Energy audit tools

Energy Audit Tools

Any successful energy audit requires a set of audit tools for measurements and diagnostics. Here we present you with various types of instruments that can aid in the energy audit survey. The amount and category of instruments needed depend on the type of energy consuming equipment used at the facility and the audit's level of complexity. The first distinction of tools is set by the fact that whether the energy audit is residential, commercial or industrial. Secondly, say during the industrial energy audit, if waste heat recovery is being considered, then the auditor must take substantial temperature measurement data from potential heat sources. Below we've gathered tools commonly necessary for energy audits.

Tape Measure

This is the most basic measuring device needed. 25 - 100 ft tape measures are used to measure the dimensions of walls, ceilings, windows, etc. These measurements can later be used in reporting and for determining the length of pipes needed to transfer the waste heat, for example.

Lightmeter

A light meter is used to measure the amount of light, in foot-candles, that falls on a surface. Lightmeters are battery-operated hand hand-held devices that are used for surveying illumination levels. The measured light levels can then be compared to the recommended standard levels and adjusted accordingly. Light meters used for energy audit are different from photographic exposure meters in that they relate to the way the human eye sees the light rather than the camera.

Extech Pocket-sized Foot Candle Light Meter
Measuring Range 200 - 2000 Feet-candles
Resolution 0.1/1.0 Fc over 2 ranges
Accuracy 5%
Sensor Cable Length 47" (1.2 m)
Display unit size 4.88" x 2" x 0.75" (12.4 x 5 x 1.9 cm)
Sensor size 2.6" x 1.75" x 0.75" (6.6 x 4.4 x 1.9 cm)

This handy, pocket-sized light meter monitors the intensity and efficiency of a light source in any setting be it home, commercial or industrial. This light meter displays the readings in foot candle units. Included is a remote, color-corrected photodiode sensor that can be maneuvered into various positions to capture more accurate readings. The photo-diode comes in a protective cover.  The unit features a switch for choosing between 2 ranges of light intensity. The lower range is for home and office spaces and the higher range is for commercial/industrial settings. 1/2" LCD displays clear, easy to read numerals for your reference. The device is equipped with 2 indicators: over-range indicator signals when the light source is above or below the selected range and a low-battery indicator signals when the batteries need replacement.

Temperature Measurements

Electronic Thermometer

Monitoring air temperature provides information on HVAC system operation. Additionally, thermometers are used for measuring operating equipment temperature to determine process equipment efficiencies and waste heat recovery sources. Electronic thermometers with interchangeable probes are available for both cases. Some common types of probes are immersion probe, surface probe, and a radiation-shielded probe for measuring the true air temperature.

Digital Thermocouple Thermometer for HVAC, Furnace And Heater

This is a k-type digital thermometer for contact temperature measurements. It has inputs for 2 k-type thermocouples for displaying 2 temperatures - T1, T2 or differential temperature: T1 - T2. Two 3 ft (91.5 cm) temperature probes with fiberglass insulation are included. The probes come with bead sensors and work up to 500 °F (260°C). The temperature reading is displayed in 1-degree steps of Fahrenheit (°F) or Celcius (°C). Any k-type probe with a miniature thermocouple connector can be used. The measuring range is -50 to 1999°F, -50 to 1300°C. It conveniently allows measuring an inlet and an outlet temperature for HVAC, heaters or furnaces.

Infrared Thermometer

Lightweight, compact and easy-to-use, non-contact infrared thermometers can safely measure hot, hazardous or hard-to-reach material without touching, contaminating or damaging the material's surface. Two things to look at when choosing infrared thermometers are the temperature range of the intended use and the measurement distance. Optics are given in a ratio such as 6:1 or 10:1. A ratio of 10:1, for instance, means that from a distance of 10 feet the sensor will be reading an area 1 foot in diameter. The further the distance the larger the spot size will be so this is something to keep in mind when measuring target temperature.

