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Venting out of a basement location

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  • Venting out of a basement location

    Hoping to get some feedback/ideas on my current venting issue.

    We recently came across a space in an amazing downtown location with a really reasonable price. The city is enthusiastic about us moving into the space.
    The ceilings are a little low, 8.5-9ft, but we plan to have a 5bbl system and I believe we could fit.

    My biggest hang up right now is ventilation. There are businesses on both sides, it's under the ground in the back, and there is a business on top that overhangs in the front.
    So I can't vent out the back or sides and it seems that it is unlikely that I would be able to vent out the front with a building overhead. However, there is a rather large old boiler down there.
    The landlord is removing the boiler since the building is moving over to an HVAC system.

    Does anyone know or have experience with big-ole boilers? Is there a chance I could vent out some existing piping that that boiler uses?
    I should note that the boiler is located in a recessed space, about 3.5ft lower than the rest of the room. There is also floor drainage where the boiler exists, so I was hoping to setup the brewhouse in this space.

    Additionally, I was planning on using a direct fire system but with such a confined space and limited ventilation options, would it make more sense to use electric?

    Help and feedback greatly appreciated!


  • #2
    There is more to this than just venting the flue gasses. You need the appropriate makeup air for the burners, so there needs to be some fresh air vents into the space as well. I would also think that depending on the age of the boiler and the efficiency of it, the existing venting may not be adequate for some of the various direct fired kettles. If you can, you might think about going with a steam system, then you can just put a new boiler in, and the only things you have to worry about is moisture in the air. You're also going to need, and I can't put enough emphasis on this, CO2 and CO monitors in the space.


    • #3
      This sounds like it may be a perfect place to consider useing a electric heated system, with a steam vent condensing, vent and drain it into the boiler room drain.. See Stout tanks

      Something to consider !!



      • #4
        Save yourself massive headaches and angst downstream by contacting you city/state boiler/mechanical inspector and get their input. No matter what clever design you come up with, if this authority says "no", your brewery is dead in the water.

        Glacier Brewing Company

        "who said what now?"


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback and quick responses!

          The condensing system is interesting, might be a work around. However, I don't think I can take a chance on something "possibly working" in the space.
          Fresh air is a concern as well. I'm hoping to get a full blueprint of the space from the landlord and find out what the existing ventilation looks like.

          We spoke with the city business administrator about possibly having an inspector come in and suggest a possible course of action or assess the feasibility.
          He wrote back that "the building department is not able to provide design services, but google search would give me countless options".
          It's possible that he misunderstood our question and this was the first time they have been less than helpful but it would be nice to have an inspector take a look to tell us if this space is even a possibility.

          Should I just contact the a city mechanical inspector directly?


          • #6
            Find a good mechanical engineer in the area that will work for beer. Its their job to design this stuff to code. Though the cities employ inspectors and engineers, they will not give out advice, too much liability. You will need to employ a mechanical guy anyways to do your tenant improvement drawings.

            As for that condensing system, that only works for the steam, not for flue gasses. As far as electric goes, it is a workaround if you must, but as far as labor in brewing and cleaning goes, the elements provide some difficulties. Also, gas(unless you're on propane) is far less expensive than electricity.
            Last edited by jebzter; 10-12-2017, 05:06 PM.


            • #7
              Agree with other comments. You need to employ a reputable engineering-architect firm to produce a preliminary design plan to take to the local officials for evaluation. The bigger issue you face with the location is can you even occupy it. If the basement was originally intended simply as a mechanical space, you will likely face challenges retrofitting it for an occupied space. Exits, restroom facilities, fire protection, occupancy classification are among the things that have to be dealt with. With a preliminary plan you can take that to the city planning department and they can determine if what you are wanting to do will be compliant with local and state building codes. What often happens is the local economic development offices attract a business but give no consideration to the codes and ordinances. Our local brewery rehabilitated a building, it originally included residential on the 3rd floor. Code specifically prohibits residential occupancy over a brewery or bar location. Guess the advice really is-do your research first. Hope this helps, cheers!


              • #8
                I don't know of a single mechanical engineer save for a couple that I work with that would know a single thing about how many air changes are required to ensure carbon dioxide levels are kept below what would be considered hazardous by OSHA. Particularly as it pertains to the variable rate of CO2 generation. They will easily be able to calculate make up air for combustion and all of that, but the CO2 is a different story. Also, that lower space where the boiler is will concentrate CO2, but I know you probably already know that. As Jebster said, CO2 and CO detection throughout the space is going to be critical as well as emergency ventilation in the event you're a normal ventilation fails or does not keep up for some reason. Also, despite the fact that they are a headache on a small scale, you may consider a CO2 collection system that would allow you to pick up CO2 from your blow off vessel (bucket) and vent it outside. These are all things that are done in large scale breweries when equipment is buried well within the building and ventilation is a challenge.

                Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                • #9
                  don't forget about the chiller system...

                  Keep in mind the chiller system that will be required, even a 5 Bbl system is going to likely require around a 2 HP chiller system. Most chiller systems are designed for outdoor install and if you need to locate the chiller indoors- it will require some good ventilation.

                  We worked with a brewery located in the city of Portland, OR with condos directly above the brewery. We installed a closed loop air cooled condenser that pulled fresh air in via ducting that fed the condenser and then the heated air was ducted back outside - eliminating the discharge of air, and smells, from the brewery (the tenants didn't want it to smell like they lived above a brewery apparently).

                  Have a talk with a refrigeration contractor early in the process, I'd be happy to refer one of our service partners to you to meet and take a look at your site.

                  Good Luck,

                  Pro Refrigeration Inc