Gas leakage is an unintended escape of natural gas or any gaseous product from a pipeline or other containment into a living area or anywhere where it should not be (Samaniego, 2012). Gas leakage is very dangerous due to its flammable nature when exposed to flames or sparks that may lead to an explosion. Gas leaks are mostly a consequence of badly maintained, faulty or poorly fixed appliances, such as cookers and boilers, thus giving the gas a space to escape from the broken seals and hoses. If gas leaks are left unattended, they can pose dangerous threats, including carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, and explosions. A gas sensor refers to a safety system device that senses the gas present in a particular space. There are warnings all over that once a smell of gas is detected, everyone close by should vacate that area and run for his/her life to avoid major health problems that may follow. At least one person should call for help so that the experts of the gas detection departments should come to the scene and take corrective measures to stop the gas leakages and establish where the gas was leaking from and safely ensure that it won’t leak again (Samaniego, 2012). Natural gas and carbon monoxide are very rampant and can easily be encountered in the surrounding. Natural gas has no smell and is colorless, hence it is difficult to detect it without special detectors. It should be noted that careful average individuals with a very strong sense of smell can detect gas because although it is odorless, there are chemical additives that allow its detection. Natural gas is almost found everywhere, starting from the ovens, water heaters, furnaces, clothe driers, and fireplaces. This equipment is designed to detect gas seepage and the border with a regulatory structure that automatically shuts down a process. Therefore, gas leakage exposure is the procedure of pinpointing possibly precarious gas escapes by the use of sensors (Samaniego, 2012). These antennas typically engage a perceptible alarm to make people aware when a treacherous gas has been perceived (Samaniego, 2012).
Gas sensors are composed of devices that detect gas molecules. This sensor sends electrical signals as the output that is equally proportionate to the gas concentrations. The gas detectors do not just detect particular gases, but they always employ distinct methods to gauge them (Samaniego, 2012). The employment of these distinctive techniques has its disadvantages, for instance, attracting extra costs, such as the fees of the skilled laborer who attends and operates this device, as well as implementing the specially designed personal computers that slow the response time. The common types of sensors include infra-red point sensors, electrochemical gas sensors, and semi-conductor sensors (Samaniego, 2012).
The aim of this paper is to examine critically the concept of gas leakage detection. The particular objectives of the paper will be to look at history of the gas leakage detection, evaluate the concept of gas leakage detection on ships, to come up with the main types of the gas leakage detection, to assess the gas leakage systems that have been developed, to evaluate the effects gas escape to the environment, and to come up with the ways of ensuring that there are no gas leaks or at least to minimize gas leaks to the environment so as to avoid explosions.
History of Gas Leakage Detection
Gas leakage recognition methods come to be a chief alarm after the effects of injurious fumes on human healthiness have been learned. Another instance that led to the development of the gas leakage detection is the Bhopal gas strategy that took place in India in 1984. Over 500,000 people were exposed to harmful gases and got injured while a good number of people lost their lives in the gas-related incident. Before the introduction of the up-to-date automated radars, the initial detection methods had depended on less accurate sensors (Mangieri, 2006). Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the mineworkers went to the shafts with canaries as a revealing scheme against the deadly gases, such as carbon (iv) oxide, carbon (ii) oxide, and methane. A canary discontinues singing and ultimately dies if it is exposed to dangerous gases (Samaniego, 2012). When the bird stops singing, this implies that the miners should quickly exit the mine because there are hazardous gases. In the 1980s and 1990s, a chemically suffused paper that could turn brown when exposed to the gas was used to detect the existence of carbon (ii) oxide.
Many electronic gas sensors have been developed and improved. They sense, observe and prepare the escape of a wide range of gases; hence, they have been unified into a wide choice of systems (Mangieri, 2006). Initially, the use of these sensors in vehicles was to control engine emissions, but nowadays, they are also used to ensure passengers’ safety and comfort. It is now becoming a requirement for the structures being built to install carbon (iv) oxide sensors as part of the requested orderly aeration structures (Mangieri, 2006). The originally produced detectors could detect only one type of gas, but the modern ones may detect some toxic gases. Powerful gas analyzers have been developed that can halt the constituent pointers from a multifaceted fragrance to categorize numerous gases instantaneously.
