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Where are the Gas Detectors in Public Swimming Pool Facilities?

Where are the Gas Detectors in Public Swimming Pool Facilities?

Indoor swimming pools provide exercise and recreational fun for all ages. To ensure swimmers are submerged in crystal clear, sanitary water, a disinfectant maintenance program using Chlorine, or Chlorine & Ozone are commonly followed to treat the pool water. Chlorine is a powerful, corrosive disinfectant and in both gas and liquid forms it is toxic and hazardous to living beings at concentrations as low as 1 ppm. Ozone is created by exposing oxygen to a high voltage or ultraviolet radiation. It is more powerful than Chlorine and when used in conjunction with Chlorine it helps provide an odourless, clear water environment. Less Chlorine is required when Ozone is used as part of a swimming pool sanitization program.

The areas for potential gas leaks of Chlorine and Ozone are found around the equipment in the Chlorine Feed Room and the Ozone Generator Room. In a typical swimming pool application where only Chlorine is being used to disinfect the pool water, we suggest a controller or transmitter with  a display, audible alarm and relay outputs, be mounted outside the Chlorine Feed Room beside the inspection window so it can provide a visual confirmation of the gas level readings prior to entry. If there is a Chlorine leak, the controller or transmitter will alarm and trigger the relays to shut down the ventilation system until it is safe to exhaust the gas from the contaminated area, or activate the ventilation system depending on the local regulation codes. Inside the Chlorine feed room should be mounted a remote transmitter with a Chlorine sensor that provides continues monitoring for leaks and communicates with the controller outside the room. Chlorine is heavier than air and tends to collect in low-lying areas, so the gas detector inside the room should be mounted 6 inches above the floor, close to the area of a potential leak, but away from the ventilation fans and any pockets of air currents.

Similarly, in a typical swimming pool application that uses Chlorine & Ozone to disinfect the pool water, in addition to the aforementioned gas detection system for Chlorine, we suggest a similar set-up for the Ozone Generator Room. A controller with a display, audible alarm and relay outputs should be mounted outside the room to provide confirmation of the gas levels inside the room prior to entry. A remote transmitter with an Ozone sensor should be mounted inside the generator room, near the equipment and between the generator and the destructor. Pure Ozone is slightly heavier than air but does not necessarily settle to the floor. If additional reaction tanks or destructors are more than 16 ft (5 m) away from the existing sensor, an additional sensor may be required. If there is an Ozone leak, the controller will alarm and trigger relays to activate the emergency air exhaust system.

For both applications a remote visual alarm device such as a strobe should be mounted on the ceiling or wall inside the pool area to provide an additional visual alert in the event of a leak inside either room.

 

View Diagram

 

There are outside influences that affect the operation of gas detectors and the equipment with which they interface. In addition, sensors change characteristics as they age; they have a set lifespan and deteriorate over time. Regular maintenance of the gas detection system by a qualified technician is as important as a proper installation. For a newly installed system or as part of a very thorough maintenance schedule it is recommended that a bump test be done every 30 days. A bump test basically follows the same procedure as a calibration, but it normally uses less gas and requires less understanding of the intricate workings of the gas detector. A bump test tells you if the detector is malfunctioning or operating normally, if the sensors are responding to the gas as they should and if the low, mid and high alarms are being triggered. This level of upkeep allows you to determine that the daily readings are accurate and the devices are working correctly. If the system malfunctions or goes into fault, patrons and workers would be unprotected if a leak was to occur during that time.

If a bump test fails, a full calibration is required. Calibration is more time consuming than a bump test and should be done by a qualified technician. It is recommend that a full calibration be done every 6 months, regardless of the performance or type of gas detection device. Calibration is like resetting the parameters of the device, in terms of telling what it should be doing at what level. It could be compared to a reset button. As the sensors age, their sensitivity to the gas decreases. Calibration allows you to compensate for that deterioration and keep the sensor detecting the gas at the appropriate levels so that the low, mid and high alarms go off as they should.

It is important to keep a maintenance log with dates and services performed. After a full calibration, a service sticker should be place on the device indicating when the next calibration should be done.

When bump testing or calibrating a Chlorine or Ozone sensor, there are a few things to keep in mind. Both Chlorine and Ozone are considered to be one of the “sticky gases”, meaning they adhere to surfaces and as a result, decrease in concentration. During the flowing of the gas over the sensor, the gas will adhere to the inside of standard tubing and the lengthier the tubing the less gas is left to hit the sensor. Using Teflon lined tubing is recommended, as is a length of tubing no longer than 2 to 3 feet so the gas flow concentration doesn’t lessen over the distance from the gas cylinder to the sensor.

