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How To Choose The Best Gas Leak Detector

Whether you’ve moved into a new home or have been residing at your current home for a while, a gas leak detector is a must.

Gas Leak Detector

While they all work in different ways, depending on the gas that they’re meant to detect, the device should work in detecting the presence of combustible or toxic gas. After it has detected these gases, there’ll either be an alarm, or you’ll have an alert sent to your phone. It’s essential to have a proper gas leak detector in your home as it can be a literal lifesaver. 

Here, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about gas leak detectors. We’ll talk about the various gases you should watch out for, what you should look for in a gas leak detector, answer some frequently asked questions, and provide a detailed review of 5 of the best gas leak detectors on the market. 

What Types of Gases Should You Watch Out For? 

Depending on the gas leak detector that you purchase, some can identify more than one gas. When purchasing your gas leak detector, the manufacturer should specifically state which gas or gases their detectors will sense. Some of the most common gases include: 

  • Combustible gases – Natural gases that are comprised of methane and propane. There’s also an additional gas in there called mercaptan that has a rotten egg smell. If you’re not in the vicinity, however, you might not smell the leak until it’s too late. For these gases, you’ll need to purchase a gas leak detector with catalytic and infrared sensors and detectors should be placed nearer to the ground as the gas is heavier than air.
  • Toxic gases – If exposed to high levels of colorless and odorless toxic gases like carbon monoxide, the result could be deadly. Since these gases are lighter than air, you’d place them high up in a room. Unlike combustible gases, toxic gases are identified by electrochemical and metal oxide semiconductor technologies.
  • Rado – Radon gases are radioactive and are one of the leading causes of lung cancer. Hence, there’s no harm in ensuring that your gas leak detector can detect radon gases as well. 

What to Look Out for When Purchasing a Gas Leak Detector?  

Battery life

Make sure that your detector comes with an indicator, so you know whether or not it’s switched on. Make sure that your detectors are tested every month, and you should replace your batteries at least once a year. 

Expiration date

Gas leak detectors do come with an expiration date, so that’s something that you’d need to take into consideration. Units can function anywhere between five and ten years, so you’d want to make sure that you’re replacing your device before then. 

Type of gas

You’ll need to figure out which gases the device can detect and which gases it can’t. While it might be pricier, it could be a good idea to purchase a gas leak detector that can identify more than one gas and smoke.

UL-listed

To ensure that your gas leak detector functions correctly, it’s best if it reflects the UL listed mark to indicate that it has been tested and meets the necessary safety standards. 

Sensors

You should check to see if the sensors come with a good amount of sensitivity. The greater the sensitivity, the easier it is for you to identify the source of the gas leak. 

Alerts

Some gas leak detectors can send data to your phone. This will allow you to monitor the situation even if you’re not home. 

Smart home integration

If you’ve got other smart home devices at home, there’s no harm in checking if you can integrate your gas leak detector into your smart home ecosystem to boost your home’s overall security.

Gas Leak Detector vs. Carbon Monoxide

Gas Leak Detector vs. Carbon MonoxideView in gallery

Carbon monoxide detectors are among the most vital home safety devices. Airborne carbon monoxide is a tasteless and odorless gas that is fatal. A malfunctioning older equipment is the most likely cause of a carbon monoxide leak. If a CO detector is activated, the central station is required by law to send over an emergency medical team.

However, CO detectors won’t detect gas leaks. Unless otherwise stated, a CO detector solely detects CO. On the other hand, many natural gas firms add a scent to the gas. This helps find a gas leak.

Some CO detectors can detect smoke and heat. The device will then function as both a fire alarm and a CO sensor.  If you suspect a gas leak in your home, call your gas company immediately. Unresolved issues may result in serious fires. During this time, no electrical gadgets, switches, or candles may be used. This may spark a fire.

How Is a Gas Leak Detected?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, petroleum and natural gas systems are the major source of methane produced by humans in the United States and the second largest globally. Methane is the principal component of natural gas; it is approximately 30 times more potent than CO. And each day, the country’s massive network of subterranean gas lines leaks it into the atmosphere.

