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.
Jennifer is a contributing writer for DoItYourself.com. She has a wide range of experience with researching and creating home improvement projects, and especially enjoys learning about kitchen design, upholstery, and water filtration.
H.R. Helm is an accomplished DIY craftsman. He has been DIY since childhood and is now a septuagenarian. He is experienced in wood and metal construction, having designed and built several houses and metal buildings. He built every permanent building on his current homestead and did all the plumbing and electrical work.
He has several years experience as a professional cabinet builder, and he is an accomplished auto repairman, having operated an auto repair business for many years. He currently has a home shop where he sharpens and rebuilds saws, repairs lawn mowers, mobility scooters, hydraulic jacks, and anything else that comes along. He also builds custom tools for metal working.
Invention prototypes are another of his many accomplishments. He owned and operated a manufacturing business building Compact Utility Vehicles for homeowner use. H.R. enjoys making jams and jellies during fruit season along with cooking meals. He is committed to outdoor cooking in a Bar-B-Q pit he welded together several years ago. He maintains fruit and nut trees along with helping his wife with a vegetable garden. He farmed commercial garden produce for several years. It helps to have over 50 years of farming and ranching experience.
ASE Certified Master Auto Technician
Cross country truck driver -- over dimensional freight
Design Engineer/Project Manager for injection molded plastic company
Bus Driver/Substitute Teacher
Inventor with two patents (weight training &ndash; anti-rollback for manual wheelchair)
BS in Industrial Technology