Where is the best place to put a gas detector?

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.


The choice of position for your gas detector is obviously hugely important as it it has a major impact on the system’s ability to effectively do its job, and guarantee the safety of you and everyone around you. So if you’ve decided to get a new gas detection system for your premises, one of the first questions you’ll need to ask is: where’s the best place to put a gas detector?

Now, it’s not an easy question to answer in an article like this, mostly because the answer is so subjective. The size and nature of the premises in question can vary significantly from one customer to the next, so the safest option for someone else’s business is not necessarily always going to be the safest option for yours. So rather than advise you on a single place to put your gas detector, instead we’re going to give you a few quick pointers on how to work out the best location yourself. (Of course, if you want any more in-depth advice from any of our team about your specific premises, we’re happy to do that too!)

Step 1 – Perform a risk assessment

Yes, we know it’s a very obvious first step – but it’s so important that we’d be remiss not to mention it! Before you proceed with any other aspect of your planning, you’ll need to perform a potential gas hazard assessment within your facility, and any attached buildings. It’s crucial to identify each potential gas leak site at an early junction, make a note of the likelihood of any breach, its potential severity, and the density of any staff or visitors who could be working or moving through the area.

Step 2 – Make a detailed record

Once you’ve got all your initial notes, the next step is to ensure they’re all properly copied up, filed, and formalised into an official record. That record should then be distributed – or made freely available – to any staff who might need to see it, particularly warehouse supervisors or duty managers.

For maximum clarity, it’s often helpful for the final report to classify the areas of concern into two categories: potential discharge points, and potential contact areas.

Discharge points – Essentially, these are defined as the areas where the gas is most likely to be released. Common examples include valve steam seals, gaskets, compression fittings, and expansion joints.

Contact areas – Put simply, these are the places where any released gas has the potential to come into contact with staff or visitors, or damage company assets like property or equipment. Examples of some of the most common contact areas include confined spaces, pits, stairwells, crawlspaces, shelters, or any residential, commercial or industrial environments that might be in the immediate vicinity.

Step 3 – Consider potential complications

You don’t need specialist knowledge or expertise to know that gases can behave unpredictably. You’ll therefore need to consider factors like air flow conditions, as well as any areas where gas pockets could build up, before committing to placing your sensors.

Naturally, your priority should be to place them as closely as possible to the most likely discharge point (or multiple discharge points), to provide an early a warning as possible, giving you and everyone else the maximum time in which to react. You’ll also want to ensure that there are sensors in any areas which might end up with the highest gas concentration, whether it gathers there immediately after the leak, or after a longer period of time – these might be the corners of rooms for example, or the stopping points of gas-emitting equipment or machinery.

Don’t forget to consider the vapour density of the most likely dangerous gases. If you’re likely to be dealing with a heavier one like carbon monoxide, then your gas detectors will need to be located not too far above floor level. If the target gases are lighter than air on the other hand, then obviously your gas detectors will need to be on the ceiling, or close to it.

Make sure to avoid placing them near open doorways or fresh air vents, as regular influxes of outdoor air can end up diluting the readings, which limits the sensor’s ability to properly do its job – and may end up putting you and your staff in danger.

These are just the most universal principles – you may already be thinking of further safety steps for your own premises! And if you’re ever in need of any new or replacement gas detection equipment, that’s exactly where we can help here at Gas Alarms Systems. With more than 25 years of experience behind us, we’re market-leading experts in the design, development and maintenance of gas leak detection equipment. Feel free to take a look at our range of fixed products or portable products, 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.