What is a Refrigerant Gas Detector?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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A refrigerant gas detector is a device designed to identify traces of refrigerant gas in the air. These devices are used to find leaks and other safety issues involving gases used as refrigerants. A number of manufacturers make them and a variety of models are available with different features and varying levels of sensitivity. Refrigerant gas detectors can be purchased directly from manufacturers, as well as through stores that carry equipment for repairing refrigeration systems and monitoring workplace safety.

Risks associated with the inadvertent release of refrigerant gas can include human health threats, damage to the environment, and a loss of efficiency for the refrigeration system. Leaks can develop at many points along a refrigeration system. Identifying leaks quickly can cut costs associated with repairs, in addition to minimizing risks to human and environmental health. Detectors are also useful for routine system maintenance and repairs.

Some types of refrigerant gas detector are designed to be mounted in an environment where a refrigeration system is located. These devices can sound alarms in the space, as well as activating remote alarms to alert people to the existence of a leak. Many are sensitive to multiple gases and can be used with a variety of systems. The refrigerant gas detector must be regularly inspected and maintained to confirm it is working properly.


Other devices are handheld, intended for mobile use. These devices can be used like sniffers to look for the precise location of a leak, in addition to being utilized to check on general air quality in a room. Handheld devices vary in cost, depending on the number of gases they are capable of detecting and any special features associated with the device. They are commonly used by repair personnel and maintenance crews to check on the safety of refrigerant systems.

In either case, in addition to detecting refrigerant gases, a refrigerant detector can also be designed to check for flammable gases and other gas hazards. Depending on the setting where it will be applied, being able to detect additional gases can be an important feature that will eliminate the need for a second or third device to monitor levels of other potentially hazardous gases.

When selecting a refrigerant gas detector, some considerations include the gases people will be looking for, the level of sensitivity needed, and ease of use for the device. Many companies have floor models people can test to learn about how the device works and to see if the interface for the refrigerant gas detector will meet their needs.


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