Types of Gas Leakages
The majority of the federal agencies have adopted the gas piping and technology committee (GPRTC) canons in order to categorize natural gas seepages (Samaniego, 2012). There are three main grades identified by this committee, i.e. Grade 1 leakages, which is an escape that epitomizes a prevailing or a possible peril to a person or property and needs immediate repair or continuous actions to be taken until the conditions are not hazardous anymore. The grade 1 leak gases include: any escape that is regarded as an instantaneous threat by the conclusion of the functioning workforces, any absconding gas that has been burned, any detectable gas that has moved into or beneath a building or a tunnel, any calibration of 80% LEL or more in a curbed space, any calibration of 80% LEL or more in lesser substructures in which there are possible gas escapes to the outer wall of the construction, and also any outflow that can be seen, heard or felt and more so that is in a place where it can harm people and destroy property (Samaniego, 2012).
The grade 2 leakage is an escape that is identified as being non-perilous at the time when it is sensed but can become precarious in the future, though it has a programmed reparation (Mangieri, 2006). Its main examples include leakages needing action within six months, leaks needing action ahead of ground freezing, any calibration of 40% LEL or more under a walkway in a wall-to-wall surfaced extent that does not meet the requirements of being the grade one leakage, any gradation of 100% LEL or more under a lane in a wall-to-wall surfaced extent that has a momentous gas passage and is not eligible to belong to grade one leakages, any setting of 80% LEL or more in minor infrastructures from which the gas would easily move, generating a forthcoming feasible exposure, any reading amid 20% and 80% LEL in a restricted planetary, any calibration of 80% LEL or more in a gas linked with sub-edifices, an evaluation of a pipeline operating at 30% in an indicated lowest vintage strong point or superior in a class of three or four which does not meet the requirements to belong to the grade one gas leakage category, and lastly, any seepage that is as a consequence of the judgment of the operational workforce at the section and is not of a satisfactory degree to validate the programmed restoration (Mangieri, 2006).
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Lastly, the grade 3 gas leakage is a harmless gas escape at the time of recognition that is expected to still remain non-toxic after some period of time. This grade of leakage include any evaluation of less than 80% LEL in a trivial gas connected erections, any calibration under a boulevard in the areas where the never-ending stone works are absent; hence, the gas is likely to drift to the outer side of the construction, and also any appraisal below 20% LEL in a narrowed domicile (Mangieri, 2006).
Gas Leakage Detection on Ships
The gas seepage on ship happens when the refrigerant gas escapes from the accustomed air or the refrigerant units and bring about unnecessary outlays due to using too much gas since the other gas has gone to waste (Samaniego, 2012). Marine gas detection is the sensing of gas leakage in marine equipment, such as boats or ships. A number of the smaller crafts and commercial boats are dependent on LPG as a basis of fuel for heating and cooking. Since gas is denser than air, during a seepage situation, any gas that escapes will accumulate on ships or boats, hence bringing about hypothetically explosive unification when it conglomerates with the surrounding air. Further carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide can build up to become lethal during cooking or when using the open fuel heaters. The fixed leakage detection systems are used to gauge the gas escapes on ships. The refrigerant gases on vessels are monitored by these fixed sensors fitted in the vicinity of refrigeration and the air acclimatizing machinery, such as the compressor refrigerant leak detection (Mangieri, 2006). There are four widely backed fixed sensor systems used to detect the gas outflows on ships. The first one is the MM2000TM, which is a smart addressable gas revealing system designed to provide refrigerant gas detection on ships under MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 12-ozone exhausting elements. This structure functions on a single 4-corecable having the capability to observe from 1-32 addressable radars. This gas leakage detection system offers a local clue of the measured constraints and alarm circumstances together with the relay contacts to shut down the air acclimatizing or the refrigeration factories as required. For this sensor to be trusted to detect the gas escapes, its type must be permitted, the low-cost loop device must be mounted, it should be made sure that there are no moving parts, and lastly, it is necessary to ensure that the sensor can always monitor all the situations (Samaniego, 2012).
