Refrigerant Leak Detection Methods In A/C and Refrigeration System Onboard

Electronic leak detector
Today  electronic refrigerant leakage detection device is very common in marine field  owing to  the ease of usage. It is very crucial that one should take care of certain aspects regarding its usage , before using it.

1) Before using it, ventilate the compartment thoroughly and properly .
2)Switch on the device and adjust the sensitivity.
 3)Move the probe very slowly through the suspected area for, it will give visual and audible alarm if it detects the leakage.

Halide leak detector
 It consists of a burner, needle valve, suction tube and chimney with copper reaction plate. Slowly move the tube of the detector through the suspected area. The change in colour of the flame indicates the leakage, small leakage gives greenish tinge and large leakage gives vivid blue flame.

Soap Solution
Detecting leak by means of soap solution is one of the oldest and cheapest methods.  You can detect the leakage by applying the foam on suspected area   

Other two methods are pressure test and vacuum test. These tests are conducted on shipyard to find the leakages on piping before filling the refrigerant gas. Sometimes it may be conducted onboard after doing major repair works in cooling lines. Before doing these test make sure that the system is shut and all the refrigerant is collected

Pressure Test
 Pressure test is carried out by filling the dry nitrogen into the system. Close the suction/ discharge valves of the compressor and other valves which can’t undergo high pressure test. Fill the dry nitrogen up to around 0.3-0.4 bar search for any leakage using soap solution. Repair the leak points if any, and then pressurize the system up to test pressure (around 20 bar for HP side and 15 bar for LP side). The system pressure should not drop below 0.4 bar in first 6 hours and should be kept steady in the latest 8 hrs.

Vacuum Test  
 Vacuum test is only carried out after the pressure test  is completed successfully .  Evacuate the gas in the system; close suction and discharge valves, open other valves. Pump out the system up to -0.9 bar If the pressure has not  returned to 0.13 bar , the system is acceptable.

Note: Test pressures and vacuum pressures are approximate values. Please refer the manuals before doing these tests

You Can Answer Following Questions
> How to find leak in refrigeration And A/C system
> what is halide test ?
> leak detection method after the installation of refrigeration system

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