How do I Choose the Best Natural Gas Detector?

Erin J. Hill

There are several factors to consider when choosing a natural gas detector, including the sensitivity of the detector, how easy the detector is to install, and the types of elements the detector can identify. To get the best idea of what you will need, you may want to talk to the person who installed your natural gas in your home, or call the local natural gas company if it was installed when you moved in. They may be able to direct you to the most appropriate natural gas detector for you.

Fuel burning appliances, like a natural gas stove, may develop dangerous combustible gas leaks.
Fuel burning appliances, like a natural gas stove, may develop dangerous combustible gas leaks.

Some natural gas detector models plug directly into an outlet and are effective at detecting dangerous levels of gas in most homes. There are two ways in which natural gas can be deadly. The first is through inhalation and the second is due to the flammable nature of natural gas. Explosions are a risk if gas leaks become severe enough. You should always choose a detector which can detect levels of gas much lower than what would be necessary for an explosion to occur.

Feeling nauseated, dizzy, or faint may be signs of natural gas poisoning.
Feeling nauseated, dizzy, or faint may be signs of natural gas poisoning.

Other natural gas detector options are more sophisticated and may have to be installed by a professional. One of these more sophisticated models may be a good idea if you will be using it somewhere with lots of people, such as a business or meeting place like a church. Although it would take more time for gas to reach deadly levels in larger buildings, as in a store or office, there are more people present who could potentially become hurt.

You should be sure the maintenance requirements for your natural gas detector are easy enough for you to handle. Some run on batteries much like a smoke detector. Batteries will eventually need to be changed, as well as the sensors on some models. Most battery operated detectors will have a test button you can use to check the power in your batteries.

Most natural gas detector models use sound to alert you to high gas levels, although some may use a combination of light and sound. Make sure the alarm is loud enough to hear from anywhere in the home or building. In a very large building, more than one detector should be used to ensure safety from any room.

If the detector goes off, open all doors and windows to the home or building and get out immediately. Call your local fire department and report the gas leak, and move a safe distance from the building in the rare instance that the home should become ignited. Do not go back into the building until emergency personnel instruct you to do so.

Sometimes gas detectors fail, so you should be aware of symptoms related to natural gas poisoning. If you begin feeling nauseated, dizzy, or faint, or experience headaches, get out of the building right away. Call the fire dept or natural gas company and tell them you suspect a leak, and request medical assistance for yourself.

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Discussion Comments


@ocelota60- I agree with Spotiche5 about the reliability issues of an electric natural gas detector. I have a natural gas detector that is battery operated, and it works very well. I only have to replace the batteries once a year, so it's really not a hassle. Plus I know that it will always work, even if the power goes out.


@ocelot60- I think that the electric-operated natural gas detectors are nice because you don't have to bother using batteries. The downside is that when there are power outages, this type of detector obviously won't work.

I think that if you live in an area where you experience frequent power outages, your best bet is to get a natural gas detector that runs on batteries.


I'm looking for an inexpensive natural gas detector, and I noticed that the two main types are those that run by batteries and those that operate by electricity. It's hard to decide which one is best, because they cost about the same.

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