How to detect a refrigerant leak in seconds – Best practice and top tips

Whilst electronic leak detection sometimes gets a reputation for being somewhat finicky, in actual fact a leak detector can be a really useful diagnostic tool to identify all the most common cooling agents and locate even the smallest leaks. This is why for many, an electronic leak detector is actually considered a piece of kit, as a refrigerant technician, you wouldn’t be without.

Below is a great video eplanation from HVAC School (outlined to us from our friends over the pond at testo USA) which gives a fantastic example using a leak located inside the fins of a ductless evaporator coil, and how a leak detector, such as the testo 316-3 (as used in the video) can be used to an pinpoint the exact spot the leak is coming from. They then perform a definitive test to prove the effectiveness of the leak detector. This video provides a great example of how this type of instrument can be used to diagnose the location of the leak, both quickly and accurately.

You can see the full video below. Enjoy.



In addition to the above, HVAC school have also provided some really useful ‘top tips’ as best practice advice when using a leak detector, listed below:

  • Know your detector. Know it’s limitations, it’s sensitivity and what can cause false positives. For example some leak detectors will sound off on certain cleaners or even soap bubbles. My detector sounds off when jostled or when the tip is blocked.
  • Keep a reference bottle so you can check your detector every time before you use it.
  • Maintain your detector and replace the sensor as required. Most heated diode detectors require sensor replacement every 100 hrs or so.
  • Keep it out of moisture. Most detectors will be damaged by almost any amount of moisture.
  • Move slowly and steadily. Don’t jump around or get impatient.
  • Most refrigerant is heavier than air which means that starting from the top and working down is usually a more effective way to pinpoint.
  • Go back to the same point again and again to confirm a leak. Don’t condemn a component bases on one “hit”
  • Find the leak WITH BUBBLES whenever remotely possible, even after pinpointing with a detector.


Like some more information?

If you’d like some further information on leak detection and refrigeration measurement, or you’ve got a requirement you’d like to discuss please feel free to contact us via or +44 1420 544433 and we’ll be happy to help.


Testo Logo

About Testo Limited

We offer an extensive range of instruments for many parameters and applications including; Temperature, Humidity, Velocity, Gas analysis, RPM, Pressure, Light, pH, Sound. testo instruments are widely used in the following sectors: HVAC-R: heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. Process Industry: manufacturing industries, service companies and utilities. Food Sector: including food manufacture, transport, storage, distribution and retail. Thermal Imaging: for building surveys, maintenance, electrical inspections and production monitoring.

Posted on April 21, 2017, in Latest News. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: