Experts agree that the best approach to ensuring your gas detection equipment operates efficiently and effectively is to perform regular bump tests and calibration for portable devices and fixed detection systems. For applications utilizing hazardous gases, or created naturally by combining other ingredients to create a solution, gas detection equipment is required. Before gas detection equipment was invented, methods of detection such as thick wet blankets and canaries were used.
However, gas detection equipment requires regular maintenance and bump testing to verify its best performance. Bump testing is defined as a numerical process in which the sensors are exposed to a hazardous gas in a controlled environment or space for a period of time, and have a certain amount of concentration to activate alarms in the lower alarm preset. Performing bump tests confirms the gas is capable of reaching the sensors. This is important because it helps users understand how long it takes for the sensor to respond, response time recovery, and making sure all the alarms sound properly.
A calibration check is defined as a numerical test using a known source of the concentrated gas to verify the response of the sensors is within the manufacturer’s satisfactory limits. Each device has its own acceptable range, and if you don’t have a copy of the limits they should be available on the manufacturer’s website. A full calibration is the adjustment of a device’s response to match the sought value connected to a known detectable concentration of the test gas.
Both manufacturers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stress the importance of testing your gas detection equipment before each use (when applicable). If users do not perform regular testing, sensors can become compromised and decrease their performance if exposed to certain conditions and substances. Oxygen sensors can have performance issues toward the end of their life cycle, such as slow response when exposed to displeasing areas. Catalytic LEL combustible sensors are badly affected by poisons or substances inhibiting the device’s response. Sensors can also experience loss of sensitivity due to aging caused by damage over time or other scenarios. Some sensors can react poorly to environmental changes such as humidity or extreme temperature changes. Even if your device is advertised as a “zero maintenance” product, you should periodically conduct maintenance checks to assure the best results when in use.
Otis Instruments offers a vast selection of Wired and WireFree easy-to-use, robust, and configurable gas detectors and monitors capable of detecting both toxic and non-toxic gases for diverse applications. For more information regarding calibration and maintenance or performance testing, visit our resources page containing product manuals, datasheets, and more to ensure you know everything about your product. Need additional information or interested in a gas detection solution, contact Otis Instruments today!