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Acetylene setting off alarm


#1

Hi,
I’ve just got a new acetylene tank and I’m having a problem. Using it is setting off the fire alarm. Not from soldering block or metal, but the acetylene itself. I’ve been soldering in the same spot 2 years without this problem. Could I have ‘dirty’ gas or something? I’m not sure what to do as I can’t solder for more than 90 seconds without it triggering and doesn’t seem to be the best idea to disable the alarm. The supplier is closed til Monday, so I thought I’d reach out to some Orchid wisdom.
Thanks,
Karin


#2

Is it a fire alarm, gas alarm or a smoke alarm?
Might be a stupid question to ask but you’ll never know.

Acetylene is a dirty industrial gas due to the many carbon atoms.
That’s the reason why you need more oxygen because you want to burn all the carbon atoms.
The advantage is a higher temperature then other gasses (except hydrogen systems) which is not preferable for working with sterling silver.
The disadvantage is free unburned dirty carbon flakes flying around when not enough oxygen is used to consume the complete amount of carbon atoms.

Fire alarms are not triggered by gas but by temperature.
Might be that you’ve a combined detector consisting of a fire and smoke alarm.
Give it a clean with a duster or a blow of compressed air.is my best advice.
That’s all I can think of at this moment with the given information from you.

Best regards.


#3

Smoke alarms (the typical residential model) work by sensing products of
combustion, and they have a finite life span. They can, and do become
contaminated over time, and the overall reliable lifespan of a
residential grade smoke alarm is about 8-10 years, so your detector may
have simply reached it’s limit, especially if you have been doing hot
work in the area, not to mention all of the various particulate matter
that jewelry work can generate.

Your current fuel may be a little dirtier than the last, or the tank may
have been on its side while being transported (which brings the acetone
it’s dissolved in to the outlet).


#4

The obvious question for me is why are you using acetylene for jewelry work? That way is more heat than you need. Oxygen and propane is much cleaner and not so hot.


#5

acetylene is heavier than normal air. It will go down near your feet before it would 3ever go upward to a smoke alarm. Something else is happening.


#6

Smoke detector, burning dust. Your pad has dust and debris. Your smoke detector reads atmosphere.
Its not the new tank, its your working shop which has fluff in it. You can smell that before your smoke detector does. It’s like the smell of burning paper.


#7

The acetone theory seems to make the most sense. If this is so, will it settle down or burn off? I’m thinking to take the batteries out of the detector and use it all weekend. Then see what it does Monday.


#8

It’s not dust. Just letting the flame burn into air was setting it off.


#9

...

acetylene is heavier than normal air

...

Actually, it's lighter than air: http://www.esabna.com/euweb/oxy_handbook/589oxy1_13.htm


#10

If the torch is setting off the alarm while simply burning, not heating anything else, it may be producing unusual amounts of carbon monoxide. If you don’t see any smoke, and don’t smell anything unusual, then CO is something you should consider and be very careful of.
You might want to invest in a dedicated CO detector. That will tell you if it is carbon monoxide, rather than something else.


#11

If a tank has been roughly handled, they generally recommend that it be
allowed to stand an hour or so, but overnight should be plenty. Just
realize that the problem may be with the smoke alarm, itself.


#12

Your question about acetylene setting off fire alarm requires several
considerations:
First, is it a fire, smoke, or carbon monoxide alarm that is being set off.
We found that acetylene cannot be used in a room with a carbon monoxide
detector. Very small amounts of acetylene will set it off.
On the other hand, some smoke detectors will function in a room where
acetylene is used. Below is a discussion about fire alarm sensors published
online by Granger. I would think that a ionization type smoke detector
would work in a room with an acetylene torch. I would think that a heat
detector sensor would also work but it is not as sensitive as a smoke
detector.
Fred

Fire Alarm Types:

*Heat Detectors:*Heat detectors
https://www.grainger.com/product/BRK-Heat-Alarm-2FTN6 are the oldest type
of automatic fire detection device. Heat detectors feature a detecting
element inside the unit that activates when it reaches a predetermined
fixed temperature or when a specific increase in temperature has occurred.
Heat detectors are best suited for:

  • applications where detection speed is not a prime consideration or
    where ambient conditions would not allow the use of a smoke detector
  • fire detection in small, confined spaces where rapidly burning, high
    heat fires are anticipated

Heat detectors have a lower false alarm rate, but they are also slower than
smoke detectors in detecting fires. Studies have shown that heat detectors
are not as effective as smoke detectors in detecting fires in residential
homes.

