REFRIGERANTS Effective leak detection E ffective leak detection

With new EPA Section 608 rules now in effect, it is more important than ever to use a permanent leak detection system that ensures compliance with the latest regulations – or risk fines for failure to comply.

Refrigerant leaks are not only costly; they can also be hazardous under the right conditions. ASHRAE Section deals with safety of personnel who may be inadvertently exposed to harmful gases from a refrigerant leak. These developments have brought the focus on a comprehensive refrigerant management strategy, incorporating low level leak detection, to the top of the agenda. While most applications have some form of leak detection, the question now is whether the system is adequate.

A proactive leak management program should include the correct type of leak detection technology coupled with a comprehensive remote monitoring and refrigerant tracking system. Each event is also weighted by its status: ‘Alert’, ‘Alarm’, or ‘Critical’.

State-of-the-art systems include continuous monitoring with multi-party alerts

that can be accessed from any location. The latest refrigerant man agement software can track events to determine patterns of which asset is typically the cause of the leak. The availability of this data can have a

strong impact on the overall energy efficiency and effectiveness of the refrigeration system. The leak index acts as an early warning for a pending increased usage of refrigerant, while the leak rate defines the long-term performance of the system. The goal is to get and keep a low leak rate and to respon d to leak events detected by the monitor quickly and effectively.

With today’s high cost of refrigerant, a proactive leak detection program has a significant impact on the bottom line. The average refrigerant leak rate for a grocery store is estimated to be about 25% per year. A best practice implementation can reduce that rate to 7% per year. That means the return on investment (ROI) can n ow be realised in a matter of months rather than years.

Selecting the right monitoring system today, selecting the right monitor for the

Selecting the right monitoring system With various types of monitors on the market

installation is a critical first step. These include infrared, semiconductor, electrochemical an d catalytic bead options. The most sensitive and reliable type of monitor is infrared, which can detect refrigerant gas leaks at 1 ppm. They can also be recalibrated to detect new gases as old ones are phased out and new refrigerants are introduced in the market.

For permanent monitoring, aspirated multi- point leak detection systems can continuously monitor up to 16 across the refrigeration system, and for larger installations mon itors can be networked together. Also available are smaller monitors for less complex installations. As refrigerant prices continue to spiral upward and new environmental and safety regulations are introduced, the long-term success of the enterprise will no doubt call for a proactive refrigerant management program that can lower costs, reduce utility consumption an d help protect the environment.

For a free copy of the EPA Section 608 Refrigerant Compliance Checklist and Guidelines: compliance-checklist/

With over 25 years' exp rience in the suppl and lifecycle management of refriigerants and associated products, associated products

With over 25 y ars experxperience iin and felliifecycle management f refo

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