Poor indoor air quality can be fatal, make sure you test it regularly

To most people, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) units are useful for two things: keep us warm in the winter months, and cool us down during the summer. On the other hand, as experts in this field will know oh too well, there is plenty more involved in maintaining a comfortable and more importantly safe working environment.

In order to ensure problems don’t persist, regular measurement HVAC systems with refrigeration gauges is of course important. But the indoor climate within a building is not only affected by the temperature and humidity, but also the indoor air quality.

 

What exactly affects indoor air quality (IAQ)?

In short IAQ is judged based on the number of contaminants within the atmosphere of a room or building. Various gases are bound to be present, sometimes in very small (and therefore harmless) amounts. Examples of this include ozone and carbon dioxide. Whilst when these gases are present in small amounts they are not dangerous, this can change if the building is subject to lacklustre ventilation.

The Environmental Protection Agency on their website state that “Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants.” They go on to say “Understanding and controlling common pollutants indoors can help reduce your risk of indoor health concerns.”

 

What happens if it isn’t monitored correctly?

Immediate effects of indoor air pollution often resemble those from a common cold or illness, making a potential issue even more difficult to detect. There are a number of illnesses that result from contaminated indoor air. Some of the more minor effects include irritated eyes, nose or skin as well as an increased likelihood of irritation of the eyes, coughing, headaches, dizziness, fatigue and nausea.

In extreme cases, those who spend a great deal of time in an incorrectly monitored environment are at risk of long-term illnesses for example heart disease, respiratory problems, or even cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency conclude that “It is important to pay attention to the time and place symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the area, for example, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes.”

 

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By measuring a number of parameters you will get a true picture of the indoor air quality

 

How can testo help?

Testo provide a number of instruments to help monitor indoor air quality effectively. If you’d like some more information or you’ve got a potential requirement you’d like to discuss, please feel free to reach out to us. You can either send us a message, leave a comment, visit our website www.testolimited.com/indoor-air-quality or give us a call on 01420 544433 and we’ll be more than happy to help.

How restaurants can improve profits with correct temperature control

When it comes to restaurants and cafes, there are many factors that determine just how successful they will be. Having delicious food, great customer service and a pleasant atmosphere are certainly important, but those factors aren’t necessarily evident for potential first-time customers. As the number of options increases people are becoming more and more reliant on rankings and statistics when making their lunch and dinner choices.

When people first walk up to a restaurant, apart from the initial aesthetic look, there are typically two things they look at to make their decision about whether or not to ask for a table – the menu and the health inspector rating. While testo can’t provide expert advice on appetisers and entrees, testo’s line of HACCP-certified digital thermometers and temperature data loggers can play a key role in earning top marks from health inspectors.

 

Why the grades matter

It should come as no surprise that diners expect their preferred restaurants to maintain optimal procedures for food safety, cleanliness and hygiene. In many cases, a customer’s perception about the cleanliness of a dining establishment is through their own experiences and word of mouth. That is starting to change however, due to increased savviness of your average customer as well as greater transparency in health and safety inspections.

Initiatives around the world and in the UK are putting restaurant and cafe grades out front for increased consumer visibility. Restaurants are encouraged restaurants to prominently display the results of their health and food safety inspections. While this is not obligatory in the UK it is compulsory in some areas, for instance in Wales any Business that gets a new rating after November 2013, must by law display a sticker showing their rating in a prominent place in “all entrances to the premises”.

 

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Proper temperature controls are essential for restaurants looking to improve safety scores

 

By openly posting results, it is widely considered that restaurants and cafes with high grades are perceived as more reliable and will likely therefore see an increase in their number of customers. The UK Food Standards Agency for instance, states on its website: “Putting a hygiene rating on show is a good advertisement for businesses that meet the requirements of food hygiene law. A good food hygiene rating is good for business.”

Another major example is a study conducted on restaurants in Los Angeles, which provided some compelling evidence to support this claim. Professor Phillip Leslie, an economist at Stanford University, examined the relationship between revenue and health inspection grades – which must be publicly displayed – in Los Angeles restaurants.

