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Thread: Leak detection and me...
01-28-2013, 11:07 PM #14Professional Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
- Vancouver Island
I have had to repair several units recently that had bad schraeders including one less than a year old. The cheap plastic caps with missing gaskets did not help.
Rub through leaks are usually tough because they often do not hiss or bubble the soap until you get the two pieces spread apart a bit.
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01-28-2013, 11:13 PM #15
01-28-2013, 11:36 PM #16
01-28-2013, 11:47 PM #17
Had one system that was low saw oil but condenser fan sprayed it all over hit it with nitrogen could not find it no pressure drop keep looking finally decided to remove on guage at a time and as soon as I moved the tubing it started hissing. it was factory discharge off compressor at a 90 bend... move things and wiggle it see if it wont make some noise or drop pressure
01-29-2013, 12:18 AM #18Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
- Northern CA
Buy a good leak detector, IV used a TIF ZX for 10 years and once you learn how to use it, it will be the best leak detector. Always carry a halide leak detector and soap bubbles. Take your time and you will find it, most leaks are missed because you over rush it.
01-29-2013, 12:29 AM #19
Of course you'll be wearing your safety glasses; I had a co-worker grab a line only to have it snap off and a stream of liquid refrigerant shot by his ear. He started wearing them after that...
With water cooled units, the condensers like to corrode and leak refrigerant into the waterside of the coaxial tubing. Shut the water off, put a rubber glove over the end and see if it inflates before tripping on high head pressure cutout. Have your leak detector ready to sniff the inside of the glove when you remove it.
If you confirm a leak in the w/c condenser keep the refrigerant pressure up until the replacement can be made or you run the risk of contaminating the whole system with moisture.
Keep in mind refrigerant is heavier than air, start high and work low. Make yourself a checklist of where you find leaks in the order of easiest to hardest. Start with your eyes and ears first. Look for oil or wind effect and listen for hissing, whistling or sputtering of refrigerant through oil. Don't be afraid to shut off noisy equipment if you are confident you can restart it.
Read the threads on this site regularly and you will pick up a serious amount of knowledge as well as discover who the pros are over time.
01-29-2013, 09:27 AM #20
Definitely ask where the other guys found the leaks you could not and how they found them, that's how we learn. If its there you can find it. Do not eat hours on a leak test!!! You didn't make the leak. Most will be in obvious locations or oil will lead you to them. Most not all. If its a pump down system use a solenoid magnet and open the LLS valve and equalize the pressure, if its on low side and you leave it pumped down may be very hard to find. I got bit once by a leak on the mounting stud on an accumulator, on the bottom, leaking. Took all day to find it but now I check for that and have found probably 4 or 5 over the years. Rusted accumulators will leak through the pits so check the whole thing not just the connections. Patience and persistence grasshopper. It's a process. You'll get it.
01-29-2013, 10:14 AM #21
01-29-2013, 10:49 AM #22
If an inexperieced, impatient, new tech isn't finding leaks and continues to have more experienced tech's coming behind him finding leaks....well....he's gonna be looking for a new career soon.
To this day, if I make a mistake that I know I could've avoided, I "eat" the time. You don't have to and I don't HAVE to, but that's what I was taught and that's what I'll do.
If a new tech can find a company and/or customer to pay him to sit there trying to figure it on their dime, then that's great. Charge them until they squeal.
My point is that most new guys (I was the same way), think they can just do their "eight" and all is well. OK, whatever.
I apologize to anyone who took this the wrong way. You absolutely do not HAVE to eat any hours, ever.
OP: If you want to excell in ANY career you are going to have to put some TIME in to stand above the crowd. Have you ever heard of an athlete putting in some extra hours on the field, or a office guy staying late to wrap up a project, or how many techs get paid for extra training (some do, I know, but some don't). Best of luck to you and I hope you figure it out soon.
01-29-2013, 11:22 AM #23
01-29-2013, 08:08 PM #24
Ok..I'm reasonable "to a point" Let's use YOUR words...
bonehead, defenition /'bon,hed/ noun: stupid person
1. these words used to express a low opinion of someone's intelligence.
2. being a college course for students lacking fundamental skills.
3. as used in HVAC/R: to charge a system that one believes has a leak, then ineptly perform a leak check with no results, and then walk away from said system.
01-29-2013, 09:36 PM #25
Tommy knocker, OP and all other members...please forgive me for being so passionate about my opinion. We all know what they say about opinions. In rereading my posts I realize that they may seem argumentative and borderline defamatory. I in no way want to portray this attitude. I fully respect all people who would attempt to make a career of this business. OP-keep at it, you'll get it. Tommy knocker-if you ever find yourself in the Pacific Northwest...e-mail me and I'll buy you a dinner and a drink. Thanks for your understanding,
01-29-2013, 10:15 PM #26
1. There are different types of detectors. Understand them and make sure yours is/are good ones! I like my Fieldpiece.
2. Keep sensor clean!
3. Switch detector on in clean air - as most units calibrate at power up. (This bites a lot of guys).
4. Go SLOW and steady when sweeping sensor tip, and keep it dry.
5. Refrigerant being heavy will show best underneath fittings and valves. It will collect low in case and housings sometimes making it worth a poke w detector.
6. Newer installs usually start with connection points and welds. Older r22 units 15+ years ill jump right to evap.
Small condenser coil leaks can be a real bugger outside. Especially on breezy days. A non-permeable cover can help (system off).
7. Operating pressure via nitro is very helpful. Sometimes you'll hear it with unit off but at op pressure.
8. Oil is key indicator.
9. Blue bubbles are amazing at exposing schrader valve and flare leaks.
10. It's a sealed system. There should be NO leakage. You can find it. Did I mention SLOW & steady?