How do I Choose the Best Gas Leak Detector?

S. Gonzales

The best gas leak detector you can purchase will likely depend on the specific features in which you are interested. Alert systems, sensor and calibration requirements and the types of gases the detector can sense are all likely to figure into your decision. One thing that can help you choose the best gas leak detector is to consider which gases you need the device to detect.

Carbon monoxide detectors are common household gas leak detectors.
Carbon monoxide detectors are common household gas leak detectors.

A basic gas detector is one that can detect a dangerous gas. Better gas leak detectors will alert home owners to the presence of many types of gases, both dangerous and harmless. Ideally, you should purchase a gas detector that can inform you when any dangerous gas poses a threat to your household. If you have to choose between gases that can be detected, select a detector that can identify the gases that pose the biggest threats. For example, many consumers will choose a gas leak detector that can alert them when carbon monoxide is present, because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless.

Gas stoves can emit carbon monoxide and leak combustible gases.
Gas stoves can emit carbon monoxide and leak combustible gases.

The best gas leak detector will pick up on the presence of many types of gases. If you're looking for this type of detector, read the detector's packaging to verify that it can help identify gases such as chlorine, oxygen, sulfur dioxide, chlorine dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and radon levels. Radon is a particularly hazardous gas: it can be radioactive and can cause certain forms of cancer. The presence of radon can be directly traced to uranium levels in the soil. If your home rests on uranium-rich soil, you'd do well to purchase a detector that can measure radon, and be sure to put the detector on the lowest level of your home.

The best gas leak detector will have a multi-faceted notification system. Some basic gas detectors will notify homeowners only that a gas leak has occurred, through either an alarm or a blinking light. Great gas detectors, however, will have more than one way to let you know when there are dangerous levels of gases in your home. Multiple alerting systems can be useful to you if you live in a home with many potential sources of dangerous gases.

Gas detectors that will alert you when their sensors need to be replaced also can be literal lifesavers. Changing sensors regularly can mean that your gas detector will always be in tip-top condition. Similarly, if calibration needs to be done, make sure that the procedure is completed as needed and no matter how expensive it might be.

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