Automotive repair shops and dealerships can become hazardous areas when exhaust fumes collect and are not properly ventilated. To provide fresh air and remove contaminated air out of these facilities, fans are typically used. It is neither practical nor economical to run the fans continuously, as wear shortens the life of motors and other associated equipment. More frequent maintenance services are then required and the energy consumption is not only expensive, but not environmentally friendly either.
Carbon monoxide is the most abundant of the exhaust fumes, but there is also the potential for nitrogen dioxide from diesel powered engines and in more modern facilities, hydrogen buildup from electric car charging stations. Carbon monoxide can be very lethal as it has no colour, odour or taste and may not detected without the use of a gas detection system.
Exposure limits for Carbon Monoxide has an 8 hour occupational safety limit of 25 PPM. The effects of carbon monoxide are dependant on the concentration levels as seen below:
- Less than 50 PPM = Mild headache
- 50 – 200 PPM = Severe headache
- 200 – 400 PPM = Weakness, dizziness, nausea, fainting
- 400 – 1200 PPM = Increased, irregular heartbeat
- 1200 – 2000 PPM = Loss of consciousness, coma, death
- More than 2000 PPM = Death can occur in minutes
- Carbon Monoxide
- Nitrogen Dioxide