Last but not least, when calibrating a Chlorine sensor, to ensure you get true readings, it is recommended that you use a Chlorine gas generator rather than a cylinder of Chlorine gas. The stability and quality of the chlorine gas is much higher from a generator, making calibration easier and accurate.

For suggestions on gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors and calibration, please visit www.critical-environment.com

 

Written by Rebecca Erickson

References
Ozone Safe Work Practices, 2006 ed. WorkSafe BC 
http://www.worksafebc.com/publications/health_and_safety/by_topic/assets/pdf/ozone_bk47.pdf
Chlorine Safe Work Practices, 2002 ed. WorkSafe BC
http://www.worksafebc.com/publications/health_and_safety/by_topic/assets/pdf/chlorine.pdf

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Monitoring Multiple Gas Hazards in Ice Arenas

Monitoring Multiple Gas Hazards in Ice Arenas

What is a Canadian winter without ice hockey, figure skating or curling? While outdoor skating opportunities are a delight only Mother Nature can provide, community recreational facilities with ice arenas are plentiful and well attended. But there could be dangers present in this place of cheers, whistles and shots on net.

The equipment used in an arena such as an ice re-surfacer, ice edger, floor sweepers, lift trucks and other special equipment are more often powered by fuel than electricity. The exhaust produced by the gas, propane or diesel fuel powered machines emits, into the air, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulates. Ammonia (NH3) is commonly used in the ice chiller mechanical room and if a leak were to occur, it releases a corrosive, toxic gas. If the ventilation system is inadequately designed to handle the air exchange or it is not functioning properly, these toxic pollutants remain in the air to be recirculated and inhaled by spectators, players and employees. Arena operators can improve the air quality inside the arena and provide a safe, environment by ensuring the ventilation system is working properly and installing a gas detection system to continuously monitor for leaks and unhealthy concentrations of toxic gases.

Because several different types of gas hazards are present in various locations throughout the facility, multiple gas detectors are required to provide adequate monitoring coverage.

A Typical Ice Arena Monitoring System:

  • There should be a detector in the ice chiller room, mounted on or near the ceiling to monitor for ammonia leaks. Ammonia is lighter than air and will typically collect within 12 inches of the ceiling. Outside the chiller room door, should be a controller with a display to allow a visual check of the gas level prior to entering the room. In addition, an audible and visual alarm should be mounted inside and outside the room.
  • An appropriate location to monitor carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels is above the penalty box or score keepers box. Dual channel gas detectors are available and offer two sensors (in this case, CO and NO2) inside the same unit. This detector may have an audible alarm and be configured to communicate with a controller located outside the ice chiller room.
  • The ice resurfacer equipment parking area is a prime area for potential propane or methane leaks depending on the type of fuel powering the machine. An explosion proof gas detector is highly recommended for monitoring either of these gases because it is possible for a non-explosion proof transmitter to cause an arc and ignite explosive concentrations of the leaking gas. If propane is the gas being monitored, the explosion proof transmitter should be mounted 6 inches from the floor, preferably near the drain channel, as propane is heavier than air and will accumulate in low lying areas. If methane is being monitored, the detector should be mounted on or near the ceiling.

Strategic placement of the detectors provide continuous monitoring for potential leaks. Each gas detector should be configured to communicate with a multi-channel controller, which will provide a single point of access to view gas level readings, configure each detector’s settings and trigger alarms and ventilation fans. The multi-channel controller should be mounted outside the door to the ice chiller room, allowing for a visual check of the ammonia gas level inside the room prior to entry. The controller should have three levels of alarm and the sequence of operation begins with the low alarm which activates the ventilation fans to start evacuating the polluted air. At high alarm, the panel mounted audible as well as the remote alarm devices that are controlled by the high alarm relay will be activated.

Additional gas detectors may be necessary depending on your facility’s operational procedures or layout. Consult with your CETCI experts to find the best system to ensure your facility is well equipped to detect and deal with any hazardous gas leaks so the fans can continue cheering and the athletes performing.

A  Typical Ice Arena Monitoring System:

View Diagram

 

For suggestions on gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors and calibration, please visit www.critical-environment.com

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Calibration Could Save Your Life

Calibration Could Save Your Life

There are numerous gases, some humanly detectable and others not, leaking around in the places where we work and play that could be potentially life threatening to us living, breathing beings if they exist in excess of healthy concentrations. Luckily, there are gas detector and indoor air quality systems to detect and alert us when levels become undesirable and potentially lethal. But what good are these systems if their readings are unreliable or inaccurate and alarms aren’t going off when they should be?

