Tag Archive | "ammonia"

Ammonia Vent Line Gas Detector

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc. (CETCI) is pleased to introduce our Ammonia (NH3) vent line gas detector.

The LPT-A Vent Line Ammonia Transmitter (P/N: LPT-A-VLT-NH3-S) is designed to detect and alert operators of high concentrations of ammonia in vent lines of refrigeration systems caused by equipment failure or system over pressurization. Slow leaks of refrigerant can be costly over time and a dangerous situation could present itself if a high pressure release were to occur. Typically, normal vapour flow is handled by the ammonia compressor, but a vapour flow in excess of the compressor’s capacity will enter the vent stack and can cause a large amount of the gas to travel up the vent line and discharge. In addition, higher than normal concentrations of ammonia can be caused by faulty valves, damaged or worn equipment, contaminants and/or equipment failure or system overpressure. Without safety precautions in place, hazardous levels of ammonia from equipment failure or over pressurization could cause an explosion and seriously jeopardize the health of workers and people in the surrounding area.

The VLT provides continuous, real-time monitoring of the levels of ammonia in the relief vent line. It can be configured to alarm at a pre-determined set point (1.0% / 10,000 ppm is recommended) and send an analog signal to activate a remote strobe or horn, or communicate with a controller or PLC to activate or shut down equipment as required.

The catalytic NH3 sensor has a range of 0 to 3% volume (0 – 30,000 ppm) and is potted into a 2” pipe fitting protruding from the back of the enclosure which connects to a coupler that is used to secure the device to a mounting pipe. The VLT may be mounted on the vent relief stack above the pressure relief valve using the 3/4” cast steel coupler. Or it can be mounted outside on the relief header, 3 to 5 feet above the roof-line. Unless exposed to very high concentrations of ammonia for a prolonged period of time, the sensor should last 3+ years.

The circuitry is housed in a durable, copper coated, ABS/polycarbonate enclosure that is water / dust tight (drip proof) and corrosion resistant. The factory installed splash guard on the (unused) front vent protects the interior from water entering the enclosure. A water tight gland provides a water tight conduit entry for the cable.

The VLT is virtually maintenance free, but removal from the pipe extension will be required to access the sensor during calibration. Bump tests should be done monthly and a full calibration conducted yearly (unless a significant exposure incident occurs, after which additional bump tests and/or calibrations are required to ensure the device is working properly and the sensor has not been poisoned).

Vent line systems should always be treated with extreme caution and workers should assume a relief valve could release at any time. Take necessary safety precautions and follow industry standard practices when installing, servicing and calibrating the VLT.


About Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc.

Critical Environment Technologies designs and manufacturers indoor air quality and fixed gas detection systems including self-contained systems, controllers and transmitters (analog, digital and wireless). Applications include commercial HVAC, institutional, municipal and light industrial markets worldwide. Many of these applications are for vehicle exhaust, but areas of specialization include refrigeration, food processing plants, manufacturing plants, wastewater treatment plants, commercial swimming pools and many more.

For more information about our products, check out our website at www.critical-environment.com or to discuss a tailored gas detection solution for your application, contact us at 1-877-940-8741.

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Four Channel Gas Detector for Wastewater Treatment Plants

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc, (CETCI) offers strategic and reliable gas detection solutions for many applications, including wastewater treatment plants. Our QCC Quad Channel Controller, is an ideal fixed gas detection system for this type of application.

A wastewater treatment facility is a wet maze of rooms, pipes, pumps, wells, chambers, concrete tanks and settling basins. Each treatment stage the wastewater goes through involves hazardous gases that may be already present, are produced or are added to complete the process. To ensure the safety of the workers, equipment and the facility, every area presenting a gas hazard should be monitored, including the gas storage rooms, ozone generator room and any room that gas passes through. In the larger, open areas, a fixed gas detection system is suitable; in confined spaces that operators enter and where gas may be present, portable gas detectors are more appropriate.

The most common hazardous gases found in this type of facility are hydrogen sulphide, methane, ammonia, carbon monoxide, chlorine and oxygen deficiency. Some facilities may also use ozone, chlorine dioxide or sodium hypochlorite with the chlorine during the sanitization treatment process. Furthermore, sulphur dioxide is often used to de-chlorinate the water once the treatment process is complete.

