Refrigerant gas detectors (freons, refrigerants)

Whether they are refrigerant fluids used in cold stores or in air conditioning systems, freon gases are undetectable by humans (no color, no odor), which is why the use of a freon detection system is essential. The use of refrigerant gas detectors meets several challenges in the refrigeration industry: the safety of goods and people, the costs related to refrigerant leaks and the environmental impact (subject to regulation).

Freon detection (refrigerant fluids)
  1. The CTX300 analog gas transmitter is a safe area gas detector with a 4-20 mA linear output for the detection of toxic gases (C2H4O, Cl2, ClO2, CO, COCl2, H2S, HCl, HCN, HF, NH3, NO, NO2, O3, PH3, SiH4, SO2), asphyxiating gases (Ar, CO2, He, O2), organic vapours (VOCs, alcohols, solvents) and refrigerant gases (CFC, HFC, HFO freons).

    • Detection of toxic gases, oxygen, and the main freons
    • 4-20 mA linear analog output, pre-calibrated and plug-in sensors
    • Very robust: insensitive to corrosive agents and high mechanical resistance
    • Optional backlit digital display for local indication of measurements
    • Certification for safe areas only, not ATEX classified

  2. Equipped with two alarm relays for servo-control, visual LED status indication, 4-20mA and RS485 output, the GLACIÄR MIDI refrigerant gas detector is specially designed for refrigeration applications. It covers a wide range of synthetic refrigerants such as HFO mixtures, HFC, HC, ammonia (NH3) and CO2 (carbon dioxide).

    • Over 30 refrigerant fluids detected: HFOs (R1234yf, R1234ze), HFCs (R32, R134A, R407C, R410), HCFCs (R22, R401a, R409a), HCs (R290), NH3, CO2
    • 2 alarm relays for control functions, analog output (1-5V, 0-10V, 2-10V or 4-20mA), RS485 Modbus RTU communication
    • Operates in extreme conditions (-40°C to + 50°C) and waterproof (IP67)
    • Device set-up via Bluetooth® on cell phone or switch 
    • Visual control of device status via high-intensity LEDs

  3. The OLCT10-freons refrigerant leak detector is especially for refrigeration applications in non-classified areas. It uses a semiconductor sensor, and its linear 4-20 mA output allows to connect it to any control panel receiving this type of signal. It is considered an economical and easy way to overcome recharging costs.

    • Detection: R11, R12, R22, R23, R32, R123, R134A, R141B, R143A, R227, R404A, R410A, R407C, R408A, R507, FX56
    • Power supply: 15 to 30 VDC - Linear output 4 to 20 mA (3 wires)
    • Robust and shock-resistant ABS housing
    • Ideal for refrigeration systems, air conditioning, heat pumps, etc.
    • Excellent price/performance ratio
  4. The SIL2 certified OLCT100 fixed gas detector is available in ATEX versions for explosive gas or intrinsically safe (IS) for toxic gases. With nearly 150 gases listed, this 4-20 mA linear output gas detector is suitable for explosive gases detections (hydrocarbons, solvents, alcohols), toxic, asphyxiating, and refrigerant leaks (freons, HFO, CFC, HFC).

    • Fixed gas detector for explosive gases, hydrocarbons, solvents, toxic gases, freons, VOCs, CO2
    • ATEX & SIL 2 certification for catalytic and infrared versions
    • Epoxy-painted aluminium housing (316L stainless steel optional)
    • Wheatstone bridge or linear 4-20 mA outputs
    • Power supply ranges from 15.5 to 32 VDC depending on the application

  5. The refrigerant gas analyzer PGM-IR is a high-performance portable leak detector dedicated to the halogenated refrigerants (freons) such as HFC, HCFC, and HFO. With a resolution of 1 ppm, it is able to locate the gas very accurately, even with the smallest refrigerant leak in any refrigerant gas installations and circuits.

    • More than 50 refrigerant gases detected with a resolution of 1 ppm: CFC, HFC, HCFC, HALON, HFO, CO2, N2O, SF6
    • Non-dispersive NDIR infrared sensor (5 to 7 years lifetime)
    • Measurement range: 0 - 10,000 ppm for all gases
    • Backlit LCD and audio signal for measurement
    • Li-ion battery for 8 hours of operating time

Freon detection (refrigerant fluids detectors)

Halogenated hydrocarbons belonging to the CFC and HCFC families have their own regulations: prohibition or limitation of use with the obligation to set up a gas detection device (refrigerant gas detectors). Refrigerant fluids belonging to the other families are subject to the regulations relating to chemical products, but common sense will also involve the monitoring of leaks. 

Freons are usually heavier gases than air. They tend to stagnate on the floor and replace oxygen. For optimal detection of refrigerant leaks, the refrigerant gas detectors will be placed under the refrigeration unit and connected to a gas detection unit. In the event of a leak, the central gas detection unit will neutralize the refrigeration system by cutting off the power supply.

Freon classifications and categories

Freons are divided into several main categories according to their characteristics. Depending on the specificity of the needs, certain categories should be preferred: 

  • Organic compounds: water, CO2 (carbon dioxide), NH3 (ammonia
  • Hydrocarbons: butane, pentane, propane, propylene, etc. 
  • CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons): R11, R12, R113, R115, R502 
  • HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons): R21, R22, R123, R124, R401a, R402a, R408a, R409a 
  • HFCs (hydro fluorocarbons) : R32, R125, R134a, R15a, R143a, R152a, R404a, R407a, R410a, R507 
  • Unclassifiable refrigerants: R630, R631, R12b1, R12b1, etc 

Refrigerant fluids are rarely called by their international designation because of the complexity of pronouncing their names. An abbreviation of the form R-ABCDe is preferred, R meaning refrigerant. 

  • A : number of double bonds, does not appear if equal to 0 
  • B : number of carbon atoms minus one (C-1), does not appear if equal to 0 
  • C : number of hydrogen atoms plus one (H+1) 
  • D : number of fluorine atoms (F) 
  • E : letter used to identify isomers (similar gross formula but not in its semi-developed form) 

For example, R134 is a freon composed of 2 carbon atoms, 2 hydrogen atoms and 4 fluorine atoms.

Properties of refrigerant fluids

Except for some organic compounds or hydrocarbons, refrigerants are generally not harmful to humans: they are non-flammable, non-corrosive and non-toxic. However, in case of abundant leak, they replace the breathable air, especially in poorly ventilated environments such as inhabited spaces (hotel rooms, EHPAD, nurseries, schools, dormitories, etc).  

In addition to the potential risk of anoxia, some freons also have anaesthetic properties, making them potentially dangerous, hence the need (and common sense) to set up a leak detection system.

The practical guide of the detection of refrigerant fluids

The GazDetect team provides you with a practical guide to the detection of refrigerant gases. Find in this white paper all the information and equipment available for the control of refrigerant gases in all your refrigeration applications:

The refrigerant detection practical guide