Gas detectors, also known as gas monitors, are basic safety devices that you should have installed at your home. It's just a necessary home safety precaution that could quite possibly save you and your family members' lives.
That being said, choosing a gas detector requires a bit of research and comparison shopping on your part. Here are some factors you could take into consideration when choosing a gas detector:
- How many gases the gas detector can detect - Typically, you just need one that can detect carbon monoxide but other versions of gas sensors are able to detect multiple gases including methane, hydrogen, propane, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitric oxide and ozone. Some gas detectors are also able to tell if there is too little oxygen present in the surroundings.
- Its specifications - You also need to consider the gas detector's other specifications, such as its sensitivity and its gas leak detection capability range. The term for the latter is Lower Explosive Limit, or LEL; the lower the LEL (for example, 15% as opposed to 20%), the lower concentrations of gases the detector is able to sense. If you purchase a gas detector capable of lower LEL percentage detection, then the detector will be able to warn you of the presence of gases at a much speedier pace. Gas detectors need to be calibrated so they could produce accurate gas measurements. Some gas detectors are however self-calibrating, so they would require less maintenance from you.
- The battery and sensor life - You should make it a point to check regularly if your gas detector's battery is working properly or if you need to have it replaced. Ask the salesman how long the expected battery life is. It's preferable that your gas detector will have many kinds of alert signs - lights, alarm, etc., including an alert sign if it needs new batteries already. Also, ask if the sensors can be replaced once they wear out, or if you'd have to purchase a new gas detector when that happens.
- Your purposes - You could opt to have a portable, wireless gas detector if you need to carry it around for your work. There are many such small and handy ones available even in different colors. If you work in an industry that requires constant monitoring of the present gases in the atmosphere (such as in a power plant or a manufacturing industry) you might need a highly specialized gas analyzer which will enable you to accurately determine the presence of gases, even those with very low volumes. If your main purpose is gas leak detection in your home then you could opt for the more standardized gas alarms and gas detectors available for home use.
- Your special needs - If you have hearing-impaired family members, then you could choose a gas detector with blinking lights. You could also inquire about the gas alarm volume and whether it can be adjusted; this is especially important if you are planning to put your gas detector in a space that is not frequented. If you need to put your gas detector in an extreme environment (such as in a boiler room), opt for models that can work in high or low temperatures. Once you've purchased your gas detector, remember that its location is very important. This is because gas detectors can sense the dangerous gases if they're within the gas detector's surroundings. So if there were multiple potential sources of gases at your home then you would need to purchase two or more gas detectors. You could inquire from the salesman if you can have training, including advising you on the best locations you can have your detector installed.
- Certifications and reviews - Check the gas detector for certifications from government bodies and institutions to ensure that it has passed stringent safety and effectiveness standards. It would be a good idea too to look for users' ratings and reviews on the particular brands you're eyeing to have a better idea of which particular model and brand you should buy.
As mentioned, gas detectors should be chosen with care and sound judgment. The plan here is for you to purchase the best gas detector for your purposes so that once you have it installed, there'd be one thing less for you to worry about. Good luck, and stay safe!