Is it now time for every pub to have Co2 Detector


Co2 detectors
Something that has concerned me for a very long time. Should it be mandatory for all pub cellars to have a Co2 and Nitrogen detectors. We all know how dangerous a Co2 gas leak can be as a Technician I have the buddy system but sometimes it isn’t charged up and it is left in the van. I think everyone at one time or another has had a whiff of Co2 felt shortage of breath etc.

But I am really thinking about the Publican who can now buy these large bottles of Co2 which I think are 56lb, because they take a long time to empty this means you can have quite a substantial gas leak and not notice it.

The scenario I am thinking about would be the tank type cellar with no or hardly any ventilation during the evening a gas leak could develop, Co2 is heavier than air and by morning would fill the whole cellar. As the Publican is about before anyone else, can go into the cellar to check the cask ales. Breathing air with increased concentrations of carbon dioxide gas can lead to effects ranging from heavy breathing and a feeling of suffocation through loss of consciousness to asphyxiation.

This article below brings it all home.

The Age Newspaper, Australia wrote: Man dies in pub cellar after being overcome by gas leak
March 11, 2010
A hotel worker has died after he was overcome by gas in the cellar of a hotel west of Geelong this morning.
The man was taking delivery of beer kegs when he collapsed in the Royal Mail Hotel at Birregurra about 7.10am.
Senior Constable Adam Johnston of Colac Police said the man, in his mid 50s, was gathering up empty kegs in the cellar when he is believed to have knocked a carbon dioxide canister, causing it to leak.
He was deprived of oxygen and collapsed on the floor.
The beer delivery driver found him lying on the ground but was himself overcome with gas and felt light-headed and nauseous.
He left the cellar and called emergency services before he was taken to Colac Hospital in a stable condition.
We’re not entirely sure what it was, Senior Constable Johnston said.
We believe its likely to be something like oxygen displacement from the carbon dioxide that they charge the beer with, but we don’t know that for sure.
˜They have canisters with carbon dioxide to charge the beer to make it fizzy. What may have happened is he may have knocked one of the gas bottles, and the carbon dioxide has come out which has pushed all of the breathable air out of the cellar, leaving it with just carbon dioxide.
Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said fire brigade officers wearing breathing apparatus entered the cellar brought the hotel worker, from Birregurra, to the surface.
Paramedics worked on him for quite some time but were unable to revive him, Mr Mullen said.
A Country Fire Authority spokeswoman said four fire units were called to the scene and contained the leak about 8.30am.
Victoria Police are also at the scene, and WorkSafe has been notified.

The trouble is they are so expensive does any one know where they can buy these things at a reasonable price?


  1. Good call.

    A brief internet search has shown this supplier,please see attached PDF,(note the panic that they are inducing in the sales pitch).Nothing official on this subject has shown up so far,however.
    3 weeks ago I cured a CO2 leak at our end.We were looking for something else at the time.Dodgy O ring on a standard push fit connector as it turned out.I think it had been like it since installation 6 months or so ago.Only found it because we turned all the coolers off to stop the noise so that we could listen for another problem.We still haven’t located the other problem(building maintainance snag)but after hearing the tell tale hiss quietly leaking away the working crew ain’t gonna die of that one.

    After this one,mandatory equipment in my opinion.

    Attached files


  2. Blimey, this has happened to us three times in the last six weeks! Twice we had a leak in the lines in the cellar and the C02 emptied and last week the mix generator packed up and dumped out all of the nitrogen. When the engineer from Cryoserve turned up he told us not to leave him out there for more than 5 minutes, if he didn’t come back could we please go and look for him!!!!!!

    I’ve now told the staff that if they lose gas pressure at the pumps they aren’t to go and look without taking someone else with them, one of the few times members are allowed in the cellar.

    Thanks so much for the link to a supplier, definitely going to get them 😉

    I also now keep a squirty botlle of fairy liquid mix to spray on the valves to look for leaks (love annoying the brewery with complaints ;D)

  3. I also now keep a squirty botlle of fairy liquid mix to spray on the valves to look for leaks (love annoying the brewery with complaints ;D)
    Water only old chum.All gas related equipment needs to be kept as free of contaminants as possible,there is a risk of catastrophic discharge(i.e. it goes bang and maims or kills you) if done otherwise. ??)

  4. As always I stand to be corrected.If used on the outside of an already connected system then probably no harm will come.For me I’d sooner err on the side of safety,but if the Tech Rep reckons it is a safe and valid option (they are generally very clued up chaps) then go with it.
    Sorry if I’ve fed you a dud.

  5. I know these things are expensive when you think how cheap smoke alarms are all they have to tell you there is no oxygen to breathe, a canary might be the best course or my preference would be a rat. The dream would be to have a well ventilated cellar and turn the gas off at the end of every session.

    Lots of gas leaks occur by the keg coupler because that is where the wear and tear is. When you turn the gas back on you may hear a container filling up that would be a good place to start looking. It is a pity they stopped using the change over valves you could centralise them and see if there was a pressure drop. Brewers don’t like you to use soapy water on gas regulators because of corrosion, there is no reason not to use soap suds on keg couplers though. 😉

  6. I mentioned this thread to one of our committee today. "Oh yes", she said, "we really should get those sensors turned back on." I could have throttled the woman!!!!!! We’ve got sensors attached to the cellar wall already but they have been disabled somehow so I’ve rung the company and they are coming out.
    I’ve spent the last 10 years working with some really nasty chemicals and I honestly don’t think people, especially staff, realise how dangerous some of the stuff we use actually is. I once found a previous member of staff pouring neat line cleaner down a sink in the toilets to unblock it. Needless to say he didn’t work with us for very long after that 😉

  7. in the early 90s. samuel webster put co2 detectors in our club, BUT what they failed to understand was that at the time we had 5 barl tanks . two bars ,two cellars 9 tanks in each.
    as some of you will know to fill the tanks you first have to de gass them , as you de gassed the tank it set of the detector in turn turning off the gas , result could notsell beer/lager as no they where only used the once. and never again . not in 42 yrs.
    A good idea but where NO good if you had tanks. Mind you they have all gone now but at the time ,a wast of time.
    To combat that, websters put in cellaR EXTRACTION fans. NOW they did/do work.

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