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R 410A leak detector

I'm looking for a good quality 410a leak detector. Something that can pick up small leaks on mini split systems.

Comments

  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Posts: 2,186Member
    Bacharach H-10 Or you can can get a leak detector that's like a thermal imaging camera.
    Ramer Mechanical
    ramermechanical.com
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • hvacfreak2hvacfreak2 Posts: 474Member
    An 800 psi ( working pressure ) nitrogin regulator and soap , soap , soap. I have seen more leaks this year that will not leak until the system is under full load. 500 psi is my new minimum for leak checking vrf / vrv and mini's.
    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

  • ratioratio Posts: 2,036Member
    I've used a "heated diode" style with good success, located a leak in a liquid line that I couldn't even find with bubbles with the system running. I forget the brand, it was in the Johnstone flyer a few years back.

    There's also the IR style, no experience with them, & the ultrasonic, again no experience. I'll probably end up with one or both the next time I run into a really hard to locate leak.

    hvacfreak2 is right, a good old 5-600#s N2 is one of the best tools for leak checking, but isn't always an option. Lennox requires 15 minutes at IIRC 650 lbs on their VRF systems following 24 hours at 400. I myself require 24 hours at 400 lbs before I'll extend myself so far as to tell anyone it's probably not leaking. :)

  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,091Member
    I've used the H10 for 35+ years and still haven't seen anything that comes close to it, including ultrasonic, uv's, etc.

    A lot is knowing where to look and using the right techniques as hvacfreak2 pointed out.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,036Member
    Huh. I thought the H10 was mostly sensitive to the halogens, & significantly less sensitive to the newer chlorine-free refrigerants. I've been avoiding getting one for that reason.
  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    edited August 2016
    Uniweld sells something they refer to as a Propane Halide Leak Detector. No experience personally, but I know a couple of guys who use them.

    Edit: No workie with R-410a...
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,725Member
    The blue spray soap bubbles has found more leaks for me than anything else. The injected dye will show up also.
    But for either of these to be effective the leak must be visible.....not buried in the foam insulation of the line set or deep inside a coil return bend.....so many approaches needed.

    Refer service buddy claims his ultrasonic "ears" can hear a leak when he walks into a room with it turned on.
    We worked together on a walk in freezer. I spent maybe 30 minutes slowly sniffing with my Inficon Tec Mate, had found the leak before he arrived. After it was repaired, (1/4" line into compressor for motor cooling), he did a quick walk (3 minute)with his Inficon Whisper ultrasonic detector and said we had found all leaks. He is very confident of this locator. He does only refrigeration work. If this is the case, spending only 10% of the time locating leaks would make this investment very worthwhile. It is only a little more than the Tec Mate.

    Has anyone tried the leak sealer additives and had success?
    Costly but for "impossible" to find and fix leaks would be worth it. But charging for it without success is awkward. :*
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,036Member
    I've put a few cans of that whatever stuff (van's in the shop or I'd tell you the name) in, with mostly unsatisfactory results. To be fair, however, at least several of those times were leaks outside the claimed leakage rate of the sealer. I'm a little hesitant to use it in a system that I think I might need to recover, as I believe this stuff travels with the refrigerant.
  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Posts: 2,186Member
    Many leak sealers travel with the oil. Easy Seal from Nucalgon travels with the refrigerant. It works most of the time and hasn't caused any problems. In really small systems like refrigerators and the like, you should inject it and let it run for a while till the leak is sealed. Then recover the refrigerant and weigh in a new charge. The propellant in the can causes excessive compressor discharge Temps. The stuff they have for larger systems you can get in a tube and force it into the system while running, using the high pressure side.

    It hasn't always worked but it did probably 90% of the time. When a farmer is faced with the purchase of a new milk bulk tank due to a leaking evaporator they will buy several go's of easy seal first. No questions asked.
    Ramer Mechanical
    ramermechanical.com
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,036Member
    Easy Seal, that's the stuff I was thinking of. You said propellant in the can, did that mean the sealant itself is a liquid, inject upside down?
  • radmixradmix Posts: 194Member
    Thanks for the replys. You can't use sealants with Mini split systems. We have over 60 units installed this year alone and are finding that even though we used nitrogen and let sit for 24 hr @ 500 to 600 psi some of the units over time leak out. Were talking 1 year to a year to a year and a half later. That's how small the leaks are. We can only assume that the leaks are coming from the flairs. I spoke to other companies in the area and there having the same problems. It seems to me that the vibration from the units may be the cause.
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,091Member
    radmix said:

    Thanks for the replys. You can't use sealants with Mini split systems. We have over 60 units installed this year alone and are finding that even though we used nitrogen and let sit for 24 hr @ 500 to 600 psi some of the units over time leak out. Were talking 1 year to a year to a year and a half later. That's how small the leaks are. We can only assume that the leaks are coming from the flairs. I spoke to other companies in the area and there having the same problems. It seems to me that the vibration from the units may be the cause.

    I've used double flares on everything from mini splits to gas and oil lines for over 20 years and never had a known leak on any joint.

    You can get the dies cheap and they will work fine with any standard style flare tool. The the same thing that's been used on brake and hydraulic lines for decades.

    I would also caution that it's crucial to use a flare nut torque wrench and tighten to spec's.

    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • ratioratio Posts: 2,036Member
    I've taken to using gorilla snot (Nylog) on the flares. See here to read more about it.

    Ironman mentioned a double flare. I recently picked up a double flare tool (for an aluminum pilot line, of all things!), I may just give that a try the next time I have to hang a mini split.

  • radmixradmix Posts: 194Member
    I've been looking at leak detectors and have decided to go with the Bacharach H-10 Pro, It seems like it has the best reviews. Thank for all the posts.
  • Dave0176Dave0176 Posts: 1,047Member
    Got the Bacharach H10 Pro finds it every time....
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I'll add that my experience has been good using Nucalgon Easy Seal and not so good using the super seal stuff made by a different manufacturer.
    The Nylog Gorilla snot is awesome stuff, I use that stuff on everything...
    For leak detection I like the H-10 but it hasn't found everything. As much as I hate the stuff the dye injection seems to always work, sometimes you have to give it a bunch of time if the leak is slow. And outdoor units need to be checked in the dark due to the limitations of the U.V flashlight used to see the dye.
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