Archive | Indoor Air Quality

CETCI Coats All Non-Metallic Enclosures to Eliminate EMI & RFI

CETCI Coats All Non-Metallic Enclosures to Eliminate EMI & RFI

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc. (CETCI) professionally coats the interior of all non-metallic system enclosures with a protective electromagnetic interference (EMI) coating for all their gas detection monitors and selective YES branded air quality instruments. This coating is designed to reduce or eliminate potential EMI and radio frequency interference (RFI).

For more than five years, CETCI has tested the EMI coating on the YESAIR. With good results, CETCI has decided to coat all their non-metallic enclosure products with the EMI coating. EMI / RFI shielding provides a high-level of protection without affecting the appearance or operation of the enclosure.

With the amount of electronic equipment being used nowadays, millions of waves and signals float through the air. Therefore, it’s important to protect the product from incorrect frequencies from interfering with the device. Applications, such as ambulance stations, may benefit the most from this as they have large transceivers and compressor / refrigeration rooms that use high voltage equipment.

Benefits to having a non-metallic enclosures includes reduced shipping cost due to the lighter weight of the product, easier installation due to being able to take apart the cover and base, reduced cost to produce a product resulting in savings passed onto the customers, and easier handling due to size and weight. With the many benefits of using non-metallic enclosures, CETCI feels that they are providing more value and a better product to their end users.

For more information on the entire range of gas detection systems and IAQ instruments, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

 

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Posted in Controllers, Enclosures, Indoor Air Quality, Products, Self Contained, TransmittersComments Off on CETCI Coats All Non-Metallic Enclosures to Eliminate EMI & RFI

Why is a carbon dioxide monitor a good investment?

Why is a carbon dioxide monitor a good investment?

The easiest way to check if your house is encapsulating gases is to monitor the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. This one gas is used as a marker for air quality, is the easiest to monitor, and provides a more accurate air quality reading.

It is a good trend indicator because it changes in measurable amounts as the air quality gets worse. All other gasses in the house follow the same trend as the CO2. Most commercial air quality controls are based on CO2 levels.

It is the easiest to monitor simply because as the air quality gets worse, the levels increase. Outside air has an average of 350 – 450 ppm of CO2. Inside, the levels raise to values of 550 – 700 ppm. In office buildings, the HVAC systems will keep the levels below 800 ppm.

Monitoring the CO2 levels is relatively inexpensive and more accurate compared to monitoring any of the other gases that are in your home such as carbon monoxide (CO) and TVOC. It is more accurate in that it does not change based on individual problems.

CO Monitors

CO monitors are commonly sold at the local hardware store. The problem with CO monitors is that it always reads 0 ppm. This reading does not mean that you are safe because it is only looking for the CO gas that is produced by cars and things that are burning. The reason CO monitors are so common is that a large part of the world uses natural gas to cook their food and if this gas is not burned correctly it can produce CO. This monitor does not tell you what your air quality is. It is used for a specific purpose which is to detect CO.

TVOC Monitors

TVOC monitors are expensive and can cost thousands of dollars. You would think you are safe because it always reads less than 0.04 ppm. If you just purchased a new desk that is manufactured in a country that is not regulated, you will see an increase in your TVOC values but how do you know which type of VOC it is? Within a week or two, the levels will then return to values of about 0.05 ppm. This may take several months to a couple of years for the VOCs to stop off gassing from the desk and return to less than 0.04 ppm. It’s impossible to say the increase or decrease was due to formaldehyde or hydrogen sulphide. It’s also impossible to identify what combination of VOC made up the TVOC reading.

CO2 Monitors

CO2 monitor is like a smoke detector and looks at the general problem. If a smoke detector only went off if the fire was caused by burning macaroni and cheese it may save your life but the odds are lower than if it detects all the source of fire. The CO2 monitor does not detect all the source of poor air quality but it tells you if you are in a location that has poor air quality or even bad air quality and this means the levels of all the gases that can have effects on your quality of life are higher.

