Tag Archive | "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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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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Six Factors to Consider Prior to Choosing an Electronic Enclosure Pt. 2 of 6

Choosing the right enclosure maybe as important as selecting the right product. An electronic enclosure, also known as housing, helps protect the circuit board allowing it to function properly. Elements (e.g. water, wind, dust, dirt, heat, cold, humidity, and chemicals) in the surrounding environment could damage or deteriorate the product (see Figure 1).

For example, large temperature variations between the inside and outside of the enclosure can result in pressure differences that may create a vacuum and draw water through the fittings or component and gasket seals. Or when moist air reaches its dew point, it can no longer hold its form and forms moisture droplets being formed on any available surfaces. This is called condensation. When temperatures are below freezing, it will condense into frost. After time, corrosion occurs and causes electrical resistance, which in turn generates additional heat, product performance problems, rusting, increasing risk of circuit shorting out, and arcing and sparking incidences.

Here are six factors to think about before choosing an enclosure:

  • Environment
  • Application
  • Thermal management requirements
  • Enclosure performance standards
  • Material
  • Size

Application can be associated with market or product. Market applications would be locations such as water treatment plants, parking garages, pools, arenas, repair shops, food plants, etc. Product applications would be physical enclosure requirements such as wall mount, duct mount, easy access, etc.

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing

Continue to pt. 3 of 6 >>>

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2010 Winter Games

Critical Environment Technologies would like to wish Canada and the rest of the World the best of luck during the 2010 Winter Games!

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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.