Gas Detectors Stress Regular Maintenance of Gas Dectors

Friday 24 February 2017, 6:50PM

By Beckie Wright


Gas detectors can be difficult to maintain, especially when you need to perform frequent instrument calibration. Calibration is not a particularly challenging or time consuming process but the tough part is finding the time in your schedule when countless other tasks demand your attention. As your days get busier, it gets harder to find the time to stop and maintain something that may not be showing signs of wear and won’t help finish your job faster.

At Gas Detectors they recommend a bump test before each day’s use, and monthly calibrations to ensure proper instrument performance. Unfortunately for the industry, there is a dangerous rumour that industry-standard maintenance recommendations are unnecessary.

The popularity of these rumors has spiked recently with the introduction of multi-gas instruments with new low-power, infrared sensor technology for combustible gas detection that claim to perform for up to two years without needing to be calibrated. These low-power infrared sensors deliver on their claim of extended instrument runtime, but these instruments use the same electrochemical sensor technology for toxic gas detection, so why wouldn’t they need calibration?

One common argument against the need for routine calibration is using a periodic bump test to validate sensor performance. A bump test is designed to ensure the instrument will detect the presence of a gas, not to validate the accuracy of the measurement. A common standard to pass a bump test is the instrument must detect 50% of the calibration gas concentration exposed to the instrument.

For example, your coworker borrowed your brand new gas detector yesterday for a few hours. On his way back to the office, he accidentally dropped it in the mud, which clogged the sensor openings. If you bump test the instrument before your next use, the bump test will catch the problem and fail, as the gas will not reach the sensors. It will not adjust the measurement accuracy in any way, only test the ability of gas to reach the sensor.

Gas Detectors say one way to ensure proper instrument performance and reduce maintenance hassles is to use a docking station or calibration station. These devices automate your routine bump tests and calibrations plus download datalogs, update settings and firmware, and, most importantly, allow you to focus on your job.

While no one will argue that frequent instrument calibration isn’t a hassle, its importance should never be minimized. Gas detectors are life-saving devices, Don’t let misleading information or a few minutes of maintenance get in the way of having a life saving device, and for more information please go to .