Question: How do you find refrigerant leaks?
Answer: I have other leak detection tools such as an alarm type electronic leak detector, $215.00 and a UV black light leak detection system $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 florescent leak detection solution into the system let it circulate and try to search for the leak with a black light. The leak with show up bright yellow when the UV light hits it. The UV black light 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 sun light 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 the average about 20 evaporator coils a summer! Some of these coil 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.