How long before I die of CO poisoning?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Salty, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    If I ran my 7k generator in my 47,500 cubic foot hangar with the doors closed and only went in after opening the main door (600 square feet), would I be risking serious injury?

    How long would it take to build up a dangerous amount of CO in a building that size?

    I can’t see a scenario where I’d actually do this, but I was just wondering how bad it would really be. My luck, some homeless guy would seek shelter in my hangar, get sick but live, and sue me for everything I own....
     
  2. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    Would seem a lot simpler to put the generator outside with a power cord going under the door.
     
  3. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The premise is that I want it inside away from the 140 mph wind and rain.
     
  4. SoonerAviator

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    Or just run the exhaust out of a hole or bottom of the door.
     
  5. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    It’s a thought exercise about how fast the air would be polluted. I’m not actually going to do it. I thought I made that pretty clear.
     
  6. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf Cleared for Takeoff

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    “Concentrations of fatal cases of carbon dioxide vary between 14.1 and 26% CO2 and an accompanying O2 level between 4.2 and 25%”

    Seems a wide range. How much CO2 per minute does the gen put out?
     
  7. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    No idea
     
  8. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    Without knowing the amount of exhaust in CFM and the concentration of CO in PPM in the exhaust, you can't estimate the lethality of it.

    You aren't putting much, if any, thought into the exercise other than asking SGOTI for an answer. If you want a guess, try Google.
     
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  9. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Im certain that there are people on here that have a much better idea than I do how much exhaust a 7k generator would produce.
     
  10. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I would guess not more than an hour at full load.
     
  11. Gary

    Gary En-Route

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    What is the displacement of the engine powering the generator and at what RPM does it run? 4-cycle engine? CO emissions are likely to be on the order of 2-5% on a volume basis, but that can vary quite a bit.
     
  12. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    Try swept cylinder volume X ½ RPM.

    Then Google:

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that can kill you quickly. ... The World Health Organization recommends that the indoor air level for CO be below an average of nine parts per million (ppm) for any eight-hour period, and below 25 ppmfor any one-hour period. One ppm means one part of CO per million parts of air.

    Another Google search:

    How can a generator be so dangerous that it can poison from outside a dwelling? The answer is 85,000 ppm. That is how much carbon monoxide poison a generator has in its exhaust, when operating properly. This is nearly 20 times the amount a carbon monoxide detector can read. Not a residential carbon monoxide detector, but the professional detectors used to measure the carbon monoxide in the exhaust of furnaces and other household gas burning appliances.

    Answer: Not very long. Multiply generator CFM output X 85,000 PPM, compare to hangar volume, determine percentage of CO over time and onset of lethal limit.

    That was hard, wasn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  13. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I believe the issue becomes as less oxygen is available, more CO is produced, which makes the problem more difficult to calculate.
     
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  14. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    It's silly to try and define the answer to that degree of fineness. It's pretty obvious that running the generator for fifteen or twenty minutes would present the risk of death. That's plain common sense.

    Why anyone would want to know the exact answer is rather nonsensical.
     
  15. Gary

    Gary En-Route

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    Would agree with that - incomplete combustion over time. Interesting thought problem and not as easy as it sounds. Would suspect that levels of CO would reach “loss of consciousness “ before the reduction on available O2 would increase CO production.
     
  16. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    CO is bad stuff - not just that it can kill you (it's one of those time vs exposure things), but that the CO binds to your hemoglobin much stronger than O2 so even after you get away from it, it can take a long time to recover.

    Last year at a BBQ contest I compete in, the local FD showed up across the aisle from where we were set up. This particular contest is in a city park and there is a fire house right at the park entrance. FD and paramedics patrol on Gators for fun and free food. I looked out of our area and saw two Gators and about 6 firefighters standing outside one of the booths. A minute later several contest organizers showed up. Turns out one team had a generator running, and it was exhuasting into the tent/canopy area of the booth next to them. Even though that tent was open on several sides, the firefighter I talked to said the CO levels were so high they weren't allowed inside without breathing apparatus. The team with the generator had to move it and then add something to the exhaust to take it out above the neighboring tent. It was built into a camping trailer they had parked in their spot.
     
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  17. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends..... you want to die slow and painful death or a quick and easy death.?? :lol::lol:
     
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  18. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Do I need to report this on my next medical?
     