Written by: Richard Grant, Service Department Supervisor

Posted in Environment, Health, Indoor Air Quality, Products9 Comments

Things to think about when it comes to an energy efficient home

Things to think about when it comes to an energy efficient home

Every where we turn people are conserving and reducing in order to save money and our homes are no exception.

Every day there is new methods and products that are introduced to the market for you to save on your energy bill. In the short term, these newly introduced products stop your house from losing heat. What you may not know is that, in the long term, these same products are causing you to keep all the chemicals that are being off gassed inside with you. This is no different than a gas chamber. The most common off gassed chemical is formaldehyde. It is a common indoor air pollutant and can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic. Unlike a cereal box, the common everyday items, such as furniture, clothes, cosmetics, toys, building materials, etc., do not come with a complete list of ingredients or wares.

If an older home has not been looked at from an overall air treatment stand point, the owner could be encapsulating himself in an unhealthy environment. Here are some examples:

  • The CO2 levels could be getting to over 1,000 ppm with three or four people living in the same air for 10-12 hours with little or no air exchange.
  • That new desk in the basement office could be off gassing formaldehyde.
  • The cleaners used on the kitchen floor every week for months at a time could be emitting any type of VOC.
  • The humidity levels being raised from cooking could encourage off gassing.
  • Harmful adhesives used in producing insulations could be hiding in your walls and releasing formaldehyde gas.
  • The new coat of paint could be off gassing beneze, a VOC that causes carcinogen.

Only 188 air toxins out of 80,000 chemicals are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and have been tested for harmful effects. In other words, only 2% of the chemicals are being identified and possibly regulated. Not only are these substances a problem but the bio-accumulation lingers and can be deadly.

What should you look for in a new home?

For a well designed, new house built for high efficiency and maximum energy conservation, there are four things to look for:

  1. It should have a 95% efficient furnace or better yet, a heat exchange system (heat pump) for heating.
  2. The walls and attic should meet the R-2000 standard rating. This is a voluntary standard that is certified by the Government of Canada to exceed building code requirements for energy efficiency, indoor air quality (IAQ), and environmental responsibility.
  3. All the windows and doors are double or triple glazed and has high R-value rating when closed. This value determines the effectiveness of the insulation.
  4. It has an air handler that exchanges the internal for external air at a defined rate using a heat recovery unit to reduce the loss of energy.

What should you do to your current home?

For an older, well maintained house, there are three things that you can do to save on your energy bill:

  1. When remodeling, add extra insulation into the wall but make sure that the insulation does not contain formaldehyde.
  2. Add insulation into the attic and seal off the attic entrance.
  3. Install new double or triple glazed windows as well as new doors with air tight seals.
  4. Place plants in the home. Plants are known to purify the air and remove 99.9% of toxins.

Written by: Richard Grant, CETCI’s Service Department Supervisor

Posted in Environment, Health, Indoor Air Quality5 Comments

CETCI Simultaneously Identifies the Air You’re Breathing with YESAIR & YES Plus LGA

CETCI Simultaneously Identifies the Air You’re Breathing with YESAIR & YES Plus LGA

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc. (CETCI) is a known industry leader and innovator for the indoor air quality (IAQ) market. Their two best selling portable IAQ instruments are the YESAIR and YES Plus LGA.

Both IAQ instruments are portable, multi-channel monitors featuring thirty different internal plug and play sensors to select from and a remote particulate sensor that simultaneously monitors within a single, easy to carry instrument. CETCI’s plug & play sensor options are the widest selection on the market and include electrochemical (carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ammonia, chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde, arsine, fluorine, hydrazine, phosphine, silane, and many more), catalytic (combustible gases), infrared (CO2 or combustible gases), and PID (TVOC). Users can set one alarm level for each gas to activate the internal audible alarm. Both instruments have a built-in SD flash card for data logging and an internal sample pump for “active sampling”. The LCD display, on both, indicates each sensor type installed, measured values for each gas, battery status, and more.

