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gas leaks

Many workplaces and homes have gas powered appliances, yet never think anything of potential gas leaks once it's been installed. Unfortunately gas leaks happen fairly often, sometimes leading to detrimental accidents. If you use gas in your home or at work, you must know how to recognize gas leak symptoms and have the proper tool to check gas lines on a regular basis.

The Danger of Gas Leaks

Did you know that the sulfuric smell associated with propane isn't a naturally occurring scent? Propane and other gas leaks are potentially very dangerous which is why manufacturers add in this easily recognized smell.

There are Two Main Reasons Why Gas Leaks Can Be Dangerous

First off, natural gas is popular because of high combustibility. It produces a lot of heat, even in small amounts. While this is a benefit for cooking in the home, heating water and other applications, it also means gas can prove detrimental when not controlled. When there is a leak in a gas line and the room begins to fill, even a tiny spark can ignite the cloud.

The second reason gas leaks are dangerous is because it can produce carbon monoxide when there is incomplete combustion. This means if something goes wrong and the gas isn't completed burned up, carbon monoxide forms. According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for 500 deaths a year. It is fatal in large amounts, but even non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning can still cause long term health issues and brain damage.

Recognizing Gas Leaks

The most common way someone recognizes a gas leak is based on the smell. However, relying solely on your sense of smell, no matter how sensitive, isn't a good idea. Here are just a few circumstances that may inhibit your ability to smell a gas leak:

- You have a cold or sinus congestion
- You are a smoker or live with smokers
- You often cook foods with strong odors or fry foods
- You are on a medication that affects your sense of smell
- Persistent gas leaks have dulled your senses
- Gas lines pass through a musty basement

Keep in mind that sense of smell can slowly decline in the elderly, leaving them vulnerable to not being able to tell if there is a leak. The best way of ensuring you'll be able to recognize a leak is with a high quality device that can sense combustible gases.

Using the Combustible Gas Leak Detector Penpng2000a_l_b_1

It's a good idea for homes or workplaces using gases to have alarms, such as carbon monoxide sensors, but a handheld device is also necessary. The PNG2000A Combustible Gas Leak Detector Pen is made to detect three gases - natural gas, propane and butane. It is ideal for sensing leaks around plumbing, appliances and consumer electronics. This pen uses a technique called natural diffusion sampling. It will also automatically return to 0 measurement once moved back into fresh air.

The Combustible Gas Leak Detector Pen is extremely sensitive, with a detection range of 0 to 100% lower explosive limit. Its low alarm level is 20±5% and 50±10%, with the high alarm level being greater than 50±10%. The response time to a leak is only a few second and the 65 decibel alarm is easily heard, even in a loud work setting. This device uses just two AA batteries and will work in temperatures from -4 to 131 degrees F.

To use the device all you need to do is hold the power button until it turns on, in an area that has fresh air. The LEDs on the device will light up in sequence and you will hear a small beep, which now signals it is ready to check for leaks. The LEDs are in red, yellow and green. Green signals no leak, red signals high alarm level and yellow signals low alarm level. There are different beeps for each alarm.

It is advised to routinely check around gas lines, even if you have no reason to suspect a leak. Preventing or catching a leak in the earlier stages will save time and frustration, as well as possibly prevent a heartbreaking accident.  

What to do When a Leak is Suspected

If a leak is suspected, you must act immediately. Those with gas in their homes or workplaces should have a number for their area to contact in the event of a leak, but if you don't then you can call emergency services/911 for help.

Even if you don't smell gas, which is possible if the odorant has faded, you and those around may begin experiencing symptoms like:

- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Sudden headache
- Nauseousness or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or chest pain
- Blurred vision

If this happens, immediately evacuate the building and call the emergency number using a neighbor's phone or a cellphone. It is important to simply get up and walk out. Don't turn on light switches, pick up the telephone or anything of the sort. Even if you wake up at night and smell that sulfuric odor, get outside as soon as possible.

Homes all over the United States use gases without ever having an incident and there is no reason to fear propane, methane or butane. But it is important to use caution to ensure the safety of everyone. Always take proper action to prevent a leak and keep a device like the Combustible Gas Leak Detector Pen at home or at work at all times.

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