With Spectroline fluorescent leak detection, the injected dye causes air conditioning and refrigeration system leaks to glow brightly.
HOLTSVILLE, NY — Dennis Gorman, president of Action Air Refrigeration Service, Inc., based here, knows the importance of reliable leak-detection methods. He has been in business for 23 years and has seen what damage undetected leaks can do to air conditioning and refrigeration (acr) systems, from the loss of costly refrigerant to complete system failures.

“We have over 900 customers in the metropolitan New York area and service just about every type of equipment made, including compressors that are eligible for Social Security,” Gorman said.

Action Air’s method of locating leaks is the Spectroline® fluorescent leak detection system, from Spectronics Corp., Westbury, NY. With this technique, a small amount of fluorescent dye is added into an operating acr system, where it combines and circulates with the refrigerant and lubricant in the system.

Wherever refrigerant may escape a system, so does the dye, which remains at every leak site. When the equipment is scanned with a high-intensity inspection lamp, the dye glows a bright yellow-green color, making each of the detected leaks easy to see.

The Action Air roster of customers includes a number of Long Island companies. In addition to servicing some of the major commercial and industrial buildings, the contractor also maintains acr systems in hospitals, schools, malls, and hotels.

Gorman explained, “The key to servicing such a wide variety of systems is reliable leak detection. The faster we can find leaks, the faster we can repair them. The result is lower costs for our customers.

“We never allow any of our service trucks to leave on a service call without a [leak detection] lamp and several fluorescent dye capsules,” he said. “Many times, fluorescent leak detection will reveal leaks that we couldn’t find with other methods. It’s fast, easy, and accurate.”

He noted the benefits associated with the dye remaining in the system. “We keep a complete book of all air conditioning and refrigeration systems which we have serviced using fluorescent dyes. When business is slack, our technicians go back and scan those systems again. Invariably they find new leaks that have developed since the last inspection.

“It is so easy to show the leak sites, with their bright, fluorescent halos, to our customers that we usually end up with the repair job. It’s found business for us.”

Action Air uses Spectroline BIB-150P ultraviolet lamps because of their high UV intensity. This lamp has a Built-In-Ballast™ bulb, the manufacturer says, that does away with the need for a heavy, external transformer. It is also designed to be lightweight and ergonomic for easy handling.

In the hvacr business, it not only pays to keep accurate service records, it also pays to use an accurate leak-detection method. “With the Spectroline method we have found refrigerant leaks as small as a pinpoint,” remarked Gorman. Leak detection has helped turn his slow season into a “glow” season, for added profit.

Publication date: 01/14/2002