CETCI’s QCC Quad Channel Controller offers a fixed, continuous gas monitoring solution with four gas channels, three programmable relays, a door mounted audible alarm and an optional BACnet RS-485 output signal for communicating with a building automation system. The four gas channels can be configured with any combination of analog or digital transmitters with the same or different types of gas sensors. For large applications, multiple QCC controllers can be networked together, each providing another four available gas channels and 3 relays. Other value added, optional features include 2 analog outputs with a data logger, manual equipment ON/OFF switch, top mounted strobe, remote strobe and horn combo and a remote display module that offers the ability to view the gas level readings in a separate location from the controller and transmitters.

The potential for physical damage to the gas detection equipment is high in this type of harsh, wet environment. CETCI’s equipment is constructed to withstand the unpredictable water levels and acidic or caustic conditions from gases like hydrogen sulphide and chlorine when it mixes with water.


About Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc.

Critical Environment Technologies designs and manufacturers indoor air quality and fixed gas detection systems including self-contained systems, controllers and transmitters (analog, digital and wireless). Applications include commercial HVAC, institutional, municipal and light industrial markets worldwide. Many of these applications are for vehicle exhaust, but areas of specialization include refrigeration, food processing plants, manufacturing plants, wastewater treatment plants, commercial swimming pools and many more.

For more information about our products, check out our website at www.critical-environment.com or to discuss a tailored gas detection solution for your application, contact us at 1-877-940-8741.

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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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Importance of Air & Water Testing in Indoor Pools

Have you ever wondered why your eyes hurt or why you have a cough after swimming at an indoor pool? We all assume that it’s from too much chlorine in the pool but that is false!

If the pool staff doesn’t regularly test and monitor both the air and water indoors, the environment becomes very toxic and unsafe to everyone in the building. Water is an essential ingredient for all life as we know it, and unfortunately that means that many different organisms thrive in untreated pool water.

Untreated pool water rapidly deteriorates and cause many irritants to all users and employees; such as stinging eyes, nasal irritation, coughing, wheezing, e-coli, guardia, and asthma. These toxins (by products) are created when chlorine binds with sweat, urine and other wastes from swimmers. As the concentration increases in the water, these toxins then move into the surrounding air. Without enough fresh air flow over the water, the pool & air will become saturated with these toxins.

If you or your child plans on using an indoor pool, it’s a very good idea to shower with soap before you enter the water and after. With children you should check often if they need to use the bathroom and never change your child’s diaper on the pool side.

The most common disinfectant used in pools is Chlorine and is available as a pure gas, mixed in a granular powder or liquid form. Chlorine is an odorless gas but the chloramines’ compounds resulting from its interaction with ammonia or organic contaminants have the strong odor typically associated with chlorinated pools.

This is why it’s so important to test the air & water at indoor pools. Some indoor pools will use special UV ultra violet light or ozone for treatments in addition to chlorine disinfection to improve air & water quality. Most pools will monitor all levels for any chemical used to treat & maintain toxins to ensure the health and safety for all users and employees. Most indoor pools will have a ventilation system in place; the key is to make sure there is lots of fresh air flow into the pool areas. In order to monitor the ventilation, pools will install fixed gas detectors to monitor ammonia, chlorine and / or ozone depending what is used as a treatment.

For suggestions on fixed gas detectors, please visit www.critical-environment.com.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch



Barlowe, Barrett. “What Are the Dangers of Indoor Swimming Pools?” Livestrong.com. 14 June 2011. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/258007-what-are-the-dangers-of-indoor-swimming-pools/#ixzz1ekIDtD2Z>.

Barlowe, Barrett. “Swimming Pool Chemical Treatment.” Livestrong.com. 14 June 2011. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/231589-swimming-pool-chemical-treatment/#ixzz1ekJgTyY6>.

“Irritants (Chloramines) & Indoor Pool Air Quality.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 12 April 2010. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/pools/irritants-indoor-pool-air-quality.html>.

“Leak Detection on Indoor Swimming Pool in Essex.” Professional Swimming Pools. 20 January 2012. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.professionalswimmingpools.com/2012/01/leak-detection-on-indoor-swimming-pool-in-essex>.

