Tag Archive | "CO"

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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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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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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Indoor Air Quality Myths Debunked

Today’s buildings, whether it is a home, office, manufacturing plant, hospital, etc., are more energy efficient; however, they also foster a potentially harmful environment. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has become a rising concern in the HVAC industry.

Poor IAQ can cause a number of health issues such as, allergies, dryness and irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It can also cause headaches, shortness of breath, hypersensitivity, sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, nausea, and dizziness. Depending on the type of building, the main factors of poor IAQ are different. For residential homes, carbon monoxide, pet dander, dust mites and mold spores are the common factors. For parking garages, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and propane are the common factors. By educating ourselves about poor IAQ, we can be proactive to install systems, such as gas detectors, air purifiers, etc., in the building for a healthier living environment.

Below are IAQ myths about gas detection systems that have been debunked:

MYTH: Permanent gas detectors are effective.
FACT: True. Gas detectors are effective in detecting the gas that’s in the air. Regular maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer is important in keeping these gas detectors up to date. Whether it is a simple calibration process, replacement sensor or parts, or even a firmware upgrade, it is highly recommended.
MYTH: Sensors do not need to be replaced once they’re in the field.
FACT: False. Every sensor has a different life expectancy depending on the gas type and manufacturer. The life expectancy of sensors range from a year to ten years; therefore, it is advisable to contact the manufacturer for details.
MYTH: Ozone is safe for our health.
FACT: False. It is effective in fighting a number of pollutants including odors, chemicals, bacteria, etc. However, ozone generators are known to emit harmful substances into the air. When ozone is used for treating asthma, it is done in clinics that are under strict medical surveillance.
MYTH: Air pollution is only an outdoor problem.
FACT: False. Indoor air can be 12 times more polluted than the air outside.
MYTH: There is no real need to worry about IAQ.
FACT: False. People can spend up to 90% of their time indoors so maintaining the highest quality of indoor air is critical. Some pollutants can be easily identified as it can cause bad odors, such as smoke, dust, paint, and animal dander. However, some are more difficult to identify with our senses, such as bacteria, fungi, mold spores, pollen, influenza viruses, or even off gassing from the walls, furniture and appliances.
MYTH: It is too difficult to improve IAQ.
FACT: False. To improve air quality, it is not difficult but can be expensive especially when more than one system needs to be in place. However, spending more on the system can be cheaper in the long run in terms of operating cost.
MYTH: All gas detectors are the same.
FACT: False. There are many different types of gas detectors in the market and not all operate the same way. Research is necessary!
MYTH: You should choose gas detector according to the square footage of the room.
FACT: False. Gas detectors should not be chosen based on the square footage of the room. Coverage is dependant upon the type of gas as every gas behaves differently.
MYTH: Gas detectors help reduce energy consumption in commercial and industrial buildings.
FACT: True. Gas detectors can trigger the ventilation system to turn on or off according to the level of gas it detects. For example, in a parkade, if the level of carbon monoxide increases, the gas detector will switch the ventilation fans on automatically to circulate the air and diffuse it from one central location and push it outside. Once the level of carbon monoxide drops, the ventilation fan is turned off.
MYTH: Gas detectors should be placed near the source of the gas.
FACT: True. If a gas leak were to occur, the sensor(s) will detect it right away and alert the personnel in charge and / or start the ventilation fans automatically before the gas leak gets circulated throughout the premise.Gas detectors should not be placed near ventilation fans or openings to the outside. They should be placed in areas where there is good air circulation, but not in the path of rapidly moving air. Pay particular attention to dead air spots where there is little or no air movement.Depending on the properties of the gas, mounting height matters. For a list of mounting heights for common gases, visit http://www.critical-environment.com/technicallibrary/sensor-mounting.html.
MYTH: Green buildings do not improve health.
FACT: False. Green buildings improve health through safer materials and products and by circulating cleaner air.

Written by: Ambur Vilac & Teresa Kouch



Angela. “5-Myths Debunked About the Home’s Heating and Cooling System.” Hoffmann Brothers: St. Louis Geothermal Heating & Cooling Company. 31 August 2010. Web. 10 May 2012. <http://www.stlouisgeothermal.com/blog.html>.

Hudson, Adam. “Indoor Air Quality: Myth or Money Generator.” www.co2meter.com. 01 December 2008. Web. 10 May 2012. <http://contractingbusiness.com/columnists/hudson/indoor_air_quality_myth/>.

“Top 8 Air Cleaner Myths You Are Not Supposed to Know About.” Air Cleaners, Air Purifiers – Air Cleaner Systems. 2010. Web. 26 September 2011. <http://air-cleaner-systems.com/air-cleaner-myths>.

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Poisoned at the Ice Arena

Canadians love their hockey. With that in mind, a reasonably sized community will have an ice rink. Global Maritimes states in a news article that “there are 10 times as many rinks in Canada as there are in the United States.” That means more ice resurfacers and ice edgers can be found in Canada than the USA.

