Traditional, sniffer leak detectors are great for finding most refrigerant leaks. These leak detectors pull in an air sample to identify if refrigerant is present. This means that the system must still have refrigerant leaking out, and there must be refrigerant where the leak detector probe is sampling. If the system is empty or if you want to leak check a line from a distance, you will need an alternative leak detection method.
For these applications, consider trying an ultrasonic leak detector. When a pressurized system (like an HVAC system) leaks, the escaping gas creates an ultrasonic disturbance of around 40 kHz. While that is well outside the human hearing range, ultrasonic leak detectors use specialized technology to detect the frequencies emitted by leaks. Instead of identifying the presence of refrigerant like a traditional leak detector, you are using the leak detector to actually listen for the leak.
Ultrasonic leak testing technology can also be used to locate malfunctioning steam traps and leaks in compressed air systems. These leak detectors can even detect nitrogen that is often used to pressurize systems during install, making it the only leak checking technology that can be used for nitrogen.
INFICON offers the feature-rich Whisper Ultrasonic Leak Detector for these applications and more. Whisper comes with headphones, which can be plugged in to the tool to activate Whisper’s heterodyne feature that converts the ultrasonic frequencies to an audible level. Using Whisper with headphones makes it easier to identify variations in the leak sound, allowing you to pinpoint the ultrasonic disturbance.
Traditional leak detectors may struggle with sampling gas on a windy roof. With Whisper, you can detect leaks even in windy or noisy conditions. On a loud jobsite, swipe down on the touchpad to reduce the sensitivity. This helps Whisper ignore unwanted background interference.
The optional Whisper accessory kit includes a contact probe, ultrasonic transmitter, and upgraded headphones to make Whisper even more versatile. Connect the contact probe to pinpoint worn or damaged mechanical components like gears, bearings, solenoids, or pistons. Properly functioning machinery sounds smooth and clear, while poorly functioning machinery may make irregular or grinding noises.
Whisper Transmitter emits an ultrasonic frequency that only Whisper can hear, allowing for easy identification of leaking seals or gaskets in non-pressurized enclosures, such as walk-in coolers or other sealed doors. Turn the transmitter on, place it inside the enclosure, and use Whisper to trace along the outside of the seal. Areas that are poorly sealed will allow the signal from the transmitter to escape and cause Whisper to alarm. The transmitter works great for a variety of applications including windows, doors faulty seals and gaskets and duct work.
With many leak detection techniques available, it is important to choose the proper leak testing method for your application. Ultrasonic leak testing offers a unique solution for a variety of applications. To learn more about INFICON's ultrasonic leak detector, check out Whisper®.