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Monitoring Hazardous Gasses

Posted by: Chris Baker on Friday, July 28, 2017

Refrigerant Monitoring System

When hazardous gases accumulate, in small spaces, and reach high enough concentrations they may become a respiratory health hazard, lead to a fire event or in some cases an explosion. Gas detection plays an important role in providing safety to the public, as well as protecting public and personal property. It may be necessary for the design engineer to investigate a variety of monitoring, detection and ventilation systems to meet the requirements of the many different facilities that may need these types of application.

Toxic gases are those which are harmful to humans when inhaled or swallowed, flammable gases include those which are capable of burning and combustible gases include those that can explode in certain concentrations.

In the right concentrations, Carbon Dioxide can be a simple suffocant, Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas which is toxic to humans, Nitrogen Dioxide from Diesel powered engines is a carcinogen, HVAC refrigerant concentrations are regulated by ASHRAE 15 to minimize exposure, natural and LP gases are explosive if not properly monitored while toxic gases in smoke pose an extreme health hazard and sometimes death.

Hazardous gases can be found in the most common places like parking garages, fire stations, ambulance bays, automobile maintenance facilities, loading docks, train stations, chiller and refrigeration plants, or any building using natural gas for heating or cooking. NFPA and ASHRAE offer lists of hazardous gases, which should be addressed by monitoring and ventilation systems.

Monitoring hazardous gas levels is a good first step to controlling exposures to these elements.   Proper ventilation system design with suitable controls can minimize exposure to hazardous gas levels. Guidelines for the design of hazardous gas are available from the state building codes, NFPA and ASHRAE guidelines.

Refrigerant Monitoring and Fan Controls

Typical Chiller Room