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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8688
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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How to tell if there is a leak of refridgerant

Customer Question

how to tell if there is a leak of refridgerant
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.


There are many ways you can spot a refrigerant leak, I will begin with the easiest and most common.

1. There will be oil around the leak, the more oil the bigger the leak... a very slow leak will have dust accumulating on the oil. A large leak will have a drop of oil hanging under the leak if its on pipe.... this is because a bit of oil travels with the refrigerant.

2. Use a 'halide torch' this works will all refrigerants that have a chlorine atom in the molecule. You can buy a halide torch on line or at Grainger Industrial supply or Johnstone supply for less than $30

3. Use a liquid soap bubble type leak detection solution, most auto supply stores carry them, and so do the above mentioned stores. $3.00 with a dobber in the bottle. any leak creates bubbles.

Here is a range of more exotic leak detection tactics most more expensive, there are dyes that

you can inject to a system, and then if there is a leak, you can spot them easily with an ultra violet light.

We can go from there without a time limit as needed.


Pleaseremember to rate my service before you leave today. It is how Iearn a living, and does not increase your charges.

If you need anything else, just let me know. You can continue asking follow-up questions at no additional cost.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
there is no oil leaking,i pushed the filing outlets and oil and pressure came out.When turning on the unit I can here a switch trying to come on so i think that the starter switch is bad . what do you think?And what makes them go out and how do you test it?
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.

Hello again, the chance that you have a problem that can be solved by a simple 'reset' are less than 1 percent. Something is broken and needs to be diagnosed and repaired.

Tell me a lot about your skill sets and if you have a multi meter or not, I can coach you most effectively from there.

So far it sounds like it is either a failed compressor (20% chance) or a bad compressor 'run capacitor 50%...

You need a multi meter with 'micro farads' (uF) on it to diagnose a bad run capacitor, unless the capacitor is swollen or leaking oil... then we know its bad.

Those cost about $50 and weight about pound.

Let me know a lot about your skill sets, we can go from there without a time limit.