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How Can You Tell if You Have a CO2 Leak?

CO2 Leak Detector

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. You cannot tell if you have a CO2 leak without a CO2 gas detector.

What is a CO2 leak gas detector?

In today's world, industries such as restaurants, beverage industries, indoor agriculture, and breweries are all too familiar with carbon dioxide (CO2) hazards and the potential incidents that can occur without proper CO2 monitors in place or the tools necessary to find potentially deadly leaks.

Carbon dioxide leaks can be deadly even when normal oxygen levels are present. The majority of commercial refrigeration systems, restaurant soda dispensers, indoor grow facilities, brewery fermentation tanks, and draft beer coolers contain high concentrations of CO2 where potential leaks can occur.

There are two main issues that can cause leaks in CO2 systems:

  • Failure to service and maintain systems>
  • Damage caused through improper or repetitive use

Injuries occur to those working in and around these hazard points such as:

  • Improperly installed beverage systems
  • CO2 cylinders or bulk tanks that are not properly vented
  • Leaking fittings, connections, piping/tubing
  • Leaking carbonators, syrup pumps
  • Leaking beer keg couplers and equipment

While incidents involving some of the above equipment have resulted in severe injury to those exposed, regulations have been put in place to ensure industries that use CO2 are compliant and have proper CO2 leak detectors and monitors in place to mitigate the chance of injury.

As a company with nearly two decades of experience in gas detection, CO2Meter has gathered valuable input from partners in the field to create an accurate, fast, reliable, and low-cost CO2 leak detectors for industries worldwide.

How does a CO2 leak detector work?

By focusing on installers, draft technicians, and safety leads, CO2Meter designed and built the popular CO2 Leak Detector which features a fast and accurate CO2 sensor to pinpoint even the smallest of potential leak points. 

A CO2 leak detector much like the SAN-13 operates by measuring carbon dioxide instantly through a sampling tube and uses a non-dispersive infrared sensor (NDIR) at its core for continued accuracy.

Where to place a CO2 leak detector?

Jeremy Gobien Using CO2 Leak Detector in Brewery

Carbon dioxide leaks can occur in any space where CO2 is being produced, used, or stored.

For example, we asked head brewer and owner Jeremy Gobien, Ph.D. from Copper Kettle Brewing in Denver, CO to share some examples. For brewers, having areas that store, create, or use CO2 only provides more opportunity for CO2 leaks.

Jeremy noticed that as he built out the CO2 system at the brewery there was a persistent ice spot on the CO2 bulk tanks outer jacket. "Icing" on the outside of the tank means that the tank is drawing gas more quickly that the tank is designed. This was a key indicator that the system may have a leak. 

Without a real solution to measure or diagnose where the leak is, the cost per year of a leaky system is difficult to assess. Jeremy's current annual CO2 expenditure was roughly $7,000 (around $3.5 per barrel of product output). 

Even a 5% loss rate per year due to leaks would be a waste of $350 of CO2 every year. In addition to cost savings, there is a need to provide a high level of safety for his staff.

What happens if you have a CO2 leak?

In Jeremy's instance, he knew that CO2 was a potential hazard in most indoor spaces like breweries and a potential danger his staff could encounter.   

Jeremy stated, "Before having a way to find the source of the leak the walk-in cooler almost always had a higher CO2 level than the building in general at Copper Kettle. Knowing there is a problem is only half the battle. Before having the SAN-13 unit we knew when we had a critical problem but finding the source was a perfect example of the "needle in a haystack" scenario. The walk-in cooler houses nearly 20 individual vessels each with 4-8 tri-clamp connections above the liquid level which could result in CO2 leaks."

"Since having the SAN-13 it has become an invaluable resource to quickly locate and correct leaks in our CO2 distribution system resulting in measurable improvements in reducing waste and increasing safety at the brewery. We have incorporated the SAN-13 CO2 Leak Detector as part of our standard operating procedure so that every vessel is proactively checked for leaks each time it is pressured."

"I would highly recommend the SAN-13 to anyone using compressed CO2 gas as part of their daily operations. It satisfies all my requirements for a high quality and effective device for this purpose in that it's solidly built, responsive, accurate, and intuitive to use." 

Reaching hazardous levels of carbon dioxide can occur quickly and without warning, which could result in serious health effects or injury. Ensure your workers and employees are consistently safe and keep false alarms to an extreme minimum with our carbon dioxide leak detector solution

For more information on the CO2 Leak Detector for your application or industry contact us at or call (877) 678–4259.

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