Fluke 62 MAX Infrared Thermometer
This is an infrared thermometer for non-contact surface temperature measurement for -20 to 932°F (-30 to 500°C) range with an accuracy of +/- 1.5 degree. The distance-to-spot ratio is 10:1 with laser sighting for pinpointing the measurement area. Displays the minimum, maximum, differential and the average temperature values within the target area. IP54 rated for dust and water resistance. Applicable in electrical panels and wiring, mechanical, HVAC, and predictive maintenance areas. It's a small, lightweight IR thermometer with durability and accuracy to do its job.
  • 10 ft (3m) drop tested
  • Dual lasers for superior targeting
  • Large, backlit display
  • Ergonomic design - fits easily in hand
  • IP54 water- and dustproof
  • Min, Max, Avg, Diff; High & Low alarm

Resistance Thermometer

This type of thermometers is also called resistance temperature detectors (RTD). A defining feature of RTD sensors is a fine wire wrapped around a ceramic or glass core. RTD elements are fragile hence often housed in protective probes. Very useful for A/C testing, RTDs have higher accuracy, repeatability, reliability, and are convenient in use. The advantages of RTDs are high accuracy, low drift, wide operating range, suitability for precision applications. RTDs are rarely used above 660 °C in industrial applications.

Akozon Handheld Digital Platinum Resistance Thermometer

This is an industrial resistance temperature detector (RTD). It's a high-precision device with 3 temperature units: Kelvin, Fahrenheit, and Celsius. The instrument has a built-in memory, measures min/max temperatures, and comes with a 3.3 ft (1m) long measuring probe PT100 with ceramic coat protection handle. The compact and lightweight design makes it easy to carry around on an energy audit visit. The main unit's measuring range is -328 to 1112 °F (-200 to 600 °C) and the probe's range is -58 to 932 °F (-50 to 500 °C). The package includes the thermometer (no battery), probe w/ cable, user manual.

  • Step: 0.1 °C/°F/K
  • Accuracy: +/- (0.05% + 1 digit)
  • Display: 4-digit, 1/2" LCD
  • Sampling time: 0.5 sec
  • Data storage: 256 measuring values

Thermal Leak Detector

Black&Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector
Thermal leak detector may very well remind you of an infrared thermometer. Though both instruments have common features they differ in a number of ways. Like IR thermometer, it's working principle is based on IR rays to measure surface temperature. What sets it apart is its ability to detect insulation issues in a building by identifying both hot and cold draughts around it and gives a visual representation of any temperature difference. The light indicator will go from green to blue to indicate cold draughts or from green to red to indicate warm draughts. Nothing beats a visual representation of what's going on and this instrument gives you that. Effectively, it lets the auditor pinpoint breaches in the building insulation that need to be fixed to maintain the thermal balance.

Thermal Imaging System

Infrared cameras or thermal imaging systems are quite affordable nowadays. You can even turn your iPhone or Android phone iinto a thermal imaging device by plugging in a small camera. Infrared cameras are a versatile tool you can use to find overheated electrical wires, connections as well as wet or missing insulation, roof leaks and cold spots.

FLIR C2 Thermal Imaging System
Flir C2 portable infrared camera comes in standard Wi-Fi enabled variations. Captures up to 500 radiometric images. Max resolution is 4800 pixels. Capable of capturing thermal measurements ranging from 14°F to 302°F (-10°C to 150°C). The package includes the camera, lanyard, power supply/charger, USB cable, printed manual. Also included is FLIR Tools professional reporting software for thermal image post analysis. Flir C2 is designed for energy auditors and building industry experts. Some notable features include MSX real-time image inhancement, high sensitivity, a wide field of view, fully radiometric imagery, touch screen display. For an additional $60 or so you can get MR40 moisture pen for reliable measurements. The pen features a clear LCD display with On/Off button, auto power off, replaceable pins, and an audible indication of the measured length. 

Voltmeter and Ammeter

Necessary for determining operating voltages on electrical equipment, especially when nameplate has worn off or is otherwise unreadable. A versatile instrument for this purpose is the multi-meter combining volt/ohm/ammeter with a clamp-on feature for measuring currents in conductors that are easily accessible. The snap-on ammeters can be either indicating or recording with a printout.

