Best Gas Leak Detector for Natural Gas and Methane (2024 update)
What is the Best Methane Gas Leak Detector?
There are several excellent choices for a methane gas leak detector for the home. They may include the following:
- Forensic Detectors Gas Leak Detector
- Klein Tools Combustible Gas Leak Detector
- UEI Gas Leak Detector
- Ridgid Combustible Gas Leak Detector
- Inficon Gas Leak Detector
- Sensit Leak Detector
- Extech Gas Leak Combustible Detector
What is Methane Gas?
Methane gas is both colorless and odorless. It is produced in both nature and human industrial activities, such as in the extraction of natural gas. It is composed of the molecule CH4 that is combustible and a frequent greenhouse gas contributor. Methane gas, is also known as natural gas and a very important fossil fuel source for the home (oven and cooktop) and business.
Is Methane Gas the Same as Natural Gas?
Yes and No.
Methane gas is not technically the same as natural gas but natural gas, mostly is composed on methane, along with other gases such as ethane, propane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. But the main consistent gas in natural gas is methane.
Is Methane Gas Dangerous?
High concentrations of methane gas can produce dangerous health symptoms in homeowners and others who come into contact with it. Additionally, methane gas leaks have the potential to cause hazardous and deadly explosions that have been documented in the past.
What are Methane Gas Leak Symptoms?
Methane gas leaks can produce a number of symptoms in those who inhale high concentrations, thereby displacing oxygen in the body. Such symptoms may include, Increase in heart rate, Rapid breathing, Dizziness, Decrease in alertness, Weakness, Nausea, Convulsions, Coma, and Death.
Is There a Home Test for Methane Gas?
The best way to test for methane gas in the home is to purchase a methane gas detector and, for monitoring methane gas at all times, homeowners should look to purchase a fixed gas detector that has the capacity to be mounted to a wall.
What is a Methane Gas Leak Detector?
A methane gas leak detector, or a methane detector, is a piece of sensing equipment designed to monitor the presence of methane gas in a given environment. Typically, these devices provide accurate and quick information on the presence of methane gas. Many are designed using a laser light system for detection.
What are the different types of Gas Leak Detectors?
Yes there are. They can be divided up into three main groups:
Handheld Gas Leak Detectors
These are leak detectors that are made to be held and used to find gas leak in pipes, appliances, gas connectors. They typically have a gooseneck, or are pen type design. Used by plumbers, landlords, homeowners, technicians and many others.
Fixed Gas Leak Detector using 110V
These are devices that are fixed within the indoors to the ceiling. Home, Business or RV, and used to alarm if the gas has accumulated from the gas unintentionally being left turned ON (i.e., oven left ON). Used by homeowners, landlords, campers, RV owners.
Personal Protection Methane Natural Gas Leak Detector
These are devices made to be fixed to your man, clipped to your shirt or belt and will alarm if methane levels are too high. These devices are often used by employees working in the oil and gas industry or where methane is used in an industrial setting.
How Much Does a Methane Natural Gas Leak Detector Cost?
In general, a natural gas leak detector or methane gas leak detector may cost anywhere between $50 and $300, depending on the quality of the device and its total capabilities.
Have There Been Any Explosions from Methane Natural Gas Leaks?
Yes. In fact, there have been a number of explosions caused by methane gas leaks. Some examples include the following:
- In 2020, investigators suspected that methane gas leak had caused the explosion of a home in Signal Hill.
- In 2018, a methane gas leak explosion at a fracking site in Ohio ultimately led to the evacuation of a number of individuals residing in a 1-mile radius of the explosion.
- In 2019, a methane gas leak explosion in a sewer caused a car fire and caused people to flee the scene in the French Quarter.
How Does a Methane Natural Gas Leak Detector Work?
Methane gas leak detectors function by monitoring the level and concentration of methane gas in a given environment. Once the detectors monitors a level of gas that is higher that what it is programmed to deem normal, it alerts the user of the unusually high presence of gas.
How Do I Use a Methane Natural Gas Leak Detector?
With a mounted methane gas leak detector, homeowners should take care to mount the devices in an appropriate area closer to the ceiling for best results. With a natural gas sniffer, homeowners should properly get the device running before using the nozzle to identify a gas leak in an environment where a methane gas leak is suspected.
How Do You Detect a Methane Natural Gas Leak?
There are a number of methods to detect a methane gas leak, however the most effective and proper method is to use a methane detector or a combustibles detector. Other less effective methods include observing a sulfur/rotten egg smell, hearing a whistling/hissing noise, checking the stove, or conducting a soapy water test.
How Long Do Methane Natural Gas Leak Detectors Last?
Many methane detectors and natural gas detectors are capable of lasting for five or more years. As such, homeowners and landlords should be sure to replace them as needed so that the devices can continue to do their job as they are designed to do so.
Is a Methane Gas Leak Detector the Same as a Combustible Gas Leak Detector?
In most cases, yes.
A combustible gas leak detector is used to monitor the presence of a variety of combustible gases, including methane. However, these devices are not specifically tailored to methane gas detection. On the other hand, a methane gas leak detector is specifically tailored to methane gas detection, but may not be able to detect other combustible gases.
Due to the distinctions between these two gas sensors, it is imperative that homeowners looking to purchase a gas leak detector read the specs for each device. This will ensure that a detector that detects the desired gas is purchased.
Who Uses a Methane Gas Leak Detector?
