Commercial gases are used commonly in areas where humans are often working including leisure facilities like bars, restaurants, swimming pools, theatres and sporting stadiums. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2) are often used in the soft drink carbonation process and as a pressure tool in dispensing beverages.
Why do I need to monitor gas levels?
Although small amounts of CO2 and nitrogen are considered harmless, increased levels of either gas can start to cause effects on human senses. CO2 is heavier than air and will therefore collect at lower levels, quickly causing a harmful buildup of the gas.
CO2 is toxic in higher quantities and will cause harm before asphyxiation becomes a problem. Carbon dioxide intoxication and carbon dioxide poisoning will still take effect even if oxygen is considered to be at a safe level. The effect of raising carbon dioxide will still have an effect on blood and tissue and more likely to cause harm before asphyxiation. CO2 is also colorless and odorless, making it undetectable by human senses.
Nitrogen is often used as it has no effect on the beverage, but if there is a leak it will quickly displace the oxygen in the atmosphere causing an asphyxiation risk. People often think you need a nitrogen detector to monitor levels of the gas, but you actually need an O2 monitor to measure the levels of oxygen in the atmosphere. If levels of O2 drop below 19.5% the effects will be felt by those in the immediate area.
What’s the difference between carbon dioxide and nitrogen?
Carbon dioxide is made up of a carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms. It occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas, however if there is a leak of CO2 it can be harmful to humans due to its toxicity in high quantities.
Nitrogen is an inert gas at standard temperature and pressure, however at atmospheric pressure it will turn to liquid. The gas is known as an inert gas which means when it is released into the atmosphere it displaces the oxygen present.
If you are using, or have CO2 stored in your facility, you will need a carbon dioxide gas detection monitor. These units commonly use infrared sensors to detect and elements of the gas and indicate to a central unit and alarm that there are elevated levels.
If you’re using nitrogen you will need an oxygen depletion monitor to measure the level of oxygen in the atmosphere before asphyxiation becomes a risk. As mentioned nitrogen is an inert gas and will displace the safe levels of oxygen in the atmosphere. The monitor will detect falling levels of O2 and alarm when dangerous levels are detected.
For more information about our range of fixed gas monitors see our safely detect both carbon dioxide and nitrogen in Hospitality page.