Fluke 117 RMS Multimeter
This is a true root mean square (RMS) multimeter. RMS is the effective heating value of an AC voltage or current waveform. The advantage of a true-RMS vs average-RMS meter is that average-RMS will read a too low current signal for non-linear (electronic) loads while a true-RMS meter will show a correct reading by doing the necessary conversions internally. Fluke 117 is an advanced multimeter with VoltAlert technology for non-contact voltage detection. It automatically selects between AC and DC. Features a low input impedance to eliminate ghost voltage and comes with large white LED backlight to work in poorly lit locations. Fluke 117 is built to work in demanding settings like commercial and industrial buildings. The instrument provides min, max, average readings, measuring frequency and capacitance. Operating temperatures: 14 to 122°F(-10 to 50°C)

Wattmeter/Power Factor Meter

A portable wattmeter/power factor meter is handy for determining the power consumption and power factor of individual motors and other inductive devices. The meter typically comes with a clamp-on feature which allows an easy and safe connection to the current-carrying conductor and has probes for voltage connections. The basic wattmeter consists of 3 voltage probes and a snap-on current coil which feeds the wattmeter movement. Power factor meter is useful for determining the sources of poor power factor and harmonic distortion in a facility.

Amprobe Power Quality Clamp Meter
Amprobe ACD-53NAV NavigatorTM power quality clamp meter serves as for both electrical system monitoring and troubleshooting. The instrument is packed with advanced features to aid troubleshooting including power and power factor, total harmonic distortion and individual harmonics, inrush current, low pass filter, and phase sequence. Features a large LCD display with super bright backlight, jaw flashlight, and an over-molded housing to absorb shocks. This rugged instrument measures AC current up to 1000A, AC/DC voltage to 1000V (non-contact voltage detector), capacitance, resistance, and frequency. Power factor and active power readings provide data on the power usage and efficiency of electrical systems. Measures total harmonic distortion (THD) and individual harmonics up to 25th harmonic. 

Combustion analyzer

A portable device for estimating the combustion efficiency of furnaces, boilers or other fossil fuel burning machines. These digital instrument performs the measurements and reads out combustion efficiency in percents. The portable combustion analyzer (PCA) is a reliable and easy-to-use tool for energy auditors who need to determine carbon monoxide (CO) safety and combustion efficiency in residential or commercial furnaces, hot water heaters, and boilers. The Good combustion usually means high carbon dioxide (CO2), low oxygen (O2), and little or no trace of carbon monoxide (CO)

Bacharach Fyrite Intech Combustion Analyzer; O2/CO, Reporting Kit
Fyrite InTech is an advanced, US-made residential combustion analyzer that lays out measurements of oxygen, carbon monoxide, stack temperature, and ambient temperature. Fyrite InTech comes with plug-and-play pre-calibrated O2 and CO sensors that enable simple in-field replacement, reducing instrument downtime and providing low cost of ownership. Features an intuitive push-button operation, a menu of 6 selectable fuel types, high-contrast and backlit LCD display. The instrument comes with an optional wireless printer, user software, reporting kit, probe, spare filters, hard carry case, 8 AA batteries, USB cable. Designed to calculate the efficiency of residential furnaces and combustion appliances by measuring the stack temperature and the percent oxygen level in the flue gas stream.

Ultrasonic Leak Detector

Ultrasonic compressed air leak detectors are electronic receivers that are very precisely tuned to the frequency of the hissing sound of an air leak. These devices are extremely sensitive to the noise a small air leak makes and are able to filter out background noise. It's a valuable device for detecting wasteful leaks of compressed air. When equipped with an optional probe attachment, some ultrasonic receivers can also be used to test steam traps.

Amprobe ULD-300 Ultrasonic Leak Detector
Ultrasonic Leak Detector

ULD-300 ultrasonic leak detector senses pressurized leaks of air or any gases including CFCs, HFCs, N, CO2 and steams. It detects electrical arcing and finds failing solenoids, valves, and bearings. This leak detector can convert ultrasonic frequencies to an audible range so they can be heard by an energy auditor. The included parabola horn and extension tube assist in leak detection from a distance and in noisy areas. The presence of wind or airborne contaminants, such as refrigerants, does not affect its operation. Additionally, the presence of significant background noise, such as heavy machinery, motors etc., does not affect its ability to find small leaks. This is because the ultrasounds are in a different frequency range than typical industrial noises.

Airflow Measurement Devices

Can be used to identify problems with air flows from heating, air conditioning or ventilating ducts. For example, airflow measurement devices can detect whether the combustion air flow into a gas heater is correct.