Gas Leak Detector vs. Carbon MonoxideView in gallery

You can check for a gas leak using a variety of different tools. These technologies validate the existence of a problem, quantify its severity, and offer you with the understanding necessary to correct it.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide is a very toxic gas with no odor, taste, or color, making it difficult to detect. Carbon monoxide may be released if there is a problem with your gas pipes or any piece of gas-powered equipment. Gas exposure can be lethal because it prevents red blood cells from absorbing oxygen. As a result, you must be able to test your facility for this gas.

Invest in and install carbon monoxide detectors around your facility. Ascertain that they are serviced, checked, and in good operating order on a regular basis. 

Natural gas detectors

While carbon monoxide is well-known for being the silent killer, natural gas has a distinct lethality reputation. This is because it is less toxic than carbon monoxide and has a sulfurous odor similar to rotten eggs, making it simpler to detect.

However, in the midst of daily activities, it’s not always easy to distinguish this scent, especially when a plethora of other fragrances vie for attention.

Portable natural gas detectors come in handy in this situation. These detectors are small enough to be carried about and provide a quick and easy way to confirm the condition of a gas leak. Again, maintain proper maintenance on detectors at all times.

Radon gas detectors

As with carbon monoxide, radon gas is colorless and odorless, making it extremely difficult to detect without the proper tools. In comparison to carbon monoxide, this gas is thick and denser than air, and hence sinks to the lowest floors of your home.

Excessive radon gas levels are a strong symptom of a gas leak. Radon gas detectors assist in resolving this issue. Install these detectors in the lowest parts of your property, as this is the most likely location for the gas to appear.

The detectors are likely to detect some radon in the atmosphere, although it should be at a very low level. If the reading is greater than 4 pCi/L, you may need to seek professional assistance to resolve the issue.

Chlorine gas detectors

Chlorine gas leaks are a severe hazard in a wide variety of industries. If your establishment uses this type of gas, you must be prepared. Protect yourself and your team from chlorine gas pollution by deploying a chlorine detector and a suitable clean-up kit. Take the appropriate steps to avoid exposure.

Dangers of gas leaksView in gallery

Dangers of gas leaks

An explosion caused by gas occurs as a result of leaks and gas accumulation. Given the number of kilometers of distribution network, the number of leaks, and the percentage of the population serviced directly by gas, it is entirely plausible that explosions from gas service systems pose a structural hazard to structures. 

The fact that gas explosions can and do occur in structures that are in the vicinity of a distribution line but are not directly fed by gas suggests that gas explosions may pose a structural danger to the majority of buildings in densely populated or metropolitan regions with a gas distribution system.

Gas Leak Detection Thermal Imaging

Thermal cameras visualise dangerous gas leaks for human and environmental health. The idea is simple: some gases act as selective radiators with low emissivity, reflectivity and throughput. 

With the proper calibration of a high-sensitivity thermal camera, this means that virtually any gas can be detected. The concern is that SF6, which is 24,000x more harmful to the environment than CO2, has been created into an unique LWIR and MWIR thermal camera. The gas will be identified if it is a selective radiator in the spectral range of the thermal camera.

Objects in the field of vision of a thermal camera operate by reflecting and radiating infrared radiations that will react with the lens and filter of the detector. As a result, the camera will depict an uncompensated image of the radiation’s intensity, which correlates to the apparent temperature. This is because the gas preferentially absorbs radiation, which reduces the amount of radiation reaching the detector.

In order to spot the gas leak, there needs to be a high contrast between the background and the cloud. That is, the amount of radiation that the cloud emits must be greater than the amount entering it. In fact, the radiation reflected by the gas cloud’s molecules is so little that it may be ignored. The key to a gas’s visibility is the temperature differential from the background.

As a result, knowing a gas’s absorption spectrum is critical. An infrared spectrometer measures the absorption or transmission of infrared radiation at various wavelengths to determine a gas’s absorption spectrum.

