If you do design work for commercial facilities, chances are that the architect for your last project gave you very limited space for mechanical and electrical equipment rooms. When specifying equipment such as emergency generators, electrical switchgear and fuel supply systems, the equipment footprint is always important. But, what about overhead space for things like the engine’s exhaust system? What are the options when the room’s height appears insufficient?
When the ceiling is not tall enough
Multi-level facilities, such as office or residential condos, are examples of buildings where the engine room’s ceiling height is often limited to 9 feet or less. While the engine and its radiator can fit within this limit, the engine exhaust piping can create a serious challenge. Engine exhaust systems must allow for thermal “pipe growth”, and the neccessary expansion joints and flexible connectors will demand a considerable amount of vertical space.
When faced with a height limitation, the immediate reaction might be to place some of the exhaust system components on the exterior of the building, perhaps attaching the silencer vertically to an exterior wall, or installing it horizontally on a rooftop. But wait, there are alternatives!
As I wrote in a recent article, the preferred installation for an exhaust silencer is inside the building. There it can be protected from the weather and kept out of sight when building aesthetics are important. If your project would benefit from the exhaust system being indoors, it may be time to consider a Hockey Puck silencer.
Quiet, cool and low profile
While a hockey puck silencer is designed to provide the required exhaust noise attenuation, just like any other silencer, the key difference is in the design of the silencer body. Contrary to the conventional cylindrical silencer, the hockey puck silencer has a round, disk-like profile. Not only can it save substantial vertical space in the engine room, but it can also be designed to include internal insulation to aid in its thermal and accoustical performance.
Consider this example: where a typical 16″ cylindrical silencer might consume an overall installed height of 45″ (when installed horizontally above the engine), a comparable hockey puck design can take as little as 24″. The hockey puck option may give you the ability to contain most of the exhaust components within the engine room, with minimal piping extending to the building’s exterior. The benefits can include longer equipment life, better aesthetics, lower installation costs, and easier permitting with local AHJs.
When selecting a hockey puck silencer, be aware that options are available to accomodate many special circumstances. Here are some common questions:
Q: An indoor silencer would be low enough to present a potential burn hazard to personnel. Can the silencer be insulated?
A: Yes, hockey puck silencers can be insulated in various ways. Calcium silicate is a common method. External insulating blankets are another way to protect plant personnel. Also keep in mind, that most vendors offer internally-insulated designs that can reduce surface temperatures substantially.
Q: I can’t route the outlet piping directly over the radiator. Can the outlet be relocated to fit a particular piping arrangement?
A: Yes, the outlet can be located almost anywhere around the circumsference of the hockey puck silencer, or even on its top (allowing direct outlet piping through a roof). Also, the silencer inlet(s) can be shifted front/back or left/right to locate the silencer in a particular spot over the engine.
Q: Is stainless steel an option, even for indoor installations?
A: Yes, stainless steel can be specified for a hockey puck design, whether 304 grade or 316 grade stainless steel, but keep in mind that if it is installed inside, and externally insulated, the need for corrosion protection might no longer exist.
Know you options… Improve your design!
So, now that you know more about hockey puck-style silencers, here is the bottom line: You may not need to compromise building aesthetics and equipment longevity due to engine room space limitations. For some projects, a hockey puck silencer may offer a viable solution. As always, consult with your preferred exhaust system manufacturer for any specific application. The exhaust silencer manufacturer is best-equipped to discuss custom modifications and offer guidance in selecting the best product to meet your needs.
Want to know more about hockey puck silencers? Head over to this handy silencer guide for more details or post your questions below.