YESAIR has been on the market since 2006. Even today, it still offers more features, flexibility and functionality than any other instrument on the market. YESAIR is CE certified and has a seven-sensor capacity with up to five internal plug & play sensors, a fixed temperature sensor, and a fixed relative humidity (RH) sensor. The LCD displays all the installed sensors simultaneously and can operate 12-14 hours with a NiMH battery pack or continuously with a wall adapter. The instrument is enclosed in a rugged ABS/polycarbonate enclosure and can either be a handheld, stand on a flat surface, or fastened to a wall for permanent or semi-permanent use. With only three tactile push buttons makes the YESAIR simple to use. Optional features include internet and network accessible.

YES Plus LGA was recently introduced to the market earlier this year as an upgrade from the original YES Plus. This single solution, multi-sensor IAQ and landfill surface gas emissions monitor is pending CE certifications. It features four tactile push buttons for easy use and a fifteen sensor capacity with up to twelve internal plug & play sensors, a fixed temperature sensor, a RH sensor, and a remote sensor. The LCD displays up to six installed sensors at one time and scrolls to display more. It can operate 18-24 hours with a NiMH battery pack or continuously with a wall adapter. YES Plus LGA is housed in a rugged ABS enclosure and has an aluminum swivel handle that acts as a handheld or stand support.

The Landfill Gas Analyzer (LGA) version has an optional plug-in GPS and Bluetooth module and a firmware version that’s suitable for landfill surveys to communicate to pocket PDAs. The internal sample pump has an automatic flow control that ensures 1-LPM flow rate even with resistance. This version will be available later this fall.

CETCI will continue to develop and expand their portable IAQ product line to meet the needs of the market. For more information on the entire range of IAQ instruments and gas detection systems, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

Posted in Environment, Health, Indoor Air Quality, Products14 Comments

Know the Air You’re Breathing: How can you improve the IAQ around you? (4 of 4)

Know the Air You’re Breathing: How can you improve the IAQ around you? (4 of 4)

How can you improve the IAQ around you?

Now that you have an understanding about the air that you’re breathing, you can take can control and improve your IAQ.

Here are some preventatives that you can do to minimize your health risk:

If using products that have high fume make sure there is proper ventilation. Outdoor air can dilute the chemical level.
No smoking indoors or near windows or doors. Tobacco smoke gets absorbed by furniture, carpets, curtains, etc. and takes a long time to be desorbed.
Chimney needs to be cleaned and clear of obstructions.
Don’t idle vehicles or gas powered equipment indoor (eg. garage) or near windows or doors.
For building & household products, use “green” or “environmentally friendly” options.
If possible, wash and air out products (eg. drapes, clothing, sheets) containing any VOC before bringing indoor.
Buy limited quantities to avoid having leftovers for storage.
Safely dispose partially full containers of old or unneeded chemicals.
Prevent moisture build-up inside and make sure water leaks are cleaned up rapidly.
Keep humidity levels below 60% (Aerias) by purchasing a dehumidifier. High humidity encourages off gassing.
Read labels and use as directed.

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing

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REFERENCES:

Aerias. “VOCs: A Major Contributor to Indoor Pollution”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.aerias.org/DesktopModules/ArticleDetail.aspx?articleId=131.

Berglund, et al. (1997). “Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC) in Indoor Air quality Investigations”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.inive.org/medias/ECA/ECA_Report19.pdf.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). “NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/default.html.

Environment Canada. (2010). “Clean Air Online”. Retrieved June 7, 2010 from http://www.ec.gc.ca/cas-aqhi/default.asp?Lang=En.

Gilbert, Nicolas. (2005). “Proposed residential indoor air quality guidelines for formaldehyde”. Retrieved June 3, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/hecs-sesc/pdf/pubs/air/formaldehyde/in-formaldehyde-eng.pdf.

