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HVAC School - For Techs, By Techs

Feb 28, 2023

In this episode recorded live at AHR Expo 2023, Nick from INFICON joins Bryan to talk about leak detectors and how we can improve our understanding of them.

Some leak detectors, including the INFICON Stratus, measure concentrations in PPM (parts per million). When measuring PPM, we have to keep in mind that it doesn't indicate the size of the leak or leak rate, but it does help us pinpoint the leak location. In some cases, we also have to watch for automatic zeroing capabilities.

Leak detectors come in many varieties, including heated-diode, ultrasonic, and infrared; each type has unique maintenance needs. Heated-diode leak detectors are sensitive, but their sensors wear off with frequent use and will require replacement. Infrared leak detectors use infrared absorption and don't degrade over time the way heated-diode leak detectors do. An ultrasonic leak detector picks up the sound of refrigerant and air leaking out of a hole to pinpoint the leak.

It's a good idea to approach leak detection with a plan, including starting high on the coil and moving down (because refrigerant is heavier than air and may set off the leak detector below the actual leak). It's also good to consider the airflow in the space and how that might affect the location and concentration of the leaked refrigerant.

Nick and Bryan also discuss:

  • Pressure, hole shape, and leak rate
  • Understanding tool maintenance
  • Infrared leak detector usage and considerations
  • Common causes of leak detector failure
  • D-TEK product line
  • CO2 and hydrocarbon sensors for leak detectors
  • D-TEK Stratus modes (cloud hunting and pinpoint)
  • Applications for D-TEK Stratus leak detectors
  • "False" positives


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