Remote Locating of Transducers for Area Alarm Panels
As a Design Engineer, Hospital Facilities Engineer or Hospital Administrator you should be concerned about the installation location of the transducers for area alarm panels. Why? The long-range cost and safety risk aspects of testing will be increased drastically if they are installed above the ceiling.
Most of the project drawings we review have notations made by the Design Engineer for the area alarm transducers to be installed remotely (not in the alarm back box) on the medical gas pipelines. It is then left up to the installing contractor to determine the exact location on the pipeline. Unfortunately, in most cases the result is the transducers are installed above the ceiling. Initially this may be a slightly lower cost way to install the transducers, as opposed to installing them in the alarm back box or in the zone valve box – but the long-term testing costs and safety aspects involved with the testing will prove much more costly to the facility.
Why is that? NFPA 99 requires periodic testing of the area alarm panels which for most facilities is once a year. Proper testing requires that the transducers be physically disconnected from the pipeline to allow the pressure to fall below the low pressure alarm set point and then connected to a pump which raises the pressure above the high pressure set point. This means that the certification/testing company will need to:
- Find the correct ceiling tiles to remove for each alarm
- Put a man on a ladder carrying test equipment, tools etc.
- In many facilities – erect a HPA or ICRA containment area tent and wear protective gowning and a breathing mask.
If your facility has 20 area alarms, multiply the above additional costs by 20 and then by the number of years the system is installed. These are all additional long-term perpetual costs and safety risks that could have been avoided by simply installing the transducers in the alarm back box or in the zone valve box.
Recognizing this need, we at Tri-Tech Medical invented the E Z Find retro-fit kit and new installation products (shown below) to help facilities lower their costs and improve safety. In addition, it should be noted that the initial installation cost is minimized because the E Z products below eliminate the need to braze fittings (risers & tees) onto the pipeline above the ceiling or in the alarm back box.