Health Canada. (2006). “Residential Indoor Air Quality Guideline: Formaldehyde”. Retrieved June 4, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/hecs-sesc/pdf/pubs/air/formaldehyde-eng.pdf.

Health Canada. (2009a). “Formaldehyde – Pollutants from Household Products and Building Materials”. Retrieved June 3, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/air/in/poll/construction/formaldehyde-eng.php.

Health Canada. (2009b). “It’s Your Health: Formaldehyde and Indoor Air”. Retrieved June 4, 2010 from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/pacrb-dgapcr/pdf/iyh-vsv/environ/formaldehyde-eng.pdf.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (1991). “Indoor Air Fact Sheet No. 4 (revised) – Sick Building Syndrome”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/sbs.html.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (1994). “Indoor Air Pollution: An Introduction for Health Professionals”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/hpguide.html.

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2010). “An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)”. Retrieved June 8, 2010 from http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html.

World Health Organization. (1989). “International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS): Environmental Health Criteria 89: Formaldehyde”. Retrieved June 2, 2010 from http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc89.htm.

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Posted in Environment, Health, Indoor Air Quality2 Comments

Know the Air You’re Breathing: Sick Building Syndrome/Building Related Illness & PID Sensors (3 of 4)

Know the Air You’re Breathing: Sick Building Syndrome/Building Related Illness & PID Sensors (3 of 4)

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and
Building Related Illness (BRI)

Long term exposure to VOC contributes to SBS and BRI. Based on the US Environmental Protection Agency (1991), SBS and BRI are compared in Table 3 below:

Table 3: Comparison between SBS & BRI

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) Building Related Illness (BRI)
Definition An illness temporarily associated with an occupant’s presence in a building caused by indoor air pollutants. A diagnosable illness caused by an identified agent in the indoor air.
Symptoms Headaches
Eye, nose, throat irritation
Dry cough
Dry or itchy skin
Dizziness
Nausea
Fatigue
Cough
Chest tightness
Fever
Chills
Muscle aches
Cause Unknown Identified
Symptom after leaving building Relief Require prolong recovery time

 

Photo-ionization Detector (PID)
A PID is commonly used to measure TVOC mainly because it is the most efficient on the market. It provides instant and continuous readings to the user. However, if there’s a rapid temperature change or humidity level is high, the reading maybe affected.

PID is great for indicating the presence of VOC but it doesn’t identify the exact type of VOC. If a TVOC reading is 200 µg/m3 and increased to 300 µg/m3 the next month, it’s impossible to say the increase was due to formaldehyde. It’s also impossible to identify what combination of VOC made up the TVOC reading.

Ideally, measuring the exact type of VOC and monitoring it is a better practice. Unfortunately, this is not the case due to very high cost and convenience. In the short term, having one instrument to provide a TVOC reading as well as other sensors is less expensive and easier for the technician than to have to carry multiple units for each type of chemical. However, in the long term, if a high reading was detected, it will cost more to solve the problem since the type of VOC needs to be identified before a solution gets established. The technician would need to make a lot of assumptions and do a lot of trial and error runs which could take forever or a more simple method would be to analyze the air samples. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, other costs that get lumped into the problem are evacuation of the occupants, specific VOC detector(s) needs to be purchased, delays of other projects, and the time of all the individuals involved.

Common buildings that should monitor their IAQ include:

  • Hospitals
  • Scientific facilities eg. laboratories
  • School
  • Commercial buildings
  • Warehouses
  • Industrial buildings
  • Parkades
  • Repair shops
  • Food plants
  • Salons & spas
  • Manufacturing Plants
  • Medical Offices
  • Construction sites
  • Transportation facilities
  • And many more…

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing


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Posted in Environment, Health, Indoor Air Quality6 Comments

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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.