Chippewa Youth Hockey Association and our Arena CO/NO2 monitoring with relay control solution

Today we'd like to share a testimonial from a very happy customer of our Ice Arena CO & NO2 Monitoring product, the Chippewa Youth Hockey Association.


“My involvement with Aretas Sensor Networks started In December of 2014 when as a volunteer and board member with Chippewa Youth Hockey Association in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin I saw a need to monitor the air quality In our Ice Arena. Our association is an all volunteer run Ice Arena that has two indoor sheets of ice and one outdoor sheet of ice. We run two propane powered Zamboni's that have the potential to pollute with CO (Carbon Monoxide) and NO2 (Nitrogen Dioxide) if they are not running correctly. With yearly tune ups of the machines the possibility of a problem was slim it still wasn't worth taking a chance and risking the health of our skaters.


So that said I have a background In HVAC being a duct installer so I was at least somewhat familiar with controls and system required to exchange the air in a building. At our rink we had several wall fans and fresh air options available on the existing structure to ventilate the building if there became a problem but what we didn't have was knowledge and training by our members to know what and when to ventilate the building. With volunteers running things there is no formal training and even if there was the members are changing every few years as new kids join and age out.


So the goal was an automatic system to monitor and turn on fans as the air quality required it without anyone needing to be at the facility to do that. We also needed to log and alert key people of a problem when it occurred. The fear being by the time someone realized there was a problem the health of our skaters would already be affected.


That led me to Aretas Sensor Networks. Kind of indirectly at first as I looked at an existing system that was sold by Becker Arena Products. The system was called Breathe Easy. It was made by Aretas but it lacked a key component that we needed. It had monitoring and logging of the CO, NO2, Temperature, and Humidity in the arena but it lacked automatic controls the ventilate the building.


I was put in touch With Greg Duerksen and we spoke about what was needed for our arena. He immediately entertained the idea of modifying the existing system to include a set of relay contacts that would allow us to control our ventilation equipment automatically. Originally it was going to be a static setting from Aretas for what the Ppm settings would be to turn on the fans but that eventually changed to a user friendly interface that is web based so it can be accessed from anywhere. The best part was the ability to change the parameters as needed to control the levels at which the ventilation came on.


Okay, all that said, it did take a fair amount of time for Aretas to develop the product for us but it was worth the wait. In fact as time went on they added more and more "wish list" items to the controls. All the while being in touch with me as things progressed. We received our sensors in the summer of 2016 and we as volunteers installed these ourselves. Pretty easy to do but we were lucky to have an electrician that volunteered to help us with the wiring. Once installed I went work setting up our parameters with the help of Aretas. I was never left hanging and when there was any questions or bugs to be worked out they were always a phone call away from help.


When setting up the parameters I would be a work and set up different settings and watch remotely as the fans came on at the rink. We have security cameras and I was able to zoom in on the fans and watch them cycle on and off as I was remotely changing the different settings. I was impressed watching it cycle. I have noticed fans coming on while at the rink as the different gas levels increase then they cycle off when a normal setting is reached. I'm sure I am the only one of a few people who understands what and why the fans are cycling for but they do work. With the adjustable settings I set up the fans to come on at a fairly low (but safe) level of gas build up and to alert us at a slightly higher (but still safe) level of gas build up to get ahead of any problem that is occurring.


Another story that is worth telling is we had an old Zamboni that our rink was given. The problem with it was it was old enough that it did not have an emission controls on it. So it basically dumped Carbon Monoxide into the air the entire time it was running. It was delivered on day while I was off site. I had no idea that it was going to be delivered on that day. I received a text and email alert on my phone that there was an air quality problem at the rink. I checked from my phone what the levels were and saw the level was high in the zamboni room. I then went to the security cameras and plain as day saw them unloading the older zamboni. Fans came on to ventilate the room and later I went out to the website to look at a report and there was a spike of CO at the time they unloaded the machine. System worked as designed!!


I have recently started to walk away from volunteering at the rink. I still do help them as needed and I still maintain access to the air monitoring system. As I start walk away I feel very confident that the system provided by Aretas has met our needs to help us monitor the health and safety of our skaters. Aretas was there to help the entire time and I have confidence they will continue to be.”


Pat Bowe

Chippewa Youth Hockey Association


Find out more about these solutions below:

Wireless Relay Control system

Arena Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide monitoring