Portable Carbon Monoxide and Toxic Gas Detectors

Updated on June 9, 2018
greenmind profile image

I am a writer and blogger with extensive travel experience in countries where safety standards are lass reliable than they could be.

Gas Leaks in Hotel Rooms Can Be Deadly

According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, undetected toxic gas leaks in US hotels have killed eight people and sickened more than 250 in the past five years alone. Unbelievably, there is no governmental agency that tracks these deaths and injuries. How can we protect ourselves from the invisible danger of asphixiation from toxic gas while on vacation?

A Gas Detector Can Save Your Life

Safety when traveling is not always our first priority, even when we know it should be. If you're like me, you're way more focused on packing the right shoes, remembering your passport, and getting to the airport than you are on safety precautions like a portable carbon monoxide detector. But if you look at the statistics, you're at risk when you go to a tourist destination without one. Even in high-end resorts, as the terrible events at the Bahia Principe resort in Mexico proved, you can become the victim of an invisible, odorless gas leak that can very easily kill you and your family in their sleep.

Toxic gas leaks in hotels kill and injure hundreds of Americans
Toxic gas leaks in hotels kill and injure hundreds of Americans

Are Carbon Monoxide and Toxic Gas Detectors Reliable?

While it's true that traveling with a good carbon monoxide and explosive gas detector can be a life-saver, it's also true that none of the carbon monoxide detectors available online are 100% reliable. For this reason, having a gas detector carries the risk of also having a false sense of security. While the detectors in this guide may very well save lives, there is always the chance that one may malfunction. Please read the reviews and features of these gas detectors very carefully before you buy, and be aware that no detector can be, or claims to be, 100% reliable 100% of the time.

Bottom line -- you have a toxic gas detector for the same reason you have a smoke detector in your house. You need every measure you can get to protect yourself and the ones you love. It's true that no method is perfect, but it's always better to be protected than not.

Comparing the Features of Natural Gas Detectors

Brand
Features
Price
ALOPEX
Real Human Voice Alarm; Sound and Light Alarm; Imported Processor; Anti-Jamming; Anti-Corrosion
$23.99
UNIVERSAL SECURITY INSTRUMENTS
9 volt battery backup; Battery included; 3 separate LED status displays; Microprocessor blocks nuisance alarms; Covers only one outlet; Displays CO parts per million
$36.20
SGILE
Flex Probe can locate leak; Audible and Visual alarms; adjustable sensitivity button
$30.99
KIDDE NIGHTHAWK
Loud 85-decibel alarm; Digital Display; Peak Level Memory; Test/Reset Button; Three mounting options; Battery backup 9 volt; Battery included
$41.60

ALOPEX Combustible Gas Detector: Propane, Methane, CH4, LPG, Butane, Coal Gas

This ALOPEX toxic gas detector representative of the better gas detectors you can find on-line. I like this one because it detects a wide range of potentially toxic gases, and in my travels I have found that you encounter all kinds of threats. In Mexico, for example, I have stayed in places that used propane gas exclusively for both stove and refrigerator. This gas had no added odor for safety, so if there were a leak I would not have known without this detector or one like it. It has a decent star rating and a few complaints in the reviews, but if you read closely you'll see that every gas detector has its share of bad reviews. As with any smoke or gas detector, there is a chance for false positives and negatives, but it's always better to be protected than to travel unprotected.

Features of this unit:

  • Real Human Voice Alarm
  • Sound and Light Alarm
  • Percentage from 0% to 20% LEL,
  • Combustible Natural Gas alarm.
  • Burst LED Flash Warning
  • ,Use High Quality Gas Sensor and Imported Processor,More Stable and Reliable Performance.
  • Anti-Jamming and Anti-Corrosion

An Affordable, Portable Solution to the Threat of Toxic Gas Leaks

Fortunately, there is a way to safeguard against the very real dangers posed by these gas leaks. Portable carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors are inexpensive and readily available on-line. They pack easily and function immediately wherever you plug them in. It's sad and disturbing to think that people have died in their vacation hotel room simply because they did not have a $30 device that plugs into the wall.

Universal Security Instruments Plug-In Carbon Monoxide and Natural Gas Alarm

This unit by Universal Security is among the most popular carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors out there, but proceed with caution -- there are several reviews that reveal an alarming (pun intended) tendency for this unit to malfunction or fail to detect the presence of cooking gas. Some report that it is very sensitive and responds to any source of hydrocarbon, which I like because it covers all kinds of potentially toxic gas leaks that I might encounter when traveling, while others are not as enthusiastic.

It's definitely worth your time to be careful and skeptical when deciding on a portable gas detector, since there's an awful lot riding on the unit's dependability.Issues like battery drain, false positives, and just plain failure to detect are unacceptable when the detector is entrusted with a life-or-death issue like toxic gas poisoning.

