If you think you need a Freon leak detector, then our guide will help you determine which one meets your prerequisites. Prolonged exposure to Freon can lead to lung fluid buildup, lung failure, heart issues, brain damage, and even death. If your HVAC unit is placed outside and you think you are safe from all these risks, think again, since it can easily enter your home.
It’s true that Freon is a heavy gas and will pool at ground level, but this still means it’s hazardous for children and pets. In addition, a refrigerant leak can raise your energy bills as much as 35%. Here are the main types of Freon leak detectors and their advantages and disadvantages:
Before jumping into the whole refrigerant leak detection equipment discussion, we want to mention that “Freon detection” generally refers to identifying all types of refrigerants.
Here are the most common and the most efficient methods to detect Freon leaks:
You can easily create a liquid Freon leak detector at home, by mixing soap or laundry detergent with water. Apply the resulting substance on piping and wait for bubbles to appear. That means you localized the leak and can proceed to seal it tight. This method is widely used by amateurs and professionals. However, you can also purchase liquid Freon leak detectors that are ready-made.
Note: Soapy solutions are best used together with other detection methods.
If you already tried it and didn't consider the old soapy water a reliable Freon leak detection method, you have a few other options available. These are manufactured and designed specifically for this purpose, thus being reliable and precise.
These devices use infrared sensors to detect any refrigerant leaks in your home. They smartly use refrigerants’ different reflectivity to infrared radiation to give accurate results in real time. An infrared Freon leak detection device has an accuracy of +/- 1.8°F for temperatures between 32 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are 2 types of electronic Freon leak detectors available: Negative corona and heated diode devices. Negative corona Freon leak detectors create a high voltage electric arc that is sensitive to refrigerants. When the electric corona detects Freon leaks, the device rings an alarm to let you know. Heated diode Freon leak detectors use heat to break refrigerant molecules apart into Fluorine and Chlorine ions, which can be detected by heated diodes.
These devices have been around for a few decades, and impressed professionals from the start with their accuracy and newer models are much more precise.
Many professionals choose light-responsive dyes instead of soapy solutions to detect Freon leaks. These can be injected into the refrigeration system and is carried by the refrigerant through piping. Then, you can use a UV light to see where the dye leaked out of the system. This method is considered the best Freon leak detector at the moment.
Halide torches can be used to detect Freon leaks. Chlorine-based refrigerants will change the flame’s color from blue to green. They use a probe hose to draw in air, which is then exposed to a copper reactor plate that has been previously heated.
These detectors are high precision systems that detect seal failures and pipe punctures in compressed air and gas systems. An ultrasonic leak detection device identifies the high-frequency noise refrigerants produce when leaking. They can accurately detect leaks up to 65 feet away and make it easy to identify the source thanks to an integrated point sight.
In addition, they can use a laser pointer to accurately detect leaks in areas with restricted access. Many have a transparent reflector, which offers precision without obstructing visibility.
Note: Ultrasonic refrigerant leak detectors can be used together with a soapy solution to increase their precision. The sound of bubbles bursting will be easier to detect by these devices.
If none of these methods identified a Freon leak, you seem to be safe. However, if you still suspect something might be wrong with your appliance’s refrigerant piping, you can perform a pressure test. For this, you will need a tank of pressurized dry nitrogen. It should go without saying the gas should be oxygen-free, but we want to highlight this aspect anyway. If you use a soapy solution, a 10-bar nitrogen flow should be enough to make the liquid bubble up.
In addition, keep the following in mind:
Keep the below in mind to ensure you get the best value from the freon leak detector.
To find the most suitable leak detector, one has to determine the refrigerant types to handle. That machine has to detect all of the refrigerants. The important thing to remember is that a detector that can detect many refrigerants can cost more than the ones that identify leaks of common refrigerants. Checking one's field application and expertise is important for that.
Everybody knows that time is money. Spending a lot of time on finding leaks with an inappropriate detector will frustrate the buyer and waste their time, so identifying leaks immediately is crucial. The buyer should choose a model that has good-quality sensors, has less warm-up time, as well as features that quickly detect the leak. Choosing the top brands is the safer option, as opposed to risking time for money on the cheap brands.
Detectors come with different types of sensors to identify the leak in the HVAC system. The best detector comes with good sensor quality and durability. The better the quality of the sensor, the higher the price.
The battery of the detector is another crucial aspect that buyers must examine. Having a good detector is useless if the battery lasts for a short period. The minimum prescribed time for a battery to last is a full day so that the user can get the job done efficiently. Modern leak detectors contain rechargeable batteries, helping the buyer save money and time from frequently purchasing new ones.
A broken detector won't help anyone, so make sure that the leak detector contains a warranty. Although top brands provide good-quality HVAC tools that last for a long period of time, the buyer needs to determine the warranty period since the detector can malfunction. It happens even to the top brands.
If you want to make sure a future refrigerant leak will not go unnoticed, a multi-point refrigerant monitor is what you need. These use audio and visual signals to let you know when a leak has been detected. Here’s what to keep in mind when looking for a permanent refrigerant monitoring system:
Please don’t try to install these devices by yourself unless you are a specialized technician. Your family’s health and lives are at stake, so cutting corners should not be an option with a freon leak detector. Never hesitate to reach out to us. You can email us with your questions or queries.