Natural gas (methane) and propane are flammable gases that are commonly used in building heating systems such as commercial buildings, schools, university campuses, hospitals and institutions. The natural gas and propane sources and combustion for heating are usually in a boiler room, an enclosed area that is not frequented very often, which increases the risk of an accumulating leak going undetected. A leak not only wastes expensive fuel but could result in an explosion causing loss of life and structural damage.

When methane or propane don’t combust properly, carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide easily travels around through the air and can migrate to other areas of the building through vents, ducts and other openings. Carbon monoxide is harmful to the lungs and if breathed in relatively small concentration over a period of time could result in dizziness, headache and even death. Leaking methane and propane can also cause the same dizziness and headaches but in concentrations of 5% or 2.1% respectively they are explosive.

The NIOSH and OSHA exposure limits for CO, Methane and Propane are shown below:

Gas OEL (ppm) TWA STEL (ppm) IDLH (ppm) LFL / UFL
Carbon Monoxide (CO) 35 N/A 1200 12.5% / 74%
Methane 1000 N/A 500,000 5% / 15%
Propane 1000 N/A 2100 2.1% / 9.5%

PPM – Parts per million
OEL – Occupational Exposure Limit, 8hr Time Weighted Average
STEL – Short Term Exposure Limit, 15min Time Weighted Average
IDHL – Immediate detriment to Health and Life
LFL/UFL – Lower Flammability Limit / Upper Flammability Limit

Bacharach’s Gas Detection products can assist facility managers in ensuring the maintenance personnel are working in a safe environment and meeting industry safety standards and local safety requirements.

Gas Type Single-Zone MGS-400 Series MGS-550
Carbon Monoxide (CO)