Electronic Leak Detection DOES WORK

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I hear many techs complain about the finicky and ineffective nature of electronic leak detection. So much so that some claim that is is a waste of time altogether. we recently located a leak inside the fins of a ductless evaporator coil, pinpointed to an exact spot using an electronic leak detector. For demonstration purposes, we took that coil and performed a definitive test to locate it in the video below.

A leak detector can be tricky to use so here are some of our top tips –

  • Know your detector. Know it’s limitations, it’s sensitivity and what can cause false positives. For example, some leak detectors will sound off on certain cleaners or even soap bubbles. My detector sounds off when jostled or when the tip is blocked.
  • Keep a reference bottle so you can check your detector every time before you use it.
  • Maintain your detector and replace the sensor as required. Most heated diode detectors require sensor replacement every 100 hrs or so.
  • Keep it out of moisture. Most detectors will be damaged by almost any amount of moisture.
  • Move slowly and steadily. Don’t jump around or get impatient.
  • Most refrigerant is heavier than air which means that starting from the top and working down is usually a more effective way to pinpoint.
  • Go back to the same point again and again to confirm a leak. Don’t condemn a component based on one “hit”
  • Find the leak WITH BUBBLES whenever remotely possible, even after pinpointing with a detector.

— Bryan


  1. Avatar UN Trained says:

    Been kicking the idea of adding a leak detector to the tool lineup. Good information, on use and interpretation of results. I will most certainly consider as I begin initial testing of key offender areas.

  2. Avatar Gary L Reecher says:

    Many do not read the instructions of the leak detector or even have a reference leak to test the detector.

  3. Avatar Gary Reecher says:

    There is a LS-4 reference leak that can be attached to refrigerant cylinders rather than using a leak reference vial. The detector can then check to see how well the detector will find that type of refrigerant. The following is a USA distributor of the LS-4. It is made by HTC Products United Kingdom.

    Andy Dugan

    [email protected]


    cfm Distributors, Inc.

    1104 Union Avenue
    Kansas City, Mo 64101


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