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Exhaust fumes emanating from fuel burning vehicles are highly toxic and can result in sickness and even death, if not ventilated properly. By monitoring the concentration of these fumes and ventilating based on their concentration, a safe environment can be ensured.
Most mechanical codes indicate that ventilation for parking structures should be continuous, 24/7, unless a system is in place to ensure hazardous gas concentrations are kept below prescribed levels. By ventilating only when sensors indicate a requirement, there is an opportunity for very significant energy savings, both from reduced fan operation, and potentially also from any related heating or cooling costs.
For gasoline, natural gas, or propane powered vehicles, carbon monoxide is the primary gas of concern. For gas detection applications in which diesel engines are employed, nitrogen dioxide should also be measured to ensure adequate coverage.
Vehicle exhaust presents an interesting challenge when designing a gas detection system. Because of the wide variety of applications including underground parking garages, bus barns, maintenance facilities, tunnels, train stations, airports, loading docks, car and truck dealerships and warehouses, a number of different gas detection solutions exist to satisfy the varying requirements. Therefore, a number of factors must be taken into consideration when determining what type of system should be specified.
Once these factors have been determined, a selection of the most appropriate AMC system must follow. Here is a basic outline of different AMC exhaust monitoring systems, and when and where they should be used.
In smaller areas or when localized ventilation is used, it is most appropriate to use a standalone system. These systems include sensor, power supply, ventilation activation relays and alarm indication. Standalones provide the simplest solution to monitoring requirements.
AMC-1ACOs: This is a basic monitor with a single, integral, electrochemical sensor. It comes complete with relay contacts, LED alarm indication and audio alarm. Ideal as a stand-alone in small parking facility applications.
AMC-1AVCs: This system is a two-channel version of the AMC 1ACOs, which incorporates BOTH integral, electrochemical CO and NO2 sensors, with common alarm outputs and optional concentration readouts.
AMC-1AD with 122X Series: The AMC-1AD Series is an economical system designed to provide alarm indication and relay activation on a zoned basis, with up to eight sensor modules (AMC 122X Series), wired in series back to each of two zones. Designed for use in applications featuring simple sequences of operations (an alarm at any sensor within a zone will activate all of the fans within the same zone). All sensors within each zone are wired in a daisy-chain manner, back to the panel.
AMC VersaTox Series: Electrochemical, 4-20 mA sensor/transmitters, with optional relay output and concentration readout. Ideal for use when direct connection to a building automation system (BAS) is required.