It isn’t uncommon for detectors to be installed and never serviced again, even though government regulations such as Occupational Health and Safety Guidelines and many companies’ operation and safety manuals state they should be serviced on a regular basis.

A gas detector is a safety device. A properly functioning gas detector could be the difference between life and death. Making sure such a device is working properly on a regular basis should, without question, be a part of a scheduled maintenance program. The calibration frequency really depends on the type of system and how it’s being used. For example, portables should be calibrated more frequently because they are used in changing environments. Fixed systems may be calibrated quarterly, bi-annually or even annually depending on the unit. It is good practice to check the gas sensor more closely (every week) during the first 30 days after installation to ensure it is performing as expected and adapting to its new environment. Any problems such as inappropriate location, interference from other gases or issues with sensitivity can then be corrected and your expectation in its performance can be set with confidence.

Regardless of what type of gas detector or indoor air quality system you have, monthly Bump Testing is highly recommended especially for applications involving more dangerous gases and interactions with people, such as Ammonia sensors in ice rinks and Chlorine or Ozone sensors in swimming pools. Bump Testing involves flowing a sample of target gas over the sensor in question and checking that the response is strong enough to confirm response and activate an alarm condition.

Wear and tear on a device may also affect its performance and reliability. Therefore, it is important to inspect fixed and portable gas detectors and air quality monitors for accidental or deliberate damage on a regular basis. Check the housing for cracks, water damage, loose screws and wires, and make sure the filter is clean (if applicable).

The procedure for calibrating the sensors should be simple, repeatable and economical.

  • Establish a preventative maintenance schedule and stick to it – whether you do the work in house or hire a reputable technician
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly calibrate your detectors
  • Make sure you use the proper calibration adapter that will allow the gas to properly diffuse around the sensor
  • Make life easier by buying a calibration kit so you have all the tools you need on hand in a convenient carrying case
  • Choose from a wide selection of calibrating gases, including Zero Air, available in 34, 58 & 103 liter size cylinders

Calibration is important because it safeguards against unreliable results; it ensures the sensors are accurately measuring to OSH provincial and state standards and will correctly alert humans of an unsafe environment of toxic or combustible gas buildup. If calibration is not already an element of your business, perhaps it should be. It could save your life!

For suggestions on gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors and calibration, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

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Healthier Indoor Air Quality Improves Efficiency

Healthier Indoor Air Quality Improves Efficiency

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is very important for many reasons. If the building you work in or your home isn’t ventilated correctly, this may lead to many illnesses. Everyday exposure to indoor pollutants will cause you to lose life expectancy and you may die years earlier then you should.

If your home or work place building is energy efficient, this will help improve the IAQ and your health. Having a healthier indoor environment will lead to less illnesses and sick days, thus creating more productivity and profits for the company. Having an energy efficient home and building will help you save money on utility bills.

When you are looking to buy appliances, electronics and furniture, try to buy energy efficient products. Try to buy products which don’t give off harmful gasses. Don’t allow smoking inside the building or your home. Smoking should always be outside and away from windows and doors.

Don’t run gas motors of any kind inside your garage whether it’s attached or detached from your home. Make sure there is always lots of ventilation as these harmful gasses can kill you. If you have gas or wood burning appliances, make sure proper ventilation is in place and an IAQ monitor is installed.

There are many different options available to achieve a good healthy IAQ and an energy efficient home / building at the same time. For suggestions on gas detection systems or indoor air quality monitors, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

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References

Maas, Willem. “Improving Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality: From Basic to Bigger and Better Steps”. US Gren Building Council’s Green Home Guide. 4 Sep 2009. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://greenhomeguide.com/know-how/article/improving-your-homes-indoor-air-quality-from-basic-to-bigger-and-better-steps>.

Seppanen, Olli. “Energy Efficiency and Healthy Indoor Environment”. REHVA Journal. January 2012: 4. Print. <www.rehva.eu/?download=_/j2012-01/rj1201_web.pdf>.

Wendt, R. et al. “Indoor Air Quality of an Energy-Efficient, Healthy House with Mechanically Induced Fresh Air”. ASHRAE Transactions. Vol. 110, Part 2. 2004.

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Chlorine Gas

Chlorine Gas

Chlorine is the most used for industrial products around the world. This element is abundant in the earth’s crust and oceans. It is used to manufacture plastics, synthesize other chemicals, purify water supplies, treat sewage, and make refrigerants, varnishes, pesticides, drugs, disinfectants, and bleaches.

