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Measuring VOC: How Photoionization Detectors Work

Posted by on Mar 13, 2020 in Gas Detectors, VOC Sensors | 0 comments

With health effects ranging from dizziness to cancer development, the dangers of exposure to volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) can’t be underestimated. Do you regularly work in areas where VOCs are present? By measuring VOC levels, you can reliably protect the health of you and those working around you.

Volatile organics are unseen by the human eye but are one of the leading causes of air pollution. Learn how to keep a tab on the VOC concentration surrounding you.

Like many toxic gases, VOC emissions are usually colorless and can spread rapidly without warning. It’s important to maintain safe VOC levels to guard humans from breathing in toxic chemicals. One of the most common ways to measure levels of VOC is by installing a photoionization detector (PID). Learn more about the impact of volatile organics and why PIDS should be installed in your facility.

What is VOC?

Volatile Organic Compounds (or VOCs) are toxic chemicals that are emitted as gases from solid or liquid products. According to the EPA, concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors than outdoors. VOCs are usually found around chemical processing facilities or refineries. If your workplace has products that utilize dangerous organic chemicals, measuring the amount of volatile organics is key.

Pro Tip: Don’t think that stored products or those sitting on the shelf aren’t dangers. VOC emissions can be released and can contaminate your air, even if not being used.

Measuring VOC in Your Environment

When measuring VOCs, it’s important to know what kind of volatile organic compounds are in your environment. Some of the most common types of VOCs include acetone, butanal, ethanol, formaldehyde, toluene, methylene chloride, and others.

In the same way, you should be familiar with the following units of measurements:

  • Parts-Per-Million (PPM) – The ratio of one gas to another. 1,000 ppm CO means that of one million gas molecules, 1,000 of the molecules are carbon monoxide and the other 999,000 are other gases.
  • Electron Volt (eV) – A unit of measurement of the energy contained in a photon generated by a UV lamp. In other words, a “10.6 eV Lamp” will generate photons with an average energy of 10.6 electron volts. 
  • Ionization Potential (IP) – A measurement (in Electron Volts) of the energy in a photon necessary to ionize a specific material. 

Photoionization Detectors Explained

PIDs use a specially-designed ultraviolet (UV) lamp to create high energy photons, These photons hit volatile organic compounds present in the air and if energetic enough, knock an electron loose, creating a small current flow. This flow of electrons indicates the presence of VOCs. Each organic compound has an ‘ionization potential’ (IP) value which represents the amount of energy necessary to liberate an electron.

If the UV lamp’s energy level is higher than the compound’s ionization potential, the detector will indicate the presence of VOC molecules. The choice of lamp “IP” value (10.0 eV, 10.6 eV or 11.0 eV) should be determined by the IP of the target VOC molecules. 

Finding a reliable PID is essential to monitoring the air quality in your industrial environments. GDS Corp offers the following photoionization detector options. These detectors are available with 10.0 eV, 10.6 eV and 11.0 eV PID sensors:

  • GASMAX CX Gas Monitor with VOC Sensor – Single or dual channel gas monitor certified for hazardous areas where gas readings need to be transmitted in real-time.
  • GASMAX II Gas Monitor with VOC Sensor – Single or dual channel gas monitor that supports both local and remote sensors for added convenience.

Monitor the Air Pollutants of Your Facility

A wide range of VOCs are found in almost every work environment, which makes gas detection crucial. GDS Corp can help you determine the best type of detector and lamp IP value for your specific application. 

Are you looking for an accurate way to measure VOC levels? Connect with our team to get a VOC sensor installed in your detection system.

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Will a Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect a Natural Gas Leak?

Posted by on Feb 28, 2020 in Gas Detectors, Gas Leak Detection | 0 comments

If you regularly work around natural gas lines, your work environment could be at risk for sudden fire or explosion. That’s obvious. But there is also a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the event that low-level oxygen-starved burning occurs from a small leak.  How important is it to make sure that both CO and combustible gas detectors are present? 

Ultimately, no, a carbon monoxide detector cannot detect a natural gas leak. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas created when fuel is burned in the presence of low levels of oxygen. Carbon monoxide is very different from methane and cannot be detected with the same sensor. Carbon monoxide might appear during a gas leak, but a carbon monoxide detector is not normally capable of detecting natural gas.

Carbon Monoxide or Natural Gas?

Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect by the human nose but is known to cause rapid loss of consciousness. Similarly, natural gas is normally odorless but gas companies add mercaptan to make it smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. What’s more, natural gas leaks can usually be identified by a hissing sound or visible damage to a gas line.

That being said, not having a complete gas detection system could cause disastrous results. Along with the high flammability of natural gas, carbon monoxide can be fatal under certain conditions. Without proper warning, you could be at risk for sudden fire, explosion or toxic gas. To protect your environment, install a reliable gas detection system to detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and methane.

Pro Tip: Does your gas alarm configured to detect carbon monoxide? Install a high-performance sensor in your detection system to combat the poisonous health effects of carbon monoxide.

Types of Natural Gas Detectors

Monitoring unsafe levels of methane in natural gas is crucial to combat natural gas poisoning and combustion. GDS Corp offers a number of gas detection solutions to monitor your gas lines.

  • GASMAX CX Gas Monitor – Single or dual channel gas monitor certified for hazardous areas where gas readings need to be transmitted in real-time.
  • GASMAX II Gas MonitorSingle or dual channel gas monitor of any combination of one toxic and one combustible (bridge-type) sensor.
  • GDS-50 Gas SensorDC-powered infrared gas sensor of any toxic or combustible gas in Class I Div 1 hazardous areas.
  • GDS-IR Gas SensorInfrared gas sensor used to detect carbon dioxide or explosive levels of methane or propane in harsh environments.

