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Five Facts About Chlorine Gas Detectors

Chlorine gas detectors play an important safety role in plant rooms, chemical stores and areas where personnel are routinely present.

Here are five facts about chlorine gas detectors, what they are and how they work.

1. What do chlorine gas detectors do?

Chlorine gas detectors are used to monitor ambient air for traces of gaseous chlorine (also chlorine dioxide or ozone) in order to provide an early warning to personnel of the presence of toxic gas.

You'll find them installed alongside equipment or chemicals that have the potential to release chlorine in the event of equipment failure, operator error or in the event of fire or flooding. They are commonly used in swimming pool plant rooms, water treatment facilities and chemical storage areas.

2. Why do I need a gas detector?

From a safety point of view, the first question should be "is there a safer method I can use to obtain, handle, store or use chlorine or hypochlorite?". Almost invariably, there is. At Gaffey, our staff have a great deal of knowledge and experience in dealing with chlorine based chemicals and chemical dosing systems and we are here to help!

As toxic gases such as chlorine and chlorine are heavier than air, the presence of toxic gas may not always be immediately obvious to personnel entering an enclosed space. In this situation their safety is at serious risk, particularly if the space extends to a basement area where the gas will naturally accumulate.

In buildings with public access such as swimming pools and hotels, a gas detection system can provide a vital early warning of a potentially serious incident, allowing more time for evacuation and assistance from emergency services.

For rescue or emergency services use the gas detection system can provide vital information about the concentration or location of toxic gas, allowing timely decisions to be made.

Without a gas detection system there is the little chance that personnel can react properly if they are unfortunate enough to smell a toxic gas in high concentration. Gases such as chlorine or chlorine dioxide can very quickly become extremely debilitating, critically effecting breathing and vision in a matter of seconds.

3. How do chlorine gas detectors work?

Gas detection systems normally comprise of one or more gas sensor devices (sniffer) and a control panel which converts and displays information and provides alarm functions. A sensor which is highly sensitive to the target gas is used to accurately measure and continually monitor its presence in the ambient air. This can be a very precise measurement - down to parts per million on Gaffey's chlorine gas detection systems - so the alarm can be raised the moment levels pass the safety threshold. Different gas concentration setpoints can be selected so that 'warning level' and 'critical' conditions can be provided. The gas sensors are a serviceable item and have a limited life. They will normally need to be replaced after 1-2 years of use.

4. Where should gas detectors be located?

Gases such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide and ozone are toxic, so it's essential to continuously monitor for their presence in the atmosphere, especially in enclosed spaces like plant rooms and basement areas. Whilst the gas sensor should be placed in the hazard area at low level, the control panel and alarm device should be located outside of the hazard area so that personnel can monitor the conditions from an external location before entry. One or two gas sensors can be utilised to monitor separate spaces, or different areas of a larger space.

5. Where should I install a gas detector?

Gas detectors should be installed anywhere where a leak or accumulation of toxic gas is possible - including rooms that are routinely used by employees and areas that are accessed less often where a leak might go unnoticed for some time.

Make sure your gas detector control panel is located outside the entrance to the monitored space so that personnel can check gas levels or perform a 'self-test' function before they enter any potentially hazardous areas.

To find out more about chlorine gas detectors or any of our instrumentation and control products, contact Gaffey today and a member of our team will be happy to help.

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