What You Need To Know About Selecting the Right Calibration Gases

Written by Small Business Magazine on December 5, 2018. Posted in Calibration gas, Calibration gases, Custom calibration gas standards


What Is Calibration Gas?

Calibration gases are used in the calibration of analytical instruments, such as analyzers and gas detectors. It can be a singular gas or a mixture of gases depending on the instrument and the needs. Gas detectors, for instance, are used to detect hazards in spaces where workers will be operating. It is important to keep these devices maintained and fully calibrated to ensure no one breathes anything that could be detrimental to their health while on a job.

Exposure to air pollutants and toxic environmental hazards can cause serious injury overtime, even if the symptoms are not immediately evident, and can even lead to death. Additionally, unscented combustible gases can cause explosions if not identified, which can be disastrous to both personal and property.


Using calibration gases correctly is the best way to keep detectors properly working to detect these hazards so that everyone is as safe as possible on the job. Accurate readings can be the difference between a disaster and a well completed job.

How to Select The Correct Calibration Gases

The first thing you have to determine is if the detector is a single or multi gas detector. A single gas detector is calibrated with a single type of gas that could be combustible or toxic depending on what you intend to scan for.

  • For flammable gasses you might use methane or isobutane to calibrate the device.
  • Oxygen gas can be calibrated with either nitrogen or oxygen calibration gases.
  • For Toxic gases you should be calibrated with the specific gas you intend to scan for. A CO detector should be calibrated with carbon monoxide, and a H2S detector needs Hydrogen sulfide gases in order to calibrate properly.

Depending on the specific type of detector you have and what you need to scan, you need to be sure you get the proper calibration gas to properly conduct the analysis.


For multi gas detectors you can use calibration gas mixtures. Each brand type of detector needs a specific type of mixture in order to correctly function. Get into contact with calibration gas suppliers to assure you are getting the correct mix for your brand; however, most commonly a 4 part mixture is used; carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, a flammable gas, and nitrogen. The flammable gas is, as mentioned in single units, isobutane or methane.


Cylinder sizes can also vary by brand, however, disposable cylinders usually come in 10, 34, 58, 110 liters. Singles are available in each size, but mixtures are usually only found in 34, 58, and 110 liter cylinders. This is something a distributor will be able to specify depending on your brand and your needs.

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