David Richardson/NCI
Interior Hvac Diagram
David Richardson/NCI
If you know what to look for, a visual inspection provides clues to unsafe operation. It's never good for one package unit to exhaust into the economizer of an adjacent unit.
National Comfort Institute
Before you jump on the heat pump bashing bandwagon, look at your duct installation practices first.

Tools & Instruments: When Precision Counts

April 1, 2008
Ritchie Engineering Company, Inc. has released a solar-powered digital refrigerant gauge set to measure eight common refrigerants. Yellow Jacket is offering a set of red and blue solar/light powered LCD digital manifold gauges. No battery to replace means no hazardous waste, no battery replacement cost, and no losing power during the middle of a call.

Ritchie Engineering Company, Inc. has released a solar-powered digital refrigerant gauge set to measure eight common refrigerants.

Yellow Jacket is offering a set of red and blue solar/light powered LCD digital manifold gauges. No battery to replace means no hazardous waste, no battery replacement cost, and no losing power during the middle of a call.

The low side gauge has a pressure scale of 30 inHg VAC to 350 psig, and the high side gauge has a pressure scale of 0 to 800 psig. They’re housed in red and blue ABS plastic cases, and are available individually, or on the Yellow Jacket Titan four-valve test and charging manifold.

Visit www.yellowjacket.com for additional information.

testo, Inc.

Testo announced a new series of digital AC/refrigeration system analyzers, the testo 523, 556 & 560. These rugged meters help technicians set up, analyze, and maintain all A/C, heat pump, and refrigeration systems, the company says.

The analyzers simultaneously measure, display, and print high and low side pressure, line temperature, and calculate saturation temperatures, superheat, and subcooling for 30 refrigerants. The 560 also measures and records system vacuum.

Visit www.testo.com for additional information.


Robinair has expanded the coverage of its popular two-way standard side wheel manifold. New models now feature gauges that measure various combinations of the most common refrigerants.

Designed for accuracy and ease of use, the products feature easy to read universal gauges protected with Lexan lenses.

Additional features include durable color-coded hand wheels and hanging hook.

Visit www.robinairhvac.com for additional information.


Ridgid has introduced the new Micro CG-100 combustible gas sniffer that detects gas leakage. Offering unique Tri-Mode Detection, an operator is alerted to the presence of combustible gas with a visible signal, audible alarm, or silent vibration.

The Micro CG-100 gas sniffer quickly and accurately detects low levels of methane (including natural gas), propane, butane, ammonia, and many other combustible gases, the company says.

The Micro CG-100 gas sniffer can be adjusted to high- or low-level sensitivity within a wide overall range (40 ppm to 6400 ppm for methane).

Visit www.ridgid.com for additional information.


Spectronics Corporation has unveiled the new Spectroline Optimax 3000 portable fluorescent leak detection flashlight. With its focused beam, the Optimax 3000 makes it easy for technicians to pinpoint all refrigerant leaks — and there are no cords that can become snagged on components.

The Optimax 3000 uses super-hi-flux LED technology, to deliver 15 times brighter leak detection light than regular LED lamps. Powered by a rechargeable NiMH battery, the unit has a 50,000- hour bulb life.

Visit www.spectroline.com for additional information.

Midwest Tool

Midwest Tool and Cutlery Company has expanded its Midwest Snips line of HVACR specialty tools with a new duct tightener tool. The duct tightener’s unique patentpending design makes it fast and easy for one person to connect duct runs.

Technicians simply tap the tool into place and the V-notch pulls and holds the duct together for easy drive cleat insertion.

The duct tightener’s V-notch accommodates varying duct run gaps and end-tabs. Due to its compact size, the duct tightener easily fits into a tool belt so it’s always conveniently at hand when standing on a ladder.

Visit www.midwestsnips.com for additional information.


ESAB’s HandyPlasma 250 manual plasma cutting machine operates on standard 110/115 V input and cuts up to 1/4-in. (6.35 mm) carbon or stainless steel.

At just 16 lbs. (7.3 kg), HandyPlasma 250 is lightweight and portable enough to travel to any job site. The single phase machine arrives fully assembled and ready to cut, complete with torch, spare parts, air filter/regulator, input power cord with plug, and work cable with clamp.

Other features include a side-mounted pressure gauge, externally mounted and adjustable air regulator/filter, and automatic air purge when the unit powers on.

Visit www.esabna.com for additional information.


The magnetic nut driver from Klenk’s Innovative Tools Line has an adjustable shaft that lets contractors change the length of the shaft from 3in. to 6in. in length.