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  19. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yes. Having done an actual experiment with an automobile equipped with something like year 2005ish emission controls and catalysts (don't remember exactly when we did this) in a closed semi trailer, the CO levels didn't start to climb until the O2 levels start to drop. A simple generator, however, is going to start making more CO earlier than the car with the feedback control system since it can't correct for the reduced O2 availability - just like an aircraft engine runs rich with altitude, the generator will run "rich" as O2 starts to drop.
    Possibly - if it's running rich of peak. But most power equipment sold now days has to meet the California emission regulations and tends to run much closer to peak and not make massive amounts of CO.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  20. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    I have a 8K set up to run in my 30'x40'x14' shop when the wind starts to howl. First couple times I ran it, I plugged in a CO detector to see how things went. It never went off. Now if my shop or your hangar were connected to a living space then I wouldn't recommend it as CO can wander. Unfortunately, there are stories of some people deciding it was time to go, only to take out their family also as the exhaust fumes infiltrated the house from the garage.
     
  21. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Buy a $100 CO monitor, set it on a chair in the middle of the hangar, and then hold your breath and run inside to check it every once in a while. Or set up a webcam. Or spend more money and buy a monitor that records exposure over time.
     
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  22. azblackbird

    azblackbird Cleared for Takeoff

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    About as long as it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop.:raspberry:
     
  23. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    Guesses:

    250cc engine, running 3000 RPM

    1,500 times per minute it's going to expel 250cc of exhaust gas, 0.25L*1,500 = 375 Liters/minute.

    375 liters is about 13.2 Cu/ft.

    After an hour, that's 792 cu ft, or about 1.7% of the space.
     
  24. A1Topgun

    A1Topgun Pre-takeoff checklist

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    CO is absorbed 8X more readily then O2. And you are unaware of the effects, you fall asleep and never wake up!
     
  25. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Can't answer the question. What is the loss rate of the atmosphere of the room to the outside? how efficient is the engine? How clean is the fuel? Etc...
     
  26. A1Topgun

    A1Topgun Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Go to your local hardware store and but a CO Monitor for $15 - $30. Plug in in to an AC outlet and if it goes off, get out of the building.
     
  27. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Unless the hangar is airtight, a huge difference may come from how many air changes per hour the living space sees -ie how leaky it is.
    In a 140mph wind that could be significant.
     
  28. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    That would require an integration!
     
  29. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    You’re already dead from having thought about it.
     
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  30. Jeff Oslick

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    1) Generator enclosures are a thing.
    2) If the wind is 140 mph I'd give it 50/50 chance (at best) whether the hangar is going to hold up.
     
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  31. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    CA builds for earthquakes, FL builds for hurricanes. It's already held up through more than 100 mph. Did lose a lot of shingles, but it didn't leak.
     
  32. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    Building for 100 is different than building for 140. At 140, nearly everything nearby will become a high-energy projectile. CA builds for earthquakes, but few structures are really built for "the big one", we just play the odds that we won't be at ground-zero for the big shake.
     
  33. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    Lock yourself in the hangar, gas it up, and have someone toss the keys in the sewer drain - you're now Schroedinger's Cat!
     
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  34. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Don't confuse CO (carbon monoxide) with CO2 (carbon dioxide). Lethal CO levels are far lower than your numbers. From Wiki:

    On average, exposures at 100 ppm or greater is dangerous to human health.[14] In the United States, the OSHA limits long-term workplace exposure levels to less than 50 ppm averaged over an 8-hour period;[15][16] in addition, employees are to be removed from any confined space if an upper limit ("ceiling") of 100 ppm is reached.

    100 PPM is 0.01%.
     
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  35. 3393RP

    3393RP Pattern Altitude

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    All of this conjecture pretty much ignores stratification and local area concentration along with other factors like those Ed Fred mentioned.

    CO will kill you. Intentional exposure is asking for it.
     
  36. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Got a canary?
     
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  37. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    So, what’s the need for a generator in the middle of a hurricane?
     
  38. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    It provides a higher quality of life for a house full of people, especially the kids. Having lights, fans, and a DVD going makes that day/night go by easier. Since you seem to have not experienced that adventure then it is hard to explain.
     
  39. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    Not just comfort.

    It also preserves food and medications that need refrigeration. A gen can also keep an O2 machine running (important for my dad).

    A ‘cane induced power outage may last for a week or longer.
     
  40. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Not fair to deny them the fun experiences of cooking rice and tea on a woodstove, pooping into trash bags in a 5 gal pail, huddling together on the sofa for warmth in the dark!
    (don't ask)
     
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