“Shelf life” and “operational life” are terms you may have heard before. These types of terms are widely used however, not everyone knows the detailed meaning behind them.
“Shelf life” in regard to this piece is the time between manufacturing the product and its initial operation.
Most electrochemical sensors have a typical shelf life of six months from manufacture, provided they are stored in ideal conditions (20°C). However, a small portion of this period is taken up during the manufacturing of the instrument and the shipping to the customer.
It is highly advised that you plan ahead when purchasing any instruments or spare parts, to insure minimal delay between storage and usage.
Again, “operational life” in regard to this piece is the time from when the sensor is first being used, until the time that it’s no longer fit for purpose.
With the most ideal conditions – a stable temperature and humidity of 20°C and 60%RH with no occurrence of contaminants – electrochemical sensors can operate for up to 11 years. Periodic contact to the target gas doesn’t limit the lifespan of the tiny fuel cells: High quality sensors have access to a large amount of catalyst material as well as robust conductors which don’t deplete because of the reaction.
However, the perfect conditions don’t always exist so it is important to be cautious when it comes to gas sensors.
The typical life span of an electrochemical sensor is usually between 2-3 years. Whereas a more exotic gas sensor may only last 12-18 months. I would advise anyone who uses a gas detector to get the instrument serviced every 6 months as this will ensure that your instrument will be working perfectly.