No matter the size of your gas system, failsafe operations are always a top priority. Checking and maintaining your hazardous gas monitoring equipment on a regular basis is essential for the safety of employees and for optimum equipment performance. A sensor that has not been properly maintained could lead to false atmospheric readings, which can jeopardize your staff and your investment. With new regulatory standards evolving all the time, how do you know you’re getting the most accurate readings? The answer isn’t just performing periodic bump tests. Only through routine calibrations and careful record keeping can you be sure to maintain the highest standards of safety for your business.
Bump Tests vs Calibration
A simple bump test, or function check, can be performed frequently to verify that the gas detector sensor and alarms are working. A bump test involves briefly exposing the sensors to a higher concentration of gas than normal in order to set off the alarms. This is quick and easy, but bump tests alone aren’t enough to ensure the safety of your facility and staff, as they only check for functionality. Although they can detect the presence of gas in the air, it’s important to remember that they don’t check for instrumentation accuracy or make adjustments to the sensor itself. That’s where the importance of consistent calibration maintenance comes into play.
Regular calibration is crucial to maintaining the overall working condition of the gas monitor. How often you need to calibrate depends on many factors, including the type of equipment, operating conditions, environmental factors, instrument use patterns, sensor replacements and many other variables. Over time, the sensors become less accurate at reading the level of gas. This is known as calibration drift, and occurs with all gas detection systems, no matter how new or well-maintained they are. The best way to guarantee consistent safety is to have a bump check and calibration routine in place in your company’s policy standards. This will ensure you can rely on your detector to alert you in the event of toxic leaks or exposure.
Know Your Records
Keeping accurate and updated records of sensor replacements, equipment updates, bump test results and calibration dates is the best way to predict costs and maintain safety standards. Know the typical lifespan of the sensors in your monitor and note these dates so you can plan ahead. This record will also help your bottom line by allowing you to identify any parts of your equipment that have a history of excessive maintenance costs or often make inaccurate readings. Included with these documents should be the user manuals for all parts and equipment. This will help support a regular maintenance schedule, since equipment manufacturers often include information about the recommended calibration frequency, the parts needed for calibrating your equipment and the calibration procedures. To complete your records, online resources are often available, such as ENMET’s Equipment Video Page or the ENMET YouTube channel, which provides the specific calibration instructions for their gas detection equipment.
Lewis Systems is an authorized distributor for ENMET and can help your company with the right combination of new or replacement gas detection parts and calibration services to ensure your company stays protected. To find out more about the importance of gas detection equipment maintenance, or to get a recommendation for how often to calibrate and check your equipment, contact us online or call 888.382.8077.