Simple guidelines for gas sensor installation in the UK

When installing gas sensors in the UK there is no absolute rule in determining the exact location or number of sensors required, however there are a few simple guidelines you can follow to ensure the effectiveness of your gas leak detection system.

1. Type of detection. Choose which approach to gas sensor location you require: Perimeter Detection, where sensors are placed on the outskirts of the area being monitored, and/or Point Detection, where sensors are located as near as possible to the most likely source of potential leakages such as compressors, expansion valves, mechanical joints or cable duct trenches.

2. Number of sensors. There are no UK laws on sensor coverage. However the British Standard is 36m2 per sensor in a machinery room, or 50m2 if there is a discernible air flow. In refrigerated spaces, like cold stores with evaporators, coverage is increased to 50/100m2 due to strong air movement. This also applies to car parks with ventilation or air conditioned spaces with good air flow. When selecting the number of gas sensors your installation requires, don’t over-economise. A few extra sensors could make all the difference if a leak occurs.

3. Cross sensitivity.  Sensors are designed for maximum sensitivity to individual gases, however false alarms may be caused by the occasional presence of sufficiently high concentrations of other gaseous impurities. This might occur in plant rooms where maintenance involves the use of solvents or paint fumes, fruit ripening/storage facilities where accidental gas migration occurs, or confined rooms with heavy localised exhaust fumes from engine driven forklifts.

4. Gas Density. Senors used to detect a gas heavier than air (butane, propane, LPG or ozone) should be located near ground level, while gases lighter than air (hydrogen, methane or ammonia) require higher positioned gas sensors. Remember to take into account room ventilation, air temperature and gas density.

The correct positioning of gas sensors during the installation process is of paramount importance. If a gas leak does not reach the sensor then no alarm will be raised, so carefully selecting the right location for the sensors is crucial. Consult with Murco’s technical department for further advice.

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