5 Best Gas Leak Detectors

1. UEi Test Instruments CD100A Combustible Gas Leak Detector

UEi Test Instruments CD100A Combustible Gas Leak DetectorView in gallery

This combustible gas leak detector is precisely what you need for your home. Not only will it identify any potentially hazardous combustible gas leaks from various components, but it also comes with an adjusted, steady tic rate that’ll give you a precise indication of where the leak source is. Additional features of this gas leak detector include a compact size that’ll allow it to access hard to reach areas, a work light that’ll illuminate the search area, and a headphone jack. 

Some gases that this gas leak detector can identify include acetone, alcohol, ammonia, benzene, methane, butane and more. Additionally, your gas leak detector also comes with a one-year warranty in case you run into any issues. Individuals that have purchased this gas leak detector mentions that it really works, and they’re impressed with its overall functionality. They noted that the beeping is loud, and that the device is both well-made and feels durable. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with an adjusted and steady tic rate 
  • Compact size 
  • A work light that illuminates the search area 
  • Well-made and durable 
  •  

Cons: 

  • Customers mentioned that the detector’s incredibly fragile

2. Techamor Y201 PortableNatural Gas Leak Detector

Techamor Y201 PortableNatural Gas Leak DetectorView in gallery

Another great gas leak detector, this particular model comes with a 12-inch flexible probe that’ll allow you to both locate and detect leaks – even in hard-to-reach and tight areas. It also comes with red LED lights along with audible alerts that will increase with gas concentrations. It’s an easy-to-use device that will sense not only methane and propane but also natural gas and fuel. 

With this device, you’ll be able to find and locate the exact gas leak point with ease. Upon your purchase, you’ll also get a manual along with a protective bag to store your gas leak detector. It has high sensitivity, is battery-operated and also comes with a detection rate of 50 to 10,000 ppm. Individuals that have used this device mentioned that it’s a well-made product that has helped them with detecting gas leaks efficiently. 

Pros: 

  • Great for hard to reach areas
  • Great at detecting and locating gas leak points
  • Easy to use device
  • Comes with visual and audible alerts 

Cons: 

  • Goes through batteries quickly

3. Klein Tools ET120 Gas Leak Detector

Klein Tools ET120 Gas Leak DetectorView in gallery

This gas leak detector comes with two levels of sensitivity – low, along with high. It has a detection range of 50 to 10,000ppm and comes with visual and audible alerts that will increase with gas concentration. It’s great for detecting combustible gas, and will even detect low concentrations with ease. As it comes with an 18-inch flexible gooseneck, it’ll help with expanding the detector’s overall reach, and all you’ve got to do is clip it onto the meter for storage. 

As this gas leak detector comes with an over-molded body, it’s comfortable to grip. It’ll also automatically turn off after 10-minutes to help with conserving battery life. With your purchase, you’ll get the batteries along with an instruction manual and storage pouch. Individuals like this gas leak detector and mentioned that it’s very sensitive. They also like how the detector beeps faster when the concentration increases, and you can also turn it off with the mute button. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with two sensitivity levels 
  • Comes with visual and audible alerts 
  • Has a flexible gooseneck 
  • Conserves battery life 

Cons: 

  • Some mentioned that the instructions are difficult to figure out

4. Portable Propane Methane and Natural Gas Leak Detector

Portable Propane Methane and Natural Gas Leak DetectorView in gallery

This portable gas leak detector is precisely what you need to detect a combustible gas leak. It comes with batteries so all you’ve got to do is put them in and it’s ready to use. Compared to other detectors, this particular product is lightweight, compact and easy to carry around. It also comes with a flexible stainless steel probe that’ll help reach tighter areas. 

With this detector, you’ll be able to pinpoint the position of your leak – thanks to the audible and visual indication that comes with this device. To help you better understand your device, this product also comes with a video tutorial so you can operate the product with ease. Additionally, the sensor’s also highly sensitive, and it’s reactive to the changes in gas concentration. As a bonus, this detector is also suited to commercial work as it can detect a wide range of gases. 

