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Many of our customers ask us how to check for a gas leak. Gas leaks are insidious and silent, and their results cannot always be detected immediately, especially not by human senses. This makes them inherently frightening and unsettling. When you factor in how dangerous these incidents can be to you and to your team, it becomes clear that a solid set of gas detection tools and methods is required.
So, let’s take a look at these in a bit more detail and check out exactly how your team can check for gas leaks on your premises.
Checking for a Gas Leak: Key Tools
There are a number of different tools you can use to check for a gas leak. These tools give you confirmation that there is a problem, demonstrate how serious the problem may be, and provide you with the insight you need to put it right.
Of all the tools available to you, it is gas detectors that are going to be the most useful, as well as the most reliable. Here are some of the detection tools you should be using.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous gas that has no smell, color, or taste, making it difficult to spot. If there is a malfunction within your gas system or any piece of equipment that uses gas, carbon monoxide may be released.
Exposure to this gas can be fatal as it inhibits the absorption of oxygen by red blood cells. As a result, you need to be able to test for this gas at your facility.
Invest in carbon monoxide detectors and deploy these around your facility. Make sure they are regularly checked, serviced, and in full working order. Train your staff on what to look out for when they check these detectors.
Natural gas detectors
While carbon monoxide is known as something of a silent killer, natural gas does not have the same lethal reputation. This is because it is not as poisonous as carbon monoxide, and it gives off a sulfurous odor, similar to that of rotten eggs, which makes it easier to detect.
But, in the hustle and bustle of daily activity, it’s not always easy to identify this smell, particularly if there are a multitude of other aromas competing for attention.
This is where portable natural gas detectors come in. These detectors can be carried around in the hands of your team members, and they provide a swift and easy confirmation of gas leak status. Again, make sure detectors are kept in good working order at all times.
Radon gas detectors
Like carbon monoxide, radon gas does not have a color or odor, which can make it very difficult to detect without the right tools. Unlike carbon monoxide, this gas is dense – denser than air, which means it sinks to the lowest levels of your business property.
Excess amounts of radon gas can be a sure sign of a gas leak. Radon gas detectors help with this problem. Place these detectors in the lowest areas of your property as this is where the gas is most likely to appear. Leave these detectors in place for around three months or 90 days. At the end of this period, take a reading from the detectors.
Some radon is likely to be found in the atmosphere by the detectors, but this should be at a very low level. If the reading is above 4 pCi/L or higher, you may need to call in expert help to get rid of the problem.
Chlorine gas detectors
In many types of industry, chlorine gas leaks are a serious danger. If your premises deals with this type of gas, you need to be prepared.
Deploy a chlorine detector and clean-up kit and keep yourself and your team safe from chlorine gas contamination. Take the necessary precautions and make sure you are not exposed.
Checking for a Gas Leak: Key Methods
Aside from using these above tools, how should you check for a gas leak? There are a number of different methods you can use. But remember, these methods do not replace the tools listed above. Instead, you need to deploy each and every method and tool together to give you the best chance of stopping gas leaks in their tracks.
The sense test
Natural gas is detectable via our five standard senses, so this is a handy way to gather evidence about a gas leak.
Start by trying to detect the scent of sulfur or of rotten eggs in the air.
Next, listen out for any hissing or other sounds associated with escaping gas.
Finally, watch for any gas stove flames burning yellow or orange rather than blue, a sign that the gas is not combusting completely.
Monitor usage levels
It may seem obvious, but your gas bill can let you know if you have a problem with leaking gas. You should be used to paying roughly the same amount each month for your gas usage, adjusted to reflect project-specific changes and other fluctuations.
However, if you notice an unusually high level of usage with no reasonable explanation, this could be a sign that something is wrong. While this does not provide conclusive proof, you can certainly use this as a basis for your investigation.
It can be difficult to see when gas is escaping from a pipe. It can also be difficult to hear the hissing gas in a loud environment or if the escaping gas is at low pressure. By mixing a spoonful of dishwashing soap with a cupful of water, you will gain a solution that you can use to test your pipes.
Paint the solution onto your pipework and then watch what happens. A fully functioning gas line should exhibit no change, but a leaking pipe will cause bubbles to form in the solution.
Your Responsibility to Keep Everyone Safe
Gas poisoning or gas explosions can be catastrophic. Don’t let this happen on your property. And, make sure you use a variety of leak detection tools and methods together to ensure full safety for everyone in and around your business premises.