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A guide to gas monitoring in the hospitality industry

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If you have reached this page, you are probably either wondering how gases are used in industries including bars, restaurants, hotels, pubs and breweries, or you are trying to decide which gas monitor best fits your needs.

We hope the information on this page will help you in your decisions. If you need any more advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and our friendly team will be more than happy to help.

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How are gases used in the hospitality industry?

Carbon dioxide

Pint of beer

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is used to carbonate and dispense beer and soft drinks.

Next time you are at your local pub, cinema, theatre or leisure centre, if you look hard enough, you might be able to find a cylinder and pipe which carries CO2 (which is sometimes known as 'cellar gas' or 'dispense gas' to a beer or soft drink dispenser.

If you work in the brewery or winery industries, carbon dioxide is also a byproduct of fermentation. Yeast converts sugar into ethanol (alcohol) and CO2.

Carbon dioxide is also used to create dry ice, which can be used to store food products, as well as for theatrical effects.

Carbon dioxide can also build-up in commercial kitchens if ventilation is poor.

 

Nitrogen

Cofffee beans

Nitrogen (N2) can be used as an alternative dispense gas to carbon dioxide. For example, some beers and stouts are ‘carbonated’ with a blend of nitrogen and carbon dioxide as this makes smaller bubbles, and a smoother, creamier drink.

Nitrogen can be used with coffee to create a cold drink called nitro-brew.

Nitrogen is frequently used in kitchens and factories. Liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze ice cream fast, making it smoother and creamier. It is also used to put bubbles in chocolate bars.

Nitrogen is used to preserve food - by using nitrogen in food stores or replacing oxygen in food packaging with nitrogen, the shelf-life of products can be extended.

 

The dangers of a gas leak

Nitrogen and carbon dioxide have no taste, colour or smell, which means that it will be hard to tell if there is a gas leak. All it takes is a rip or a hole in the pipe connecting a gas cylinder to a drinks dispenser and a room could quickly fill with dangerous gas.

 

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is naturally present in the air, but an increase in concentration can be dangerous.

An increase in levels can cause effects including headaches, reduced hearing and sight and an increase in blood pressure. Higher levels still can cause unconsciousness, coma and death.

Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and can concentrate at ground level. If you get a monitor, it is essential to put the central unit/alarm at head height so you don’t have to bend down to read it.

There have been some tragic stories of people dying due to carbon dioxide in the hospitality industry:

We sometimes see people getting carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide confused. The two are totally different gases and need to be monitored in different ways.

 

Nitrogen

Nitrogen displaces oxygen in the atmosphere, meaning an increase could mean that oxygen drops to a dangerous level and cause asphyxiation.

Liquid nitrogen expands when it evaporates. One litre of liquid nitrogen can turn into approximately 700 litres of gas, which can cause an oxygen-deficient atmosphere really quickly.

People have died from misuse of nitrogen in the food industry. In 2013 two employees died after being told to hold their breath to enter a nitrogen-filled storage unit where levels of oxygen were just one percent. The farm manager was convicted of manslaughter.

Please don’t confuse nitrogen with nitrous oxide - the two are entirely different gases!

 

Which gas monitor is right for me?

 

The Ax60+ - our fully customisable solution

Ax60+ carbon dioxide monitor

The Ax60+ is a wall-mountable carbon dioxide detector which comes with a central display unit (this is mounted in a convenient location such as an office), a sensor unit (installed at floor level where carbon dioxide gas could potentially gather) and an alarm unit (installed at head height).

The Ax60+ can be connected to a maximum of four sensors and eight alarms, making it fully customisable for small and large businesses.

Later this year you will be able to add extra sensors in order to monitor a variety of gases.

The Ax60+'s predecessor, the Ax60,  was approved by the McDonalds Corporation's 'Restaurant Solutions Group'.

 

The Ax60k - the affordable solution for smaller businesses

Ax60k carbon dioxide monitor

The Ax60k carbon dioxide detector consists of a sensor unit and alarm unit, ideal for smaller restaurants, fast food kiosks and micro breweries.

 

The Aspida range - portable and backup monitoring

Aspida portable monitor

The Aspida is our hand-held gas monitor which can be used to protect staff from gas leaks, or used as backup when a primary gas monitoring system fails.

The Aspida can be used to monitor carbon dioxide, oxygen and also comes as a dual monitor which can monitor both. If you use nitrogen in your brewery, the option to monitor oxygen could be ideal.

 

The O2NE+ - accurate oxygen depletion monitoring

O2NE+ oxygen depletion monitor

The O2NE+ is an easy to use oxygen depletion monitor which can be used to detect nitrogen leaks, as well as any other inert gases.

What is an oxygen depletion monitor?

 

Is it the law to have a gas monitor?

It depends on which country you are in. Some countries have standards and recommendations when it comes to gases, and others don’t.

Currently the US-based OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and European EH40 standards have both set an exposure limit of 5,000ppm (0.5%) CO2 over an eight-hour period.

For example, there is a standard in Australia which highlights the compliance which needs to be adhered to if you use nitrogen or carbon dioxide to dispense beverages.

Bear in mind that it is not a legal requirement to follow standards, but even if it is not a legal requirement to have a gas monitor; it is advisable to have one in order to keep your staff and customers safe.

 

I want to know more!

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If you would like to know more about gas monitoring, why not sign up to our blog where you will receive an article once a week, straight to your inbox.

If you work in the hospitality industry and are considering a gas monitor, we are more than happy to help recommend the perfect gas monitor for you. Contact us today and we will help you choose.

If you know which gas monitor you need, you can visit our distributor section to find your nearest supplier.

 

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