How to Find a Leak in Your Air Conditioner Lines

What You'll Need
Electronic Leak Detector
Ultrasonic Leak Detector
Ultraviolet Dye Leak Detector

With summer fact approaching, it will be important for you to have air conditioner lines that are free of leaks. A leak in an air conditioner line can cause your air conditioner to work less effectively or to stop working entirely depending on the severity of the leak. Fortunately, there are a number of different techniques that may be used to locate a leak in an air conditioning unit so that it can be promptly repaired. In addition to being an inefficient way of running an air conditioning unit, if your air conditioner is leaking freon it can be dangerous or even illegal to allow it to continue to leak unchecked. Below you will find instructions on how to use the three most common techniques for locating leaks in your air conditioning lines. With a little patience and attention to detail, you should be able to locate any leaks yourself in no time.

Step 1: Electronic Leak Detector

Electronic leak detectors are the most common, easiest to use and quickest ways to find most leaks in your air conditioning system. Electronic leak detectors can get you extremely close to any leaks in your system. Once you have narrowed your search field down, you can usually increase the sensitivity on your electronic leak detector to detect even small leaks. Follow the instructions provided on your electronic leak detector to locate any and all leaks in your system.

Step 2: Ultrasonic Leak Detectors

Ultrasonic leak detectors are a relatively new invention, and they are a bit more expensive. Ultrasonic leak detectors work on the principle of detecting sound waves. Ultrasonic leak detectors literally listen for the sound of air or freon escaping through your air conditioner lines and locates leaks this way. In order for this method to work effectively, the system must be heavily pressurized ahead of time and you must have complete silence when working. As a result, many homes will not have the conditions necessary to make an ultrasonic leak detector work properly.

Step 3: Ultraviolet Dye Leak Detector

The third popular method of air conditioner leak detection incorporates the use of an ultraviolet dye into the water or freon line of your air conditioning system. In theory, if there is a leak somewhere in the air conditioner system, the ultraviolet dye should leak out with the freon, water or air. After the dye is introduced into the system, you will need to use an ultraviolet lamp or an ultraviolet flashlight to detect the places where the dye is escaping. As a result of the incorporation of dye and multiple tools to inject and locate the dye, this is the most complex method of leak detection and the one that is potentially the messiest. This dye usually gets all over your hands, your air conditioner unit and, if there is a leak, all over the area surrounding the leak. This is, however, a fairly reliable method of leak detection if done properly.