Indoor Air Quality

Heating your facility is important. It’s probably in the top ten most essential things to keep your workers and customers happy. It’s not the only thing. Warm air is useless if people can’t stand to breathe it in. Over time, air will get stale and become unpleasant to breathe. We need to not only heat the air, but clean it. What Is Stale Air? The air around you isn’t pure (unless you’re in a hyperbaric chamber, but that’s an entirely different can of worms). More accurately, the air we breathe is more like being in the ocean: it’s full of microscopic things floating around. If you’ve seen sea water, you usually see little things carried around in it. The same is true for air, but most of the things floating us are too small to see. Typically the air in a busy facility will be carrying: Skin Flakes and Hair Bacteria Viruses Mold Trace Chemicals (from cleaners, machinery, etc) Vaporized Sweat Chemicals from Oral Bacteria (Bad Breath) Particulates from Fabric, Food, and Product Offgassing Air becomes stale largely as a result of all these things becoming to abundant. The human body is incredibly perceptive to these things. We can smell, taste, and even feel that the air is not clean. There’s no way to just hide the problem either. Some scents can be fought off with aerosols, candles, and other products that alter the air. The only problem is that […]

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Why is the AC Hissing?

Air conditioners produce liquid water by design and by the simple nature of physics. Sometimes this harmlessly leaks out around the air conditioner, such as with window units, and sometimes it leaks when a drain gets blocked. There is however, a second leak an air conditioner can develop: refrigerant leaks.   The Cooling Compound Air conditioners work by exploiting physics around state-changes. When liquid turns into a gas, it can absorb heat.The effectiveness of the state change varies from compound to compound. For air conditioning, we tend to use things like R134a (freon), R12 (phased out/illegal in much of the world now), and even propane. These are all chemicals which have particular properties ideal for cooling. For example, they won’t turn solid at 0 degrees C like water, so they won’t clog up the air conditioner’s tubing and fittings. These chemicals though have some downsides we can’t really escape. Propane is outright flammable and probably capable of turning your air conditioner into a flaming set piece in the next post-apocalypse movie. R12 destroys the ozone. And R134a is toxic. It causes a wide range of symptoms from headaches to hallucinations and death in the worst case exposures.   The Hissing Leak When the air conditioner is running or has recently been run, the refrigerant will be highly pressurized. In order for us to make it work, we compress it. We’re cramming a lot of material into a small space, which […]

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Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Last week we covered how a draft inducer and it’s attached pressure sensor can help prevent Carbon Monoxide from leaking out of a furnace. This week we’re moving up to the next line of defense: a dedicated Carbon Monoxide Detector. These are often installed in new homes and offices as required by local building codes in most of the United States. Where they’re not installed by construction, they’re usually installed by the facility’s owner as a precaution.   What’s the Big Deal? Carbon Monoxide is one of the deadliest, common compounds in the world. It’s is a colorless, odorless gas that will kill you at the right concentrations. There’s only two ways for someone to know they’ve been exposed to a harmful dose: Use a detector or Recognise the Symptoms before it’s too late. The initial symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, vomitting, chest pain, and confusion. In large part, these common symptoms can be attributed to hundreds of other ailments, including the common flu. Greater exposure can lead to passing out, arrhythmia, seizures, and death. Even then, there will be longterm complications, including memory problems, movement disabilities, and fatigue. Most people are not able to detect and react to these symptoms as Carbon Monoxide poisoning before it’s too late. They’re often waived off as a flue or some other lesser problem until it’s too late.   How Do We Detect An Invisible, Colorless, Odorless Gas? While Carbon Monoxide itself is […]

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