The second gas detector is the MM5001TM-Ballast tank gas sampling system, which is cataloging premeditated to give a timely caution (at the bridge, shipment, regulator room, or other managed spaces) of the manifestation of gas so that pre-emptive action could be taken (Samaniego, 2012). This arrangement further observes the ballast tank gas exposure and annulled space gas recognition onboard ships. This system encompasses a centralized control cabinet with a touch screen plate used to show the information and the alarm status (Samaniego, 2012). The chief PLC controller is incorporated in the cabinet intended to scrutinize the equipment not forgetting the pre-selection circuit as standard. An infrared radar is used to analyze the definitive dependability in the investigation of combustible gases. A sound MM5001TM is regulation free with great performing IR feelers. It should have a malleable PLC controller, a programmable operation during the ballasting procedure, and an assimilated structure for both the gas selection and fixed point instruments (Samaniego, 2012).
The third sensor is a type of the MM2000TM, known as the cargo pump room gas detection, which is a compulsory parameter that guarantees the well-being of all freighters in the freight pump room that carry consignments with a breaking point of below 600. The hydrocarbon gas helps in sensing the gas spills. It is, therefore, stored in the pump room with the alarm set points that should not surpass 10% LEL. This scheme can further be used to pinpoint hydrogen sulphide alongside ExxonMobil (Samaniego, 2012). For this system to be used, its type must be sanctioned, it should warrant to monitor all devices, it should be of low cost and simple setting up solution, and it should be an established system already shielding freighters worldwide.
The fourth gas leakage detector is the MM2000TM-ISGOTT accommodation A/C inlet gas detection system, also known as the fifth edition ISGOTT (ISGOTT5). It points out the benefit of mounting inflammable gas recognition at the accommodation air taming inlet. Even if this system is a guide, many terminuses and the majority of characters take it as a pre-essential standard required to assess those working at the oil and gas plants (Mangieri, 2006).
There are specified constraints and situations that are applicable to the refrigeration plants with the integrated freight cooling systems, the federal air taming systems, and the compacted domestic freezing arrangements (Mangieri, 2006). The refrigeration systems in the ships should also ensure that they are environment-friendly that do not use the ozone diminishing constituents. However, in some cases, the uses of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFs) are acceptable only to those refrigeration systems that will be in existence until the year 2020. The refrigeration systems should also be arranged in such a way that they provide apposite safeguarding to avert any proclamation of an ample quantity of the refrigerant. Recycling associated with the unavoidable slightest release of gases is accepted provided the recovery units have already been fixed for the clearing of the system (Mangieri, 2006). During the emptying process, compressors have the proficiency to charge into the liquid recovery for the sake of refrigerating recovery. Furthermore, the recovery units are provided to relinquish a system into either an already existing liquid receiver or to the empty gas cylinders availed for this particular purpose. Lastly, the monitoring of the refrigeration escapes is done by mounting an alarm system strategically where it will detect that the system has surpassed a preset limit. The annual refrigerant leakage certified should not be more than 10% of the refrigerant charge in each system (Samaniego, 2012).
To avoid explosions on ships, good-quality gas leakage detection sensors should be fitted and installed in the refrigerators of the ships to ensure that the gas spills are detected on time and the measures are taken to avoid any explosion. Since gas leakages are the foundation of explosions, they could be prevented through: omitting the fittings that encompass ozone lessening constituents other than hydro-chlorofluorocarbons, using chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) in cooling or air habituation should also be forbidden; refrigeration set-ups on orthodox frozen cargo ships, vessel ships transporting produce in containers air-conditioned by ducted air and gas transporters are tailored with liquefaction plants, and where dissimilar refrigerants are used, they should not be mixed during evacuation (Mangieri, 2006). The prearrangement of systems with their appropriate ways of seclusion should be in such a way that they can maintain and service these systems without having to release the refrigerant charge into the atmosphere. The periodic leakage procedures should be embraced so as to prevent the leakage or address it on time. The effective evaluation and execution of processes detailing the means to be adopted to regulate the loss, leakage, venting, and disposal of refrigerants should be ensured to avoid explosions. This would be effective since gas leakages from these substances will not be present; hence, explosions would be avoided (Mangieri, 2006). Generally, gas leakages can also be avoided in homes by adopting such measures as avoiding storing flammable liquids and combustible materials, for instance, rags, papers, and cardboard near gas appliances; never trying to divert the gas lines without the help of a professional, as well as never using the gas pipes as hanging lines for clothes or other items, and lastly, never allowing children to play around the natural gas pipes.
