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What Is a Combustible Gas and How Do I Detect It?
Monday, June 17, 2019

When it comes to threats at home and at work, there are few things deadlier than a gas leak. Even a relatively small amount of combustible gas can level a house and kill everyone inside instantly. A small leak can steadily fill a house or building up with gas and ignite as soon as it hits a flame or even static electricity.

If your home or work uses combustible gasses, you need to know what combustible gas is and how to detect it properly. It could save your life and the lives of your family and coworkers.

In this article, we'll go over the basics of combustible gas and how to detect it.

Combustible Gas: What Is It?

Combustible gases are used in many of our modern appliances and make modern life possible. Combustible gases are used to heat our food, water, and homes, and they can even be used to generate electricity on a large scale. Combustible gases are also used in industry to create things like antifreeze, fertilizer, acids and even clothing.

Combustible gas is any gas that ignites when it is mixed with oxygen. Combustible gases are usually made up of hydrocarbons, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or any combination of those gases. Examples of combustible gases include methane, butane, and propane.

How to Detect Combustible Gas

Fortunately, there are many methods you can use to detect the presence of combustible gas.

The first and most obvious sign of a gas leak is a sulfuric, rotten egg smell. In its natural state, natural gas does not have any smell to it, which could make it very dangerous.

In response to this, natural gas companies inject mercaptan into the gas, which makes it smell strongly of sulfur. If you notice a strong sulfur smell, it's likely you have a gas leak.

But not all gas leaks will cause a strong smell, which can make it hard to detect. You can also try getting close to your gas appliances and listening for any hissing sound. If you hear a hissing sound near your gas appliance, it is most likely gas escaping from a small hole in the pipe.

Another good method for detecting a gas leak is to check the color of the flame when the gas burns. Gas that has been properly mixed with oxygen should burn blue, and if it isn't properly mixed, the flame will be orange or yellow.

If the flame is only temporarily yellow or orange, there should be no issue. You should only be concerned if the flame is consistently yellow or orange.

But if you are looking for a guaranteed method of detecting combustible gas, you'll need a gas detector. Gas detectors work by measuring the concentration of combustible gas in the air and warn the user when it gets too high.

Some work by using infrared light to detect the gas. Others work by using platinum, which heats up in response to combustible gas and sets off a temperature alarm.

Stay Educated, Stay Safe

If your home or workplace uses combustible gas, the only way to stay safe is to know about combustible gas and how to detect it properly. Make sure to learn exactly what type of gas your home or work uses so you know exactly what you are dealing with.

If you have any questions about combustible gas or how to detect it, please visit our blog.

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