The findings, as reported by The Economist, showed that the displayed grades certainly affected where diners chose to order their meals – restaurants with a C grade saw a 1 per cent decrease in revenue, while those with a B and A saw increases of 0.7 and 5.7 per cent, respectively. The 5 per cent jump in revenue increases between B-rated and A-rated restaurants shows that scores do carry weight with consumers. This is therefore proving to have a real impact on the financial success of different eateries.

 

How can restaurants increase their scores?

Overall cleanliness and safe food handling and storage procedures are vital areas of focus for any restaurant. Common issues within restaurants include:

  • A lack of adequate cover for stored food.
  • Hand-washing areas that are not up to standards.
  • Issues with pests.
  • Unclean food equipment and preparing locations.
  • Ensuring that food is kept at proper temperatures.

 

How can testo help?

Proper temperature management is hugely important for all businesses in the food industry. Careful monitoring of temperatures in many areas around the kitchen, cool rooms and fridges is absolutely essential for food safety. Temperature control systems like the testo’s Saveris 2 WiFi data loggers can make those tasks stress-free for any establishment.

 

This video explains the advantages of using a temperature monitoring system such as Saveris 2

 

The testo Saveris 2 system allows for careful monitoring of temperatures by connecting data loggers through a secure cloud storage system. For added convenience, this data can be accessed from anywhere in the world from a PC, tablet or smartphone.

 

Like some more info?

If you’d like some more information on testo temperature monitoring solutions or you’ve got a potential requirement you’d like to discuss, please feel free to reach out to us. You can either send us a message, leave a comment, visit our website www.testolimited.com or give us a call on 01420 544433 and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Electrical testing is made easy thanks to this unique new multimeter

Multimeters are used for a variety of applications, whether it is measuring supply voltage inside an electric cabinet, on a rooftop, or within a heat pump. While there are a number of other ways a multimeter can provide crucial measurements, it is crucial all applications are taken into account to design the perfect instrument.

 

Automatic measurement makes testing easy

The New range of multimeters from testo (the testo 760 range) take automatic measurement to the next level. Thanks to their unique and innovative design they are able to recognise the required measurement. Based on the electrical sockets and the test leads being used the multimeter will detect whether it needs to switch to current or voltage measurement mode.

For example, say you were testing for current, and attempted to switch to voltage, the multimeter would alert you immediately, thus preventing the fuses from blowing and any damage to the equipment. Another advantage is the ‘Auto Power Off’ feature which will help to prolong the instrument’s battery life.

 

The testo 760 has user friendly function keys instead of a traditional dial

 

Large illuminated sceen for any situation

The testo 760 features an illuminated screen, and therefore provides clear and easy to read results at all times. The multimeter also offers one of the largest displays on the market, allowing you to view both voltage and current alongside the frequency. Some of its early users have described this feature as ‘absolutely ideal’.

The robust design of the multimeter also complements dust and water-protection up to IP 64 rating. In fact, the multimeter offers one of the largest displays on the market, allowing you to view both voltage and current alongside the frequency.

 

Perfect multimeter for any professional

As mentioned before there are 3 versions in the testo multimeter range, and here are some of the advantages of each model:

  • The testo 760-1 is the standard version, not hugely complex but suitable for the majority of daily electrical measurements.
  • The testo 760-2 has a larger current measurement range than the 760-1, as well as a TRMS function (true root mean square measurement) and a low-pass filter.
  • The testo 760-3 has all the advantages of the 760-2 plus a higher measurement range for capacitance, frequency, and has a voltage range of up to 1,000 V.

 

About testo Electrical Testing Equipment

Testo has long been at the forefront of innovation in electrical measurement tools. Boasting cutting-edge design with the highest regard for safety, testo’s new electrical range once again proves their ability to provide the best and most advanced measurement tools. The range includes Digital Multimeters, Clamp Meters, Voltage Testers, Current & Voltage Testers, and Non-Contact Voltage (NCV) Testers.

For more information on the New testo Electrical Testing range or any testo products please visit our website: www.testolimited.com/electrical or give us a call on 01420 544433. Testo instruments are available from all good HVAC/R distributors.

 

 

Cold storage and freezer monitoring – getting it wrong can be costly…

As anyone who is in charge of a premises which stores food will know, every location is different. When it comes to monitoring conditions then, careful selection is essential to make certain you are using the correct equipment to match the specific requirements of your location. This type of precision is vital, as we’ve seen time and time again, when it comes to the cold chain one slip up can be incredibly costly.