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Other Types of Gas Leakage Detectors
Gas leaks are generally detected through the sense of smell since they have a very strong disturbing scent. Apart from that, one should watch out the following indicators of gas leakages. For instance, when a person is feeling unwell, be it dizziness or light-headed out of the blue with no reason whatsoever yet, these symptoms disappear when he/she goes outside. In case of gas at home, one can notice that his/her boiler’s light keeps blowing out, there is more condensation than usual on the windows, or there is soot on the cooking appliances (Mangieri, 2006). Some more common signs for gas leak detection include sulfur or a rotten egg smell, like for the case of mercaptan gas leakage. A hissing sound or a blowing originating near or from pipes or appliances can also be heard. Dead or discolored vegetation in the vicinity of a gas line is also a clear indicator of gas leakage. Lastly, dust or dirt can also be seen blowing from the ground or bubbling in the wet or flooded areas. There are quite many gas detectors that can be categorized following their operation mechanism, i.e. semiconductors, corrosion, catalytic, and infrared.
These gas leakage detectors come in two main forms: movable devices and immovable gas sensors. Portable gas detectors are battery-operated sensors put on the outfits that are used to monitor the atmosphere and the personnel around. Once the precarious levels of gas vapors are distinguished, these sensors convey admonitions through the audible and discernible indicators, such as alarms and penlights. The fixed gas leakage detectors are sensors installed adjacent to the procedural zone of a control room or space to be secured (Samaniego, 2012). These detectors have the capability to detect more than one type of gas. Mostly the industrialized antennas are the fixed nature and are set on mild steel erections and a shackle that links the sensors to a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) structure for constant observing whereby a nimble intertwine can be initiated for a crisis condition. The following are the main types of gas leakage detection methods:
The electrochemical gas sensor works by permitting fumes to verbose via a permeable casing to a conductor where it is chemically corroded or condensed (Samaniego, 2012). The concentration of the gas is designated when the amount of the current created is reached by determining the quantity of gas that is tarnished at the conductor. Manufacturers can tailor these gas sensors by altering the absorbent barricade to let the recognition of a particular gas absorption array. The diffusion barricade can be a manual or an automated obstacle, so less maintenance is required compared to the early gas leakage detectors since the detectors are designed to be extra steady and dependable during the detectors’ duration. The electrochemical gas sensors are necessary for the processing plant, fume turbines, biochemical plants, and underground gas storage facilities (Samaniego, 2012).
The infrared (IR) point devices are detectors that use radioactivity that passes via a recognized capacity of the air; detected beam energy that is enthralled at definite wavelengths reliant on the chattels of precise gas, for instance, carbon (ii) oxide engrosses wavelengths of about 4.2-4.5 ?m (Mangieri, 2006). The concentration of gas present in this wavelength is determined by finding the difference between the energy inside the wavelength and the energy outside the concentration array. This sensor is beneficial since it can detect gas by remote sensing; hence, it does not need to be positioned into the gas. Its remote sensing capability allows the large capacities to be monitored. The IR devices can be used to spot hydrocarbons, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. The following devices are frequently found in the waste-water management amenities, gas turbines, chemical plants, and other areas with combustible gases, such as the engine emissions, whereby carbon monoxide and other abnormal gases are detected in the vehicle exhaust and are integrated with the vehicle electronic system to notify the drivers (Samaniego, 2012).
The infrared imaging detectors take account of dynamic and impassive systems. Active IR systems classically test a laser transversely in the area of view of a section and get back disseminated light at the concentration line wavelength for a precisely aimed gas (Mangieri, 2006). Reflexive IR sensors measure phantom variations at each pixel in an appearance and look for the explicit shadowy autographs that point out the existence of the aimed gases. These sensors distinguish the same compounds just like the ultraviolet point gauges, but the imageries might be supportive in ascertaining the cradle of the gas.
