Leak Detection w/ John Pastorello (Podcast)
John Pastorello from Refrigeration Technologies is back on the podcast to talk about leak detection procedures from start to finish.
Big Blu was what started the Refrigeration Technologies empire. John developed Big Blu to create a bubble leak detector with a higher sensitivity to leaks than any other bubble test solution on the market. Big Blu differs from other leak detection solutions because it detects gas leakage down to 0.65 ounces per year, putting it on the same level as some of the best electronic leak detectors.
One of the most common misconceptions in our industry is that systems don't leak at all. That is simply not true; all systems leak to some extent. When we check for leaks, we want to check for unacceptable leak rates; detectors will normally reveal when a leak occurs at an unacceptable rate.
Most of the leaks we check for are standing leaks, which we pinpoint when the system is off. We also have pressure-dependent leaks, temperature-dependent leaks, and vibration-dependent leaks. Those leaks vary with system operation, and you may even hear the leaks when the system is under a certain set of conditions.
Overall, you want to use your senses to look for oil spots, listen for hisses, and feel for oil residue before using an electronic leak detector. If you get a hit, pull out the Big Blu. When using soap bubbles, also be sure to use a mirror and light source to look all the way around a joint.
John and Bryan also discuss:
- Pressure distribution in the compressor
- Leak rate and molecule size
- Leaky valves and mechanical issues
- Cumulative micro-leaks
- Losing refrigerant from hooking up gauges repeatedly
- Leak detector sensitivity and calibration
- Efficiency during leak detection
- Oil spotting
- Evolution of leak detectors
- Checking for leaks on furnaces
- Testing leak detectors