Gas Leak Detection and How to Ensure Gas Safety?


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Gas Leak Detection

Gas boilers run on different sources of energy, including electricity, natural gas, LPG, oil, etc. The most common source, however, is Natural gas. It is a type of fossil fuel and exists in abundance. It is also considered to be a highly efficient and affordable fuel. However, the physical and chemical properties of natural gas are not ordinary. One of its major components is Methane which is odourless, colourless, and tasteless. This makes its detection next to impossible. However, that is usually addressed by adding mercaptan, a chemical that smells like rotten eggs.

Why is the Detection of Natural Gas Leakage Important?

Natural gas leakage poses many dangers. These include:

  • High Flammability: That is why it is used as a fuel in the first place, but that also implies that if any leakage comes in contact with fire, the consequences can be disastrous depending on the leakage volume. These hazards can result in the loss of human life and also cause irreversible property damage.
  • Poisoning: Prolonged exposure to natural gas can cause serious damage to health, such as asphyxiation, dizziness, and even death. Continuous leakage will also kill vegetation and plants.

Besides the above, continuous leakage will also waste your money and resources.

How Can You Detect Natural Gas Leakage?

The Smell of Rotten Eggs

The addition of mercaptan imparts the smell of rotten eggs or sulphur to natural gas. Mercaptan does not change the chemical properties of natural gas and is harmless. If you constantly come across the smell of rotten eggs, you may want to investigate further, or you can simply call a gas-safe engineer.

Hissing or Whistling Sound

If you hear a whistling or hissing sound coming from your gas supply line or joints, it may be time to call for professional help. However, if you do not smell anything and want to be sure, there is a small test you can do at home to be sure.

Use Soapy Water

Prepare a concentrated mixture of soap and water. Take a sponge and douse the parts which you suspect are leaky. The gas will make bubbles which can be easily spotted. If you see any, it is time to call a gas-safe engineer.

Other Signs

If your in-house plants or those near your gas installations are constantly dying, it might be because of natural gas. Energy bills which are higher than usual are also a sign of gas leakage. All these signs call for a professional investigation.

Gas Leak
Gas Leak Detections

How to Ensure Gas Safety?

Safety should be the top priority when installing a gas boiler or any other gas appliance. There are many ways of ensuring a gas-safe installation, and the first step to ensuring that is to hire installers/companies which are experienced and certified. Buying gas appliances from renowned and reliable manufacturers who often offer their products with warranty and lifelong services is way better than buying cheap products to save a small amount of money. Regular inspections and maintenance by professionals will keep your gas appliances in immaculate condition and save your repair costs. Last but not least, installing accessories such as detectors and alarm systems can protect you, your family, and your property.

Hire Gas-safe Registered Engineers or Companies

How do you check if they are certified? Any engineer or company registered as a gas safe is authorized and considered experienced enough to ensure a flawless installation. You can check the gas safe status of any engineer or company on the internet. Please remember that no amount of work experience is enough for a plumber to handle gas appliances such as boilers. It is the job of a gas engineer. Furthermore, when hiring someone, ensure they have been in this business for at least five years and have established an impeccable reputation.

Buy Quality Products

Gas appliances such as boilers are not an ordinary equipment and should not be treated as such. Countless manufacturers offer gas boilers in the UK market. Some are relatively new, while others have been around for decades. Go for established brands like Vaillant, Worcester BOSCH, Viessman, Baxi, Alpha, and the like. Many of these manufacturers offer high-quality gas boilers with advanced technology and warranties that last from 5 to 12 years. These companies also offer several controls and accessories which will not only provide you with effective control over your gas appliances but also ensure safety.


Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Gas boilers usually last long and are a sturdy piece of equipment. However, that does not imply that they do not require inspection or regular maintenance. Regular maintenance and inspection can help you in many ways:

  • It can help in identifying any gas leaks.
  • These services can help identify any appliance or gas network flaws that can cause future leaks.
  • It can help you save repair costs by timely identifying issues which can get worse with time and may cost you a lot of money.

Regular inspection and maintenance can help you comply with government regulations about gas appliances if you are a landlord.

Shutting Off the Main Supply

Every property that is connected to the national grid is equipped with a shutoff valve. It is usually installed outside your property and can come in handy in an emergency. You can turn off the valve and prevent it if you face excessive leakage. If you need to find out where it is, learn it from the gas engineer next time you call him.

Gas Detectors and Sensors

Leak detectors and sensory systems can protect your property and everyone that lives in it. Many options are available in the market. When selecting one, go for the one that can detect more than one gas type. If a particular gas is not mentioned on the product, it won’t be detected by the system. The most common detectors are of the following types:

  • Combustible Gases: As any gas which is used as a fuel has to be highly flammable, boilers can run on several of them. These inlude Natural gas and LPG. The former contains propane and Methane. Detectors for combustible gasses use infrared and catalytic sensors.
  • Toxic Gases: Combustible gases are not the only gases in a gas network. Natural gas combustion in the absence or limited supply of oxygen produces Carbon monoxide. Although not flammable, CO is highly toxic. It is also colourless and odourless, which makes its detection even more difficult. CO alarm systems are, therefore, extremely important, and you should pay attention to their installation.
  • Radon: Radon is radioactive and one of the primary causes of lung cancer. Radon detectors and alarm systems should be part of your gas system.

Natural Gas and Propane Detectors

Natural gas and Propane detectors are available in three types: Plug-in, portable, or extension. Some have a digital display and a voice alarm system. Some examples are Techamor Y301 and Y201 Portable Propane and Natural Gas Leak Detector. The latter is portable, which means that it can be installed anywhere. It is more suitable if you want to detect the source of the leak. These systems work around the clock and offer great protection.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Any gas appliance that uses natural gas or propane as fuel will produce Carbon. These include gas boilers, water heaters, and your central heating system. Some of the most reliable options available in the UK market include names like Nest Protect, X-Sense SCO1, First Alert, and several others. Some of these are combination alarm systems, while others detect CO only. Some are app connected and can be monitored with a smartphone. You can also get many hybrid alarm systems which can detect numerous gasses.

Radon Detector

Installing Radon detectors is recommended if the radon level is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per litre) or more. Pertinent to mention that there is no known safe level of radon. However, the (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency recommends that it stays between 2 to 4 pCi/L.

Always Hire Professionals

You should always hire professionals to install the above detectors because the installation location of many sensors may make a significant difference. Some gasses are heavy, while others are light. Some may require low-height installation, while others may work more effectively when installed at a height.

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