Leak detection and me...
New guy...9 months on the job after tech school. 43 yrs old, very serious about being a good tech. I thought finding leaks would be as simple as waving my magic leak detector around and spraying some bubble soap all over the place. WTF? Where have I gone wrong? Time after after time I show up on a service call...add some gas...look for a leak...find nothing. More experienced tech follows up on my call and finds a leak. What is the secret?
Mindset, experience, equipment(money), patience, willingness to "eat" a few hours, and humility to ask for help from those who have done it awhile.
Get an H10 and learn how to use it. KISS. Slow the down. Stop, look, listen, observe and think. Where are the weakest points. High pressure first, then pressurize the low side (more is better). Spend a few hours on HTALK doing searches. Don't run away from an opportunity to put your skills to work. It's a finite, fixed, sealed system that was more than likely installed by a human...it CAN be found, repaired or replaced. No magic, no problem. Good luck!
Also...spend the time to actually KNOW how the leak detector works...read the manual.
Very good advice
Originally Posted by Helioson
I'll add to look for oil
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Dont leave until you find the leak. You know its leaking somewhere. Pressure controls, txv distributors, medium temp evap coils, flare nuts, liquid line solenoid valves, condenser coils....
Some where in the wall where you can't find it unless you rip the wall open.
It's not if your doing it right it's whether your doing the right thing that is important.
Make sure your finding out where the other guys are finding the leaks at. Ask lots of questions and LEARN. Great opportunity for learning.
But, yes... Oil/dust residue. Flare fittings if present. I've been bit a few times by access port caps leaking. If you suspect a leak or low, soap those caps before putting your gauges on. Otherwise, sometimes the leak can be found with just the refrigerant gas pressure, sometimes you'll need help from nitrogen to bump up the pressure. Try not to exceed the design pressures of the system by too much. Once you learn where and how to look, it will make a lot more sense. This varies by tech but 80% of the time soap leak detector is all I need.
Clarification.... Soak the caps before you take them off, to put your gauges on. Lol
If you dont have a shrader replacer tool , get one , today.
I did a call last year , they kept losing 20 lbs of R22 every 6 months , and the company they been using kept saying they fixed it each time they left.
I got there , took off caps , spit on the shraders , both were leaking.
Within 15 min I had shraders replaced and topped it off. Seeya
Worked on a few other items since then for same customer , but that cooler still going strong and sight glass full.
Look in drain pans for oil in water , oil on fins , soap at all U-Bends on the coil where they are brazed , especially where a cap tube enters. If ubend leaks you can sometimes gently heat it up and shove some braze rod into it the leak.
If the fins are corroded then you have a good chance one of the tubes is leaking in the coil , can be in the middle where its hard to reach. But you must drag over every coil you can , slowly.
Bubbles dont always work in a coil. Sniffer might pick up a leak and no bubbles in sight. That sometimes means its a good size leak , and it just blows the soap off. ( yea those are a royal bi*ch ) You might even have to grab the pliers and rip out some fins to find leak on tube.
You dont always see oil ...... repeat , you wont always see oil.
High Low controls leak on occasion , sniff around cover with detector.
Although very rare , the 3 pins can leak on electric connector on Compressor .... Run Start Common
on simi hermetic where wire hook up to termanile post if you see oiley resadew in side when you take cover off there you go be careful when tightening up post!!!
Wait til you have a leak that's too big to find.
Officially, Down for the count
YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET
I know enough to know, I don't know enough
Liberalism-Ideas so good they mandate them
Thanks for the advice, everyone...I like what Helioson said: you know it's leaking somewhere...don't leave til you find it. I think a lot of it is just "Don't give up."
Once you check caps before you take them off. Screw them off slowly with your leak detector by it. There is almost always refrigerant under a cap. Just enough to set off your leak detector and let you know it's working. If there is wind or sometimes even a steady breeze you can just about forget about electronic pinpointing. If I can't avoid it I try to wind block as much as possible. Try some different types of bubbles until you find what you like. Lots of guys at my work have their preference. Good luck... Be patient and be prepared to be whipped by some more leaks.