What to Look for When Buying HVAC Gauges
HVAC gauges are essential tools for taking accurate readings.
They’re an important addition to the toolkit of any HVAC professional. They make it easier for individuals who work in the field to do their job.
Technicians primarily use gauges to read the pressure of liquids and gases in cooling and HVAC systems. For example, they may use a vacuum gauge to read the vacuum pressure after a charge. A technician may also use a gauge to perform a pressure test.
To learn what to look for when buying HVAC gauges, read on.
How HVAC Gauges Work
A manifold gauge is ideal for measuring both high and low pressure. It’s a popular tool for working with condensing units or evaporators in AC units.
To work with a manifold gauge, you must understand its basic parts. A manifold gauge has three primary components – the gauge manifold, the readout gauges and the hoses.
The gauge manifold consists of a low-pressure chamber, a high-pressure chamber and a utility chamber. The chambers provide control of the flow of gas and pressure.
Typically, an HVAC gauge has two readout gauges. One displays the pressure in the low-pressure chamber, while the other displays the pressure in the high-pressure chamber. Some gauges have a third gauge to measure compressor output, although they are rare.
You can also choose between digital or analog gauges. The most common kind of HVAC gauge on the market is the analog gauge. It has an indicator needle that shows the level of pressure or vacuum in an AC system or other equipment.
Alternatively, digital gauges provide readings using only numbers displayed on a screen. They’re highly accurate devices.
A digital gauge may also have extra features. For example, digital units typically convert measurement results to your desired units, reducing the chances of making errors.
The hoses of a gauge carry pressurized gas. The colors of the hoses correspond to the pressure.
Working With HVAC Gauges
The low-pressure hoses are blue, and the high-pressure hoses are red. The blue hose is for measuring pressure from 0 to 99.9 pounds per square inch. Meanwhile, the red hose can withstand a pressure of up to 999.9 pounds per square inch.
It’s important to use the correct hose for making measurements. For safety, manufacturers print the maximum recommended pressure directly on the hose.
If you use a low-pressure hose for a high-pressure measurement, the hose may burst, resulting in dire consequences. Accordingly, you must make sure that you use the correct equipment for every procedure.
Begin every measurement by noting the correct connections for the hoses and the ports. The red port goes with the red hose for high-pressure. Meanwhile, the blue port goes with the blue hose.
If you’re discharging a unit, you’ll need a black disposal hose. This hose attaches to the center of the manifold gauge.
A disposal hose is a larger, low-pressure black hose that you’d attach to a refrigerant recovery bottle. It’s important to follow this procedure. Federal law mandates this practice, and it protects the environment.
A manifold gauge has additional ports for attaching other gauges, such as a micrometer. On the gauge, there are more ports to connect such equipment.
For example, you may need to attach a vacuum pump. You can use the ports in many ways as you service an AC unit.
AC gauges also come with convenient pressure-temperature charts. The charts contain the scales for various ambient temperatures and pressures for low- and high-pressure readings.
Choosing the Right HVAC Gauge
You don’t have to work as an HVAC technician to make good use of a gauge. Gauges also help facilities and building managers overcome common challenges.
When you’re shopping for an HVAC gauge, look for a unit with a brass or aluminum body. These metals are durable and long-lasting.
Although it’s not a requirement, it’s helpful to look for a silicone dampened gauge. However, always make sure to purchase a gauge that’s color-coded.
Additionally, it’s helpful to look for a gauge with a durable suspension hook. It’s also a good idea to choose a gauge with a sighting glass.
When shopping for a gauge, you must also consider the hoses. Look for a gauge with a hose that’s at least five feet long. It’s also a good idea to look for a gauge with superheating and cooling features.
Also, angled handles can make a gauge easier to use. By looking out for these features when you purchase your next gauge, you’ll find that your job goes much smoother.
HVAC Gauges: Tools for the Trade
HVAC gauges come in different shapes and sizes. However, by understanding the basics of gauges, you can make a more informed buying decision.
HVAC gauges are an important part of any technician’s toolkit. Using a gauge is the only way to improve the efficiency and accuracy of your work. Armed with this information, you can find the right HVAC gauge for the job.
Serving the Needs of Professional HVAC Technicians
If you need HVAC gauges or other supplies, Cold Air Central is your source for commercial HVAC supplies. We serve professional HVAC technicians as well as government agencies. With a wide range of HVAC and refrigeration supplies, Cold Air Central has the parts and tools you need to get the job done.
Whether your project is large or small, you’ll find what you need in our current inventory. We source premium HVAC equipment and supplies from around the world. Cold Air Central is a convenient one-stop-shop where you can find everything that you need in one place.
If you need a part or a tool for a residential or commercial project, we can help you source what you need quickly. Whether you have questions about sourcing HVAC supplies or you need a bulk quote, feel free to contact one of our friendly specialists at (888) 743-3038 or visit us online today for fast service.
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