Installing a natural gas detector in a home that uses natural gas is an important part of maintaining the safety of your family members. Natural gas detectors are an affordable, easy to install way to detect the build up of natural gas in your home while it is still at a low enough level for people and pets to leave the building and solve the problem, preventing possible injury or death related to natural gas inhalation and possible explosion.
Step 1 - Choose a Detector
When choosing a detector, pick one with the lowest possible LEL. LEL stands for “lower explosive limit,” and this rating represents the level at which the detector picks up on gas buildup and sounds its alarm, alerting you to the problem. The lower the level, the more effective the detector will be in keeping you and your home safe.
Consider wiring when choosing a detector—battery operated detectors can be installed anywhere, but hardwired detectors require electrical hookups to function. If you are either willing to have an electrician come in to run wire, or if you are handy with electrical wiring and feel comfortable pulling through wiring for your new detector, hardwired detectors are a reliable, affordable option.
Step 2 - Choose a Location to Install the Detector
Choose a location for the detector that will provide the optimum functionality. The kitchen, laundry room, and furnace room are all areas where natural gas build up is most likely to occur, and thus these should be the locations for your first line of defense: the gas detector.
Step 3 - Install the Detector
The difficulty of installation depends entirely upon the available wiring and the type of detector being installed. If you are installing a simple battery operated unit, this is a one step process: simply take the mounting for the unit, screw it into the wall or ceiling in the desired location, put in the battery, and click the detector into place. If the detector is a hard wire unit, you will need to run and pull through an electrical line for the unit.
The mounting process will be the same as that for a battery unit, but the wires will need to be pulled through the mounting, spliced with the unit, and capped before the front of the unit is installed. Instructions are included with each natural gas unit, and because there is so much variance between the processes for each hard wire unit, referencing these instructions is the best way to ensure proper installation of your detector.
Step 4 - Maintain the Unit
Once the unit is installed, it's essentially important to maintain the unit. Both hardwired and battery operated units will have a battery—for the first, a backup battery, and for the second, the main source of power. Check the gas detectors monthly by pressing the test button, and replace the batteries every six to 12 months, regardless of usage, to make sure they will work when you need them most.