating efficiency. Thus, if the stack gas is undermined, then the efficiency will be overstated, and vice versa.

Emission Measurements


You can also measure the oxygen levels of the machine. And Oxygen is an essential factor in combustion.

You see, if the quantity of Oxygen present in a machine is not adequate enough, then the machine will not be able to deliver complete combustion. Hence, the efficiency of the apparatus would decline.

By the way, once you are done calibrating the instrument to measure the Oxygen levels, you need to put the instrument near the spot where the emission is being released (which is generally the stack).

And we suggest that when the entire procedure begins, assure that the levels of Oxygen are stable, and do the process for at least two to three minutes.

Plus, it is a good idea to do the process a couple of more times and average out the result as that disregards all the anomalous answers, and hence, gives you a pretty accurate reading.

Soot/Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide

Obviously, when something is burning, there is a high chance that there will be some amount of incomplete combustion.

And this is the reason behind the generation of soot (or Carbon), and Carbon Monoxide in your boiler, furnace, or heater.

Anyways, do not that think that the formation of Carbon Dioxide is a waste, as that is not linked to incomplete combustion.

Instead, when complete combustion occurs, Carbon Dioxide gas is released. Hence, it is a good thing. On the other hand, due to lack of Oxygen, incomplete combustion occurs, which produces soot and CO.

Now, you can either calculate the amount of soot and CO that is produced by the machine, or you can calculate the amount of Oxygen. And both of these parameters will provide you with accurate results of efficiency.


There are other forms of emissions that you need to take into account. For example, you should consider the NOx count and sulfur production in the boiler, heater, or furnace.


Though we have not portrayed all the measurements that you can calculate using these devices, the ones we have mentioned are some of the most important ones.

Nonetheless, there are several other data that a combustion analyzer can provide you with, and we assure you that you can use them in various ways for several purposes.

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