Gas leak detector?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
fittan
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

Gas leak detector?

Post by fittan » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:19 pm

Hi fellow BH,
By now you've probably heard of the spontaneous house explosions in the north east. What do you think of "gas detectors"? Amazon and Home depot have them for sale but frankly this is the first time I heard of them. Of course I have all the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. So I am just wondering if I need to get another "gas detector". thanks.

criticalmass
Posts: 667
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by criticalmass » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:27 pm

fittan wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:19 pm
Hi fellow BH,
By now you've probably heard of the spontaneous house explosions in the north east. What do you think of "gas detectors"? Amazon and Home depot have them for sale but frankly this is the first time I heard of them. Of course I have all the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. So I am just wondering if I need to get another "gas detector". thanks.
They’ve been around for decades, sometimes combined with CO detectors. They do work and something to consider if you are concerned about flammable gas in your structure.

The Bay State Gas/Columbia Gas debacle is extremely unusual, although something similar happened on a smaller scale with Keyspan Energy (now national grid) in nearby Lexington, circa 2005.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 8021
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:29 pm

Canaries. :D
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

fittan
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by fittan » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:45 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:29 pm
Canaries. :D
haha...I will order some from amazon now

moehoward
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:16 am

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by moehoward » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:46 pm

We bought one for traveling, so far it has not gone off. My biggest fear is that I will hear the alarm and 10 sec later a big boom....

psteinx
Posts: 2906
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:24 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by psteinx » Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:58 pm

For stuff like this, think in terms of monetary and non-monetary* costs, in relation to the likelihood of preventing death, injury and/or property damage.

* Things like the time to research, purchase and deploy one or more such devices, to maintain them over the years, and so on.

I haven't researched the statistics, but notwithstanding the recent high profile events, my guess is that the number of such incidents, averaged over time and across the US, is pretty low, and I kinda doubt that such a device would come out very favorably on standard cost-benefit tests. Again, this is my hunch.

Rupert
Posts: 3737
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by Rupert » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:06 pm

I'm curious if a gas detector would alert before a carbon monoxide detector would. I once smelled gas in my living room and traced it (via my nose) to a valve on an old line running to gas logs in my fireplace. I used the dish soap bubble test to confirm it was a leak and called a plumber to cap that line. My carbon monoxide detectors never alerted, but they were in other rooms (bedrooms, as opposed to the living room). Anyone know if the gas detectors are more sensitive?

bob60014
Posts: 685
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by bob60014 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:07 pm

While the incident rate is extremely low, in cities where the infrastructure is old the probability of a main line leak naturally goes up. The units that are portable are good for travellers too.

SimonJester
Posts: 1656
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:39 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by SimonJester » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:29 pm

One of my combined Smoke, CO detectors also had a gas detector. It would go off every time I would make chocolate rum cake for the holidays. Man that was some good cake :D Eventually it expired, as CO detectors have a finite life span, and this one was done after 10 years. The one I replaced it with did not have the gas detector part. Saved me from pulling the battery every year I make rum cake.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

adamthesmythe
Posts: 2293
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:27 pm

Maybe post a link to the product under consideration?

Inexpensive gas detectors will probably be imperfectly selective (that is, there will be false positives).

Mercaptan is added to make small concentrations of natural gas smell bad.

random_walker_77
Posts: 631
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by random_walker_77 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:33 pm

fittan wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 3:19 pm
Hi fellow BH,
By now you've probably heard of the spontaneous house explosions in the north east. What do you think of "gas detectors"? Amazon and Home depot have them for sale but frankly this is the first time I heard of them. Of course I have all the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. So I am just wondering if I need to get another "gas detector". thanks.
Natural gas distributed via pipeline has an odorant added, so it smells. Your nose will detect it way before it reaches concentrations that will burn.

https://hvacveteran.wordpress.com/2009/ ... -my-house/

daveydoo
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun May 15, 2016 1:53 am

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by daveydoo » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:42 am

adamthesmythe wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:27 pm

Mercaptan is added to make small concentrations of natural gas smell bad.
+1. CO is a whole different story -- hence the detectors for that.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 2609
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:17 am

I bought 2 natural gas detectors for the fireplace room and the laundry room.

Both rooms have the potential for gas leaks. I bought them off amazon - i think they were $35-45 each.
And I have no idea if they actually work.

bogglizer
Posts: 189
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:56 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by bogglizer » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:54 am

Not everyone can smell oderized natural gas.

