Combustible gas detectors, commonly required as Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in most industrial worker settings  measure the concentration of potentially harmful gases in a specific  area. They may use infrared, electrochemical, ultrasonic, or semiconductor sensors as their core detection technology.

The detectors, via the embedded sensor, measure the gas concentration to a reference point or clean environment, and when the concentration exceeds a predetermined limit, the detector will trigger some type of alarm or signal to warn workers in the area of the gas’s presence. 

The quality, range, and life expectancy for different combustible gas detectors and their embedded sensors can vary. And there are many options on the market, which can leave you with questions about which detector/sensor package is the right one to meet your needs.

While there are many elements that may factor into this decision (such as the setting for its use, and the specific type of gas you would like detected), there are other features that should be considered no matter what industry you are working in or what type of detector you are seeking. 

1. Accuracy & Combustible Gas Detectors

The most crucial aspect to consider when looking for a combustible gas detector is accuracy. The presence of harmful and combustible gases can pose an extreme health and safety risk for workers in the vicinity.

And while many products, like catalytic bead sensors, can indicate they are accurate, there is often variance in just how accurate they truly are. Manufacturers can use the designation “accurate” to indicate a specific portion of the reading, the full scale, or something else – which means the burden is on the user in terms of understanding what the readings truly mean. 

When looking for a flammable gas detector, you should consider how the manufacturer interprets accuracy, how the monitor displays the reading (to what resolution), how sensitive the detector is, and what cross sensitivities it may have to the presence of other gases. In some instances, a detector designed to pick up the presence of one gas may give you a false or inaccurate reading when it comes into contact with another gas.

Also, knowing the environment that the device will be utilized in is very important. Sensors have different operating parameters such as temperature and humidity ranges, especially in rapidly changing environments. Gaining a thorough understanding of these elements will give you an idea of how well the detector will perform in terms of overall accuracy.

The importance of accuracy when taking readings for the potential presence of flammable gases cannot be understated. Having reliable flammable gas detectors on all job sites where these gases may be present is necessary for maintaining operations and can often prevent accidents before they potentially endanger lives. 

2. Total Cost of Ownership

While safety and accuracy are the primary concerns when looking for a flammable gas detector, cost efficacy is also crucial. Companies need to maintain efficiencies and profitability in order to continue providing jobs, and this often means scrutinizing and budgeting every purchase to ensure that it enhances the company’s ability to operate successfully.

And given that there are many options for flammable gas detectors on the market, some individuals may be tempted to go with a low initial cost option, but in many instances, this option does not turn out to be cost-effective at all. Many inexpensive gas detectors essentially function as disposable gas detectors that need to be replaced and or serviced incredibly frequently. There’s an incessant need to talk about having to replace cheap sensors that poison and require frequent testing. 

In instances such as this, the total cost for replacement units can quickly exceed the price of a quality flammable gas detector that is designed to last for years. These units often only need to be serviced on a regular basis, which means that they come with minimal expenses after their initial purchase. Many times, gas detectors that cost a little more also come with a longer and more comprehensive warranty, meaning that if anything goes wrong, the vendor will address the problem rather than leaving you to take the loss. 

In addition, poor performing detectors that false alarm frequently create a hindrance to productivity and a general distrust to the effectiveness. While some companies may find that cheaper alternatives better meet their initial capital needs, many others might see that the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of a quality gas detector will be far lower than the alternatives on the market. It is important to understand the additional expenses that may come with each type of detector before committing to one.

3. Data Analysis

Another feature that may be important when selecting a flammable gas detector is its ability to provide data and analysis to the user; this feature is especially important if you must identify unknown samples. More sophisticated combustible gas detection vendors often incorporate multiple sensors on a single chip that can work together to measure a variety of properties of samples. This data then allows the detector to develop a rich bank of information about the chemical composition and molecules that are present. 

In many instances, these high-quality sensors and detectors can perform reliably even across a range of harsh weather conditions – and still provide accurate readings with rich data about the chemicals and molecules present. This data provides employees and their companies with the information they need to perform their jobs successfully and safely.

Selecting the Right Combustible Gas Detector

Combustible gas detectors are becoming increasingly important as the oil and gas industries experience greater legislation and regulatory burdens. Enhancing safety through early detection of potentially harmful, toxic, or combustible gases is one way that companies and ensure that their sites remain operational and accident-free. 

But a flammable gas detector can only be as reliable as it was manufactured to be. While there are many low-cost options available, many companies may be surprised to find that there are also cost-effective, quality options with cutting-edge sensing technology that can provide accurate and reliable results for the life of the equipment. And in most instances, the purchase of a high-quality detector upfront can cost far less than maintaining or replacing poorly designed detectors.

The availability of robust data, the ability for the gas detector to provide accurate and reliable results, and the total cost of ownership of the detector are all elements to consider when you are searching for the best one to suit your needs. This information can help you to determine how well the detector will perform overall, how much it will cost, and how it can enhance your operations. NevadaNano is willing to answer all of your questions about performance and provide you with additional information to help you make the best choice possible. 

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