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What is a Multi-Gas Detector?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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A multi-gas detector is a device which detects multiple potentially harmful gases and alerts those nearby with an alarm, light, or a combination of both. They are especially important in certain business settings, such as manufacturing plants, agricultural settings, or office buildings where many people are gathered. Homes may also benefit from using a multi-gas detector, especially if natural gas heating or appliances are being used. Emergency personnel may also use portable models to help detect gas leaks.

Many gases are used in industrial and manufacturing settings, and even in some homes. These gases are useful and necessary, but can be deadly if inhaled. Many are also highly combustible under the right circumstances. A multi-gas detector helps to prevent these problems by sensing when gases are being leaked into the air before they become a threat. Most detectors are able to detect gas at levels well below the combustible or toxic level under normal circumstances.

Several models of multi-gas detector are available, including portable models. Some are connected directly to the power system near machinery or other potential leak sites. Home versions may be battery operated or plugged right into an outlet. When gas is detected, people are generally notified by a loud alarm, siren, or flashing lights. Sometimes a combination of methods will be used.

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Some detectors are more sensitive than others, and in public settings it may be best to choose the most sensitive setting. These can generally detect even the slightest leak in the air, resulting in less potential for damage or injury to inhabitants. Ultra sensitive models are especially important for small and enclosed spaces.

Prices for a multi-gas detector vary widely based on sensitivity, the number of gases a particular model can detect, and the ease of use for consumers. For this reason, those at low risk may choose to get the least amount of protection needed to save money. Those being used where multiple people gather or work should be more technologically advanced to provide maximum protection.

In order to get the most from a multi-gas detector, it is important that it be used correctly. If anything must be set or programmed, directions should be followed exactly or a professional installer should be hired. In small handheld models, batteries should be tested often and replaced when they become worn down. Waiting until they die entirely is not a good idea, because it is uncertain when they will stop working. Doing occasional tests to check the effectiveness of the alarms or lights is also an important step.

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