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Refrigerant Leak Detection - The Ins and Outs

April 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 166

Refrigerators are 81 year old inventions that have enabled humans to keep food fit for human consumption for a much longer time than it would have stayed fresh, had the food been standing outside. This saves both money on spoilt groceries and a trip to the doctor as a result of food poisoning. That does not even take into account commercial refrigerators and their various applications. Although the benefits are similar, they also include the evasion of law suits. However, fridges can also be harmful to human beings and animals inside the house, as well as the environment. To prevent throwing the baby out with the bath water, one should investigate and address the cause of these harmful effects and put in placer a means of refrigerant leak detection.

Commercially, fridges can be used in laboratories to keep medication and human organs; bars and restaurants to cool beverages; and also in the food channel - from the fishing vessels, slaughter houses and fruit and vegetable producer, right through distribution to the supermarkets. These fridges are of the most dangerous, as harmful gases have been removed from consumer fridges for the most part. However, they have been kept in commercial, industrial, marine and municipal refrigerants because of their superior heat extraction qualities.

When the gas containers or pipes inside the fridges develop small holes, the gas stars trickling out and a leak is formed. The amount of gas leaked is usually so small in the initial phase that it remains unnoticed until it stars to smell of gas. By this time organisms have been exposed to it for a prolonged period of time, which could have serious side effects. This is where prevention comes into play in the form of refrigerant leak detection.

In order to protect humans and animals, as well as the ozone layer from these gas leakages, various regulations have been but in place by health and safety authorities. These include doing away with the harmful gases in home fridges, as well as enforcing the implementation of refrigerant leak detection for non-home use.

Some of the potentially harmful gasses which get used in the fridges are ammonia, hydrocarbons, CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs and carbon dioxide. Some are highly flammable, others toxic and others merely deplete the oxygen levels in the area. The side effects of prolonged or excessive exposure to these gases include permanent brain damage and incapacitation of the nervous system.

Most devices for refrigerant leak detection detect any of these gases, but it is important to establish which gases your fridges utilise, as well as whether the unit you are looking at purchasing does in fact meet your requirements. Different refrigerant leakage detectors are more applicable to different environments.

Mobile detectors can be worn on a human's belt or as a harness and picks up gas leakages in the atmosphere around the human being, as far as he / she goes. This is useful in an environment where the fridges aren't contained to certain areas and people frequently go in-between them. Where a worker travels between different companies' fridges, such as that of the slaughter house and the butchery, he or she is subject to possible refrigerant leakages which have not been provided for by their company. In such a case mobile refrigerant leak detection is a good idea to protect workers.

The other basic category is that of fixed refrigerant leakage detectors. These are fixed to the refrigeration unit(s) and are more commonly used in environments where many people enter the fridges on a daily basis. In such an environment it would not be viable to equip each staff member with his / her own unit. It also eliminates the chance of one or more of the mobile refrigerant leak detection units being left behind, having flat batteries or even being faulty without the operator realising it.

Once a refrigerant leak is detected, the devices usually automatically shut down the system (in the case of a fixed detector) and / or sound an alarm so workers have time to vacate the area. This allows the employer to stop the leakage and have the unit removed before anyone gets affected. In turn it also saves the employer money as no gas is being wasted, no goods are spoilt and there are no ensuing court cases.

Refrigerant leak detection outside of the home environment is essential. However, it is advisable to speak to a professional and reputable industry player about the requirements specific to your business.

Murco Gas Detection is based in the UK and specialises in refrigerant leak detection units. Visit for more information on refrigerant gas detection.

Source: EzineArticles
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