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The release of refrigerant gases into the environment can be harmful to both the potential occupants of the space, as well as to the environment in general. Chlorofluorocarbons, commonly known as CFCs, which were formerly considered relatively safe, are now known to be a key contributor to the thinning of the ozone layer. These are gradually being replaced by more environmentally friendly refrigerants such as R134a. This however, does not lessen the need for leak detection. Regardless of their reduced impact on the environment, even modern refrigerants pose the risk of displacing the oxygen in mechanical/chiller rooms, should a leak occur.
In some applications, solid state sensing technology will provide economical leak detection for most refrigerants. If however, there are other gases in the background in the area or multiple refrigerant types, infrared technology, which is very specific to the particular refrigerant being used, is a more suitable choice.
For most refrigerants, gas sensors should be mounted close to the floor, in close proximity to probable leak sources, and where pooled refrigerant is likely to accumulate. Recommended coverage radius for an individual sensor is approx. 20 ft.
Ammonia is used as a refrigerant primarily in applications requiring very low temperatures such as food processing or ice arenas. Electrochemical sensors are required to ensure accurate monitoring at regulatory levels. In ammonia gas detection applications, sensors should be mounted at or near the ceiling.
Alarm indication should be both in the room, as well as outside any entrance to the mechanical room.
For applications requiring the highest degree of sensor accuracy or where there is risk of other contaminants being present we strongly recommend the AMC-SIR infrared sensor/transmitter. Using Non-dispersive Infrared sensing technology it drastically reduces the likelihood of nuisance alarms and will interface well with the AMC-1A Series monitor, and the AMC-RAM-4 remote audio/visual alarms.