Gas Detector

Published On: Oct 28 2009 12:00:00 PM CDT
WichitaKS -

You can't see it. Sometimes you can't smell it. But it could kill you and your family.

Can a $20 device really detect deadly gas leaks in and around your home? The Sedgwick County Fire Department is doubtful -- especially since it uses a much bigger detector costing hundreds of dollars.

Our detector, from, says it will identify leaks of natural gas (methane), propane, butane and acetylene. So J.O. Rogers from the fire department heads to a gas stove for the first test.

He blows out the pilot light and turns on the burner. Seconds later the device is beeping. It's one for one. 

The next challenge:  butane. Rogers turns on a camp light you'd use outside.  We hear the hissing...and smell the leak. So does the detector. It beeps immediately.

A lot of people use propane, either to heat their home or fire up the outside grill. That's our third test. Once Rogers turns the handle on the bottle, the beeping begins. It's even faster than the first two tests.

But will it be four-for-four?  Rogers drops pellets in water to create acetylene, a welding gas.  We see the bubbling, which means the gas is being released.  But after waiting and waiting, the detector never goes off.

Just to make sure, he reaches for the Fire Department's detector. It goes off immediately. 

What does Rogers think. Does It Work?

He says "yes" and thinks acetylene is the least used of the four gases we tested. However, the department has a BIG warning about using it to detect a gas leak inside your home. 


The department says if you smell gas in your home, don't reach for this detector or for anything else. Just leave the house and call 911 from some other place.