Some typical users of gas leak detectors include:
Home Owners and Landlords
Homeowners and landlords may find need for a methane detector if they own appliances or suspect gas leaks from pipes or connections. A gas leak detector would be a useful tool to pin point suspected gas leaks.
Plumbers, Technicians, HVAC, and Other Professionals
Professionals including plumbers, engineers, technicians, HVAC technicians, and more may come into contact with methane gas, so combustible gas leak detectors can help them find methane gas leaks.
Livestock Owners and Agricultural Workers
Livestock owners and agricultural workers frequently work in operations that have the potential to release methane gas into the environment.
Business and Workplace
Many businesses such as restaurants have natural gas burning appliances, cooktops, ovens and heaters. Gas leaks are common especially in location that are old and aged.
Do I Need a Methane Gas Leak Detector?
Maybe. If you have a gas leak, and want to confirm its location, a gas leak detector may be appropriate. Calling a plumber or your gas company is also a option.
If you are a homeowner or other professional who has the potential to use and come into contact with methane gas, yes.
Can a Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect a Gas Leak?
No, a carbon monoxide detector will not detect a gas leak.
These detectors are specifically designed to sense carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning fuel. Gas leaks, usually involving natural gas or propane, primarily consist of methane, which carbon monoxide detectors are not equipped to detect. For detecting gas leaks, a specific gas leak detector is required.
Can a Gas Leak Detector detect a Carbon Monoxide Leak?
No, a gas leak detector will not detect a carbon monoxide leak.
Gas leak detectors are specifically designed to identify combustible gases like natural gas or propane, which are different from carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion and requires a dedicated carbon monoxide detector to be sensed, due to its different chemical properties and dangers.
Will a CO2 Detector Detect a Gas Leak?
No, a CO2 detector will not detect a gas leak.
CO2 detectors are designed to measure levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is different from combustible gases like methane or propane typically involved in gas leaks. Gas leaks require specific detectors that can sense these flammable gases, as they pose different risks and have different properties than carbon dioxide.
Where Should a Methane Gas Leak Detector be Located?
A methane gas leak detector should be located close to the ceiling if it is meant to be mounted for a sustained duration of time. This is because methane gas is lighter than air, so it will sit above the air and thus be present closer to the ceiling than the floor.
For locating gas leaks using a gooseneck like gas leak detector, place the sensor along suspected locations and run it slowly around different locations. Cross-winds, ventilation and turbulence effects all play a critical role in dilution physics, which will impact the speed of detection. Hence, the importance in obtaining a gas leak methane detector that reads parts per million resolution.
Will a Methane Gas Leak Detector Detect Natural Gas?
Natural gas is mostly composed of methane gas. Other combustible gases are also included, therefore a gas leak detector using a pellister sensor or non-specific semiconducting oxide material will detect all combustibles within the natural gas.
How Do I Select a Methane Gas Leak Detector?
To purchase a methane gas leak detector, there are several factors that are particularly important to research.
|Length of Time it Will Last
How Reliable Are Methane Gas Leak Detectors?
Effective and reliable methane gas leak detectors have the capacity to detect low levels of gases, even down to 50 ppm or less. The Forensic Detectors' device lasts over 5 years and employs high quality Made in Japan semiconducting sensor technology.
What do Customers say?
The FD-91 is our most advanced gas leak detector. This is a true story from an Amazon.com customer:
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2022
I purchased this because we smelled gas in the basement, but PSE&G could not detect it with their meter. I calibrated it and it was detecting gas *everywhere* inside. That made me skeptical, so I put it to the stove burner (running but not lit) and it pegged high. I put it outside and it went back to zero. So I felt like it was working.
After checking the whole house, I isolated the highest readings to the gas water heater. I did not see the pilot tube corrosion because it was under the tube not on top. I called PSEG again, another guy shows up and commented the Forensics meter is "too sensitive to be useful".
Well again, his meter didn't pick up anything in the house. I bring him to the water heater and his meter is STILL not getting anything (!). I showed him 2 places I was getting very high readings, the thermostat and the exhaust up top. After like 10 minutes, he visually locates the corroded pilot tube . Long story short it got fixed and now my Forensics meter reads ZERO all around the house including the water heater. Despite my concern it was accurate the whole time.
I have decades of experience with high-end electronic test equipment. My expectations were low for this being only $100. But this meter proved itself against the big boys, it may not read the exact PPM, but it's a useful relative indicator and you can trace a leak with it. I'm sure this will come in handy again.
TIP 1- based on the reviews of people breaking it, I am VERY careful with it. It's weighted kind of awkward due to the top heavy sensor so just treat it like it's a Champaign glass. I carry it from the tube so it's balanced.
TIP 2- make sure you calibrate it outside where there's zero gas
TIP 3- natural gas rises and it's shocking how much that tiny leak filled the house with detectable gas! Do not be surprised if you get readings far away from the source of the leak!
- Methane gas leak detectors are an excellent device to use to monitor the presence of a methane gas leak.
- Methane gas leaks have the potential to cause a number of harms to humans including health problems and dangerous explosions.
- Methane gas leak detectors may also be called methane detectors, combustibles detectors, natural gas detectors, natural gas leak detectors, or natural gas sniffers.
- Methane gas leak detectors are relatively inexpensive, typically have a lifetime between 5 and 10 years, and are reliable.
About the Author
Dr. Kos Galatsis ("Dr.Koz") is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS, where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.
Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers, and having a cold beer.
Read more about Forensics Detectors here.
Phone: +1 424-341-3886