Gas detector tubes use well-established technology to take 'grab samples' of suspected gases. The readings are generally referred to as 'qualitative,' since the accuracy ranges +/- 20% of the actual value. The variety of gases available to be measured is wide, and most of them are not readily detected by more common 4-gas meters. The ability to get an on-the-spot gas reading, with very little in the way of equipment or expense, has made these colorimetric gas detection tubes so popular.


The RAE Systems and BW Technologies by Honeywell brands we carry use piston-type pumps to draw the target sample air through the tube. Simply break off both ends of the glass tubes and insert them into the pump. In most cases, pulling back just once on the plunger is all you need to do. An internal spring cycles a specific amount of air within the tube. Based on the concentration, a distinct stain appears as the crystals change color. The specific reading of the gas in question may then be read directly on the tube. Each tube is marked with gradations specific to the type of reading (i.e., % by volume, ppm, etc.). 


What is a gas detection tube?

A gas detection tube is a small, portable device used to detect the presence of hazardous gases against the amount of oxygen in the air in confined spaces and work environments. They can detect particular gases or vapors in the atmosphere and  can be used in combination with a handheld gas detector. It is easiest to use when you are aware of the target gas, but they can also be used to identify which type of gas is in the air. 

How do you use a gas detection tube?

It’s best to refer to the owner’s manual to learn how to use your gas detection equipment properly. Once both ends have been broken off, insert the tube into the handheld piston pump according to the instructions. You will now need to pull through a sample of the air you want to test. You can either enter the area while wearing the proper protective gear or use hand pumps or sample pumps to draw air out of the work area and into the gas detection device. 

The detector tube will need a certain amount of time to analyze the reading to produce an accurate result. Some units will produce readings in just a few seconds, but others may need up to 40 seconds to test the work environment properly. This ensures the granulated chemicals in the tube are exposed to the air sample. Let the air circulate throughout the device before deeming the environment safe for human occupation or moving on to the next area. You should study the target gas including where it tends to collect in the work environment, so you can keep the gas detector in the right position. 

How do you read a detector tube?

The gas detector tube will display a direct reading stain that will tell you how much of the target gas is present in the air. The reading will appear on the tube itself. The markings should indicate the amount of gas in the air. Colorimetric gas detection tubes change colors to indicate if the space is safe to inhabit. Use the instruction manual to interpret the readings on the gas detector tube. If the reading surpasses the permissible exposure limit, you may need to wear a respirator or other breathing device while occupying the space or increase ventilation and test the space again.

Gas detection tubes are an easy and affordable way to quickly test your work environment for a range of toxic gases. Contact PK Safety to learn more about glass gas detection tubes to detect hazardous gases and other gas detector accessories.

Note: Gas detection tubes are considered a "Special Order" product that cannot be exchanged and is non-returnable.

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