An ice resurfacer is a machine that is used to clean and smooth the ice. An ice edger is a machine that is used at the edge of the ice rink where the ice resurfacer cannot reach. Both machineries are either powered by fuel or electricity. The exhaust produced by the fueled powered machines emits, in the air, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulates, regardless if they are powered by gasoline, propane or diesel. These pollutants linger in the air and with inadequate ventilation; outdoor air is not brought inside to dilute the emissions from the machine(s) nor is indoor air being pushed out. So the only way for these toxic pollutants to migrate is to be inhaled.

CO is “odorless, colorless and poisonous gas” (Indoor Air Quality…). Early symptoms include shortness of breath, mild nausea and mild headaches. Long term exposures could cause loss of consciousness and even death. NO2 is a reddish-brown toxic gas that gives off a sharp odor. Early symptoms could “cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat as well as shortness of breath” (Toxic Fumes…). See table 1 below. Particulate is a “complex mixture of…acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles” (Indoor Air Quality…) and affects the heart and lungs.


Table 1: Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Poisoning at Various Exposure Levels

Gas Low Moderate Long Term
Carbon Monoxide (CO) – Shortness of breath- Mild nausea- Mild headaches

– Dizziness

– Itchy or watery eyes

– Severe headaches- Dizziness- Mental confusion

– Nausea

– Fainting

– Dulled senses

– unconsciousness- Death
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – Bronchial problems (e.g. asthma)- Lung problems- Respiratory infections

– Irritations to eyes, nose and throat

– Shortness of breath

– Acute or chronic bronchitis – Pulmonary edema

Table is based on “Indoor Air Quality and Ice Arenas”

So with every breath a person in an ice arena takes, they are slowly poisoning themselves without even knowing it. Arenas usually have very little ventilation; therefore, toxic fumes that are emitted in the arena will linger.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guidelines to recreational facilities for ventilation practices and air quality standards. For instance, the EPA recommends facility operators to use electric powered ice resurfacers and edgers as it “reduces hydrocarbon emissions by about 71 percent, nitrous oxide emissions by about 80 percent, and carbon monoxide emissions by about 57 percent” (Indoor Air Quality…). Based on the Today’s Show, see video, most arenas do not use electric powered models as it costs “twice as much as the older fuel models” and is not a mandatory requirement from the USA federal government. Gas detectors, such as carbon monoxide, are also not legal requirements for ice rinks in the USA as mentioned in the Today’s Show video. Only three states, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, regulate their indoor air quality (Is the ice rink…).

What to do if you see warning signs or symptoms as a result of high pollutants:

  • Limit or cease exposure immediately
  • Leave the building & get fresh air immediately
  • Seek medical attention
  • Speak to arena management
  • Work with your doctor to come up with a plan to control or reduce potential exposure

As a customer of the ice arena, find out from arena management if:

  • The ice resurfacers and edgers are fuel-fired or electric?
  • The ventilation system is adequate?
  • Fresh air is supplied to occupied area of the arena?
  • Are there gas detectors installed for CO, NO2 and particulates?

What should the ice arena employees and managers do?

  • Procedures:
    • Educate yourself and your staff
    • Create procedures to respond to complaints and emergencies
    • Develop an evacuation plan
  • Ventilation:
    • Get the ventilation system regularly maintenance
    • Ensure fresh air intake is not located near vehicle exhaust or loading areas and is not blocked
    • Open gates to allow better air circulation during and after resurfacing
    • Follow EPA guidelines & ASHRAE standards to regulate IAQ
    • Install automatic ventilation when certain levels of gases are reached
  • Machinery:
    • Replace or upgrade older equipments that do not meet EPA emissions standards
    • Reduce edging time
    • Decrease resurfacing frequency
    • Installing catalytic converter to all fuel machineries
    • Regular servicing on machines used at the arena
    • Warm up ice resurfacers and edgers in a well-ventilated room or outside
  • Detectors:
    • Install a gas detection system to monitor toxic gases at breathing level
    • Monitor air quality for CO, NO2 and particulate gases during and shortly after use of machines
    • Install an alarm notification
    • Have notification alarms connected to local fire department or emergency medical services

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Written by: Teresa Kouch, Marketing



Barthelmes, John, and Degnan, J. “Toxic Fumes at Indoor Ice Rinks.” Informational Bulletin 2011-02. Feb 2011. Web. 09 May 2011.

“Cape Breton doctor examines link between hockey rink cleaners and cancer.” Global Maritimes, 6 May 2011. Web. 09 May 2011

Coffman, Keith. “Authorities probe ice rink fumes that sicken 61 people.” Reuters, 07 Feb 2011. Web. 09 May 2011.

Dillard, Mechele. “Carbon monoxide poisoning potential threat in ice rinks.” HULIQ, 10 Feb 2011. Web. 10 May 2011.

Holt, L., Moss, M., and Pelham, T. “Exposure to carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in enclosed ice arenas.” Occup Environ Med 2002; 59:224-233.

“Indoor Air Quality and Ice Arenas.” United States Environmental Protection Agency. Web. 11 May 2011.

“Is the ice rink making your child sick?” MSN BC. TodayShow.com. 2011. Web. 16 Feb 2011.

Posted in Environment, HealthComments (4)

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, ProductsComments (9)


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.