“The Hazards of Swimming Pool Chemicals.” Professional Swimming Pools. 2010. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://www.professionalswimmingpools.com/psp-services/members-area/pool-chemicals/the-hazards-of-swimming-pool-chemicals>.

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The Wonders of Ammonia & Chlorine

They Are All Around You: Ammonia & Chlorine. Be Aware of Them and Stay Safe.

The two most common chemicals found in your home, office and commercial facilities in one form or another are Ammonia (NH3) and Chlorine (Cl2). They are also two of the oldest and most widely produced chemicals in commercial use around the world.

Ammonia, a refrigerant by “nature”
Refrigeration by mechanical means goes back to the 1800s and ammonia was among the earliest chemicals to be compressed for this purpose. Commercial use of ammonia, as a refrigerant, was fairly common by the late 1800s. Ammonia was first synthesized in 1823 and the first commercial production of synthetic ammonia began in 1913.

Ammonia refrigeration was being used in ice rinks as early as the 1920s. Commercial use of ammonia as a refrigerant is virtually all around us. It can be found in ice systems for ice arenas, commercial coolers and freezers, refrigeration systems, college campuses, office parks, air conditioning for the International Space Station and Biosphere II, commercial fertilizers, etc.

Ammonia is low cost, non-ozone depleting and does not add to global warming. It is abundant and the most energy efficient gas used as a refrigerant and is manufactured using natural elements of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is unlikely it will be phased out because of this but it is none the less a very dangerous gas if not handled properly. It is a colorless gas with a pungent, choking odor and is lighter than air; thus it typically rises to the highest area in a room when it escapes. It is water soluble; therefore, makes it useful as an additive to many cleaning products. It is a safe gas when handled correctly but can be detected by the human nose at very low concentrations of ≤ 50 ppm and will not ignite in air. It has a very irritating affect on the airways to the lungs and eyes and should not be inhaled.

Chlorine, a sanitizer by “man”
Chlorine is a sanitizing gas. When mixed with water, it produces two chemicals that kill microorganisms by oxidizing them. Chlorine was discovered in 1774 by a Swedish chemist. For the most part, Chlorine is manufactured by passing electricity through salt water. When proper concentration is mixed with water, it acts as a common sanitizer for commercial and home pools and spas killing microorganisms. Pool water with properly mixed and monitored (daily), chlorine is quite safe and has about the same chlorine levels as tap water. Regardless, use extreme caution when handling chlorine in any form. Avoid breathing chlorine fumes directly as they can have a burning (oxidizing) affect on the lungs.

Never mix chlorine with any other chemicals as this could be extremely hazardous. In other words, it can become toxic and even explosive. Some people have skin allergies and red eye to chlorine and chloramines found in pool water that is not balanced properly. Chloramines are produced when chlorine in pool water mixes with perspiration, oils and urine from swimmers’ bodies. Hypochlorous acid, one of the two chemicals formed from mixing chlorine and water, reacts with ammonia which is a component of sweat and urine producing chloramines. Improperly balanced chlorine levels in pool water could result in very high levels of chlorine, releasing gas from the surface of the water potentially causing breathing difficulties for some people. Anyone handling the chlorine concentrations used in commercial pools should be properly trained and always wear protective gear for hands and eyes.

Gas detectors, a commercial requirement
In commercial areas, gas detectors are required and used to detect leaking ammonia or chlorine. Every commercial arena has ammonia sensors and every commercial pool has chlorine sensors for worker and patron safety. These sensors will detect the smallest leaks and send a signal to controllers that alarm when levels climb above preset values established by Occupational Safety and Health Organization in all provinces and states for workplace exposure to toxic gases. The gas detectors typically activate or halt ventilation equipment(s), depending on the application, and alarm to warn workers of a small leak. The activated warning alarms let workers know to evacuate all patrons and call the local fire department if the leak increases to higher concentrations. Because they are both very hazardous gases at very low levels, these sensors should be gas calibrated for accuracy every six months and bump tested every month for safety purposes.

Enjoy these wonderful public facilities but be aware of your surroundings for your health and safety.

Written by: Frank Britton, CETCI’s General Manager

REFERENCES: www.eHow.com, www.amonia21.com, www.mama’shealth.com

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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.