In order to help with this testo have put together a very short overview of the types of requirements for Freezers, cold stores, and store rooms in general.

 

Monitoring Freezers

When monitoring conditions in a freezer, as well as measuring the temperature of the product itself, keeping tabs on the air temperature within the freezer is also important. It is advisable to measure this in the vicinity of the air recirculation using a suitable air temperature probe. This is where the air is warmest. If the air here is the correct temperature (for example -18 °C), it is safe to say the freezer is working properly.

Monitoring conditions is of course essential for cold storage

For simple monitoring it is usually sufficient just to place a data logger with an internal sensor in with the frozen goods. If you’re planning on monitoring a freezer over a longer period of time however, it would be advisable to use a data logger with several input channels. One probe measures the air temperature at ground level, another at the maximum load line, while a third measures the air temperature at the air recirculation.

 

Cold storage areas / store rooms

If you’re monitoring a cold storage area or room, as well as overseeing the air temperature and product temperature (core temperature of the chilled goods), the use of a data logger is highly recommended. In fact, for cold and deep-freeze storage areas which are larger than 10 m³, data recording is even compulsory. According to EN 12830, 15 minutes should be considered a suitable measurement interval.

You can set the limit values to the maximum acceptable temperature (-18 °C, -15 °C). If a reading outside the allocated threshold is detected you will receive an alarm (via email, SMS, or App) immediately. Should an incidence like this occur you can then you can use the analysis features to determine exactly when the measurement data strayed over the limits and for how long.

 

Like some more info?

If you’d like some more information on testo temperature monitoring solutions or you’ve got a potential requirement you’d like to discuss, please feel free to reach out to us. You can either send us a message, leave a comment, visit our website www.testolimited.com/food-safety or give us a call on 01420 544433 and we’ll be more than happy to help.

What are the dangers of HVAC pressure? Everything you need to know

It’s no secret that HVAC and refrigeration systems are complicated pieces of equipment. But with the right technology and a bit of know-how, it’s easier than you’d think to have them running safely and efficiently.

There are a number of process occurring inside these machines all at once, with temperatures and pressures contributing to their functionality. If either of these functions develop issues, it can compromise the effectiveness of the unit, or create a dangerous work environment.

 

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With the right support HVAC systems don’t pose as many problems as they used to

 

The following examples outline the potential dangers of incorrect pressure readings, and possible causes for these problems.

 

What dangers do incorrect pressures pose?

HVAC and refrigeration units are designed with certain operating conditions in mind, and the parts that comprise them will all have a specific set of tolerances to ensure they don’t fail. While most units will have a cut-off that detects dangerous pressures, these instances still pose a threat to its functionality.

HVAC Web Tech states high pressure within these units could cause the internal cylinder to rupture, rendering it useless. In extreme cases, this can create further problems if the pressure is great enough to release the refrigerant at force.

In such an event the force can even cause damage to nearby workers or other machinery. The organisation advises that any personnel working with faulty units should be wearing the necessary protective clothing in case high pressures overload them.

 

How is high pressure caused?

Due to the complicated nature of these units, there are a number of reasons for pressures to become too high or too low. One possible cause, which is relatively simple to diagnose is an overcharged refrigerant. Put simply, this means there is too much of the respective refrigerant in the system, which normally results in high pressure readings.

The amount of refrigerant in a system greatly affects its potential to function and contributes to low pressure measurements as well. If there is too little refrigerant in the unit, it will result in low pressure, preventing the machine from running at its best.

 

What will help to keep pressures in check?

testo-550-digital-refrigeration-manifold-bluetoothThe best way to ensure these conditions don’t endanger your HVAC unit is to schedule regular maintenance and ensure it is performed correctly. On top of this, any strange behaviours from the machine should prompt immediate inspection.

Devices such as the testo 550 Refrigeration gauge (pictured right) provide an easy way to inspect pressures in your HVAC and refrigeration equipment, with the digital display feeding accurate information that is right first time, every time.

 

Like some more info?

For more information on testo’s solutions for the HVAC and Refrigeration industry or any of our products why not visit our website www.testolimited.com/refrigeration or give us a call on 01420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.

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