Refrigerant Leak Detection
Understanding the Importance of Refrigerant Leak Detection Software, Services, and Hardware Devices
Refrigerant leak detection in refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC-R) systems is extremely difficult, even for the most experienced service technician. The leak could be well hidden from view in tubing, a system component, or in an operating or safety control switch.
With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation documented in The U.S. Clean Air Act (Sections 608 & 609), refrigerant leak detection takes on great urgency. The intent of the regulation is to lower emissions of gases harmful to the environment.
As such, the new government rules no longer give service technicians the option of adding refrigerant when the system is low due to a leak. Rather, the leak has to be found and fixed within a specified period of time.
There are numerous types of testing equipment that can be used in refrigerant leak detection, some of it automated and others acting as sniffers for onsite testing. To find the leak, service technicians have to determine the best method to use. Methods include a soap solution, a halide torch, dye interception, isolation of a component from the system, or pressurizing the system with dry nitrogen gas.
All of these methods take time and money, which can turn into a very expensive service call. A less costly alternative for companies is utilizing refrigerant management software that pinpoints the origin of a leak by either tracking service events over time to establish trends or to implement an automated leak detection technology.
Refrigerant Leak Detection Regulations from EPA
An electronic leak detector is one of the fastest methods used in refrigerant leak detection. These types of detectors can find leaks of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
Quick identification of a leak is important because the release of these gases is heavily regulated by the EPA, with companies subject to fines if their emissions are not fixed within a certain timeframe.
Refrigerant gas management software is a valuable tool in refrigerant leak detection. It provides companies with exact details on what their refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are venting, tracks performance, monitors and detects refrigerant gas leaks, provides refrigerant usage reports, and keeps accurate records on maintenance and service.
Refrigerant leak detection regulations govern the repair of a leak and outline proper disposal for a system that cannot be repaired. These extensive requirements are in force in the United States, as well as several foreign countries. The treaties set forth a worldwide response to improving and protecting the planet.
Implications of Refrigerant Leak Detection to the Environment
Quick action of refrigerant leak detection is a great importance to the environment. Refrigerant contains gases that have been identified as damaging to the ozone layer and show a high potential for causing global warming. To comply with environmental standards, many companies are investing in a refrigerant management program to monitor and track equipment usage.
Because of environmental and cost concerns related to refrigerant leak detection, many facilities with systems that use refrigerants are relying on refrigerant tracker applications. A refrigerant tracker monitors refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) systems and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems around the clock and instantly detects the location of any leaks. Studies show that commercial and industrial facilities can save thousands of dollars a year by monitoring systems for leaks.