Smoking in casinos is almost a tradition. Casinos that have been granted an exception to clean air acts are often hazy with smoke and strong odors. Even if a facility has enacted a smoking ban, the smell and effects may be felt or seen for years. Smoker or nonsmoker, no one wants to harm others and casinos must do their share to make sure the effects of smoking are not imposed on non-smokers. This article is not meant to be part of this debate of whether smoking should be allowed but rather to suggest the importance of preventive maintenance on ventilation systems.

Why Preventive Maintenance is Critical

According to the 2006 US Surgeons General’s Report, even sophisticated ventilation systems do not eliminate the health hazards of secondhand smoke. Given this knowledge the challenge is to make sure the systems in place work efficiently. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has determined there are four general scenarios of space-use and smoking activity that lead to different engineering approaches. These approaches are sequenced in order from most to least effective in controlling Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) exposure.

  1. Banning smoking indoors. Normal HVAC maintenance required.
  2. Allowing smoking only in isolated rooms. Keys to effective isolation include, airflow and pressure controls, exhaust air inlets to control desirable airflow directions, separate ventilation systems serving the smoking spaces as well as maintaining the airtightness of physical barriers.
  3. Allowing smoking in separate but not isolated spaces. Less effective than isolation techniques and makes use of a common air handlers. Common air handlers will accumulate duct and filter clogging materials more readily and therefore must be maintained more often.
  4. Totally mixing occupancy of smokers and nonsmokers. An HVAC nightmare.

Asset Damage From Smoke

Ensuring efficient ventilation of smoke and contaminants is more than just making sure the filters are changed more frequently. Smoke can infiltrate any opening. Upon settling, smoke will leave a sticky residue. This residue can or will

  • cause moving parts of machines to slow resulting in unnecessary wear and tear.
  • attract moisture causing corrosion. Regular inspections will help limit the damage.
  • leave an odor requiring replacement of assets.
  • stick to any surface.

As a result, casinos should be including surface cleaning and inspections as part of their maintenance management program. Good preventive maintenance will keep equipment running more efficiently and make guest as well as staff breathe a little safer.

Additional Benefits of an Enterprise Asset Management System

The secret to proper maintenance is finding the right solution to help you schedule inspections, preventive maintenance and work orders. One of the great things about using an EAM/CMMS to manage maintenance in a casino is that the system will track the complete maintenance, repair, inspection history of all assets. This historical data can then be used to accurately predict when the asset needs to be replaced based upon a projected cost/benefit analysis. It will also tell you the asset cost of running in a smoke filled environment. Management can then balance the revenue from smoking gamblers versus the cost of replacing assets early.Share with us your secrets to maintaining equipment in smoke filled conditions.

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