Semiconductor devices distinguish gases via a biochemical reaction that transpires at the direct interaction of the gas with the detector (Samaniego, 2012). Semiconductor sensors use the most common material, i.e. tin dioxide. Electrical resistance dwindles when the antenna amalgamates with the supervised vapor. In the air, the resistance of tin dioxide is about 50 k? but in the existence of 1 % methane, it is about 3.5 k?. This resistance variation aids in calculating the concentration of the gas. Semiconductors typically help to detect hydrogen, oxygen, alcohol vapor, and carbon monoxide. Semiconductors are used in breathalyzers. Compared to the infrared point detectors, semiconductors work over a smaller distance since the sensor must interact with the gas to be detected (Mangieri, 2006).
Ultrasonic gas leakage detectors perceive the change in the environmental background noise by the use of acoustic sensors. High pressured gas leaks engender sound in the ultrasonic array of 25 kHz to 10 kHz. As a result, these sensors can discern these sound frequencies from aural noise background that transpires in a perceptible array of 20 kHz to 20 kHz. The sensor provokes an alarm due to ultrasonic deviance from the normal background noise (Samaniego, 2012). Unfortunately, this detector cannot ration the gas concentration, but it is capable of governing the seepage frequency of leaking gas. Ultrasonic vapor indicators are helpful to remote intuiting in the open-air surroundings whereby climate circumstances can only disintegrate the escaping gas. These gauges are found on offshore and onshore oil/gas daises, metering stations, gas compressors, gas turbine factories, and other buildings that accommodate most of the open-air conduit.
Holographic gas detectors use light reflections to detect deviations in a hologram confined in a polymer flick matrix (Samaniego, 2012). These gauges replicate the light in definite wavelengths, and a modification in their alignment spawns a flamboyant replication signifying the manifestation of a gas atom. Holographic antennas entail radiance cradles, such as white light and a viewer.
Another gas leakage detection method is the proposed wireless safety device that is intended to ensure that the household safety where appliances and heaters that make use of natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) against these sources of risk is guaranteed. The industries or plants that use liquid petroleum gas and natural gas in their operations can adopt this system to detect any gas leakages. This wireless system contains two main models: the detection and transmission module and the receiving module (Samaniego, 2012). The detection and transmission module is used to detect the change in gas concentration by using a particular detecting circuit specially fitted for this purpose. This module also checks if the deviation in the gas concentration has exceeded a certainly required brink. If the variations in gas concentration are gauged, the system gets activated. An audiovisual alarm is also activated; it sends a signal to the receiver module. The receiver module acts as a mobile alarm device that permits movement within the premises. In general, this system was tested by liquid petroleum gas and was then activated; as a result, there were variations in the concentration of gases.
Gas Sentinel is among the upcoming gas leak detectors that are meant to perceive methane and the local petroleum gas. This indicator is offered for wall and flat fitting. It comes with a new scheme and is of a more compacted size with high-performance topographies in terms of dependability and sensitivity in dimension (Mangieri, 2006). This device is controlled by electronic means via a microprocessor with perceptible and optical alarm that is to be coupled to the solenoid regulators that are usually locked or unbolted. Gas Sentinel can be used for domestic use in order to gauge the gas concentration present in the censored regions (Samaniego, 2012). If the concentration of the gas outstrips the existing verge, the gas leak detector is, thus, stimulated by a noticeable visual alarm. Gas sentinel maneuvers through the latest generation of the electronic circuit-based microprocessor. The modifier and the sensor are fitted on the PC of each gas detector. When a threshold is surpassed the antenna triggers the loud visual alarm and bolts off the gas supply by galvanizing the solenoid stopcocks. This device has a predictable operational life of 10 years. In its fitting together, Gas Sentinel has an inbuilt memory that initiates a sporadic yellow LED upon the attainment of 10 years of functioning that is a clear signal that the device should be interchanged to avoid any shocks (Mangieri, 2006). There is a performance test that is usually piloted on the gas sentinel gas leak detectors to test its efficiency. This is achieved by employing a gas bottle test. Here, little gas is let out at least two times, and the device will robotically perceive that there is a prevalence of gas glimmers with a beep sound and lighting up of the LEDs. After 30 seconds of the exposure, the alarm alignment is stimulated. This detection system has semiconductor type radars that are standardized independently in the cells with the explicit gases after a prolonged steadying warm-up of the feeler. These semiconductor types of the measuring devices syndicate the benefit of improved sensitivity over a period of time with real discernment physiognomies and a stretched working life. Gas Sentinel saves on preservation costs since it necessitates no upkeep (Mangieri, 2006).
