Reduction in Gas Rate Time (TB 162) from Two Minutes to One Minute - Viva Training Centre

In the constantly evolving field of gas engineering, staying abreast of the latest technical standards and procedures is crucial for ensuring efficiency and safety. One of the recent developments is the introduction of Technical Bulletin 162 (TB 162) by the Gas Safe Register.

Technical Bulletin 162 explicitly addresses the duration of the gas rate (heat input) check for domestic installations with metric gas meters. It reduces the standard testing time from two minutes to one minute, a modification that promises to enhance the operational efficiency of gas engineers while maintaining the accuracy and reliability of the test. This change is not merely procedural; it reflects a deeper understanding of registered gas engineers‘ current needs and capabilities.


Gas Rate Testing

Gas rate testing has long served as a critical measure for assessing the efficiency and safety of gas appliances. This procedure involves calculating the amount of gas an appliance consumes within a specified time, clearly indicating its operating efficiency and potential safety issues.

Historically, gas rate testing has undergone various adaptations and refinements. Initially, the focus was on ensuring that gas appliances met basic safety standards. Over time, as technology advanced and the understanding of gas dynamics improved, these tests evolved to become more precise and efficient. This evolution was driven by balancing operational efficiency with safety standards in residential and commercial settings.

A significant milestone in the history of gas rate testing was introducing the two-minute test in 1995. This standard was established based on the technological capabilities and understanding of gas appliances. The two-minute duration was considered sufficient to accurately measure the gas consumption of an appliance without causing significant inconvenience or inefficiency in the process.

The importance of gas rate testing cannot be overstated. From a safety perspective, it helps identify potential leaks or faults in gas appliances, which could lead to dangerous situations like gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning. From an efficiency standpoint, it ensures that appliances operate at their optimal capacity, which is economically beneficial for users and environmentally friendly due to reduced gas wastage.


Technical Bulletin 162 (TB 162)

Technical Bulletin 162 (TB 162), introduced by the Gas Safe Register, is a significant update for gas engineers, explicitly targeting the procedure for gas rate testing. This bulletin effectively halves the standard test duration for gas rate checks, reducing it from two minutes to one minute. This change applies to domestic installations with metric gas meters, including ultrasonic and diaphragm types.

Rationale Behind the Reduction

The primary rationale for this reduction in test time is the advancement in gas meter technology and the changing nature of gas appliances. Over the years, gas meters have become more accurate and sensitive, allowing for quicker readings without compromising the precision of the test. Furthermore, modern gas appliances often have smaller heat load requirements, making the extended two-minute test less necessary and sometimes even less accurate for these installations.

Metric vs. Imperial Gas Meters

It’s crucial to note that TB 162 specifically addresses metric gas meters. These meters, including ultrasonic and diaphragm types, are calibrated and designed to provide accurate readings over shorter periods. In contrast, imperial gas meters, which are still in service in many areas, require a longer duration for accurate readings due to their mechanical design and operational characteristics. Therefore, the gas rate method for imperial meters remains unchanged, necessitating one complete dial revolution for an accurate test.

Trials and Research

The decision to update the testing procedure was preceded by extensive trials and research conducted by British Gas and the Gas Safe Register. These trials involved a series of tests using the one-minute duration across various types of gas appliances and installations. The findings consistently demonstrated that a one-minute test provided results as accurate as the two-minute test. In some cases, the shorter test was even more aligned with the heat input specifications provided by appliance manufacturers.

These trials also considered the practical aspects of gas rate testing, ensuring that the reduced time would not only maintain accuracy but also improve efficiency for engineers and reduce inconvenience for customers. The trials underscored the readiness of the industry to adopt a more streamlined approach to gas rate testing, reflective of current technological capabilities and the operational realities of modern gas appliances.


Introduction of 1 Minute Gas Rate Check

Reducing the gas rate test time from two minutes to one minute, as outlined in Technical Bulletin 162 (TB 162), is particularly significant for larger appliances with smaller heat load requirements. These modern appliances are designed to be more efficient and respond quickly. The two-minute test, while thorough, often doesn’t align with the operational dynamics of these appliances. On the other hand, the one-minute test is more suited to capture their operational efficiency accurately. This improved alignment ensures that gas engineers can provide more precise assessments of appliance performance, leading to better-informed maintenance and safety checks.

