Refrigerant Leaks: You're Going Down!

I urge you to read our first in a four-part series based on our refrigeration roundtable sessions. We brought 10 refrigeration experts together in September at HVACR Week to discuss a variety of issues, from leak prevention to training. This was a new venture for us, and a necessary one, considering all the changes now at work in commercial refrigeration.

Regulatory pressures are making leak prevention a top priority. But, there’s also the financial benefits that come from improving system leak rates to near zero. The discussion helped me, as an industry observer to understand better the dynamics at work here. Between the supermarket teams who must sell products around the clock, and the contractors who often are given very little time, there has to be a happy medium. Our panelists seem to have found that middle ground, and I think that’s all due to their professionalism.

These panelists were chosen based on their history in the industry, and they didn’t write that history by giving up. They stay with each project, and work with customers to get it done right.

My first article covers their discussion of refrigerant leak prevention. Refrigerant leaks have plagued commercial refrigeration contractors for many years. Since the beginning of this decade, however, leak prevention in commercial refrigeration systems has taken on an entirely new importance, due to legislative mandates, industry initiatives, and the demands of customers — especially major supermarket chains — who want to save money, and be perceived as more environmentally friendly organizations.

The EPA GreenChill program is helping supermarkets bring leak rates down to unheard of levels. There’s some prestige that comes with being a GreenChill member, but nonetheless, the outcomes are good and more than cosmetic. Supermarkets in turn work with their servicing contractors to greatly reduce leaks. This is accomplished through regular service, around the clock monitoring, and improved monitoring.

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