Any building or facility that uses potentially hazardous gases needs a gas detector – that’s an important fact. But choosing the right type of device isn’t so simple and there are differences between gas detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. There are devices that only test for one type of gas, devices that test for multiple gases, and others that you can carry in your back pocket.
Gas detection technology is vital to keep the people inside a building from harm, but also don’t want to overspend on and have to maintain a detector that does far more than you need it to do. In this guide, we’ll go over the different types of detectors so that you can decide which one best fits your needs.
Home Gas Detectors
Most homes have a type of gas line that is used to provide fuel for cooking and heating. If you know that your home uses a certain type of gas, a single-gas detector will keep your family safe from potential leaks. If your home uses multiple gases or you aren’t sure, you will be safer with a multi-gas option.
Common household gases a good detector should be able to warn you about are carbon monoxide and natural gas. Most appliances add a strong odour to natural gas so that you can smell a leak right away.
Industrial Gas Detectors
Industrial settings require a more sophisticated detection system. The type of industry will determine what type of device is best. Manufacturing petrochemicals, for example, has a greater risk of gas leaks which could cause fires or explosions. Nuclear power plants use carbon dioxide as a coolant to keep equipment from overheating. Hydrogen and oxygen are less dangerous to humans on their own, but they are highly flammable. These gases need to be monitored and stored safely to prevent devastating fires.
With so many different hazards present, industrial settings will typically always require a multi-gas detector. It’s also best to choose a visual detector over an alarm. An alarm will only sound when a gas hazard reaches a dangerous level that requires evacuation. A visual detector will always show the current gas levels, so if it starts to creep up, you have more time to take action before the situation becomes dangerous.
Portable vs Fixed Detectors
Is it better to have many small portable gas detectors, or a fixed gas detector that monitors a large area, or both? Each has their pros and cons either way, gas detectors are important so be sure to choose wisely.
Portable devices are worn or carried to check gases in the surrounding atmosphere. These can be used to:
- Monitor the atmosphere in a general area or confined space
- Check for leaks around lines, pipes, and drains
- Help workers safely perform maintenance on devices that could leak gases
- A portable device can be used actively or passively. Used actively, a person carries around the portable device to check an area. Used passively, the device is placed in a stationary position to provide temporary monitoring.
Fixed devices though are designed to permanently monitor a specific area. If you know that a certain part of your building will require constant careful monitoring, a fixed unit is the way to go. Most industries that use hazardous gases will use a combination of fixed and portable gas detectors.
What Is the Best Type of Detection Device to Use?
Because of the variety of gases used and the different setups of each business, there isn’t a universal solution for industrial environments.
It is important that gas detection devices are used wherever gases are used. They protect employees from injury and long-term ailments while also keeping the community and environment safe from toxic gases. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this definitely applies when checking for hazardous leaks.