Tag Archive | "carbon dioxide"

Monitoring of CO, CO2 and Combustible Gases in Indoor Grow Ops

With the recent legalization of marijuana in many North American regions, the cannabis cultivation industry is booming. Greenhouses and other indoor grow rooms provide a structure for growing plants in a controlled environment but can also pose potential hazards to human health. To create favourable growing conditions, reliable heating, cooling and ventilation must be used. Heating may be supplied by sunlight, natural gas, propane gas, fuel oil, wood or electricity. Gas powered equipment may be a source of carbon monoxide if not properly maintained and serviced. Grow lights emit a great deal of heat and can cause combustible gases to ignite. Cooling of the facility is often done by a ventilation system. But there may also be an air conditioning system, which could be a source for refrigerant leaks. Current practices for the commercial cultivation of marijuana and industrial hemp uses Carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment to increase plant growth and development either using cylinders of liquefied compressed gas or a CO2 generator. CO2 displaces oxygen and can cause an asphyxiation hazard.


Two gas detectors should be mounted inside the furnace room – one for monitoring potential leaks in the pipes supplying the gas to the furnace, and the other monitoring carbon monoxide levels generated by the furnace. A well maintained, efficiently burning furnace produces very small amounts of CO, but a dirty, inefficient burning one can product deadly amounts. To monitor the CO levels, an LPT-M-TCO-R should be mounted inside the furnace room at the “breathing zone” (4 -6 ft from the floor). Connected the the LPT-M-TCO-R would be a remote sensor. If the furnace uses propane, an ESH-A-C3H8-100 remote sensor with an internal propane sensor would be used, mounted 6 inches off the finished floor, close to the pipes suppling the gas to the furnace. If the furnace uses natural gas, an ESH-A-CCH4-100 remote sensor with an internal methane sensor should be used instead, mounted 6 inches from the ceiling above the pipes supplying the gas.


Inside the room, should be an audible/visual alarm device such as the RSH-24V-R Remote Strobe/Horn. Mounted outside the door of the furnace room would be a QCC Quad Channel Controller. If there are additional entrances to the room, each should have a remote visual/audible alarm device outside the door. Inside the grow room there should be an AST-IS6 carbon dioxide gas detector mounted in the “breathing zone” (4 – 6 ft from the floor) to provide continuous monitoring of CO2 levels. This is especially important if a CO2 enrichment practice is used. The AST-IS6 can be factory set with a range of 0 – 5,000 ppm and one device covers approximately 743 sq m (8,000 sq ft).


The LPT-M and AST-IS6 will communicate with QCC, which in turn will display their gas level readings, and in the event of a leak / high gas concentration, will provide an audible alarm and control equipment such as the ventilation system, shut off the furnace, trigger the other remote horn/strobe devices or other set responses as configured using its 3 internal relays. The QCC can be ordered with an optional data logging package and it can be configured to communicate with a Building Automation System. The aforementioned gas detectors/sensors are housed in water / dust tight enclosures, and are IP54 rated with the factory installed splash guard, providing protection for the equipment in wet areas.


Typical Indoor Grow Op Monitoring System:



About Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc.

Critical Environment Technologies Canada Inc. is a leading equipment manufacturer for commercial and industrial gas detection applications. We are dedicated to designing, developing and servicing hazardous gas detection systems for a wide range of applications that require monitoring of refrigerants, TVOCs, combustible and toxic gases. CETCI’s products are sold through a worldwide network of authorized distributors. Our knowledgeable Regional Sales Managers are experienced with many application scenarios, including commercial, institutional, municipal and light industrial markets worldwide. Areas of specialization include car parks, refrigeration plants, commercial swimming pools, water purification, including wastewater treatment facilities, ice arenas, wineries and breweries, schools and many more.

For suggestions on gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors and calibration, please visit


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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Versus Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are often mistaken for one another. Both gases are odourless and colorless and target the cardiovascular system. Both gases can enter the body through inhalation, skin and / or eye. Similar symptoms that both gases have in common are headaches, dizziness, seizures, and hallucination.

Most people have a hard time determining the difference and do not realize that vehicle exhaust emits both CO and CO2. In an indoor environment, this build-up of gas can be hazardous to the health and safety of the individual exposed to it.

CO has been referred to as the “Silent Killer” (The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide). Once CO is inhaled, oxygen levels are displaced in the blood causing vital organs to starve. Therefore, causing people to suffocate and lose consciousness.

CO2, on the other hand, is referred to as “hypercarbia or hypercapnia” (Carbon Dioxide Poisoning). Since our blood expels CO2, inhaling more CO2 would cause the inability for the body to expel the gas.