Chlorine is compressed gas that is very toxic, corrosive and a strong oxidizer. Extreme caution and safety equipment should be used when around any form of chlorine. When a person breathes chlorine, the corrosive substance splits hydrogen from water in most human tissue, releasing oxygen and hydrogen chloride, which can cause severe burns. Scientists say there are palliative remedies but no antidote.

Chlorine gas cylinders were first used by the Germans in 1915 as a chemical weapon. Chlorine gas destroyed the respiratory organs of its victims and this led to a slow death by asphyxiation. Chlorine is a severe eye, skin, nose, throat and upper repertory tract irritant. Small exposure causes coughing; choking, wheezing and burning of the eyes, throat and skin which can cause frostbite. Large exposure causes the airways to constrict, at the same time fluid builds up in the lungs causing the victim to drown. High doses can kill within a couple of breaths.

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References

“Capital is Coming to Kill You with Chlorine This Time”. Infoshop News. 20 Oct 2011. Web. 20 Jan 2012. <http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20111020162216998&query=capital+is+coming+to+kill+you>.

“OSH Answers: Chlorine”. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. 19 Feb 1999. Web. 20 Jan 2012. <http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/chlorine/basic_chlorine.html>.

“Chlorine”. Wikipedia. 7 Nov 2012. Web. 20 Jan 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine>.

“Chlorine Gas”. Spartacus Educational. Web. 7 Nov 2012. <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWchlorine.htm>.

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What is Formaldehyde?

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a flammable, colorless gas with a very pungent odor. It has many other names, such as; methanol, methyl aldehyde, methylene oxide, formalin, and formol.

It is widely produced around the world as a preservative and a disinfectant. Used in textile finishing and production of resins which acts as adhesives and binders for wood products, pulp, paper, glass wool, and rock wool as well as some plastics, coatings, paints, varnishes, and industrial chemicals.

Exposure to formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen; can cause asthma, allergies, lung and liver problems, damage to your immune system and chronic poisoning in severe cases. It also causes cancer of the nasal cavity due to long term exposure to high levels of formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is also commonly used in hospitals; in water based solutions called formalin or in a powder form know as paraformaldehyde. It’s used in these areas histopathology and anatomical pathology labs or in forensic mortuaries. These solutions are used for fixing human organs and tissues after autopsy or biopsy or for a preservative and disinfectant in embalming fluids, gels and surface packs.

Health Canada and the Canadian Government (as well as other countries) have been taking steps and implementing new protocols for people who work or are exposed to and those who use Formaldehyde (any form). Changes have been made to guidelines to ensure exposure levels are low and to make sure all safety equipment is available and proper safety training is conducted. Health Canada has also made changes to the guidelines and controls for labeling requirements.

Formaldehyde is also found in homes and workplaces. Many household items produce formaldehyde; therefore, suggestions for how to reduce the levels are indicated in the chart below:

Formaldehyde Solution
Cigarettes (tobacco smoke) Always smoke outside, never inside.
Cabinets & Furniture made of particle board or medium density fiberboard Buy these products covered with plastic laminate or coated on all sides.
Humidity Levels Should be monitored; high humidity can cause products to release formaldehyde into the air.
Permanent Press Clothing & Sheets Air out before use.
Ventilation System Ensure proper ventilation is in place when using products that contains formaldehyde or any forms.
Engines Don’t run any kind in spaces attached to your house or near any open windows and doors of your home.
Fireplaces & Wood Stoves When in use, make sure proper ventilation is in place.

 

It is always a good idea to have an indoor air quality monitor installed in your home or workplace.

For suggestions on a fixed gas detection system, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

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References

“Formaldehyde”. Health Canada. 25 August 2010. Web. 1 Oct 2012. <http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/in/poll/construction/formaldehyde-eng.php>.

“Formaldehyde”. Wikipedia. 27 October 2012. Web. 8 Oct 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde>.

“Formaldehyde in Consumer Products”. Australian Competiion & Consumer Commission: Product Safety Australia. 2012. Web. 5 Oct 2012. <http://www.productsafety.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/973697>.

“Formaldehyde Toxic Chemical”. Organic Natural Health. Web. 8 Oct 2012. <http://www.health-report.co.uk/formaldehyde.html>.

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Gas Detectors

CETCI gas detectors are used to detect many different gases. Some of the most common are Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Nitric Oxide, Ammonia, Chlorine, Ozone, Combustible Gases like Methane and Propane, Oxygen, Refrigerants and more.

IAQ Monitors

The YES Series of IAQ Monitors are essential for those responsible for conducting Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Investigations. These instruments are specifically designed to measure and record the quality of indoor air in offices, buildings, homes, schools, parking garages, ice rinks, etc.