Boiler Room Safety

Gas-fired boilers are used in many situations, from small boilers in schools or offices to large installations. Natural gas, often methane, is one of the most frequently used fuels for the heating of both industrial and commercial property. Methane is around 50% of the weight of air and will rise upwards towards the ceiling or roof space inside a boiler house. The lower flammable limit is 4.4% for methane and there are many sources of ignition such as lighting, control panels and more. The risk of explosion makes boiler room equipment highly dangerous and highlights how important gas detection solutions are.

Boilers can also emit toxic gases such as carbon monoxide (CO), which is formed as a by-product of combustion and is detrimental to human health. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that is lethal when exposed to a certain concentration for too long. Boilers are generally indoor appliances, and if CO is produced by a faulty or poorly ventilated gas boiler, it can create a hazardous environment and endanger the lives of all those exposed. Gas detection solutions can stop levels of this and other toxic gases from getting dangerously high.

At industrial sites, boiler equipment is usually stored in its own room, known as a boiler house, which typically has low ventilation or is completely unventilated. Boiler houses are often visited infrequently, meaning that if there are toxic or flammable gases leaking, they are more likely to go undetected. Automatic gas detection solutions are a crucial means of providing early warnings of gas releases during unmanned periods.

When workers enter a potentially hazardous environment via the boiler room, and CO is the gas being exposed, blood is unable to carry oxygen, causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach pain, and shortness of breath, at relatively low levels. Health can rapidly deteriorate if an individual remains in a high CO environment, with more severe symptoms including vertigo, heart attacks, seizures, and loss of consciousness. If a worker is exposed for any longer period of time to the concentration of CO, their status can become fatal.

It is important for those visiting boiler rooms, such as boiler engineers and gas detection engineers, to have personal detection for CO and Flammable. This is due to engineers not knowing if the site has a working continuous detection system in place and provides a last line of defense for detecting leaks. These devices can be carried or worn as PPE or clipped to clothing and are supported by long battery life. Companies can also utilize fixed gas detection systems to monitor the entire room within the site on top of providing personal and portable devices to their workers. When considering the gas detection required for your site, companies should ensure that those systems can be implemented in any other rooms which the boiler flue passes through to mitigate leaks. 

Otis Instruments offers a variety of Wired and WireFree easy-to-use, robust and configurable gas detectors. Made in the USA, our high-quality products are capable of detecting both toxic and non-toxic gases for diverse applications. Otis Instruments also offers Otis Link, a service offing automation and controls as well as telemetry services. Otis Link automation and controls service provides a modernized AWS-secured cloud communication system capable of tracking and delivering data in real time. Otis Link automation and controls optimally connects the user to assets via wired or wireless configurations through AC, DC or solar-powered systems to efficiently and effectively access and control equipment remotely. It also offers HMIs for on-site quick access to information and PLC control with battery backup systems that keep the end user in control of operations, even during a power outage.

Otis Link telemetry service is a modernized cloud-based monitoring system capable of delivering critical station and alarm information in real time. Otis Link Telemetry optimally connects the user to field assets via wired or wireless configurations using both cellular and satellite networks to view and manage their equipment more effectively. It also offers a one-system-fits-all telemetry solution for all industries. Both services can be integrated with existing monitoring systems and detection devices, eliminating upgrade costs and seamless reliability.

If you would like more information about gas detection solutions for your application, monitoring solutions for boiler room safety, implementing Otis Link services, or have a question for us, contact our team today.