Nat gas “sniffers” for friends who can’t smell anymore due to Covid

So here’s a fun prepping mashup: Both my mom and one of my friends have recently had gas leak scares when a gas-powered appliance began to malfunction and they realized, suddenly, that they would not necessarily be able to tell if it was leaking gas because they’d lost their sense of smell due to Covid. In my mom’s case, it was actually kind of funny, at least in hindsight, because she texted my husband and said, “Please don’t tell Sarah, because I know she’ll be worried, but…” My husband (who was sitting right next to me on the couch, watching Andor, and dutifully concealed their conversation from me) told her to call the utility, since they make free house calls 24/7 when a gas leak is suspected, and of course this is ALWAYS the best thing to do if one has any reason to believe that there might be a gas leak. That said, he and I were thinking that we should gift my mom and our other friend who can’t smell some portable gas “sniffers” (like this, for instance) as an added layer of assurance/protection (especially in my mom’s case, since she’s probably now going to lie awake at night worrying that there is a gas leak she not smelling, even now that her gas dryer has been ruled safe and repaired).

So my question for y’all: Do any of you have experience with these types of units? Are they reliable in general? (When we’ve called out PG&E because we thought we smelled gas, the technician has checked the house with a handheld detector, so presumably this technology can be good, but who knows what kind of units the utility uses? Not I!) Can anyone recommend a model? I searched for past threads on this but couldn’t find any (perhaps because there are so many candidate search terms… gas, propane, detector, sensor, sniffer…), but please feel free to redirect me if I missed something!


  • Comments (2)

    • 1

      That looks like something an inspector would use to find the source of a leak. For protecting a home, I would want something more like a smoke alarm. Permanently install one near any natural gas appliance and expect a chirp if there’s a problem. And even though my nose works fine, I would consider getting the same in case I’m in a different room.

      I have no experience with this. This is just a “frequently purchased with” from the detector that you were looking at.

    • 1

      I have a hand held gas detector I keep with my portable generator for checking this. I also used to to prove to my wife that our gas stove is not actually pumping nat gas in to our house. 

      here’s the one I have: https://amzn.to/3Jt30lr

      I think it cost like 32 bucks. Might be worth a try. It works well for me. Full disclosure, I don’t work for the gas company so I have no idea if the sensor is a million perfect accurate. But it seems good.