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How To Choose the Right Gas Detector for Your Application

Uncategorized / March 1, 2024

In an industrial landscape where safety and regulatory compliance are non-negotiable, the right gas detector can be the difference between a productive work environment and a potential disaster. Whether you’re trying to monitor ammonia gas levels in your cold storage facility or you require a durable gas detector for your deep-ocean fishing operation, knowing how to choose the right gas detector for your application is paramount. Read on to learn more about different industrial gases and gas detector devices so you can determine the ideal solutions for your specific needs.

Common Industrial Gases That Require Monitoring

Selecting a gas detector tailored to the specific gases in your industrial environment is crucial. Here are some of the most common industrial gases that require monitoring.


Ammonia (NH3) is a compound commonly used in agricultural, refrigeration, and manufacturing processes. Despite its importance in these applications, ammonia poses significant health risks. Even low levels of exposure can result in eye, nose, and throat irritation, while prolonged exposure can lead to serious respiratory issues. Due to its potentially hazardous nature, robust and sensitive ammonia detection systems are required, particularly in areas where leaks can go unnoticed until they pose a grave threat.

Ammonia leaks aren’t just dangerous for human health; the resource loss is detrimental to business success and may even spark regulatory fines. Furthermore, companies could face hefty cleanup costs if an ammonia release results in environmental damage. Insurance premiums can also rise as a result of incidents. Therefore, investing in an effective ammonia detection system not only ensures the safety of personnel but also serves as a preventative measure against financial setbacks.

Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is widely used across various industries, serving roles from refrigeration and cooling to plant growth promotion in greenhouses. It’s also utilized in the food and beverage industry for drink carbonation and as a preservation agent to extend the shelf life of packaged products. However, despite its diverse applications, CO2 presents significant safety concerns.

Elevated levels of carbon dioxide can lead to asphyxiation, as it displaces oxygen in the atmosphere, and direct contact can cause frostbite due to its extremely cold discharge temperatures when released from pressurized containers. In confined spaces, CO2 buildup can occur without detection, as it is colorless and odorless, posing a silent but deadly risk to workers. And like ammonia leaks, leaking CO2 can lead to financial and regulatory trouble for your business.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is highly toxic to humans and animals. It is produced whenever any fuel, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal, is burned, and without adequate ventilation, it can accumulate to dangerous levels. In industrial settings, carbon monoxide is generated by various processes, including combustion engines and manufacturing operations. The insidious nature of CO means that workers may not be aware they are being poisoned until symptoms—which can range from headaches and dizziness to confusion and even death—become severe.

Synthetic Refrigerants

Synthetic refrigerants, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), are widely used in air conditioning, refrigeration, and aerosol propellants due to their low toxicity and non-flammability. However, they pose environmental risks as they are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming when leaked into the atmosphere.

In addition to environmental concerns, synthetic refrigerants can displace oxygen, creating an asphyxiation hazard in confined spaces or cases of significant leakage. Monitoring systems designed to detect synthetic refrigerants must be highly sensitive and reliable, providing quick alerts to ensure the safety of workers and compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.

Different Types of Gas Detection Devices

Understanding the various types of gas detection devices is crucial for devising a robust safety protocol tailored to your industrial needs. Each type of detector, from portable units for individual use to sophisticated fixed system installations, offers unique features and benefits.

Fixed Gas Detectors

Fixed gas detectors are stationary units continuously monitoring one or multiple gases in a specific area. These devices are generally mounted in locations where gas leaks are most likely to occur or where gas concentrations can rapidly reach harmful levels. They are integral to safety in industrial environments, as they can trigger immediate alarms, allowing for a swift emergency response. Fixed gas detectors often integrate into larger safety and building management systems, providing centralized control and enabling real-time surveillance of gas levels across complex facilities. Their robust nature and long-term reliability make them suitable for harsh industrial conditions and areas that are not frequented by workers but still require constant surveillance.

Portable Gas Detectors

Portable gas detectors are designed for flexibility and mobility, enabling workers to carry them into different locations and confined spaces where fixed systems may not reach. These detectors are critical for providing real-time personal monitoring, especially in scenarios where workers may encounter variable conditions or a temporary need for additional surveillance. Important features include ease of use, lightweight and compact design, durability in various environments, and the capacity to detect one or multiple gases simultaneously.

System Controllers

System controllers are the nerve centers of comprehensive gas detection strategies, providing centralized locations for the monitoring and managing of multiple gas detection sensors and alarms. They allow for configuring networked detection systems, streamlining the integration between alarms and ventilation controls, and ensuring a coordinated response to hazardous gas levels. System controllers facilitate the analysis of gas concentration data over time, enabling predictive maintenance and the formulation of safety protocols to prevent future incidents.

The Ideal Gas Detectors for Different Industrial Applications

Now that you understand the common gases present in various industries and the different types of gas detection equipment, it’s time to dive into the best devices for each specific application.

Food Processing Plants

In food processing plants, where production often involves the emission of gases like ammonia and carbon dioxide, fixed gas detectors with real-time monitoring capabilities are indispensable for ensuring workers’ safety and regulatory adherence. Given the size and complexity of such facilities, these detectors should enable integration with central control systems to allow for the immediate activation of ventilation and swift evacuation procedures if necessary. It’s crucial that the detection system is not only sensitive and accurate in identifying even low levels of harmful gases but also robust enough to withstand the cleaning chemicals and high-pressure water jets typically used in food industry hygiene practices.

Cold Storage Facilities

Cold storage facilities, particularly those storing perishable goods, often use ammonia refrigeration systems, which pose significant risks for ammonia leaks. The ideal gas detector for these settings must offer constant, accurate monitoring to detect leaks immediately. A fixed gas detection system connected to a robust system controller is critical for safety and regulatory compliance. The detector should also have a low threshold for triggering alarms, ensuring personnel have ample time to evacuate, and be durable enough to operate effectively in the cold temperatures typical of this environment.

HVAC Maintenance and Servicing

For HVAC maintenance and servicing, where technicians potentially encounter a range of refrigerants and other gases, portable gas detectors provide an optimal solution. These detectors are mobile and versatile, which is essential for technicians who frequently move between different service locations and find themselves in tight spaces where leaks could otherwise go undetected. The preferred detectors should have multi-gas capabilities, be easy to calibrate for accurate readings, and rugged enough to handle the varying temperatures and conditions of HVAC environments.

Understanding how to choose the right gas detector for your application is vital for safety, product quality, and regulatory compliance. Explore our selection of quality industrial gas detectors here at CTI and enhance your operational processes today!

How To Choose the Right Gas Detector for Your Application