Tips to Detect Freon Leak

How to Detect Refrigerant Leak in a Wine Cellar Cooling System

So this is where they have their equipments behind these bushes here that they set up to sort of just hide them.
So it’s the little one down there?
Both of those units. The one that furthers down – that’s the wine cellar’s unit. The very first unit here is the equipment room’s.
What we’re going to be doing right now is we’re going to be setting up. So that we recover the Freon first before we –
What do you call this piece?
The condensing unit.
So this the unit that normally outside in a garage or an attic space – locations where it can be well ventilated.
So when you take the Freon of the system, where do you that? Do you do that from here or downstairs in the wine cellar.
We do it here. This is where will recover and set up our machine – our recovered tank here.
We’re getting ready to hook up my gauges to the system so I can start recovering the Freon into our recovery tank from the condensing unit. And on these little units we have the access ports here. And only a service valve. Service valve like this one right here. But this particular unit only has one service value and an access port. So the access port is the same time like a value it’s just that it does not allow me to control the on and off of the system. If I were to have two valves on this condensing unit then I can just pump down the Freon or recover the Freon into the condensing unit versus trying to recover it because they have a receiver tank that I could receiver most of the Freon into. But in this case, because we don’t have that service valve, that’s the reason why I had to bring in my recovery tank.
Just makes it a bit longer and a bit more difficult service.
Yes. But what I try to do (also to minimize expense) is the same Freon, which is 134a in there – that’s the only Freon I keep in my tank. I don’t Freon when you’re not supposed to, so I don’t. And you keep 2 tanks – one that you know it’s clean Freon, you recover it and you put it back into the system.
So is Freon expensive then?
It can be costly, yes. But when you’re losing Freon when you have a leak, you’re losing a pound every few months, then yes.
You want to fix the leak.
Yes, you want to fix the leak. So, that’s why we’re here. A month ago I was here and I found the system low in Freon. A month later, I came back and found the leak. So I’m back here today to do that.
So basically, what we were looking for when I was explaining, is that here I saw the UV dye substance that I injected into the system out there by the condensing unit – by the outside unit. And I noticed when I was here is that it’s not very common to see a leak like that on a unit that’s 2-3 year’s old. So, in this case, what I have to do is open up the unit to be able to determine where that leak is because I do not see it out here.
What is the UV thing you were showing me? The little UV light source.
It comes in a kit. This one’s very convenient for me because it’s a nice little kit carrying a flashlight.
And you were just showing it where?
And what I do is I take the light and kind of just moving it around the line to see where I find the dye. And in this case, I found it in here, which is not normal because this is your drain.
There is an opening around here and there is some air does escapes through here. And that’s normal. Not enough to affect the unit in any kind of way. However, that tells me that the leak might possibly be inside the unit.

In part two of the service call video series we show the leak as it is exposed by a UV light source.
We also talk about the external condenser and the recovery of the Freon prior to adding a product to fix the leak in the refrigeration unit itself.

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