Push button action releases the retractable shaft and locks it into position, allowing users to adjust the length of the tool to get into hard-to-reach, awkward areas.

The magnetic end allows precise placement and helps to avoid dropped hex screws.

Visit www.klenktools.com for additional information.


Fluke Corporation has released the Fluke TiR1 and TiR Thermal Imagers, designed as an affordable and complete solution optimized for building envelope, restoration and remediation, inspection, and roofing applications.

Both models incorporate IR Fusion, a patent-pending technology that integrates infrared and visual images in full screen or picture-in-picture views for enhanced problem detection and analysis.

The TR1 and TiR are designed to make the use of thermal imaging affordable and effective for day-to-day us, the company says. The thermal imagers feature the ability to record and save voice comments with every image taken (TiR1 only), a three-button menu designed for intuitive operation and navigation with the push of a thumb, and on-screen emissivity correction (TiR1 only).

Visit www.fluke.com for additional information.


The Fieldpiece SRL2 gives technicians superior field sensitivity in a rugged, ergonomic design.

The SRL2 has the added protection of a replaceable waterblocking filter that keeps moisture and contaminants from reaching the sensor, preventing contaminantrelated failure.

Like all Fieldpiece test instruments, the SRL2 is designed specifically for HVACR technicians.

The infrared sensor senses change in refrigerant levels, and adjusts quickly during use to find leaks in contaminated areas, such as walk-ins or mechanical penthouses.

Visit www.fieldpiece.com for additional information.

Klein Tools

Klein Tools recently expanded its product offering to the HVAC market with 33 new SKUs of the following hand tools: tube cutters, tube flaring/ swaging tools, tube benders, seaming/ folding tools, crimping tools, cutting/ notching tools, duct stretching/ slitting tools, hammers and sheet metal accessories and fasteners.

A new 28-page HVAC miniature pocket-sized catalog with color photos is also now available, showcasing these new hand tools and existing Klein hand tools for the HVAC contractor.

Visit www.kleintools.com for additional information.


Wahl Instruments Inc. has added a long distance model to its line of Wahl Heat Spy thermal imaging cameras. Model HSI3003 offers narrow angle field of view optics, which enables detection and temperature measurement of small objects over long distances.

This affordable thermal imager is light, compact, easy to operate, and designed for hand-held use, the company says.

The Easy Report software allows the user to easily insert multiple images, with data, taken during a site survey to produce an inspection report.

Visit www.palmerwahl.com for additional information.


Gentec’s Compact Torch is designed to fit into tight spaces and allow contractors to do precise work. The Compact Torch’s small size, chrome plated brass torch handle, with stainless steel internal tubing design provides the durability needed in the field.

The copper brazing and soldering tips have double-o-ring seats to insure leak proof connections. Different torch tips allow use of oxy-acetylene or oxyfuel( MAPP/Propane).The 12-ft. flexible hose is easily maneuverable and has “B” connections with “A” adaptors for universal use with any standard gas regulator.

Visit www. genstartech.com for additional information.


Malco’s tubing uncoiler makes short work of laying out PEX (polyethylene cross-linked tubing) for in-floor radiant heating installations, the company says.

The unit stores in a compact steel-reinforced plastic case for easy transporting, and no tools are required to assemble. A heavy-duty turntable supports full tubing coils. Factoryadjusted tension prevents coil backlash and spreading off turntable regardless of coil size. A rotating eyelet allows tubing to be pulled off in any direction, the company says.

Visit www.malcoproducts.com for additional information.


Insparisk released Versentia for safety inspection, a suite of software solutions for the safety inspection industry, including boilers, fire detection/ suppression systems, building facades, HVAC equipment, and electrical panels.

The first application, Versentia for boiler inspection, manages inspections and client data in the boiler industry and combines customized routing and inspection functionality. Through a powerful backend database, it synchronizes with Versentia Mobile on tablet PCs to support inspectors in the field.

Visit www.cityspec.com for additional information.


The Alnor EBT721 series air capture hood features accurate direct air flow readings from a vent, diffuser, or grille. It also includes a detachable digital micromanometer for use in other applications.

In addition, it helps to create a healthy and energy efficient environment, is light weight, and is available in a variety of hood sizes.

Visit www.alnor.com for additional information.

Thermal Engineering

Thermal’s latest product, the HLD 1101 handheld leak detection sensor, is a value-priced tool that’s perfect for use in the field, because it’s lightweight, durable, and runs on AA batteries, the company says.

It also has a flexible stainless probe with improved sensing capabilities and advanced signal processing.

Visit www.thermalengineering.com for additional information.