Pros: 

  • Detects a wide range of gases
  • Portable and lightweight 
  • Comes with a video tutorial 
  • Has a flexible stainless steel probe 

Cons: 

  • Some mentioned that it’s not sensitive enough

5. Inficon Combustible Gas Detector

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Lastly, we’ve got this combustible gas leak detector that’s incredibly easy to use. You’ll get two alkaline batteries with your purchase along with a rugged carrying case. So you can reach tighter areas, this detector also comes with a 15-inch probe. What’s great about this particular detector is that it has high sensitivity to find even the smallest of leaks. 

It also has a touchpad so you can adjust sensitivity when you’re on the go, and it’s able to detect a wide range of gases from combustible gases to flammable refrigerants. Those who have used this particular detector mentioned that it’s both reliable and well-made. They also noted that it’s incredibly sensitive, works excellent, and they like how it comes with a nice case. Additionally, one customer also mentioned that they liked how the gas leak detector comes with intermittent beeping when it’s on detect mode to tell you that it’s actively “sniffing”. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to use 
  • High sensitivity 
  • Comes with a touchpad to adjust the sensitivity
  • Detects a wide range of gases 

Cons: 

  • Some mentioned that it’s challenging to remove the battery cover. 

FAQ

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

How do you detect a gas leak?

There are a few ways to detect a gas leak, and we’ll discuss them in greater detail below: 

  1. You’ll want to listen for a hiss or whistling noise 
  2. Check the stove – when you turn on the flames, see if it gives off a blue or orange or red flame. A blue flame indicates that there’s enough oxygen in the air while orange or red flames spell trouble. 
  3. Use soapy water – If you’d like, you can try the soapy water test. You’ll mix a teaspoon of dish detergent with a cup of water and apply it to wherever you suspect has a leak. If bubbles start to form, it indicates that gas is escaping. 
  4. One of the easiest methods is to use a gas leak detector. These nifty devices will help detect if there are any gas leaks and inform you appropriately. 

Do gas leak detectors work?

Yes, they do work. They’re specially manufactured to both measure and indicate the concentration of gases in the environment. When a high level of gas is detected, these detectors will either signify high levels of gas through alarms and lights or even send notifications to your home. While some gas leak detectors will only detect one type of gas, others can detect several gases at once.

What is the best gas leak detector?

There isn’t a best gas leak detector per se as it really depends on your needs. For example, some individuals are okay with a gas leak detector that only detects one type of gas, while others might prefer one that detects multiple gases. Some gas leak detectors also have smart home integration functionalities while others do not. 

Can a gas leak make you sick?

Yes, gas leaks can make you sick. That’s why you must install a gas leak detector in your home to rectify the issue as soon as possible. Inhaling gas can not only lead to headaches and fatigue, but in some cases, it can even lead to shortness of breath and loss of consciousness. 

What should I do if I smell gas?

If you smell gas, there are two things you need to do right away. The first is to open all doors and windows to allow for proper ventilation. The second is to make sure that you turn off the main gas valve, cutting off the gas supply. If the gas leak is inside an unventilated area (such as the basement), evacuate the building immediately. 

What are the signs of a gas leak in your home?

Some of the most obvious signs of gas leaks inside your home include the smell of rotten eggs, a sense of fatigue and sickness that’s specific to gas poisoning, dead or unhealthy plants, high gas consumption, and a hissing sound emitted by gas leaking.

Are there alarms for natural gas?

Yes. There are plenty of alarms that can detect natural gas which are available at a really good price. 

Bottom Line 

We hope that this article was helpful, and you’ve gained a better understanding of gas leak detectors. It’s essential to have a gas leak detector in your home for safety reasons.

After you’ve purchased your gas leak detector, you should always read the manual or manufacturer instructions to gain a better understanding of how to operate your gas leak detector, that way you won’t be fumbling around with your device when it detects something out of the ordinary in your home.