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Question: How do you find refrigerant leaks?

refrigerant leak detector

Question: How do you find refrigerant leaks in my air conditioner? What are the most common places where leaks are found?

Answer: We have a really good YouTube video below made by AC Service Tech LLC that describes the 10 most common spots where leaks are found in air conditioning systems. Craig Migliaccio shows how to use an ultrasonic leak detector to find the leaks. Thanks so very much to Craig Migliaccio and AC Service Tech for making this excellent video!  Over the years, I have other leak detection tools such as an alarm-type electronic leak detector, $215.00, and a UV blacklight leak detection system for $550.00. I think that finding refrigerant leaks is the hardest job any HVAC technician has to do. With the new EPA rules and regulations, it is a must to find the leak and stop it, or I can face a huge fine. First, you visually look for refrigeration oil spots. This is a sure sign of a bad leak. If I can not visually see the leak I use my electronic leak detector, and if that doesn’t work I inject a bottle of fluorescent leak detection solution into the system let it circulate, and try to search for the leak with a black light. The leak will show up bright yellow when the UV light hits it. The UV blacklight leak detection system needs to be done in low light conditions. Sometimes I ask the customer to come back after dark to find the leak or I crawl under a tarp to block the sunlight out. This is really fun when it is 90 plus degrees out! Wow! You talk about hot! It is really cool and rewarding when you see that bright yellow leak shining back at you! You can show the customer exactly where the leak is too, but sometimes you have hidden areas that even the light can not detect. About 90% of the time it is the indoor evaporator coil leaking. It must be poor coil construction, added to the expansion and contraction of the metal during the heating and cooling seasons that cause these coils to leak. I replace on average about 20 evaporator coils a summer! I have found out that some of these coils are only two to three years old. I can’t believe it! It is just poor construction. I would like to recommend that you get a warranty of at least 5 years on your air conditioning system that would include the indoor evaporator coil. Many times the coils are only warranted for one year.

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