Gas Leakage Detection Systems
Gas leakage is a major concern for residential, commercial and gas-powered transportation vehicles. Installing a gas leakage detector system at the susceptible spots is the best precautionary measure (Samaniego, 2012). The system should be cost-efficient and be able to work effectively. The most conventional gas leakage detection system is the automatic on-off gas system. The objectives of this system are to provide a unique means for securely identifying any glitch of a hassled gas system so as to avert a blast, and to provide an innovative secure means for distinguishing the gas escape into the area where the equipment is in a shutdown mode (Samaniego, 2012). This system helps in the elevation of the welfare standards, in being acquiescent to the legal rations on environmental pledges, as well as in averting accidents and shields life and property from a catastrophe. In the past, ignition apparatus, such as a furnace, heater, stove or LPG kit in the cars, were used to utilize flammable vapor or gas to produce heat energy when appropriately ignited. This automatic on-off system is usually in operation for the short periods after which it shuts down for a brief time. This system has an instant action where it is often started and stopped at the pointer of an automatic regulator. This system does not need any person to attend to it as its name suggests it is automatic. The only vulnerability faced in using this system is that during the standby period, there might be a gas seepage resulting in a hefty accretion of flammable gas that may lead to an outburst if the seepage is not spotted on time (Samaniego, 2012). For this reason, urbane devices have been developed to sense the gas outflows in time to evade flare-ups.
Mobile and aerial leak detection service is a gas detector system that uses the Apogee system for sensing methane and total hydrocarbon and storage facilities, landfills and coal seam seeps (Mangieri, 2006). This system has distinct features that ensure that it actually detects these gas escapes on time. These characteristics include unconventional, pioneering structure that is fast, sensitive and rough. The system should measure methane, total hydrocarbons, and carbon dioxide concurrently at different concentrations. The monitoring rates of this system should also be 50 samples per second where the GPS determines the leak locations. Lastly, this system should be able to be mounted on helicopters or ground vehicles. This system has some benefits, such as the improved safety and integrity of the system. Under this system, time is saved with fast mobile detection. Finances are also kept alongside maximizing the accuracy without any false positives. Reporting is simplified; hence, the system can operate easily from anywhere. The ground gas leakage system is another gas leakage detection system. that the following system detects gases from natural gas compressor stations, fumes from plant extractions, valves, and gates, as well as gases from chemical plants and refineries (Mangieri, 2006).
Another typical gas leakage detection system is known as the LPG gas leakage detector system. An ideal gas sensor is used to perceive the presence of unsafe LPG seepage hat can be found in cars, service stations, or storage tanks (Mangieri, 2006). The LPG gas leakage indicator can be assimilated quickly into a unit that can complete an alarm or give a visual recommendation of the LPG concentration. This antenna comprises commendable sensitivity and swift reaction time; thereby, it can be used to sense other gases, such as isobutane, propane, LNG, and cigarette smoke. This sensor scheme works in such a way that it goes flat as soon as the LPG radar senses any spills of gas drips from where it is stored. The micro-controller does this detection. The LED & buzzer are turned on, followed by the turning on of the deplete fan designed to channel the gas out, and it goes on conveying a message of a gas trickle to a mobile number where it is pre-defined (Mangieri, 2006). The following block diagram is developed to explain better the LPG gas detection system:
In this system, the MQ-5 sensor is used as a gas leakage detector. The MQ-5 sensor is made up of a micro-ceramic tube, a tin dioxide sensitive layer, a measuring electrode, and heaters that are fixed into a crust made of plastic and stainless steel net. Under standard settings, this detector’s output is high, but it goes low when the LPG is detected. The display unit shows the tag id number as instructed by the microcontroller. The micro-controller is the principal apparatus in the LPG detection system. The micro-controller is used to regulate the exhaust fan, LED, and buzzer when the LPG leakage occurs. The input and output ports of the micro-controller are used for this leakage detection objective. The exhaust fan also helps in tumbling the concentration of the local petroleum gas near the leakage by pushing the local petroleum gas out into the environment.