Choosing the Best Gas Leak Detectors

Whether you’re protecting against natural gas leaks or the presence of carbon monoxide in your manufacturing or industrial process, finding the right gas monitor is important. In addition to carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors, a complete detection system can be customized for you. Be sure to protect your health and working environments from the many dangers of natural gas.

Do you need an accurate and trusted detection system? Connect with our professional technicians to help you choose the best gas leak detector.

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What is a Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Gas Detector?

Posted by on Feb 14, 2020 in Gas Detectors, Hydrogen Sulfide | 0 comments

If you work with crude petroleum, natural gas, or bacterial decomposition, chances are you encounter hydrogen sulfide (H2S) on a regular basis. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, highly toxic gas that can cause a myriad of dangerous health symptoms. If proper detection systems aren’t in place, the safety of your workers and equipment could be at risk.

A hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas detector is often part of a monitoring system designed to detect high levels of hydrogen sulfide in ambient air. Hydrogen sulfide detectors can also be used in sample draw monitors to remotely measure H2S gas in confined spaces, and with the proper equipment can be used to monitor the level of H2S in streams of natural gas. Overall, the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas monitor is an efficient way to monitor the gas concentrations in your vicinity.

How Does an H2S Detector Work?

Hydrogen sulfide gas detectors primarily use electrochemical sensors to detect and measure parts-per-billion (‘ppb’) and parts-per-million (“ppm”) levels of H2S gas. These sensors depend on a highly reliable electrochemical reaction that occurs when H2S gas combines with specific materials used in the sensor. This reaction creates a tiny electrical current that is amplified and measured by the electronics in the gas detector. These industrial quality H2S detectors can help make sure the  H2S concentration level stays below the limit required by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 

What is a Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Gas Detector, GDS Corp, Houston, TX

Depending on the environment, the Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) for H2S gas are:

  • General Industry Ceiling Limit: 20 ppm
  • General Industry Peak Limit: 50 ppm (up to 10 minutes if no other exposure during shift)
  • Construction 8-hour Limit: 10 ppm
  • Shipyard 8-hour limit: 10 ppm

Types of Hydrogen Sulfide Detectors

GDS Corp offers a number of gas detectors that can be programmed to monitor hydrogen sulfide exclusively, such as:


  • GASMAX CX Gas Monitor – Single or dual channel gas monitor certified for hazardous areas where gas readings need to be transmitted in real-time
  • GASMAX EC Gas Monitor – Loop-powered gas detector for all toxic gases; certified for Explosion Proof or Intrinsically Safe installations
  • GDS-58NXP – Single or dual channel sample draw gas monitor designed to measure gas samples pulled from remote locations up to 100 feet away
  • GDS-49 Gas Sensor  – Loop-powered stand-alone gas sensor transmitter with replaceable sensors for any toxic gas
  • GDS-68XP or GDS-68SXP Process Monitor – Process gas monitor used to measure hydrogen sulfide or mercaptans in low oxygen streams such as gas pipelines.

Pro Tip: In addition to your health, don’t neglect to protect your equipment from hydrogen sulfide’s flammable nature in very high concentrations. Install a flame detector to ward off any potential fires.

Reliable Gas Detection Systems

Does your waste facility or manufacturing process have a gas detection system installed? While hydrogen sulfide is typically characterized by its rotten egg smell, you can’t rely on your senses alone since high levels of H2S cannot be detected by smell. Don’t ignore the hazardous effects of H2S in your vicinity; install an H2S gas detector you and your team can rely on.

Not sure which gas detector to choose? Connect with our gas detection professionals to find the best solution for your facility.

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Which Gas Sensor We Can Use In Mining?

Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Gas Detectors | 0 comments

Of all industrial operations, mining is arguably the most dangerous. With various drill shafts and underground tunnels extending for miles beneath the Earth’s surface, miners are at risk of quick gas buildups, fires, and explosions. Due to these and many other dangers, mining operations must always have detection systems in place to keep their areas as safe as possible. Since in most cases methane is the primary gas that can lead to catastrophic events in these settings, special mining and industrial detectors are used to monitor for methane leaks. But to know which systems work best in these environments, here are some additional details regarding their features and reliability.

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What Does Your Gas Detector Really Cost?

Posted by on May 11, 2019 in Gas Detectors | 0 comments

When it comes to keeping employees and equipment safe in an industrial facility, laboratory, or other work setting, most companies attempt to spare no expense. However, in the business world, budgets are a fact of life, and thus play a crucial role in deciding how much money can be spent on safety. Because of this, it is important companies get the most for their money when purchasing gas detection systems. But to do so, they need to know as much as possible about the features, accuracy and reliability, and other aspects that factor into gas detector prices. Thus, if you really want to know the total cost of gas sensors, here are some details to keep in mind.

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How Gas Detector Transmitters Help Save Lives of Millions on the Globe?

Posted by on May 4, 2019 in Gas Detectors | 0 comments

Whether workers are located in a medical laboratory, large chemical processing plant, on an offshore drilling platform, or other area where many dangerous gases may be present, various types of gas detectors and sensors play a crucial role in keeping personnel safe day and night. Since many things such as environmental conditions, noise, and the size and layout of a facility must be taken into consideration when selecting a detection system, it is important to understand the various features and how they can work best in different environments and situations. By doing so, gas detection transmitters can help save the lives of millions of employees within various work settings.

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