Whether you’re at home, working late at the office or even in your car, chances are that you’re always close to an active source of combustible gas. Just to give you a scale of how much gas we consume, UK uses several quadrillion cubic feet a year. So what on earth do we do with all that gas?
Well, when you really think about it, natural gas makes the world go round. We use it heat our homes (essential in our climate), generate power, cook, burn, pretty much everything. And even if you don’t have any gas appliances like mini-burners, chances are you’ve got a piped supply plumbed right into the household. The advantages of gas are too many and obvious to name here. What we’re more focused on today is the other side of the spectrum; when thing go wrong. Gas leak cases can be deadly, but they’re also 100% preventable with the right gas detector.
What’s a Gas Detector and Why Do I Need One?
Being invisible to pretty much all our senses, most gases pose a silent and even deadly danger to everyone. You can’t see a gas leak, can’t smell them and definitely won’t be able to hear or feel anything. Sure, some companies add a rotten egg smell to their natural gas as a precaution. But chances are that copious amounts of gas will leak before you can smell anything.
Not only do gas leaks pose serious health issues in the long run from gradual exposure, the combustible ones could also cause explosions or start fires in your home. Gases like propane are heavier than air which means an indoor leak could cause asphyxiation or a very huge explosion. To keep your friends, family and workers safe at all times, it’s important to make sure you catch any gas leaks as soon as they start.
Gas detectors are highly useful tools that sense different types of gases to help prevent serious health hazards and accidents from leaks. While almost all of these devices sound an alarm to alert anyone in the vicinity that there’s a leak, others take things a step further by shutting down certain systems to make the area safer.
But like all products, there are a lot of different types of detectors with an even wider array of functionality and features. So if you’re trying to make your home or workplace safer, you’ll need the right gas leak detector for the job.
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What to Look for When Buying a Gas Leak Detector
a) Identify the Type
Gas leak detectors come in two main types – portable and fixed gas detectors.
Portable gas detectors are small, mobile devices that can be carried around to monitor different areas for leaks. They also come equipped with different alert systems such as alarms and flashing lights.
Fixed gas detectors are typically set up in areas you wish to protect from gas. Like portable models, fixed detectors also alert people to high volumes of gases in the air. However, the fixed nature allows for the addition of other safety systems.
b) Gas Detection
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider. With plenty of different gases being used and produced around the home, what gas do you want your new detector to detect? Depending on what gas you use, you’ll want to get a detector that corresponds.
Whether its propane, natural gas, carbon monoxide or any other harmful gas, you want to make sure your chosen detector can identify what you’re working with. Similarly, some detectors are able to identify more than one type of gas. So if you have different types of gases with the potential to leak, it’s better to get a more versatile detector.
c) Ease of Use
How much experience do you have with gas detectors? If the answers not much, then you’ll want to choose incredibly user friendly equipment that is super easy to operate. Experts tell us that simple and effective equipment will always give you greater compliance.
See, when workers struggle with equipment, they tend to view it as a bothersome hindrance rather than a helpful asset which could save their life. So make sure your gas detector is super easy to use, especially in case of a leak.
d) Price Range
Here’s another important factor to consider when buying a gas detector. The price can vary greatly depending on the brand, the type of technology used, as well as the features found on it. While some gas detectors might be very cheap, it pays to spend a bit more on something worthy. You can’t put a price on a human life after all.
However, others like an industrial level gas detector can be very pricey. So try to get a high quality gas detector with that your budget can accommodate with all the basic features necessary to accurately identity a leak.
e) Key Brands
There’s a wide array of brilliant gas detectors available in the market; all offering a unique range of high quality features and functionality. We’ve compiled a list of the top gas detector brands that have stood the test of time.
- Testo – Testo is a global leader in the design, manufactire and development of portable measuring instrumentation. With over 6 decades of measuring engineering experience, the company aims to provide high quality service and value. Testo remains widely recognized for its manufacture of air emmision and combustion efficiency analyzers.
- Anton – Anton has been providing inovative and market leading services and products aimed at making the job o ftoday’s engineer that much easier. They offer a wide range of temperature, pressure, gas leak detectors and other test equipment.
- MSA Safety – Known as ther safety company, MSA Safety focuses on helping workers worldwide work in high safety conditions. The company is responsible for some of the best quality fixed and portable gas detectors.
The Best Gas Leak Detector Reviews
1. Anton AGM50 Gas Leak Detector
The AGM50 from Anton in an advanced class, portable, handheld gas leak detector with an incredibly versatile design. It’s built to detect the precensce of a wide range of gases including combustible, non combustible, and toxic. The AGM50 can detect butane, alcohol, steam, jet fuel, ammonia, gasoline fumes, paint thinner, methane, propane, natural gas, smoke, and many more.
The manufacturer specifically designed the AGM50 with a 460 mm goose neck probe so it can maneuver easily into hard to reach places like vents and ducts. Once any of the listed gases hit a certain threshold, the device starts flashing while emmiting a distinct, loud alarm. The sensitivity and tick rate of the unit is fully adjustable. Everything is controlled via simple touchpad including the LED light tip for low light conditions.
2. Testo 316-2 – Multi Gas Leak Detector
While identifying the general area of a gas leak is usually easy, pinpointing the exact spot is a whole other issue. The 316 -2 gas leak detector from Testo takes things to a deeper level by offering users a quick and accurate means of detecting higher concentrations of gases within the leak itself.
This means that if a room is almost saturated with propane, hydrogen or methane, the Testo detector will identify where the gas is more concentrated and pinpont the source of the leak. The process is further aided by the easy to read 18 step bar display with max-leak readings that show different concentrations. There’s also a headphone jack which lets users work in busy areas without coinstatly distracting other workers.
3. Elitech ILD-200 Infrared Handheld Leak Detector
The Elitech ILD-200 Infrared gas leak detector is purposefully built to make a professional’s job easier, faster, safer and a lot more efficient. This infrared leak detector will respond with high precision to all kinds of halogenated refridgerants including HCFCs such as R123, R124, R22, R502, CFCs such as R11, R12, R503, among others.
The ILD-200 makes use of a built in rechargeable 3.7v battery that supports over 6 continous hours of work. And compared to other sensors, infrared sesnors have an over 10 year life span. Like some of the othe runits here, this one aslo has an earphone jack so that it can be used in busy places without disruptions. There’s also three different sensitivity levels for detecting both the gas and the source of the leak as well.
4. Draper Expert 23257 Leak Detector Kit
Gas leaks can occur in homes, businesses, and even in motor vehicles. The Draper Expert 23257 Gas Leak Detector Kit is a unique set up that allows drivers to check for any gas leaks or toxic build ups in their car. More sprecifically, the unit determines if any carbon dioxide is present within the cooling system of your car.
The 23257 is quite user friendly even for someone who’s never used a detector before. All you have to do is add the blue detector fluid to the tester and place it on the radiator. As air goes through the liquid, it changes color to yellow if there’s any CO2 present. The entire kit contains a rubber cone, blow mould case, radiator cap, a bulb and two chambers.
5. Osculati Gas Leak Detector
In most homes and buildings with plumbed gas, it’s always a wise choice to instal a fixed gas detector. It’s the most reliable way to make sure that any leaks are caught as soon as they happen. The Osculati Gas leak detector is a single piece, fixed detector that has to be installed near the gas source.
This device is installed downtream from the pressure regulator or right near the gas bottle. This allows it to detect any possible signs of gas leaks anywhere downstream from your butane container source. Once it detects butane, propane or natural gas leaks, it alerts users by sounding an alarm.