Anemometer

Deflecting vane and revolving vane types are commonly used. Deflecting vane anemometers are not suitable for duct air measurement. Revolving vane anemometer, on the other hand, are subject to error variations in velocities and are easily damaged.

Portable Anemometer w/ Backlight
This is a multi-functional portable anemometer with a large LCD backlit display. The measuring units are mph, km/h, m/s, ft/min or Knots. It also sports reading hold, max/min values for hand-held and fixed measurements. Comes with a convenient carry bag and a 9V6F22 battery. Some of the main features are:
  • flow area setting
  • max/min function
  • auto power off
  • low battery alert

The instrument is covered with rubber covers to prevent it from slipping and make it more durable.

Pitot Tube

Pitot tube or pitot probe is an essential air measurement device with good levels of accuracy. Pitot tubes are the most practical instruments for measuring the air flow velocity in the ducts and tubes where anemometers are hard to use. Comes in various lengths like 12" or 48".

Dwyer Series 166T Telescoping Pitot Tube
166T telescoping pitot tube by an established US-based company Dwyer Instruments is made of stainless steel to resist corrosion in harsh and dump conditions. This instrument measures airflow velocity. Coupled with a manometer pitot tubes can measure the flow velocity of liquids. It is 11.5" (29 cm) in length when fully closed and is 40.5" (103 cm) when fully extended. Sections lock in place to ensure correct alignment of the tip within the airstream. The tube comes with a carrying case.

Blower Door

Air tightness of a building or structure can be measured with a blower door attachment. It is frequently used in residential and office settings to determine the air leakage rate or the number of air changes per hour in that facility. This test reveals whether the facility has substantial structural or duct leaks to be sealed off.

Blower door

Humidity Measurement

There are various methods for humidity measurements. Some are based on the determination of partial pressure of the vapor in the gas like dew point determination. Others are based on wet and dry bulb temperatures. For fast and accurate measurements chilled mirror hygrometers (dew point) are fine. 

Psychrometer

Psychrometers or hygrometers are wet and dry bulb thermometers. Can either be fixed on a portable stand or mounted in a frame with a handle revolving in the air. It's a low-cost device and convenient in use. Suitable for HVAC work.

Amprobe THWD-5 Thermometer And Psychrometer w/ Wet Bulb And Dew Point
Amprobe THWD-5 is a relative humidity (RH) and temperature microprocessor-based psychrometer. It is designed for HVAC and plant maintenance engineers and energy auditors. It can at once calculate relative humidity, dew point, and wet-and-dry-bulb temperature to provide dual-scale readings in °F and °C. The pliable probe can be extended to reach inside ducts and other hard to reach areas for easy target access. Included in the package are the psychrometer, four 1.5V AAA batteries, a carrying bag, and instructions. The main features are
  • RH, dew point, wet bulb measurement, temperature measurement
  • MIN/MAX/AVG temperature readings and data hold
  • Bendable probe extends to hard-to-reach areas
  • Large LCD display with backlight
  • Tripod mountable

Dewpoint Hygrometer

Typically consists of a polished metal mirror that is cooled at constant pressure and constant vapor content until moisture just starts to condense on it. The temperature of the metal at which condensation begins is the dew point.

Amprobe THWD-10 Temperature and Relative Humidity Meter
The Amprobe THWD-10 relative humidity and temperature meter simultaneously measures RH, dew point, wet-and-dry bulb temperature using double temperature sensors (K-type thermocouple and thermistor) that provide a range of dual-scale temperature readings. The K-type thermocouple sensor measures temperatures ranging from -50 to 1 832°F (-50 to 1 000 °C) and has a resolution of 0.2°F (0.1°C). The thermistor sensor has a range of 32 to 140°F (0 to 60°C). The package includes Amprobe THWD-10 meter, AAA batteries, K-type thermocouple.

Pressure Measurement

Draft Gauge

Draft gauges are small, dependable, service-free pressure measuring devices. These instruments are modified U-tube manometers used to measure draft of low gas heads, such as draft pressure in a furnace or small differential pressures. it's a portable device for measuring either direct pressure or pressure differential.

