Do carbon monoxide detectors also detect natural gases?

Contrary to popular belief, gas detectors are not classified as Category 3 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Weird right? But that doesn’t mean that they’re not important. They provide an effective warning system for workers operating in dangerous environments, so deciding on the type of gas detection system for your business isn’t always a decision you can make off the cuff.


It’s a simple question, and it’s got a simple answer – no, carbon monoxide detectors do not detect natural gases. Different toxic gases possess different chemical structures, and as a result, our gas detection systems need to be programmed as such in order to detect them. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution, so here at Gas Alarm Systems, we offer a range of portable gas detection systems, as well as fixed gas detection monitors that can be programmed to detect both carbon monoxide and natural gases.

Now, gas detection systems are exactly like any other kind of safety system in that in order for them to do their job properly, they need to be matched to the exact type of hazards present. So, here’s what you need to know.

Differences between carbon monoxide and natural gases

When discussing protection from both of these toxic gases, it’s important to distinguish between the two.

If you work in the industrial manufacturing, mining, and gas and oil industries, there’s a good chance that you’ll be working with particularly large quantities of natural gas, which means that depending on the nature of your job, there are a variety of risks you might be exposed to on a daily basis.

Prolonged exposure to toxic natural gas can lead to symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and a risk of asphyxiation in extreme cases. Therefore, it’s essential to put measures in place in any areas where natural gas might have the potential of being exposed to an ignition source, such as an open flame or spark. When natural gases come into contact with ignition sources, they explode, and we probably don’t need to illustrate the level of catastrophic damage an explosion in your work place would cause.

On the other hand, carbon monoxide is a common by-product of burning fuel that can accumulate at a rapid rate, especially in enclosed spaces. The risk of CO exposure tends to be higher in professions that involve the operation of fuel-burning tools and arc welders. The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are fairly innocuous, so it may not be immediately obvious that carbon monoxide is the cause (all the more reason to get a gas detection system in place!).

Both of these toxic gases pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of both you and your employees, so it’s important to take the necessary action to ensure that the risk of exposure is minimised. That’s where our gas detection systems can help.

How can gas detection systems help reduce risk?

Our portable gas detection systems provide you with real time data as to the level of dangerous gases present in the immediate area. Each one is small enough to be carried by an individual staff member, and can be programmed to pick up on common hazards like hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), and flammable gases. Plus, they’re comfortable and user friendly, offering an accurate reading as well as being available for purchase with a range of sensor options, including an infrared (IR) sensor for detection of flammable gases and CO2. They’re extremely low maintenance, and have a long lifespan as well as a fail-safe operation as standard. The ideal companion for any employees on the ground!

Alternatively, our fixed gas detection systems are installed in a permanent location, helping to ensure the ongoing safety of all surrounding working environments. The device helps to monitor the release of toxic gases, oxygen deficiency or enrichment, as well as the presence of flammable gases and vapours. Once triggered, it will alert any nearby staff members through a loud alarm system, allowing them to quickly initiate any shutdown procedures.

There are distinct differences between the dangers that each of these toxic gases pose, but they’re both equally as dangerous, so it’s important to be prepared for both.

Here at Gas Alarm Systems, our extensive in-house experts have ensured that our clients have received the best in natural gas and carbon monoxide detection equipment for over 25 years. Feel free to browse our range of fixed gas detection systems and portable gas detection monitors, or if you have any questions or need any advice, by all means call us on 01423 862240, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.