User avatar
NavyIC3
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:18 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by NavyIC3 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:18 am

Rupert wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:06 pm
I'm curious if a gas detector would alert before a carbon monoxide detector would. I once smelled gas in my living room and traced it (via my nose) to a valve on an old line running to gas logs in my fireplace. I used the dish soap bubble test to confirm it was a leak and called a plumber to cap that line. My carbon monoxide detectors never alerted, but they were in other rooms (bedrooms, as opposed to the living room). Anyone know if the gas detectors are more sensitive?
Two different gases. Carbon monoxide is a product of combustion. A gas detector would not detect CO. A CO detector would not detect gas. There are combination gas detectors and CO detectors on the market. One of those would protect against both dangers.

fittan
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:58 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by fittan » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:56 pm

thanks to all who replied....it is helpful. I found this product on amazon. seems decent for $32. I was thinking besides exploding house, this may be useful in situations where we accidentally left stove running (e.g. you're stewing something on low heat and somehow the fire went out creating a slow gas leak). This has happened before.

https://smile.amazon.com/Funtin-Natural ... merReviews

Teague
Posts: 1181
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by Teague » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:14 pm

My wife has an amazing gas detector. I just blame the dog.

The good news is that natural gas and propane are not toxic. But of course they are explosive in the right concentration. And if you breathe exclusively gas and no air, you will be asphyxiated, but that's pretty hard to accomplish.
Semper Augustus

Snowjob
Posts: 1512
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by Snowjob » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:27 pm

Teague wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:14 pm
My wife has an amazing gas detector. I just blame the dog.

The good news is that natural gas and propane are not toxic. But of course they are explosive in the right concentration. And if you breathe exclusively gas and no air, you will be asphyxiated, but that's pretty hard to accomplish.
LOL ^^

neilpilot
Posts: 1882
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by neilpilot » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:28 pm

Teague wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:14 pm
My wife has an amazing gas detector. I just blame the dog.

The good news is that natural gas and propane are not toxic. But of course they are explosive in the right concentration. And if you breathe exclusively gas and no air, you will be asphyxiated, but that's pretty hard to accomplish.
If a natural gas leak is so bad that you are asphyxiated due to lack of air, then luckily there may be too high a concentration of gas to create an explosive mixture. The upper explosive limit (UEL) of natural gas is 15%.

jcchen
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:08 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by jcchen » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:21 pm

I have a Kidde Nighthawk combo gas and CO detector (something like https://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us ... kn-coeg-3/) placed in my basement near the gas furnace. A tradesman smelled a faint gas odor and called the gas company who verified the presence of a very small leak in the gas piping. The Kidde detector didnt give any warning. So, I dont think consumer grade detectors work.

Since then I asked the gas company to move the regulator that steps down the pressure, from basement to outside the house. In MA this move is free. and from my understanding the chance of a gas explosion is almost nil when the regulator and high pressure lines are outside the home, where the leaking gas can disperse freely.

neilpilot
Posts: 1882
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by neilpilot » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:16 pm

jcchen wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:21 pm
A tradesman smelled a faint gas odor and called the gas company who verified the presence of a very small leak in the gas piping. The Kidde detector didnt give any warning. So, I dont think consumer grade detectors work.
These detectors are typically calibrated to alarm at 25% of the LEL, which for natural gas is 1.0-1.5% concentration. That sounds small, but you can typically detect a faint odor of mercaptan when the natural gas concentration is below 1%.

So the detector may have been working fine but the gas concentration was well below it's alarm setting.

random_walker_77
Posts: 631
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Gas leak detector?

Post by random_walker_77 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:38 pm

fittan wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:56 pm
thanks to all who replied....it is helpful. I found this product on amazon. seems decent for $32. I was thinking besides exploding house, this may be useful in situations where we accidentally left stove running (e.g. you're stewing something on low heat and somehow the fire went out creating a slow gas leak). This has happened before.

https://smile.amazon.com/Funtin-Natural ... merReviews
Well, there's not many reviews on this. fakespot rates it as a "F" so the reviews on there have a higher risk of being low quality. The product description has some grammatical quirks that make this seem like a straight-from-china product.

Reviews on other consumer combustible gas alarms w/ more reviews don't look so hot. Sounds like a lot of them don't work. Some reviewers describe emergencies where the alarm didn't go off, or give anecdotes of waving the alarm over gases from an unlit stove w/ no response from the alarm.

caveat emptor. Then again, buy one and test it. Maybe you can write the first bad review if it doesn't work.

Post Reply