Methane Greenhouse Gas Air Quality Measure Icon

Methane (CH₄)

Methane is a combustible gas and the main component of heating gas.

Can be measured with:

Measurable (via the VOC gases substance group) with air-Q light, air-Q basic and air-Q pro as well as air-Q science or via the methane single sensor.


Methane (CH₄) is a combustible, colourless and odourless gas from the hydrocarbon group. It is also known as methyl hydrogen. Methane is the simplest representative of the alkanes. With little soot formation, methane burns to form carbon dioxide and water. Along with carbon dioxide(CO₂), methane is one of the most relevant greenhouse gases that contribute decisively to climate change. As a natural chemical compound, methane is the main component of natural gas and serves, among other things, as an energy source and starting material for technical syntheses.

Limit values for methane:

Since methane is practically non-toxic to humans, neither national nor international limits have been set for this gas.

Even though methane only has comparatively harmless health effects on humans, too high a concentration is not without risk. The high flammability of methane in particular poses a significant risk. A methane content of 29 g/m³ is considered the lower explosion limit (LEL). This means that from a methane content of 4.4 vol.-% (volume percent) in the air, flame propagation in the gas mixture occurs completely independently in the event of ignition and triggers explosions.

Designationning Limit values methane
Lower explosionlimit (LEL) 29 g/m³ (corresponds to 4.4 vol.-%)

Consequences of too high or too low a concentration:

Methane is initially a non-toxic, only mildly stupefying gas. In higher concentrations, however, it can cause breathing difficulties, increase the respiratory and heart rates and lead to low blood pressure with dizziness and lightheadedness. The lack of oxygen responsible for this can also affect the central nervous system and lead to drowsiness, numbness in the arms and legs as well as mental confusion and memory loss. However, these effects do not normally cause permanent damage, but they do significantly limit health and performance, for example in work environments. Due to oxygen displacement, there is still a risk of suffocation at very high concentrations.

If the methane concentration in the air rises to 5 to 15 percent, an explosive mixture forms. If ignition sources are then present, such as open flames, sparks, hot surfaces, electricity or electrostatic charge, there is an increased risk of explosion. In addition to severe burns, dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide are also produced when methane is heated.

Emergence of CH₄:

Methane is constantly being formed through biological and geological processes. For example, it is created by the high temperatures and high pressure in deeper layers of the Earth and is often released into the Earth's atmosphere by volcanic activity.

During decomposition processes of organic substances in the absence of air, microorganisms emit methane, among other things. Plants and animals also produce methane, which they release into the environment.

Of the 500 million tonnes of methane emitted each year, 70 per cent is due to human activities. Above all, livestock farming and agricultural cultivation contribute to the increase of methane in the air we breathe. The keeping of cattle alone is responsible for 39 percent of emissions, and wet rice cultivation for 17 percent.

In addition, the traffic and transport sector, the extraction and production of fuels (such as coal and gas), petroleum refining, the production of iron, steel and malleable cast iron, as well as waste, wastewater and sewage sludge treatment are key contributors.

Sensor used:

Methane is measured by means of a sensor based on infrared absorption. The advantage of this principle is the very long lifetime compared to an electrochemical sensor and almost no cross-sensitivities. The disadvantage is the somewhat higher price.

Measure methane:

Measure indoor air methane concentration, constituents and pollutants in real time to improve their health and performance. Here you can order the air-Q as an air quality measuring device .

air-Qs, which use the sensor for

Methane (CH₄)


How can I protect myself from methane gas?

When you heat with a gas heater, or cook with a gas stove, methane gas can escape. To protect yourself from the dangers of methane, you can use a special air meter like the air-Q to detect gas leaks early. If the limits of methane gas in their environment are exceeded, the meter warns you.

Where does methane occur?

Methane (CH₄) is a combustible gas and is the main component of heating gas. In nature, methane is released by geological processes such as volcanic activity. Plants and animals (especially livestock) also produce methane, which they release into the environment. In addition, the greenhouse gas is released in the traffic and transportation sector, the extraction and production of fuels (such as coal and gas), and petroleum extraction.

How dangerous is methane?

Methane gas is initially non-toxic to humans. However, it becomes very dangerous in higher concentrations, as it is highly flammable and very explosive. A gas leak in your home can cause a serious explosion from a spark or open flame (such as a candle). Therefore, you should keep an eye on the methane concentration in your home by using an air meter.
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