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How To Find A Leak

By on October 8, 2015 in Home Maintainence & Remodeling

Refrigerant gas tracking and management is necessary to assure that no ozone depleting or greenhouse gases escape into the atmosphere and contribute to destructive climate change. EPA Inspectors, governmental regulators, as well as many state officials are responsible for monitoring commercial AC and HVAC systems. They can do spot checks of the refrigerant service records, purchase orders, transit logs of gas transport for destruction, as well as many other pieces of data related to refrigerant gas management.

There are many factors that could lead to a refrigerant leak in a refrigeration and air-conditioning (AC RAC) system or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. A valve could weaken, rust could form in the filter dryers or heat pump accumulator, small holes could form on capillary tube as a result of friction, the line set that carries refrigerant from the condenser to the evaporator coil could be damaged, or a flare connection could fail.

When a refrigerant leak occurs, it causes thousands of pounds of gases with ozone depleting substances (ODS) to escape into the air. Among them are hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), gases which are harmful to the environment and have a high global warming (GWP) potential.

Finding a refrigerant leak could prove difficult because refrigeration and air-conditioning (AC) systems or heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are so complex. The cause of the refrigerant leak could be embedded in a series of tubing that is hundreds of feet long or in an area that is difficult to see or access.

A refrigerant leak could even be in a pressure switch or other operating or safety control. Often refrigerant leaks and the unintentional venting of gas are difficult to find or detect in large, commercial HVAC-R systems, progressive organizations use automated refrigerant management systems. These systems continuously monitor the system and can detect exactly where a leak originates. The results are easily displayed on a monitor for a quick resolution.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set strict standards for regulating and monitoring a refrigerant leak. The Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocols were both created to establish similar environmental standards internationally. These regulations include protocols for repairing refrigerant leaks or disposing of systems within a certain time frame.

Often at times, refrigerant or environmental laws overlap or seem to conflict each other requiring compliance managers to organize and distribute multiple reporting records. Because of the complexity of the requirements, many building managers rely on refrigerant management programs, such as those offered by clean-tech development firms, for better facility oversight.

A refrigerant tracking solution allows facilities to keep accurate refrigerant usage records and properly report a refrigerant leak. A refrigerant tracking solution also enables a company to remain in compliance with state, governmental, and international protocols as they relate to the submission of refrigerant usage records and specific refrigerant reporting periods.

Because a refrigerant leak releases fluorinated greenhouses gases that are harmful to the environment, refrigerant management programs have become essential to companies, building or facility managers, and compliance officers. Refrigerant management programs track refrigerant leaks and enable quick repair of the component. Refrigerant management programs are much faster and accurate than manual systems.

A refrigerant management program offers a number of benefits, including tracking a refrigerant leak. A facility manager or environmental compliance officer can monitor, track, and manage the registration and reporting of refrigerant gas usage across many HVAC-R systems with the proper centralized application. This type of management tool enables companies to work more efficiently and cost-effectively in the facilities management area.


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