Smoke Alarms:
Smoke alarms
https://www.grainger.com/category/carbon-monoxide-and-smoke-alarms/safety-alarms-and-warnings/safety/ecatalog/N-ccnZ1z11xix
will detect most fires more rapidly than heat detectors. There are
currently three types of smoke alarms on the market: ionization
https://www.grainger.com/category/carbon-monoxide-and-smoke-alarms/safety-alarms-and-warnings/safety/ecatalog/N-ccnZ1z0bxexZ1z11xix
, photoelectric
https://www.grainger.com/category/carbon-monoxide-and-smoke-alarms/safety-alarms-and-warnings/safety/ecatalog/N-ccnZ1z0bxevZ1z11xix
and combination ionization/photoelectric
https://www.grainger.com/category/carbon-monoxide-and-smoke-alarms/safety-alarms-and-warnings/safety/ecatalog/N-ccnZ1z0bxf6Z1z11xix
.

An ionization smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive
material. The radiation passes through an ionization chamber which is an
air-filled space between two electrodes and permits a small, constant
current between the electrodes. Any smoke that enters the chamber absorbs
the alpha particles, which reduces the ionization and interrupts this
current, setting off the alarm. This type of alarm responds best to fast
raging fires.

Photoelectric smoke alarms operate using a light source, a light beam
collimating system and a photoelectric sensor. When smoke enters the
optical chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, some light is
scattered by the smoke particles, directing it at the sensor and thus
activating the alarm. This type of alarm responds best to slow smoldering
fires.

Combination smoke alarms feature both ionization and photoelectric
technologies. Ionization smoke alarms respond faster to high energy fires,
whereas photoelectric detectors respond better to low energy smoldering
fires. The NFPA recommends
http://www.nfpa.org/itemDetail.asp?categoryID=1649&itemID=39909&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Smoke%20alarms/Ionization%20vs.%20photoelectric
using both smoke alarms in the home for the best protection.


#13

Is your alarm a combo fire/CO detector. My house is new & the alarm system is both. It talks to me when it is set off. I was doing a lot of soldering (acetylene/ air) one day & set it off. It clearly said it was a CO problem. I aired out the house & it hasn’t happened again. Just a thought.


#14

Hi Karin,.

Have you solved it yet? What kind of torch are you using? If it an oxy/acetylene combination? If so when you light it up are lighting just the gas and then letting in the O2 ? Some bottles of gas will allow more black floaters into the air than others.

Don

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROIDOn Apr 14, 2017 1:18 AM, adornisan <orchid@ganoksin.com> wrote:

adornisan1

April 14

Hi,

I’ve just got a new acetylene tank and I’m having a problem. Using it is setting off the fire alarm. Not from soldering block or metal, but the acetylene itself. I’ve been soldering in the same spot 2 years without this problem. Could I have ‘dirty’ gas or something? I’m not sure what to do as I can’t solder for more than 90 seconds without it triggering and doesn’t seem to be the best idea to disable the alarm. The supplier is closed til Monday, so I thought I’d reach out to some Orchid wisdom.

Thanks,

Karin


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#15

I respectfully disagree. I’ve used oxy/acetylene exclusively for decades - and I solder a lot of Sterling Silver without problem and with absolutely minimal fire scale.


#16

There seems to be a misconception about acetylene being “dirty” or "too hot for jewelry. I can only say that I’ve used it exclusively for decades. Many years ago I had this conversation with Eddie Bell at RGA. He convinced me that the less time spent heating the piece, the less fire scale. The buckles that I make are in the in the 2 to 3 oz. range. I modified a tip on my mini torch and crank it up! Very little if any firescale, (I use traditional Sterling)


#17

I use acetylene for jewelry, it allows me to easily fuse metals because I can create the corona type flame that enables that very well. I’ve been told it was actually clean and safer, too. I don’t need to use it with oxygen, either.


#18

Go for a second opinion because you’ve been adviced wrongly.

First, acetylene is in no way cleaner then butane or propane.
Second , it’s more expensive then butane or propane.
Thirth, why do you need that high temperature for anyway?
The only reason I can think of is to work with steel.
Platinum or palladium is a no go, you’ll contaminate the alloy with the carbon.

Let me hope you’ve a flame arrestor installed, otherwise you’re playing with your life.
To my humble opinion, you’re wasting money by using acetylene if you’re working with gold and silver.