Additional differences in CO and CO2 are addressed in the table below:

Carbon Monoxide Carbon Dioxide
Doesn’t occur naturally in the atmosphere Occurs naturally in the atmosphere
Result of oxygen starved combustion in improperly ventilated fuel-burned equipment Natural by product of human and animal respiration, fermentation, chemical reactions, and combustion fossil fuels/woods
Generated by any gasoline engine WITHOUT a catalytic converter Generated by any gasoline engine WITH a catalytic converter
Common type of fatal poisoning Poisoning is rare
Flammable gas Non-flammable gas
Symptoms: confusion, nausea, lassitude, syncope, cyanosis, chest pain, abdominal pain Symptoms: dyspnea, sweating, increased heart rate, frostbite, convulsion, panic, memory problems
Target organ: lungs, blood, central nervous system Target organ: respiratory system
Based on the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards, the permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 50 parts per million (ppm). Based on the OSHA standards, the PEL is 5,000 ppm
Based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) standards, the recommended exposure limit (REL) is 35 ppm. Based on the NIOSH standards, the REL is 5,000 ppm

NOTE: Sources for the table above are referenced from Buzzle.com, CO2Meter.com and NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.

Since it is extremely difficult to detect CO and CO2 gases based on the symptoms alone, installing a gas detector is suggested. There are a large range of detectors available on the market; therefore, choosing the right one that suites your need is ideal. Choose a gas detector from a manufacturer that is reputable and has their products tested by certain standards such as the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), etc.

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

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch



Bose, Debopriya. “Carbon Dioxide Poisoning.” Buzzle.com. 26 December 2011. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/carbon-dioxide-poisoning.html>.

Bose, Debopriya. “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.” Buzzle.com. 2011. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/carbon-monoxide-poisoning-causes-symptoms-and-treatment.html>.

“CO and CO2 – What’s the difference?” CO2Meter.com. 27 August 2009. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/1209952-co-and-co2-what-s-the-difference>.

“Dangers of CO2: What You Need to Know.” CO2Meter.com. 25 October 2011. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/4418142-dangers-of-co2-what-you-need-to-know>.

“The Danger of Carbon Monoxide.” Silent Shadow: Silent Killer. 2004. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.silentshadow.org/>.

“Exposure to CO2 Leads to Fear of Suffocation.” CO2Meter.com. 12 January 2010. Web. 31 May 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/1417162-exposure-to-co2-leads-to-fear-of-suffocation>.

“NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 04 April 2011. Web. 01 June 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/default.html>.

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Bedbug Problem? Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Solution.

Bedbug infestation is an extremely common problem worldwide.

Bedbugs are small, nocturnal parasites that feed off of warm blooded animals and humans. They can survive in a wide range of temperature, low humidity and live for a year without eating. Adults can measure up to 5 mm in length and up to 3 mm wide. They are attracted to carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in human respiration and body warmth. Bedbugs can cause health issues such as skin rashes, allergies, and psychological effects.

Bedbugs can be detected with CO2 gas or a bucket of dry ice to lure the bedbugs to come out of hiding. Usually they are hard to find but infestation can be determined after being bitten or by finding fecal matter, molts and blood smears on the linens. Usually, bedbug bites do not appear right away but takes a week before red welts show up. The most common style of bedbug bites come in a line of three, also known as “breakfast, lunch and dinner” (Bed Bug Bites Symptoms).

Earlier we stated that bedbugs are attracted to CO2; however, high concentrations of CO2 will kill them. If bedbugs are discovered, get an exterminator that uses cryonite to spray down the surface and cracks. Cryonite is a compressed CO2 snow that is non-toxic but kills many pests by freezing them. When CO2 snow hits the surface at normal temperature, it evaporates and turns into CO2 gas. CO2 is poisonous to humans at high concentrations; therefore, if a fixed CO2 detector is not installed, using a handheld CO2 monitor while using cryonite is a good idea.

Based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, common symptoms of CO2 exposure include dizziness, headache, poor sleep, lassitude, anxiety, ocular changes, coronary heart disease, gastritis, kidney and liver damage, eye and skin burns, and dermatitis. These symptoms will occur only if the NIOSH standard’s recommended exposure limit (REL) and / or Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standard’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) exceed 5,000 ppm.

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

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch



“CO2 Finds, Kills Bedbugs.” www.co2meter.com. 08 September 2010. Web. 05 March 2012. <http://www.co2meter.com/blogs/news/1958042-co2-finds-kills-bedbugs>.

