The Importance of Engine Room Blowers on Your Vessel
Engine Room Blowers
An onboard fire or explosion is one of the most frightening encounters one can experience. The best way to reduce the risk of this happening is prevention. Helping boaters prevent onboard explosions, fires, and toxic gas accumulation is a constant effort of many institutions such as insurance companies, federal and state laws and boating programs, and others.
In fact, the Coast Guard requires the use of a mechanical ventilation system for all non-open type boats built after July 31, 1980 that run on gas. Older boats must meet USCG minimum ventilation levels, and may need a bilge blower to do so. Even diesel boats aren't exempt when we're talking safety and common sense--they should also have blowers for extra safety and ventilation of fumes.
Yet, it is surprising how many incidents still occur on a regular basis. There are multiple conditions that contribute to a fire or explosion onboard. But there is one effective solution that can counter the effects of many contributing factors of an onboard fire or explosion, which we'll discuss next.
Engine Room Ventilation
Ventilation disrupts the explosive air-to-fuel ratio. This means that even if there is an abundance of flammable vapors, the amount of oxygen required for combustion is either exceeded or reduced. That is why turning on the engine room blowers especially after fueling, is so important.
The engine room blower fan must be an approved type because if it is extracting volatile fumes, any spark or arcing could be a potential ignition source. Unapproved blowers defeat the purpose and could contribute to an onboard disaster. But the engine room is not the only likely place for the accumulation of explosive or toxic fumes.
Other areas such as bilges are prime candidates, and venting the bilge is a must. Engine room and bilge ventilation is done by removing air while simultaneously replenishing it with fresh air, usually from the outside. A bilge blower fan and an exhaust blower are often of the same type with one or the other installed in reverse.
An inboard engine uses an amazing amount of air when running, therefore the air consumed during combustion must be replenished. This is often done by running hoses with inline blowers to unrestricted vents on the outside, because it would take a very large blower to match the air consumption of the engine. On smaller vessels the bilge and engine room blowers are meant to evacuate and manage the airflow coming in, which aids in keeping the engine room cooler and the bilges drier.
A series of fans, hoses, flanges, clamps, vent covers etc. are used to manage the airflow. This airflow can be either outward and is commonly referred to as the exhaust, or inward, typically referred to as the blower. Ventilation does not have to be an independent route, as one inlet can serve multiple locations, or multiple locations can exhaust out of one vent.
Accessories such as collector boxes allow you to do just that. The openings where ventilation hoses terminate need covers, such as the louvered type, which are both decorative and functional. Its design makes it useful in the elements because it sheds water but allows for air circulation.
Louvered vent covers are available in many different styles, configuration, and materials. Good ventilation, be it passive or active is important onboard because it reduces moisture buildup that can cause mold, mildew, and rot to flourish. If ventilation is on your maintenance list, rest assured Go2Marine has the items you need, in stock and ready to ship at prices that will not break the budget.