Bump testing is no different than anything else as far as safety precautions are concerned. You put your seatbelt on before driving a vehicle. You don’t drive a motorcycle without wearing a helmet. You don’t leave without locking the door to your house. Gas detection is much the same way, if you take the proper safety precautions you will be in much better shape if something doesn’t go according to plan. You may not think bump testing your gas detector is that important, but it sure gives a nice peace of mind once you know that your detector is functioning as it should.
A bump test is simply a function check of your gas detector. A bump test will expose the sensors in the detector to a set concentration of gas that is more than the alarm set point in the detector. The alarm should sound if the gas sensors and gas detector are properly functioning. A bump test is not the same as a calibration. Calibration ensures the accuracy and function of your monitor, a bump test ensures only the function of your detector.
Gas detectors are just like an appliance. If your stovetop doesn’t turn on you may need a new element, new wiring, new stove eyes, etc. Gas detectors work the same way. The first thing you should do before heading out into the field is to check and make sure the detector is working properly by doing a bump test. Without a bump test, you are more or less trusting your life to equipment that may or may not be working! If the stove doesn’t turn on, it’s troubleshooting time. If your gas monitor fails the bump test, it’s also troubleshooting time.
While most gas detectors are rugged enough to handle the temperature changes, drops, humidity, different environments, moisture, etc., any of these can also cause a big difference in the gas detector’s performance. Drops can dislodge sensors, dust and moisture can clog a sensor. These are factors that are always going to exist, no matter how much a worker maintains his equipment. Luckily, a bump test will let you know if your detector is still working as it should.
Typically, there are two different ways to bump test an instrument. The easiest and most reliable means is by using a calibration station that matches your piece of equipment. The RKI units that we sell and rent can be paired with a model-specific bump testing dock. For instance, our RKI 4 gas monitors (GX-2009 or GX-3R) can be ordered with a docking station. This docking station can be used as a stand-alone device for charging, calibration and bump testing, with all records stored automatically for future upload to a PC via USB flash drive (PC software and flash drive included). You can also automate how you manage and service GX-2009 instruments by connecting the SDM-2009 to a computer with a USB cable. With the SDM Docking Station controller software, you can simultaneously calibrate, bump test, archive data, or charge up to ten instruments. Also, download the data logging history from each instrument into one easy to manage locator. SDM-2009 stations can be manifolded together to reduce the number of demand flow regulator gas cylinders required. The other option is to pair the testing gas to a regulator with tubing and apply the gas to the detector directly. Some monitors have a “bump test mode” that will display results with a pass/fail reading. The other option is to put the gas near the instrument while in it’s reading mode. If each sensor shows response and alarm, then the instrument is good for use.
Gas detection instruments should be bump tested quite frequently. There is always a margin for error and with gas, that margin can end your life or cause severe injury. With proper training and equipment, this will become just another part of your day and another step taken to make sure you come home at the end of the day.
Please give JM Test Systems a call for your gas detection needs. We stock calibration gas, bump test docks, gas monitors and just about anything else that could be needed for gas detection. JM Test Systems can sell, rent, service or calibrate gas monitors and we are always here should the need arise.