Electronic Leak Detection DOES WORK

I hear many techs complain about the finicky and ineffective nature of electronic leak detection—so much so that some claim that it is a waste of time altogether. We recently located a leak inside the fins of a ductless evaporator coil—pinpointed to an exact spot—using an electronic leak detector. For demonstration purposes, we took that coil and performed a definitive test to locate it in the video below.

A leak detector can be tricky to use, so here are some of our top tips:

  • Know your detector. Know its limitations, its sensitivity, and what can cause false positives. For example, some leak detectors will sound off on certain cleaners or even soap bubbles. My detector sounds off when jostled or when the tip is blocked.
  • Keep a reference bottle so that you can check your detector every time before you use it.
  • Maintain your detector and replace the sensor as required. Most heated diode detectors require sensor replacement every 100 hrs or so.
  • Keep it out of moisture. Most detectors will be damaged by almost any amount of moisture.
  • Move slowly and steadily. Don't jump around or get impatient.
  • Most refrigerant is heavier than air, which means that starting from the top and working down is usually a more effective way to pinpoint.
  • Go back to the same point again and again to confirm a leak. Don't condemn a component based on one “hit.”
  • Find the leak WITH BUBBLES whenever remotely possible, even after pinpointing with a detector.

—Bryan

Related Tech Tips

Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures
Most of the laws we refer to in air conditioning and refrigeration are pretty obvious and practical. Dalton's law of partial pressures is no exception. John Dalton observed that the air pressure was equal to the added pressures of each gas that make up air. That means that the pressure and density of air can […]
Read more
Hyperion Troubleshooting
This article was written by my good buddy, Bill Frisbie. Bill is a service manager and crack technician at AirFx, a Trane dealer in lovely Inverness, Florida. Thanks, Bill! One of the most intimidating things in the field is to walk up to a piece of equipment that you have either never worked on or […]
Read more
Four Ps of IAQ
The Four Ps of IAQ I’m not the first, second, or probably even the thirty-second person to write about improving indoor air quality problems using the four Ps approach. It’s a well-known thought process in the building science community—not sure if that’s the case in HVAC circles. The first P is for pollutants. In this […]
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

loading

To continue you need to agree to our terms.

The HVAC School site, podcast and daily tech tips
Made possible by Generous support from