Buying A Natural Gas Detector? Here’s What You Need To Know

Natural Gas Detector

If you use natural gas in your home for cooking or heating, you should have a natural gas detector. A natural gas leak is extremely dangerous, and can lead to fires, explosions and poisonings if not detected in time. Here’s what you need to know about natural gas detectors before you buy one.

First, it’s important to understand just what natural gas is, and why it is important to have a detection system in place. Natural gas is usually made up of methane, an extremely flammable compound. Methane has absolutely no odor to it…that rotten egg smell is actually added in as a warning, which is why it is important to have a gas detectors. While leaks can be detected by the smell, it is not enough to rely on that alone. If you are sleeping, for example, you will not likely wake up just from the odor.

There are several factors that you need to take into account when you are choosing gas detectors. First, find out how sensitive it is to other substances. You don’t want a natural gas alarm that will be triggered by propane or other chemicals, or by the humidity from your shower, for that you need a propane gas detector.

That said, you want to be sure that it is sensitive enough to detect a low level of natural gas. Check for it’s Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) to see what level of gas will actually trigger the alarm. This is often displayed as a percentage of the LEL. The lower level of gas it can detect, the quicker you will be alerted and can take action.

Natural Gas Detector

natural gas detectorThe type of alarm you choose is important. You can get a gas detectors that emit sounds, while others also have a light that will flash. Some even hook in to your home security system. You want to be sure that your detector can he heard or seen from any room in your house, and that the alarm sound is loud enough to wake you if need be.

A natural gas leak detector can also need to be mounted close to the source. Usually, the instruction manual will advise you on possible locations. If you have more than one source, then you may need two or more detectors, or choose one that has more than one sensor. A portable natural gas detector maybe a good solution in this situation. And remember, it still needs to be in a place that you can hear it. If you have any concerns, consult a professional.

Your natural gas detector will require maintenance. Most of them are powered by a battery or have a battery back-up in place, and you will want to test these batteries regularly to make sure everything is working. There is usually a ‘test’ button on the detector. Some have a built in alert that will tell you if the power or other systems are malfunctioning.

The sensors can also wear out, so before you buy ask how long the sensor generally lasts, and if the natural gas detector issues a warning when the sensors are reaching the end of their life. Also, find out if they can be replaced, or if you would need to buy a whole new natural gas detector. Finally, ask if the detector requires calibration (some do), and if so where and how often you need to have this performed.