Refrigeration / Refrigerants & Reclaim

On the Trail of Refrigerant Leaks

April 23, 2012
AC Leak Freeze injection
A/C Leak Freeze (shown) is being injected into a refrigerant line to seal leaks.

There are many reasons for wanting to stop refrigerant leaks in HVAC mechanical equipment. Some of the most obvious are partial or total loss of cooling capacity, decrease in efficiency, system damage, costly repairs and cleanup, etc. The list goes on and on. In many cases, leaks bring on additional power consumption and more downtime, two things that HVAC contractors’ customers don’t like and don’t want.

HVAC contractors do their best to educate customers on the problems of leaky refrigerant. On his web blog, Aaron York Jr. of Aaron York’s Quality Air, Indianapolis, has referred to checking for leaks as a means for reducing a carbon footprint. “Fix refrigerant leaks,” York wrote. “Refrigerant is expensive, and when it leaks, it can cause huge harm to the environment. Additionally, if moisture reacts with the refrigerant, it can cause damage to your compressor and other parts of your air conditioner. If you notice any refrigerant leaks, get them fixed right away!”

Leaks don’t discriminate either. They can show up in large commercial and industrial chillers and freezers as well as smaller residential refrigeration units or air conditioners. But the most obvious way to prevent leaks in any system is through proper installation, service, and routine maintenance. Prevention is always the best way to precede detection. However, even proper maintenance can’t always stop a component from leaking, which is why detection methods are so vital.

Sleuthing

What was once the sight and sniff method for leak detection has now been replaced by easier, more reliable methods, thanks to technology and some plain common sense. Soap, ultraviolet (UV) light, and electronic testing can be effective and accurate ways to test. One such effective way is by using hand-held leak detectors. These detectors can sense excess presence of the gas, which may also carry adverse health effects.

“The traditional way to detect leaks is to inject dye into the system and locate the leaks with a black tracer light,” said Brian Kemp of A/C Leak Freeze. “Fluorescent dyes can be used with refrigerants. The dye remains at all the leaks, leading to easy identification of damaged areas in HVAC systems.”

Another way to detect leaks is the bubble leak method. In this method, gas is blown over the piping and components in a controlled environment. When a leak is present, pressure bubbles can be seen coming from the leak.

But any method can be improved upon, given the changing component technology. “Sealing technology has improved greatly, and there are new ways to detect leaks,” said Kemp.

He noted that there is currently a leak-sealing process that is time- and money-saving, especially for small leaks in HVACR systems. “When a system is not cooling as it should, the first cause is mostly a low level of coolant due to a small leak,” he said. “These leaks can come from various sources like corrosion and in the pipe joints.

Besides having a competent and qualified service technician to maintain and service refrigeration and air conditioning systems, Kemp said that currently there are leak-sealing products — including one manufactured by his company — that work well in any HVACR system.

“One new technique is not to go through the traditional dye and seek process but to inject the sealant directly into the system and see if the performance of the systems returns,” he said. This process will have the system back to OMG performance in 15 minutes or so.”

“Let’s face it, a new approach to leak detection may result in a new cash flow line for contractors who have annual service programs with guarantees, etc.”

For more information on A/C Leak Freeze, visit www.leakfreeze.com.

Publication date: 04/23/2012

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Benefits of new procedure and product

Gary Roy
August 27, 2012
Really enjoyed reading this, I am glad to see articles extolling the new direction for our AC repair business industry. Everyone needs to realize it time to change our thinking when it comes to servicing units, especially the most common problem of Freon leaks. There is no way anyone can afford to spend hours and even days tracking down a leak with a dye or nitrogen or soap bubbles. In today's tightened economy you must learn to look over a system for mechanical soundness, then simply put in a new charge of Freon and Stop Leak Plus. Sound ridiculous, or unprofessional? Well even when a tech finally locates a leak he generally has to replace an expensive part to fix it, so all the tracking down and searching labor is wasted. Then when the customer says they can't afford to replace expensive parts, the whole job is wasted and no one is happy. New "AC class 101" guys... Spend no more than fifteen minutes checking over a unit for obvious damage and then recharge with Freon and SLP. Thousands of AC companies have switched over to this new procedure and all are loving the increased profits since they can charge $150, $250 or more for a half hours work. In the worst case scenario, offer a new air handler or a new replacement system and when they decline, offer the conditioning treatment and walk away with a profit and happy customer. I know that many technicians don't like the idea of a Stop Leak, but our success rate is above 95% on systems low on Freon. If a tech says he fixes every problem, he is only fooling himself. Unfortunately I still see AC mechanics lumping all SL's into the polymer category, they mistakenly think they harden when coming in contact with moisture. Well it's just not the case! Stop Leak Plus is a proprietary, non polymer so it does not harden and can not clog a system or equipment. It also conditions the entire system, improves performance and even lowers amperage draw. In over 20 years we have never had a single complaint regarding damage, clogging, or that it does not seal leaks based our simple installation procedure. I sincerely encourage every tech to learn about the differences in these products and discover the benefits of a back up plan, you will never walk away from another job without a profit when you have SLP in the toolbox. Our patented Stop Leak Plus version is totally safe and effective and it won't let you down, ever. Thanks for your thoughts, I would appreciate receiving any professional tech's opinion and comments. www.ACstopleakplus.com www.134acstopleak.com Thanks, Gary

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