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Exhaust Removal for Automotive Shops

Open the garage door before starting the car. A familiar rule, perhaps given many times to a young driver taking her first vehicle out for a spin.

As cool weather approaches, and cars are tucked again into garages, the rule is valuable for every vehicle owner to remember. However, the danger of carbon monoxide buildup extends beyond the consumer. Automotive shops must take care as well.

In fact, clean air in a working environment is unbelievably important. In the content below, we explore just how important exhaust removal is for both technicians in the shop and car enthusiasts working from home. Then, exhaust removal systems are explored in depth. Ultimately, we will provide the necessary information required to select a system that bolsters and maintains quality of life in the working, automotive environment.

Why Is Exhaust Removal Important?

Exhaust removal is a crucial component to maintaining a safe working environment in automotive shops. As a rule of thumb, tailpipes should be no further than a few feet from a source of open air. Why? Because carbon monoxide (CO), not to be confused with carbon dioxide – naturally present in the air – is lethal. CO is a natural component of exhaust and must be kept below 200 parts per million before physical harm begins occurring.

Below, we included a chart, illustrating health concerns that can occur – from headaches to death – when an individual is exposed to unnatural CO levels in ambient air.

health concerns with carbon monoxide

How does this occur? In what situation could toxic levels of CO build up? Quite simply, when tailpipe exhaust cannot rise from a tailpipe to open air, away from human contact. A tailpipe adapter should be used to funnel the toxic fumes through a hose. Two important qualifications regarding the hose must be adhered to as well. First, do not utilize a hose that extends beyond eleven feet. Secondly, the hose should be kept straight. Only enough line pressure exists to move the exhaust down eleven feet of straight hose. If, for any reason, the exhaust must travel further than eleven feet, O.S.H.A. generally requires power assistance, such as room ventilators or a blower assisted system.

Room Ventilators: Exhaust Removal Systems

If enough fresh air is available to replace the air being removed, room ventilators are an excellent exhaust removal option. As mentioned previously, room ventilators can be used in conjunction with a tailpipe removal system, “point-of-source” removal, to provide the best carbon monoxide removal possible. However, choosing the best removal system can be a tedious process. Which is required for your application? How many should be used? Below, we discuss system design considerations and helpful factors to guide your process.

System Design Considerations

  1. How many stalls require exhaust removal? Which vehicles will be serviced here?
  2. How will you position the fan or blower? According to best practice, the blower should be mounted on a sturdy base, about 16’ high. To understand how rigid the base must be, keep in mind belt drive blowers weigh between 200 and 600 lbs.
  3. Will you choose an overhead or underfloor duct system? Ductwork layout should be graduated. Narrow ductwork must be placed furthest from the fan, widening as it nears the fan. O.S.H.A. inspectors will find this more acceptable as the layout promotes even flow throughout the entire system. For example, utilizing this ductwork layout, the stall farthest from the blower and closest to the blowers will have the same airflow.
  4. How many feet apart are the layout and distance from the fan to the farthest stall?
  5. Will the system be mounted overhead via ductwork? If so, how many hoses will need to be retracted?
  6. Will the system be mounted underfloor? If so, a drain should be included to flush the floor ducting. Water, oil, and other liquids can disrupt ductwork and must be removed. To ensure proper drainage, underfloor ductwork should be sloped at 1” per 40’.
  7. What amount of air flow will be required?
  8. What size duct and hose will be required?
  9. What blower size – based on CFM (cubic feet/minute) requirements – is required?

Helpful Factors

  1. Pay attention to the number of outlets connected to a single fan. The amount of suction is prone to large variations as the number of outlets increases. Because of this, multiple smaller fans often provide better performance than a single large fan.
  2. Fan housings are flexible. Sixteen discharge positions are available for the fan in 450 increments.
  3. SVI International provides in-line dampers and/or tailpipe dampers, used to close off outlets that are not in use.
  4. Exhaust blowers are available from SVI with a fan connected via a V-belt drive arrangements or directly connected to the motor shaft. Direct drive arrangements provide greater electrical efficiency, with less expensive upfront charges. However, V-belt drive arrangements are best for when horsepower or fan speed requirements are questionable. If an automotive shop chooses a direct drive blower to receive the aforementioned benefits, but CFM requirements change over time, SVI also provides manual dampers to adhere to changing requirements.
  5. SVI fan performance is developed using standard air: 70-degrees Fahrenheit, 29.92” barometric pressure, and .075 lbs. per cubic foot. However, varying conditions are required. Some shops may require nonstandard temperature or altitude. If this is the case, SVI is flexible and willing to make the necessary changes to provide precisely the correct equipment.

Blowers & Hoses: Exhaust Removal Systems

The proper blower, determined by both air movement requirement and amount of static pressure, is another popular exhaust removal system. Hoses are as well. SVI provides a wide selection of hoses to meet every automotive service application, built to withstand intense temperatures. Learn more about our exhaust blower selection and hose options to choose the proper exhaust removal system for your automotive shop.

SVI International, Inc

SVI International, Inc is dedicated to innovative solutions designed to better a multitude of industries. With an expansive collection of repair parts and quality shop equipment, along with the ability to complete custom requests, our products help a plethora of industries efficiently and accurately function.

The content above explores a fraction of the complexities surrounding exhaust removal, a crucial component of a healthy automotive shop. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our team of experts with any questions! We look forward to pointing you in the right direction.

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All names, numbers, symbols and descriptions are used for reference purposes only. It is not implied that any part or product listed is the actual product of these manufacturers. SVI does not represent and is not associated in any way with any other companies.

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