BOXBOROUGH, MA — Intertek Testing Services Ltd. (ITS) is a worldwide product and commodities testing organization with hundreds of laboratories and offices. Its roots germinated in 1896 as one of Edison’s Illuminating Companies and it later became the Electrical Testing Laboratories.

Today, ITS and its ETL-listed mark, along with other marks, indicate conformance to product safety and quality standards.

ITS is also a major player in the hvac industry, having provided independent hvacr and residential appliance testing for more than 40 years. According to John Sabelli, P.E., staff engineer at the Cortland, NY laboratory, “We do testing of most types of hvac and refrigeration equipment.”

He noted that “We do testing on an individual contract basis for manufacturers, or whomever, to gauge the performance or check the safety of hvac equipment.”

Products include:

  • Air cooling and air heating coils;
  • Central-station air handlers;
  • Chillers;
  • Compressors;
  • Dehumidifiers;
  • Fans and blowers;
  • Furnaces and boilers;
  • Humidifiers;
  • Unitary, rooftop, and room air conditioners/heat pumps; and
  • Water heaters.

Common tests performed include airflow, air pressure drop, capacity, energy efficiency, first-hour supply, flow rate, NOX, pressure, sound rating, vibration, and water-removal capacity.

The company also does testing on appliances such refrigerators/freezers and room air cleaners to test their capacity, efficiency, and other factors.

Verifying ratings

A major part of what ITS does is the programs that it participates in with major associations, such as the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), “where we verify the ratings of the equipment that’s certified in the program,” said Sabelli.

“The association basically gives a sampling plan that says pick up one of these, pick up one of those, bring them into the lab and test it to see if it’s really doing what it says it’s doing.”

Sabelli noted that “We’re involved in something like 19 programs for ARI.” He’s unable to really pin it down because “it’s changing all the time.”

Almost all hvac products are ARI rated as part of an ARI program, remarked Sabelli, and include all the major manufacturers such as Trane, Lennox, Carrier, York, Goodman, Rheem, and others.

“We also do safety testing and provide markings like ETL,” he stated.

Making a mark

ITS offers manufacturers comprehensive safety testing services, including testing of hvac equipment, to test against current leakage, fire hazard, shock hazard, and the like, and obtain the needed certification marks.

The ETL-listed mark indicates that the product meets U.S. and/or Canadian product safety standards. ETL can be found on numerous products that people come in contact with on a daily basis, such as telephones and fax machines as well as hvac systems.

The Warnock Hersey mark indicates building products that meet U.S. and/or Canadian product safety standards.

This mark is acknowledged and accredited by model code organizations, such as the Building Officials and Code Administrators International (BOCA), the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC), and the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI).

The S or Semko mark shows compliance with harmonized European standards. The CE mark indicates compliance to European directives.

EMC shows electromagnetic compatibility. Other marks are also applied.

Helping with standards

ITS is also involved in the hvac standards process through its personnel working on ASHRAE committees.

“I personally am on the ASHRAE committees for air filtration and particulate air contaminants and removal equipment,” said Sabelli. “They’ve had an air filter standard for a long time and they’re just getting ready to publish a new one . . . known as ASHRAE 52.2.”

People are anticipating the new standard, he said, and “We’ve already been doing testing to it.”

Asked about the standards development procedure, Sabelli acknowledged that it is getting more difficult to update standards. In his experience, “If you made one side happy, somebody else wasn’t happy.”

Hvac chemical testing

A new addition to the ITS family is its recent acquisition of Integral Sciences Inc., Columbus, OH, a testing lab specializing in refrigeration chemistry.

The acquisition expands the firm’s hvacr testing capabilities into alternative refrigerants and lubricants.

Sabelli also noted that they’re working on developing a new program with ARI for testing the effectiveness of air-to-air heat exchangers. There’s a new ASHRAE standard, and ARI has to agree that ITS is doing the test correctly for rating.

Want more info on Intertek? Contact the company at 978-263-2662; 978-264-9403 (fax); (Web site).