  • Plug-in Carbon Monoxide and Natural Gas alarm with 9 volt battery backup (battery included)
  • 3 separate colored LED lights display status of alarm power, CO, and gas levels
  • Microprocessor intelligence helps eliminate nuisance alarms caused by non-hazardous sources
  • Compact design covers only one outlet, no wiring required
  • Digital display screen provides CO parts per million levels and displays "GAS"

Mexico and Central America -- Powered by Gas

I love the tropics, and I travel there at least twice a year. I love the laid-back vibe of small beach towns and even the hustle-minded vibe of touristy places like Cancun and Tulum. While it's true that overall crime in Mexico is high, if you're not involved in narco-trafficking and stay away from a few bad areas, the risk plummets and you can enjoy yourself along with other 71 million Americans who go there every year. By all means go, but travel smart and plan wisely!

One thing you will immediately notice in the American tropics is the reliance on natural gas and propane for cooking and heating. If the stove or heating connection is corroded or loose, you can have a real problem on your hands. There are fewer regulations (which are the same as "protections") in a country like Panama, Jamaica, or Mexico, so that makes it even more important to take precautions.

SGILE Combustible Natural Gas Detector Propane Sensor Portable Gas Leak Detector with Sound Light Alarm Gas Sniffer

I like this carbon monoxide/natural gas detector because it can "sniff out" the exact source of a leak with the snake-like sensor. If everything seems secure but you're still smelling gas or getting an alert from your gas detector, this unit can pin-point the leak and possibly help you seal it.

Features:

  • Flex Probe: Natural Gas Detector with a highly sensitive sensing tip can locate leaking spot effortlessly.
  • Audible And Visual Alarms: Natural Gas Detector will sound the ticking voice alarm with LED flashing red light when it detects combustible gases including kitchen methane and natural gas
  • High Sensitivity Sensor equipped with adjustable sensitivity rotate button
  • Suitable for use in household and other places, including oil production, chemical, municipal,sewage treatment, coal gas, mining, fire, storage, brewing and other places to detect toxic gases.
  • Detects methane, natural gas, propane, ethane, coal gas, gas oil, gasoline, toluene, alcohol, ketone and other flammable gases.

An Excellent Instructive Video About the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide and Other Gases

Kidde KN-COEG-3 Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide and Explosive Gas Alarm with Battery Backup

This unit has the most reviews on Amazon (799) and 4 star rating, but there there are some negative reviews that made me think twice about choosing this Kidde portable gas detector unit. The main issue, with this one and to some degree with all smoke and carbon monoxide detection units, is the presence of false positives -- they tend to go off even when there's not enough gas or be an issue. Worse are the false positives -- an "all clear" reading when in fact there is a dangerous amount of toxic gas present.

With that in mind, I think it's worth quoting a review at some length. This person acknowledges the drawbacks in gas detection units, but also tells a fairly terrifying story in which a toxic gas detector probably saved lives:

"After reading the negative reviews, I had to post, because this thing probably saved my life. To the people who say 'if gas is leaking, you'll smell it,' I can reply, 'Not if you're asleep and/or across the house, you can't.' And if you're asleep during a sudden gas event, you might not wake up. My old natural gas boiler failed at 2AM on a 15-degrees-below-zero night. This Explosive Gas alarm woke me from across the house, and without me being able to smell gas in my bedroom yet, and I'm very sensitive to that scent. The responding fire department told me that the boiler was on the verge of exploding/catching house on fire."

Ultimately, you have a toxic gas detector for the same reason you have a smoke detector -- because it's better than not having one. But you are also aware that they are fallible, and not the only safety method you should have in your house.

  • Protects you and your family from carbon monoxide and explosive gas.
  • Loud 85-decibel pulsing alarm that will sound to alert you to a potential problem.
  • Displays the level of carbon monoxide the unit is sensing.
  • Peak Level Memory
  • Test/Reset Button
  • Three convenient mounting options

According to trusted online sources, here are the ten most important facts that you need to know about the threat posed by a leak of carbon monoxide gas:

  1. Heating systems, gas fires and gas cookers are most often the source of dangerous gas leaks in the home.
  2. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, and collapse.
  3. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for food poisoning, viral infections and even the flu.
  4. The highest risk from carbon monoxide and other toxic gases is to children and the elderly. It's also possible for your pets to be affected (hence the common use of a "canary in a coalmine" to detect the presence of dangerous natural gas).
  5. Common danger signs in your home can include the pilot light blowing out frequently, more condensation that usual on your windows, and unusual dark staining around or on your appliances.
  6. A carbon monoxide and natural gas alert is affordable and easy to install.
  7. Never use an illegal gas fitter for your boilers. Check their credentials of any repairmen and installers.
  8. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, turn off gas appliances and open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate.
  9. If you think you may be poisoned, do not procrastinate! Head straight for the emergency room and get tested.
  10. If you think you have a leak, call 911 and get safety officials out to your house. Turn off and do not use the suspect appliance.

Resources

The following sources were used for this guide:

charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article196353719.html

boilerguide.co.uk/articles/carbon-monoxide-safety/carbon-monoxide-poisoning

safetypartnersltd.com/the-importance-of-gas-detection-and-the-bump-test/

tclifesafety.com/Fire & Life Safety

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 10 days ago

        Good post on helping people stay safe when traveling.

      • Miebakagh57 profile image

        Miebakagh Fiberesima 3 weeks ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

        Hello GreenMind, thanks for the article. It is very helpful, even if one is not traveling. It also better to have one in a car, because gas leaks occur in cars. And some persons cannot identify such easily.

        Thanks again.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)