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What are the Different Types of Industrial Ventilation?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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Industrial ventilation can be found in many workplaces, particularly those with myriad airborne contaminants. It is usually considered one of the major methods used to reduce employee exposure to either toxins in the air or to flammable vapors, and it works by replacing contaminated air with a cleaner atmosphere. There are two main types of industrial ventilation systems, and they include dilution and local exhaust ventilation.

Dilution ventilation can include a few methods, from allowing in fresh air by opening doors and windows to using large fans. The point of such industrial ventilation systems is to direct the air away from the employees so they do not have to breathe contaminated air whiling working. Some of the benefits of this type include easy installation in most cases, typically little maintenance, and efficiency in controlling small sources of contaminants. Drawbacks of this kind of industrial ventilation are mainly related to the fact that it cannot typically handle large amounts of toxic chemicals or vapors that may pollute the air. A common example of dilution ventilation includes large commercial fans.

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Local exhaust ventilation is a kind of industrial ventilation system that aims to stop contaminants before they spread. Unlike dilution ventilation, this type does not rely on fans to disperse the air. Rather, it works similarly to a vacuum, usually resulting in low concentration of the pollutants. It is often best suited for very toxic chemicals or a high amount of dust or fumes. While local exhaust ventilation is usually quite effective and energy-efficient, it typically costs more to install than dilution ventilation and is known by many for being a high-maintenance system.

Unlike HVAC systems, the main goal of industrial ventilation systems is to push the air outside without recirculating it. No matter which solution is selected, it is often considered important that there be at least one system in most buildings that contain air contaminants. Common pollutants that are eliminated by ventilation systems often include flammable vapors, welding fumes, dust, mold, asbestos fibers, oil mists, and toxic chemicals.

Ventilation systems are often considered crucial to monitoring indoor air quality. Not only is the health of employees at stake in the presence of certain pollutants, but their comfort is as well. In fact, some indoor air in certain industrial buildings can be worse for health than outdoor air. To perform air quality control and ensure ventilation systems are in working order, professionals typically collect samples of the air and model the air flow using a computer.

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