“Bed bug.” Wikipedia. 24 February 2012. Web. 06 March 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug>.

“Bed Bug Bite Symptoms.” What Do Bed Bugs Look Like. 11 November 2011. Web. 05 March 2012. <http://www.whatdobedbugslooklike.net>.

“Bed bug infestation.” Wikipedia. 20 February 2012. Web. 05 March 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug_infestation>.

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Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Leak in Soda Machines

Carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, is a very well known gas type but not everyone knows how deadly it is. Most people know it as a gas that humans exhale but commercially, it is manufactured and shipped as a liquefied compressed gas or is used as dry ice in its solid form.

A common use of CO2 gas is in soda fountain machines to carbonate soft drinks by pressurizing the CO2 gas into the liquid syrup. Without the carbonation or fizziness, it is no different than flavored syrup. Worldwide, fountain soft drinks are served in restaurants, sports arenas, fast food chains, cafeterias, public events, etc. Accidental incidences of CO2 leak from the compressed cylinders storing CO2 gas are common but preventable.

Some examples of accidental cases that have been reported by the media include, but not limited to:

  • The Mi Ranchito restaurant in Lenexa, Kansas in August 2009 had caused two dozen people to be come ill due to back flow problems with the soda machine. The carbonated water was coming into contact with copper lines, poisoning customers.
  • A McDonald’s restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona in June 2011 had to evacuate everyone in the restaurant because of a leaking soda machine in the building’s basement. A pregnant employee ended up collapsing due to the fumes. Other staff members experienced lightheadedness and dizziness. Fortunately, no one was seriously ill and was able to get immediate medical attention.
  • A fast food restaurant in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom in June 2011 had to evacuate everyone due to a leaky CO2 cylinder. Emergency service people had to wear breathing apparatuses in order to enter the restaurant to disconnect the cylinder. No one was injured in this case.
  • A McDonald’s restaurant in Savannah, Georgia in September 2011 had sickened ten people, including the death of a woman found unconscious in a restroom. This was due to a leaky gas line between the walls caused the gas to build up a week ago.

All restaurants mentioned had their licenses suspended but after fixing the problem, were allowed to re-open again. No criminal charges were given to any of the restaurants as it’s considered an accident. By definition from dictionary.com, an accident is “an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss.” It’s true that the situation is “undesirable” and “unfortunate” but can be prevented if proper measures were taken by the owners.

In order to prevent accidents like this from happening in the future, employers and staff members need to know the risks associated from working with CO2 gas, be able to identify early symptoms, and be protected by a fixed gas monitoring system.

Based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, common symptoms of CO2 exposure include dizziness, headache, poor sleep, lassitude, anxiety, ocular changes, coronary heart disease, gastritis, kidney and liver damage, eye and skin burns, and dermatitis. These symptoms will occur only if the NIOSH standard’s recommended exposure limit (REL) and / or Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standard’s permissible exposure limit (PEL) exceed 5,000 ppm.

CO2 is an odorless and colorless gas; therefore, humans will not be able to detect it. In order to detect and determine the level of CO2, a gas detection system needs to be installed. Fixed gas detection systems should be installed in rooms where the CO2 gas is being installed and where the soda machine is situated. Since CO2 gas is heavier than air, it is recommended that the fixed gas detectors should be installed at breathing zone which is 4 to 6 feet above the floor. Portable gas detectors are great for those delivering the gas cylinders from different venues in case there’s no fixed gas detection system in place. Installing a gas detection system can ensure staff members and customers are safe and risks are lowered.

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

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing



Bynum, Russ. “McDonald’s Death Now Attributed to Soda Fountain Gas Leak.” The Huffington Post. 14 Sep 2011. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/mcdonalds-death-gas_n_963971.html?ir=Canada>.

Holland, Catherine. “CO2 leak sparks evacuation at Phoenix McDonald’s.” azfamily.com. 1 Jun 2011. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/CO2-leak-sparks-evacuation-at-Phoenix-McDonalds-122939268.html>.

“NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 Aug 2010. Web. 27 Sep 2011. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/default.html>.

“Soda Machine Blamed in Illness at Restaurant: Mi Ranchito Location Had Problems in the Past.” KMBC.com. 31 Aug 2009. Web. 28 Sep 2011. <http://www.kmbc.com/news/20655282/detail.html>.

“Working Safely with CO2.” Analox Sensor Technology Ltd. 11 Jul 2011. Web. 28 Sep 2011. <http://www.analox.net/caseStudies/CO2_case_study_article.pdf>.

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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.