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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone ever heard of a CO2 tank leaking so much to the point of displacing enough oxygen in a room to kill people? I heard a story about two lifeguards that died in basement because pool chlorine displaced all the O2 to and caused them to suffocate to death. The chlorine was stored there and leaked from their tanks, and I thought maybe CO2 tanks could leak too.
 

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If you are dumb enough to stay in an unlocked room that you are having a hard time breathing in, then well...

This has been discussed somewhere on here a few weeks ago. I don't know where the thread is, but the popular decision was: no.
 

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Wikipedia said:
Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas which, when inhaled at high concentrations (a dangerous activity because of the associated asphyxiation risk), produces a sour taste in the mouth and a stinging sensation in the nose and throat
mmm... carbonation... :p
 

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As a chemist and as a person with common sense, I can say that the amount of CO2 used in a fishtank is nowhere near the magnitude of the amount of CO2 needed to displace all oxygen in even a small room with poor ventilation. Im not saying that it cant happen. Go ahead and scour the internet for obituaries of aquarists who poisoned themselves, just dont hold your breath
 

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My wife is also a chemist, and she said if my 5lb cannister suddenly opened up, it would not be nearly enough to even choke a cat in my 15x25' room
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually, one of those lifeguards went down there to do something and when he didn't come back out the second lifeguard went in. Died trying to save the other one. I don't know about supidity... more like heroism.

I only ask because I have 15 pound in my bedroom, and just wondering worse case scernario. Full tank dump, while I'm sleeping.
 

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I would imagine there's a bit of difference between chlorine gas and CO2. Chlorine gas is deadly and was used as a means of chemical warfare in World War I so I don't think this is an apples to apples comparison.
 

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I would imagine there's a bit of difference between chlorine gas and CO2. Chlorine gas is deadly and was used as a means of chemical warfare in World War I so I don't think this is an apples to apples comparison.
Agreed, when tankers of chlorine spill whole cities can be evacuated. Not such a big problem with CO2.

Brian
 

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Actually, one of those lifeguards went down there to do something and when he didn't come back out the second lifeguard went in. Died trying to save the other one. I don't know about supidity... more like heroism.
Reminds me of something mentioned in safety training back when I was a cable tv/internet/phone tech. Although I never had to go in a manhole, we were instructed how dangerous they are without ventilation and gas meters, etc. I remember something about a story of a guy going in one, passing out. They guy up topside saw this an immediately went in to help in, he slumped over as well. I guess there ended up being a pile of 6 of them that went in, all dying within seconds. I dont however think you have a lot to worry about with a CO2 tank, I mean chances are just as likely you'll die of various other things like lighting, for example.
 

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Has anyone ever heard of a CO2 tank leaking so much to the point of displacing enough oxygen in a room to kill people? I heard a story about two lifeguards that died in basement because pool chlorine displaced all the O2 to and caused them to suffocate to death. The chlorine was stored there and leaked from their tanks, and I thought maybe CO2 tanks could leak too.
It's B.S.. Pool chlorine is NOT a gas. It's a solid. "Myth busted". Besides, Chlorine gas is VERY caustic and poisonous. Their eyes would burn tremendously, and they'd start gagging and choking long before they asphixiated.

Tommy
 

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Hate to tell you this but older pools used Chlorine gas.

How do I know this??? I worked for a couple of months at the public pool. And chlorine is a gas.
 

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Actually, one of those lifeguards went down there to do something and when he didn't come back out the second lifeguard went in. Died trying to save the other one. I don't know about supidity... more like heroism.

I only ask because I have 15 pound in my bedroom, and just wondering worse case scernario. Full tank dump, while I'm sleeping.
15 pounds * 454 grams / lb * mol / 44.0098 gram = 154.74 mols of CO2 in 15 pounds of it.

Assuming: 1) CO2 is an ideal gas, 2) your room temperature is 25*C:, 3) you're at 1 atmospheres of pressure:

PV = nRT
V = (nRT)/P
V = (154.74 mols) (0.082057 L atm mol-1 K-1) (298K) / (1 atm)
V = 3,783.86 liters of gaseous CO2.

Assuming you're trapped in a 8' x 8' x 8ft room, that's 512 cubic feet, or 14,498.2255 liters.
 

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So... I assume what you were getting at is assuming all the co2 escaped but stayed within this tiny room, you have
3,783 / 14,498 = 26% CO2 by volume
No one posted what the lethal amount of CO2 is but I am guessing 26% is probably way over that.
 

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Breathing ~30% CO2 for a few hours will lead to hazardous effects.
HOWEVER, not many people are trapped in a room that small. And CO2 is heavier than oxygen and other gases in the ambient atmosphere so it'll tend to "settle" to the bottom. As it does this, it will leak out of the room underneath the door where there's that gap.

I wouldn't worry about CO2 poisoning from a tank in your room. Especially if it's been hydrotested lately....and if you're worried about a leak, you'd be able to hear a leak large enough to kill you overnight. Prevent end-of-tank dumps with proper equipment.
 

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If you have a sudden de-pressurization (broken stem, burst disk) it'll make enough noise to wake up neighbors three houses away. I don't think a corpse could sleep though that. If it's a slow leak - then no worries. It'll dissipate pretty quickly.
 

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I had the blowoff valve go on a 5# tank in the car on the way back from filling it. It took minute to catch my breath and get the carbonic acid taste out of my mouth, but if that's it. Also it froze my upholstery and blew the dirt and trash from the floorboards all over the place. Anywho, after that experience I'm not even a little worried about home asphyxiations.
 
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