Tracer Gas Leak Detection Guide


Tracer Gas Leak Detection Equipment, Test Kit, and Cost: The Ultimate Solution

The search for leaks in the HVAC system starts at the factory. During the manufacturing process, you must check parts for potential leaks. It includes difficult-to-detect micro-leaks. Using a tracer gas leak detection device is the most effective method for detecting micro-leaks.

A tracer gas leak detection test can test parts with low leak rates outside the range of traditional air-flow pressure decline and mass flow testing, or you can use it to replace bubble test methods. The tracer gas leak test detects micro-leaks in 1x10-4 to 10-9 scc/s by using fleeing tracer gas.


A pressure decay test is usually done in the beginning if a larger leak is detected. Then, it's followed by a tracer gas test. Searching for major leaks ahead of time ensures that big amounts of tracer gas aren't released during the leak test, skewing the results.

A good tracer gas testing kit would be beneficial since it can regulate the entire testing process, starting with a gross leak test and concluding with the tracer gas sequence. It does this while searching for micro-leaks.

Evacuate and fill the part with a pressurised gas—usually helium. Then, you'll use a mass spectrometer gas analyser to identify any gas leakage from the position during a tracer gas leak test. The leak rate is based on measuring the amount of tracer gas in a controlled environment over time. The data will then transfer from the leak detector to the tracer gas leak detection.

Because it may detect smaller leaks than pressure decay testing, a tracer gas sniffer test is the most cost-effective strategy for finding leaks in HVAC parts. Forming gas or helium accumulation testing and helium hard vacuum testing are two kinds of tracer gas tests you can use to test final assemblies. A nitrogen purge test is best to check for fittings and brazed connection points leaks.


Professionals use tracer gas to pinpoint and find water leaks in piping. The tracer gas is injected into the pipe where the leak is suspected. The gas will seep out of the pipe and rise to the surface, where gas-sensitive probes will detect it.

A safe blend of hydrogen and nitrogen is used as a tracer gas to locate water leaks. Hydrogen is the smallest and lightest molecule. Therefore it permeates all surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, block paving, and grass, rising fast to the surface at 5% in a nitrogen balance.


Tracer Gas Leak Locator



Tracer gas is a lighter-than-air gas that is completely safe. You can inject it at low pressure to an empty pipe and will flee from any leaking spots. Then, it rises direct to the surface, cutting through any common building material in its path, such as concrete. Once on the surface, the trace and access leak detection experts can use a sensitive gas detector to locate the tracer gas.

The gas is harmless, leaving no trace or deposit in the pipes or on any nearby materials.


No Mess

The use of tracer gas is completely painless. It travels straight up through practically all building materials. It includes concrete, sand, paving slabs, and soil. You can discover it at the surface right above the leak spot once it has left the pipe. On the other hand, water does not behave in this manner. Instead, it spreads out both sideways and downwards. It makes it considerably more difficult to pinpoint the exact place of the leak and demands much larger-scale excavation work to locate the real leak.


You can use tracer gas in different pipe sizes and lengths and various materials. It doesn't leave any residues or deposits, and it can't hurt you.


It's a perfectly safe gas to use. It's non-toxic, non-corrosive, and non-flammable. Plus, it's approved for drinking water, waste, central heating, rising mains, and petroleum pipelines. It presents no threat to the environment and disappears soon.

Effective and Efficient Method

After the water has been drained from the suspected leaking pipe, you can add tracer gas. It's usually a pretty rapid and painless process, unlike the tedious moisture mapping operations that would otherwise be required. Experts can instantly begin smelling for escaping gas.


  1. Gas leak detection devices "sniff" for a test gas that has been placed into the package previously.
  2. The gas is then injected into the test package, and the injection point is taped shut. A leaking meter with a small "sniffer" probe is utilised to locate any leaking paths.
  3. Micro leaks in non-porous medical device packaging and modified atmosphere (MAP) food packaging are easily detected with this technology. It is frequently utilised in the latter application to discover leakage channels after a significant oxygen content has been detected.
  4. A mass spectrometer detector is used in the procedure, which is comparable to helium leak detection. Sulphur hexafluoride has a larger molecular weight than helium, making it less likely to produce a misleading "leak" result due to gas permeation through the packing material.



Tracer Gas Detection Tool


The most often utilised tracer gas in leak detection is helium. It's non-flammable, non-destructive, non-toxic, and inert, with only a trace of its presence in our atmosphere. To help lower the expense of tracer gas leak test methods, helium can be used at 100% concentration or combined with another gas, such as nitrogen or dry air. Forming gas, which is commonly a mixture of 5% hydrogen and 95% nitrogen, is a low-cost alternative to helium that can be utilised as a safe, non-flammable, and efficient tracer gas in various applications.

A mass spectrometer gas analyser can detect helium or hydrogen leaking from a micro-leak in tracer gas leak testing.

Mass Flow

The Mass Flow test method involves heating air with a tiny sensor and then measuring the temperature change as a function of mass flow. Because mass flow is a function of air density, it's important to double-check that the calibration is for sea level pressure; otherwise, slight discrepancies across locations may occur. Temperature fluctuations affect the mass flow detector less than pressure decay. The response time of mass flow metres varies depending on the level of leakage; low rates can take longer, especially if maximum values are surpassed.

Mass Spectrometry

The most sensitive test methods are mass spectrometry, which can detect 10-11 sccs using helium. Any helium leakage is sucked into the mass spectrometer tube as the helium-pressurised test portion is placed in a chamber evacuated to a vacuum of 10-5 millibars.

Mass spectrometry has many advantages, including high sensitivity and quantitative accuracy. On the other hand, mass spectrometry is prohibitively expensive, with equipment costs ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. The procedure is time-consuming, and the expense of operating and maintaining the equipment is high.



Accurate Tracer Gas Detection


It's critical to spot and fix any leaks in your air conditioner as soon as possible. The long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term cost of having them fixed, and you'll kick yourself down the line if a minor leak turns into a major one.

Save From Repair and Energy Costs

When refrigerant leaks, the air conditioning must go into overdrive to compensate. As a result, your energy cost will rise to pay for the additional labour.

Environmental Factors

When a unit is wrongly charged, it loses a lot of energy and emits a lot of carbon dioxide, contributing a lot to the glasshouse effect. You're helping the environment by preventing refrigerant leaks.

Prevents Further Damage

If an untreated leak goes unnoticed, it can deteriorate over time, causing considerable damage to your house. Water that has frozen due to the leak can thaw and flow into the remainder of the house, causing havoc.


Don't let any leaks ruin you or your client's unit forever. Detect it as early as possible using tracer gas leak detection and other refrigerant leak detectors. It's vital to find the leak in the first place, regardless of how it's discovered. You will save money and time and prevent more damage by doing so. Take the first step towards efficient, quality refrigerant service by calling specialists immediately if you detect a leak in your A/C system.

Find the best refrigerant leak detectors in Australia from HVAC Shop. Whether you're buying a leak detector for personal or business use, you can find the best here in our shop.