Environmental Benefits

A vital advantage of the one-minute gas rate check is its environmental impact. Shortening the test duration effectively reduces the amount of gas and water consumed during each check. This reduction is significant when aggregated over the numerous tests conducted annually across the industry. Consequently, this leads to decreased CO2 emissions, aligning with global efforts to reduce carbon footprints and combat climate change. The reduced test time also translates to less water usage for water-heating appliances like combi boilers, further contributing to environmental conservation.

Daily Operations and Efficiency

For gas engineers, implementing the one-minute test has tangible effects on daily operations. The reduced test duration enhances procedural efficiency, allowing engineers to complete assessments more quickly without compromising safety or accuracy. This efficiency can increase productivity, as engineers can conduct more tests within the same timeframe, benefiting their workflow and clients.

Moreover, this change addresses a practical aspect of fieldwork – the need to balance thoroughness with time management. By streamlining the testing process, TB 162 acknowledges and adapts to the realities of on-site work, where time is often a critical factor. This adjustment optimises the engineers’ time and minimises the disruption to customers, making safety checks less time-consuming for all involved.


Conducting the 1 Minute Gas Rate Check

Conducting the one-minute gas rate check effectively requires a precise approach to ensure accuracy and reliability.

  • Ensure all other gas-consuming appliances are turned off. This prevents any interference with the tested appliance’s gas flow rate measurement.
  • Set up the appliance for a gas rate check per the manufacturer’s instructions. Different appliances might have specific requirements for accurate gas rate testing.
  • Note the initial reading of the gas meter.
  • Run the appliance for exactly one minute. Use a reliable timer for precision. Add additional seconds for the meter display to change after the one-minute mark.
  • After one minute, record the final meter reading.
  • Subtract the initial and final meter readings. This gives you the volume of gas used in cubic meters (m³) during the test.

To calculate the gas rate in kilowatts (kW), use the following formula:

Gas rate (kW) = 3600 × [ m 3 ] × CV (kW/m 3 ) [ time taken in seconds ] + additional seconds for digit change

Best Practices for Consistency and Reliability

  • Use a precise timing device to follow the one-minute duration strictly.
  • Ensure that all measuring equipment, including gas meters and timers, are regularly calibrated for accuracy.
  • Be aware of the local calorific value, as it can differ regionally and impact the final calculation.
  • Record all readings and calculations meticulously for each test to maintain a clear record and for future reference.
  • Keep up-to-date with any updates or changes in standards and procedures related to gas rate testing.


Industry Response and Adaptation

Industry experts have welcomed mainly this change, highlighting its alignment with technological advancements and the evolving needs of modern gas appliances. Reducing test time is seen as a positive step towards increasing efficiency without compromising the accuracy or safety of gas rate checks.

Gas engineers, the frontline implementers of these changes, have also reacted positively to TB 162. Many appreciate the reduced time requirement, noting that it streamlines their workflow and allows more checks to be conducted within the same timeframe. This efficiency is particularly beneficial given the high demand for gas safety checks and engineers’ busy schedules.

An essential aspect of TB 162 is its flexibility. The bulletin does not mandate the one-minute test as the only acceptable method but instead introduces it as an option alongside the traditional two-minute test. This flexibility is crucial, as it acknowledges the diverse range of appliances and setups engineers encounter in the field. It allows engineers to choose the most appropriate testing duration based on each appliance’s specific characteristics and requirements.

This approach ensures that engineers can continue using the two-minute test where they feel it is more suitable, such as with older or less-efficient appliances that may not provide accurate readings in a shorter time frame. This flexibility is appreciated by engineers who value the ability to tailor their approach to each unique situation.

Despite the overall positive reception, the transition to the one-minute test duration presents some challenges. One primary concern is ensuring that all engineers are adequately informed and trained in the new procedure. Misapplication of the test due to a lack of understanding could lead to inaccurate readings and potential safety risks.

To address this, industry bodies and training providers are updating their materials and courses to include the new test method. Additional resources, such as detailed guides and instructional videos, are available to ensure engineers are well-equipped to implement the new procedure accurately.

Another challenge is the adjustment in calculation methods required for the one-minute test. Engineers need to familiarise themselves with the revised formula and apply it correctly. To support this, software developers are updating gas rate calculators and related tools to include options for both one-minute and two-minute tests, aiding engineers in quickly making accurate calculations.

In conclusion, the industry’s response to TB 162 has mainly been positive, with recognition of its benefits in terms of efficiency and adaptability. While there are challenges in transitioning to the new test duration, solutions are being implemented to ensure a smooth adaptation process. This proactive approach by the industry underscores its commitment to maintaining high safety and efficiency standards in gas engineering practices.


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