In the U.S., supermarkets have been exposing the atmosphere to high amounts of HFC refrigerants. An ordinary supermarket leaks approximately 1,000 pounds of refrigerant every year. Continue reading below for 10 tips on preventing refrigerant leaks and be sure to review the services offered at CMS Nextech including preventative maintenance to keep your system running efficiently.
Earlier this year, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) released a report stating that several major U.S. supermarket chains were leaking significant amounts of HFC refrigerants into the atmosphere. According to the report, EIA investigated dozens of supermarkets in the greater Washington, D.C. area and, using infrared cameras, found that over half of the stores investigated were leaking refrigerant into refrigerated aisles.
This may not be surprising to some, given that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) GreenChill program has long reported that supermarkets have high rates of refrigerant leaks. Indeed, GreenChill has repeatedly noted that the typical supermarket has an annual leak rate of about 25%, which equates to about 1,000 pounds of leaked refrigerant every year. But leak rates do not need to be so high, as evidenced by participants in the voluntary GreenChill program, whose stores emit at least 65% less refrigerant than the average supermarket. By following a few best practices, contractors can help their food retailer customers reduce the amount of leaks and help with preventing refrigerant leaks from their refrigeration equipment all together.
Top 10 tips to prevent refrigerant leaks
- Perform a leak check on every service call. At the very least, conduct refrigerant leak checks at regular intervals, ideally every 30 to 60 days for large centralized systems.
- Periodically replace copper lines as well as insulation and mounting hardware.
- Keep refrigeration racks and mechanical rooms as clean as possible in order to spot leaks more easily.
- If one leak is found, it may not be the only one, so check the entire system thoroughly.
- Once all leaks have been repaired, confirm that refrigerant levels have stabilized, indicating no additional leaks elsewhere in the system.
- Install a refrigerant leak monitoring, notification, and alarm system to detect leaks between regular leak inspections.
- During installation, use proper securing mechanisms for piping and the proper piping techniques.
- Nitrogen purge and pressure test every new installation to ensure there are no leaks present.
- Establish proper leak detection response protocols and proactive measures to minimize or eliminate leaks altogether.
- Implement a refrigerant tracking system to identify significant leaks.