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Thread: Tracer Gas

  1. #1
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    Tracer Gas

    Does anyone know if you can get bottles of Nitrogen or Helium with EPA approved tracer gas mixed in that can be released into the atmosphere?

    OR

    How much tracer refrigerant can be added to nitrogen and released into the atmosphere and STILL be considered de-minimis.

    Talking about pressurizing racks and there associated loops. At this current time we have an account that is doing large construction and require recovering tracer gas (R-404a).

  2. #2
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    We get calibration gas that is pre-mixed at a specific concentration. That is probably a lot more expensive than you are looking for.

    Never heard of or thought of buying tracer gas for leak detection purposes.

    As I understand it, it is perfectly legal to release the inert gas/trace gas mixture. Your customer is just being difficult.

  3. #3
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    this is what I read on the EPA site.

    "Releases of CFCs or HCFCs that are not used as refrigerants. For instance, mixtures of nitrogen and R-22 that are used as holding charges or as leak test gases may be released."

    To me this reads as. Yes, a mixture of refrigerant and nitrogen may be released.

  4. #4
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    Exactly.

    If customer requires that the charges of 404a be recovered, use a different gas.

    How in the heck are you supposed to recover a gas mixed with nitrogen anyway?

  5. #5
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    how about breaking the vacuum during triple evacuations with 404a?

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  7. #7
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    its what they wanted. they spec not to to break vac's with a non condensable gas.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phase Loss View Post
    this is what I read on the EPA site.

    "Releases of CFCs or HCFCs that are not used as refrigerants. For instance, mixtures of nitrogen and R-22 that are used as holding charges or as leak test gases may be released."
    I've always read this to mean that only r-22 can be used as a tracer gas, and therefore would be no reason to recover r404a since 404 cannot be used as a tracer. What say you?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phase Loss View Post
    this is what I read on the EPA site.

    "Releases of CFCs or HCFCs that are not used as refrigerants. For instance, mixtures of nitrogen and R-22 that are used as holding charges or as leak test gases may be released."

    To me this reads as. Yes, a mixture of refrigerant and nitrogen may be released.
    They use R-22 as an example. You are allowed to use the refrigerant for that system.

    You are allowed to pump the system up to 5 PSIG from 0. The rest of the pressure test or triple evacuation is with N2.

    This also gives you a trace gas for leak detection.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyman#1 View Post
    I've always read this to mean that only r-22 can be used as a tracer gas, and therefore would be no reason to recover r404a since 404 cannot be used as a tracer. What say you?
    I say you can use 404 as a tracer. Time for you to buy a new detector.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    I keep a bottle of 'junk gas' and use that rather than waste good gas.

    I have a bottle of mixed refrigerants. Works well for leak detection. Im sure the "purists" are going to preach to me about contamination.

  13. #13
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