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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,745

    Question gas/propane leak detector

    First, I tried a search, but gas is too short to be included in a search and my other search tries did not come up with anything.

    I am looking to buy a combustable gas leak detector- propane/natural gas.
    What are the recommendations- good or bad.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,745
    so, people have looked but no replies.
    nobody use anything other than their nose or bubbles?
    just no opinion?
    any feedback is welcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    somewhere between heaven and hell
    Posts
    957
    The one I use I can't even remember the brand off hand to tired to think but it sniffs natural/propane it is red in a black case with maybe 10-12 inch flexable hose. Only thing is I use the teflon paste for joint sealant and my detecor goes off if the paste is fresh that has just been put on pipe.Damn can't remember what brand mine is now I have to go look tomorrow.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    I am unsure myself
    Posts
    1,116
    I use a WEI electronic leak detector in conjunction with good old bubbles of course. I have not found it to be influenced by any other substance either. Wasn't too bad on the pocket book either 150 to 200 if I recall. Wife didn't complain so it couldn't have been too much.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    warrenton mo
    Posts
    7

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    303
    Bacharach Infomant 2.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    cincinnati ohio
    Posts
    2,024

    bacharach

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwireeferman View Post
    Bacharach Infomant 2.
    I cant indorse informant 11 ! Worked good first year and than wouldnt work anymore just outside the warranty ! I cant recall if the warranty was 1 or 2 years but it died right out of warranty . I was doin an install for the local gas company and they used gas track ngx-6 . He told me how many times he dropped it over the years so I bought one . I had 350 in the informant 2 and 50 the second year = 400 dollars and its sitting in the piece of crap pile now . The gas track was less money too !
    My avatar is a picture of a Goodman Silencer .....These were commonly used in Goodman country ....Photos by hvac tech ( PaysonHVAC )

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    manitoba canada
    Posts
    153
    We use Bacharach Leakator 10 to test burner assemblies for 8 hours a day 5 days a week and we never have had one break down on us besides changing out the sensor maybe once every 2 years. http://www.valuetesters.com/Bacharac...s-Detector.php

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    manitoba canada
    Posts
    153
    We have 5 Bacharachs in use everyday.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    cincinnati ohio
    Posts
    2,024

    bacharrach

    you might want to read the thread down a few about others hav problems with theis stuff ! And just look at that great 1 year warranty ? Not alot of stock in their own products .http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=162820
    My avatar is a picture of a Goodman Silencer .....These were commonly used in Goodman country ....Photos by hvac tech ( PaysonHVAC )

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,277

    Cool

    PAcnw, there may have been a little hesitation because it's hard to believe you cannot find combustible gas sniffers using an internet search.

    When comparing brands, check to see at what level the unit senses CH4. While the ubiquitous TIFF 8800a has been around forever, it is calibrated off heptane and won't sense CH4 at less than 500ppm, which is almost worthless. Since the human nose can detect gas leaks in the 1-2 ppm range ( your nose is actually smelling the odorant, which is detectible down to parts per billion), you need a low level response for it to do much good.

    Buy a spare sensor tip. I know the Bacharach leakator 10 uses the same sensor as the TIFF and is the most common repair. There are some newer machines on the market for good prices that can sense combustible gases and CO, but these CO sniffers are not analyzers--just survey meters.

    The next step up is an analyzer that measures the concentration. This is usually reported as % volume or % of the Lower Explosive Limit or LEL. With the LELs of NG being around 44,000 ppm and 21,500 for LP respectively, they do not sense low levels but action levels. 20% of the LEL is considered the highest action level in most places.

    If you really want to go for the gusto, you have save up for a survey meter/ analyzer. I have a Gas Trac that surveys as a geiger counter" sniffer, % LEL and % volume, is calibrated separately for C3H8 and CH4 and is a CO sniffer and best of all, has a pump to draw in the gases from a few feet away. Survey meters require the sensor be placed in the gas cloud, which means you could miss a leak a few feet away. Check out the Sensit Gold series.

    The last type are 4 in one meters. These are intended for emergency response and sewer entry. The sense combustible gases, CO, O2, and SO2. They are not all that great for HVAC use except the SO2 feature will detect dangerous DWV leaks.

    Sniffers respond to a range of chemicals so you still need to rule out false positives. That means once a "leak" is found, you need to use soap bubbles to confirm it. Ordinary detergents containing chlorides should not be used as it can lead to stress cracking. Use commercially prepared solutions that state they are non-corrosive. You will need a higher viscosity solution for larger leaks so it doesn't blow the bubbles away then a low viscosity thin fimn solution for those trace gas leaks. Aways use the electronic analyzer before soap or you'll get a false positive. Do not paint soap soln. on regulator vents as it can gel over it blocking the vent causing higher pressures. If you suspect a blown reg. diapgram such as from high pressure line testing without disconnecting the unit, use the sniffer then a thin film followed by wiping and rinsing.

    As for open flame testing, aside from the obvious insanity and prohibition by the codes, it is worthless. Since nuisance leaks are almost always less than the LEL, you can have a very strong leak such as 30 ppm CH4 and it won't ignite with a match!

    HTH,
    Hearthman

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,745
    hearthman-
    I could not find anything on this board searching with the word gas.

    I can find information on various detectors on the unternet without issue. I wanted some real world experience from those using things, not just manufacturer hype.
    As some have pointed out with this tool and others, and yes there will be different opinions on the same stuff, their first choice was not the ultimate choice due to repair costs, poor quality, lack of functionality and the like.

    Our company has stand alone combustion analyzers, so not looking for a combo unit.

    As for chemical leak checking, your detector first chemical second method is the way I would use them. I just want to keep from having to "soap" every connection. Also, trying to get to every connection can be a problem.

    Thank you for the in depth explainations and suggestions.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    4
    We bought Bacharach Leakator 10 and it is a piece of crap - from the sensor to the hose. We called the manufacture and and they exchanged the unit for another defective one. It must be refurbished. I guess their QC is not existent. Don't buy it, save your money.

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