Refrigerant gases are literally the lifeblood of today’s air conditioning, refrigeration, and freezing technologies. Under controlled and monitored conditions these gases are safe and efficient. However, if not closely monitored and allowed to escape into the atmosphere, they can be extremely hazardous to both personnel and our environment.
To help ensure safety, ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) mandates that each refrigerant machinery room be monitored for leaks. Specifically, ASHRAE section 18.104.22.168 states: “Each refrigerating machinery room shall contain a detector, located in an area where refrigerant from a leak will concentrate, that actuates an alarm and mechanical ventilation in accordance with Section 8.11.4 at a value not greater than the corresponding TLV-TWA (or toxicity measure consistent there with)…”
In addition to monitoring, further steps should be taken to ensure the safety of building occupants, maintenance personnel, and early responders. These include, among other precautions, external alarms, and the availability of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
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