DIY - Finding a Refrigerant leak
Finding a refrigerant leak can be very difficult. Once you
determined the system has a refrigerant leak, there are many ways to
help you locate the leak.
Pressure can be used to determine the location of the leak.
simply use nitrogen and pressurize the refrigeration system. Do not
exceed the rating of the evaporator coil. A normal pressure test is
around 300 lbs of pressure for an R22 system. For 410a, do not
exceed 450 psi.
Once the system is pressurized, reduce noise in the area and
listen for the leak. Sometime a "hiss" sound can be heard coming
from the leaking area. Use a solution of water and liquid soap
to spray on the areas that could be a potential leak like solder
joints, braze joints, and areas that piping rubs against objects and
itself that might cause a rub through. Once you spray the soap
solution in an area that is leaking, the area will begin to bubble
Pressure and Refrigerant
Pressurize the refrigeration system using nitrogen and a
little bit of refrigerant as a trace gas. Use an Electronic Leak
Detector to sniff out the leak. Run the leak detector
across all joints, condenser coil and evaporator coil. Once a
leak has been found, use the soap and water mixture to locate
the exact area that needs to be repaired
Leak detector dye can be used to locate a leak. Charge the
unit with the correct amount of dye and run the system. Using
the correct flashlight for the dye you installed, run the light
over areas of the unit. The area that is leaking will glow
This type of test is good to do at night, or you can use a
large black tarp to cover the ac unit so no light enters the
area you are inspecting with the flashlight.