Ed Whinyates of Stonegrove Refrigeration and Mark Scott of TQ Environmental look at the benefits of leak detection and the role it has to play in the changing regulations within the refrigeration and air conditioning industry.
With the changes in F-Gas regulations and the EN378 standard (safety and environmental standard), coupled with the ongoing rises in refrigerant costs, the need for leak detection systems is becoming more apparent. So whether it is a legal requirement based on regulations, or a prudent stance to help prevent large losses of costly refrigerant leaking from a system, the choice to install a leak detection system needs to be seriously considered.
Spectroline, one of the world leaders in leak detection, has just launched Cool Seal, an entirely new method for repairing problematic refrigerant leaks that also promises to safeguard systems against future leaks.
Refrigerant leaks are a time-consuming and costly business for both experienced AC&R maintenance contractors and the businesses running the air conditioning system.
For service engineers, leaks can take a long time to find – let alone repair – particularly if the puncture site is very small or hidden from view of the engineer on site.
For the company operating the system, leaking refrigerant costs money, damages the environment, increases its carbon footprint, and greatly reduces a system’s efficiency, reliability *and* lifespan.
With reduced pressure and refrigerant levels, the air conditioning system has to work harder and use much more energy to maintain the same output.
A-Gas Managing Director, John Ormerod, looks back at the refrigerants market in 2015
It’s hard to believe that the latest round of F-Gas Regulations has been with us for a year. Most of you probably haven’t seen a great deal of change but for A-Gas – at the top of the refrigerant supply chain – it’s a different story.
Through the new quota system, we, like many others, are now subject to caps on the amount of refrigerant we can introduce to the industry. In 2016 things get tighter as we are faced with the first step down year. This will see a seven per cent reduction (on a CO2 equivalent basis) in the amount of refrigerant we can place on the market. So 2016 is the year to prepare as the F-Gas regulations may begin to bite at end user level.
This month, Will Hawkins, went to see Jenny Boucher and Gary Hall at TQ Environmental, the leak detection experts in Wakefield, to learn about their history and their future.
TQ Environmental has been in business for 25 years designing, creating and installing its gas leak detection system onto ships, hotels, factories or retails stores. Anywhere, in fact, that uses systems containing refrigerants or other gases which could cause harm to humans or equipment if they leak and it went undetected.
The business started out selling other company's products mainly into the marine sector. When customers starting asking them for solutions which didn't exist but were in demand, they started making their own products. The shipping sector tends to order five years ahead in US dollars which made for interesting challenges dealing with currency exchange changes. Furthermore, relying on the shipping industry entirely made the business vulnerable to downturns in the sector.
Early detection of refrigerant leaks has never been so important.
Peter Dinnage, Technical Director at Climalife explains why you should take leak detection seriously.
Whether it’s for safety due to flammability or to maintain optimum energy efficiency, minimise the cost of the refrigerant lost, or to comply with legislation such F-Gas, there has never been so many compelling reasons to find leaks and fix them early and quickly.
With the cost of a basic automatic leak detection system little more than the price of a 60kg bottle of refrigerant, and with the higher GWP refrigerants predicted to dramatically increase in price over the next few years, it would seem a shrewd investment and one that would help users to comply with the new revised F-Gas legislation.
ACR Journal’s Air Conditioning Product of the Year 2015
Minimising refrigerant leakage is one of the most important issues facing the industry today.
It is vital in order to protect the environment, maintain equipment performance and efficiency and ensure the health and safety of building occupants. Moreover, it is a core principle at the heart of the recently revised F-Gas legislation.
Toshiba’s Total Refrigerant Leak Protection and Management System represents an important step forward for the industry in this important area. The technology offers a comprehensive solution to the problem of refrigerant containment, and is designed to meet end users’ requirement for total reassurance about the prevention and management of leaks.