Bacharach Draftrite Pocket Gauge w/ 2 Sections of Draft Tube

This pocket-size manometer conveniently sits in one hand when putting it into service, making it extremely suitable for heating contractors and energy auditors. The free-floating pointer indicates sudden changes from draft to pressure caused by "puffbacks". Suitable in a range of applications like checking flue pipe, chimney, fire box, smoke hood, smoke pipe draft, draft regulator, oil burner firing rate, and basement ventilation.

Resolution 0.02 inH2O
Size 2.5x1.8x0.5 in (6.4x4.4x1.3 cm)
Draft Tube Length 4.9" (12.4 cm)
Max Draft Tube Length 12" (30.5 cm)
Weight 3.7 oz (105 g)
Warranty 1 year

Manometer Gauge

One of the earliest pressure measuring instruments, manometers are still in wide use today because of their inherent simplicity of operation and accuracy. Manometry measurements are functions of gravity and the liquid's density. Manometers can be portable instruments used for direct pressure reading. When coupled with Pitot tubes it can be used for airflow pressure measurement. Low-cost and useful device for auditors.

Risepro Digital Manometer And Differential Pressure Gauge HVAC Gas Pressure Tester

Risepro is a professional manometer to measure gauge and differential pressure in the range of +/- 13.79 kPa | +/- 2 psi | +/- 55.4 H2O with 0.3% accuracy in full scale. It can resist up to 10 psi pressure but may not show readings when exceeded the measuring range of 2 psi. The main features are

  • Differential pressure measurement with dual probes
  • Max pressure: 10psi (no readings above 2 psi)
  • 11 selectable measure units
  • Backlit LCD, data hold, auto off
  • Min/max/avg values with relative timestamps
  • Error codes for out-of-range indication
  • Low battery indication

Bourdon Tube Gauge

Bourdon tube pressure gauges are mechanical pressure measuring instruments for measuring all forms of system fluid pressures from 600 mbar to 4000 bar. The measuring element is a curved tube with a circular, spiral or coiled shape. The pressure of the measuring medium acts on the inside of the tube and produces motion in the non-clamped end of the tube. This motion is the measure of the pressure and is indicated via the movement.

2-1/2" Liquid-Filled Pressure Gauge w/ Stainless Steel Case

This is a liquid-filled pressure durable gauge with a stainless steel case. Features a copper alloy Bourdon tube. Has broad applications in water, air, oil, and in hydraulics in general. The gauge is filled with glycerin oil to enhance reliability and integrity. It also helps dampen the effect of vibration and pulsation, lubricate the moving parts and extends the instrument's lifespan.

Dial size 2-1/2"
Scale Dual scale - psi/bar
Bourdon tube Copper alloy
Lens Polycarbonate
Operating temperature -4 to 140°F (-20 to 60°C)

Smoke Generator

A simple smoke generator can be used in buildings to find airflow patterns, air infiltration, and leakage around doors, windows, ducts, and other structural features. The chemical "smoke" may be hazardous for health so breathing protection masks are recommended during the tests. The 2 main types of smoke suitable for energy audit purposes are chemical smoke and silica powder.

MeterMall Regin Smoke Pen w/ 6 Wicks and Carry Case
The Regin S220 Smoke Pen generates a thin, dense, white smoke trail fit for locating the source of drafts and air leaks around the windows, doors, outlets, ductwork, chimneys, etc. Small and portable, it can be effectively utilized in blower door tests, HVAC balancing, room pressure tests. The dense smoke trail is sensitive to the smallest air flows and drafts meanwhile it is non-toxic and has low odor. The smoke pen doesn't need batteries and contains no fluids, just light it with a match or lighter. The glowing tip emits smoke for about 30 minutes per wick. Easily stop the smoke by capping the pen and re-light later if needed. The box contains 1 smoke pen with 6 refill wicks for a total 3 hours testing; instructions; zippered nylon carry case.

Safety Equipment

Adhering to safety practices is vitally important for an energy auditor. Below is a list of the safety equipment recommended to use during site visits:

  • A good pair of safety glasses is absolutely necessary for any audit visit.
  • Hearing protectors are required for audit visits to noisy plants
  • Electrically insulated gloves if electrical measurements will be taken. Insulated gloves should be used when working around hot objects like boilers and heaters
  • Breathing protection may be needed if hazardous fumes are present from processes and materials used
  • Steel-toe and steel-shank safety shoes on audits of plants where heavy, hot, sharp or hazardous materials are being used.

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