Need Plan for venting battery box per NY State code

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Old 12-19-11, 09:34 AM
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Need Plan for venting battery box per NY State code

My brother has a house that is "off the grid". It is powered by sixteen 6 volt deep cell industrial sweeper batteries in an insulated box. The box resides in a 7'x7'x7' shed. The diesel generator that charges the batteries is housed in a separate shed. Per his building inspecter he needs to change the current configuration for the fan that vents the battery shed/box. He needs to know what type of fan (no possibility for sparks, cfm, etc) to use. And how to wire it so the fan starts automatically whenever the generator kicks on. The generator charges the batteries thru an inverter. He will hire an electrician to do the work but needs to provide a plan to the building inspecter. Does anyone know of any stock/generic plans available online for this?
 
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Old 12-19-11, 09:53 AM
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He needs an "explosion proof fan". Searching online will turn up many different shapes & sizes. Some look like a normal fan you might use in the summer while others are mounted in tubes and can generate greater pressure if you need to force the air through ductwork. You should be sitting down when you look at the prices though. They are not cheap.

I have no idea what size vent fan may be required. You could search the web to see if there is some recommendation for ventilating a battery room. You know the size/volume of your brother's shed so you can easily figure out how many times an hour the fan will exchange the air in the shed.

The battery shed's I have seen have been built with solid walls up 3/4 high and then the last 1/4 up to the ceiling is open with fencing covering the open area for security (and to keep monkeys out). This open design protects the batteries from rain and allows for free ventilation without having to run a fan. If your brother's shed is totally or mostly sealed that may be driving the requirement for the vent fan. It might be less expensive to modify the shed to allow natural ventilation if he's in a location where freezing is not an issue.
 
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Old 12-19-11, 10:20 AM
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I'd ask these questions of the inspector, that's whose opinion is going to matter.
 
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Old 12-19-11, 10:29 AM
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I found some useful numbers. This page has ventilation specifications for battery rooms. I would see which practice the inspectors want him to follow. I assume they would allow NFPA.

I guess your brothers next problem is going to be keeping the batteries warm in the winter with so much air circulation.
 
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Old 12-19-11, 12:40 PM
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Great info, thanks! He's on Long Island so freezing can be an issue, I guess. The problem with doing anything out of the ordinary is that building inspecters need to be sure what's being done is correct (understandably) and they can't reasonably be expected to know everything. As a result it is the permit puller's responsibility to provide proof. Thanks again,
 
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Old 12-20-11, 06:45 AM
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I got a pallet load of 12v batteries at a very good price. Their size and shape is what you would expect for a forklift but it's a bit unusual that they are 12 volt. They are sealed AGM style batteries so there is no venting to worry about.
 
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