Effects of Gas Leakages
Gas escapes are very destructive to both plants and human beings. It may lead to detonations and pose serious health threats that may be lethal. Little gas leaks accrue over a period of time and add a substantial quantity of contaminants that affect the immune system and other body functions (Samaniego, 2012). Gas seepages shrink the amount of oxygen in the area, triggering dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headache, and irregular breathing. Gas leaks are also detrimental to plants, hence affecting the environmental ecosystem. Major health problems include asphyxiation, which is a disorder when the body does not get adequate oxygen supply that may lead to the loss of perception, brain damage, and death. It should be noted the escape and subsequent burning of natural gas discharges, huge volumes of water vapor, ashes, and poisonous fumes into the atmosphere can negatively influence the respiratory systems, instigating different respiratory diseases (Samaniego, 2012). Physiological effects are as a result of inhaling methanethiol or ethanethiol that are added by the natural gas companies to sense gas leakage. When inhaled amply, dizziness, headache, vomiting, shivering, fever, and unconsciousness can occur.
In conclusion, gas leakage detection has become a point of interest for everyone. In most homes, the principal source of energy used for cooking and other household purposes is gas. Gas leakage is mostly accidental, and thus, different sensors have been developed to detect these leakages on time to avoid explosions, as well as the other harmful consequences that the gas escapes have on the environment and its surroundings, i.e. humans, plants, and animals. Suitable sensors, especially the portable gas leak detectors, should be calibrated since they always change the environment. Though, typical calibrations can be done quarterly, semi-annually, or even annually with more robust units. Gas leakage detection should ensure that all leakages are detected on time and that preventive measures are taken to avoid further damages. The major effect – explosion – may lead to huge losses, for example, the loss of property carried, and, of course, the lives of humans, animals, and plants (Mangieri, 2006).
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There are warnings all over that once a smell of gas is detected, everyone close by should vacate the area to avoid major health problems that may follow. At least one person should call for help so that the experts of the gas detection departments should come to the scene and take corrective measures to stop the gas leakages and establish where the gas was leaking from and safely ensure that it will not leak again (Samaniego, 2012). A person should not start the vehicles, as well as refrain from operating any electrical device or appliances, including the cellphones since the functioning of any electrical device can origin a spark that may kindle the permeable gas. Natural gas and carbon monoxide are very rampant and can easily be encountered in the surrounding. Since natural gas has no smell and is colorless, it is very difficult to detect it without the gas detectors. It should be noted that careful average individuals with a very strong sense of smell can detect gas because although it is odorless, there are chemical additives that allow its detection. Natural gas is almost found everywhere starting from the ovens, water heaters, furnaces, clothe driers, and fireplaces. Natural gases are not only flammable, but they also suffocate the air and rip it with the good oxygen that the red cells of human beings rely on (Samaniego, 2012). Natural gas also contains carbon, which is the reason, why if exposed, it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning having reacted with the available oxygen in the air. Everyone should be cautious once he/she experiences a strange smell, probably a gas. A person should definitely know that something is wrong somewhere because the well-fitted appliances do not emit any gaseous smells and should take corrective action immediately. Specialized personnel is the only ones allowed to fix the gas leakages since they have protective gadgets that protect them from inhaling the toxic gases. Thus, they will not damage their respiratory organs. It should be considered that if an individual has been exposed to the gas leakages and has symptoms of exposure, he/she should immediately seek medical attention to avoid some long-term damages. Symptoms vary largely from individual to individual, but the common symptoms of gas poisoning include dizziness, headache, convulsions, fatigue, and drowsiness, breathing problems, including no breathing, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure, impaired judgment, hyperactivity, chest pains, etc. (Samaniego, 2012).
To overcome or minimize the instances of gas leaks, there are some safety tips that can be adopted. They include: following the manufacturers’ guidelines when setting the temperature on the water heater where the maximum temperature that should be set should be between 110 and 120 degrees. If gas near the fireplace is used, a person should always make sure the chimney champers are kept open. It is necessary to install a carbon monoxide gauge in the building, which always warns when there is a gas leakage (Mangieri, 2006). This sensor should always be maintained properly to avoid the creation of dangerous build-ups of carbon monoxide that may explode one day. A person should avoid storing flammable liquids and combustible materials, such as rags, papers, and cardboard near the gas appliances. It is forbidden to use gas pipes as hanging lines for clothes or other items. Lastly, children should not be allowed to play around the natural gas pipes.