5.10 Manitoba’s Leak Testing Procedure

Manitoba’s Leak Testing Procedure

Venting Prohibited

Venting refrigerant is prohibited  (i.e. Class 1, 2, and 3).

In addition, it is mandatory to leak test by not adding any regulated refrigerants, including all ozone depleting and other halocarbons (see MR 103/94 for a designated list).

It is a common industry standard to use nitrogen and/or soap & water.

Separate recovery units are required to contain different refrigerants.

Cross-contamination of refrigerant gases may cause air conditioning equipment damage if it is replaced in a unit.

Mixing of refrigerants is prohibited.

Approved Leak Testing Methods

Under MR 103/94, no person shall recharge or top up equipment that contains an ODS or other halocarbon unless the person first conducts a leak test and permanently repairs the identified leak.

3. Use one of the appropriate method(s) indicated under “Acceptable Leak Testing Methods” to detect the presence and location of the leak(s).

4. If no leak is detected after fully and thoroughly leak checking, you may recharge the system with the appropriate or manufacturer designated refrigerant.

5. If a leak is found, isolate that component(s) if possible and recover any refrigerant from the component or system.

6. Once any remaining refrigerant has been recovered, repair or replace the component or system.

7. Perform another leak test method to confirm that the leak has been repaired. If any leaks are found, repeat #1-7 until all leaks have been repaired.

8. Evacuate the system in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended evacuation/dehydration levels. When the manufacturer’s information is unavailable evacuate to 29.87 in Hg. (500 microns) and hold for a minimum of ten minutes.

9. The system has now been evacuated and dehydrated. The system may now be recharged in accordance with the manufacturers certified installation, specifications and service manuals, and the Environmental Code of Practice for the Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems.

  • An ODS or other halocarbon must not be added to nitrogen or dry air for use as a trace gas
  • However, you may use the remaining (remnant) gas that was in the system to immediately check for leaks

Acceptable Leak Testing Methods

There are many different techniques for leak testing, with varying degrees of accuracy depending on the system being tested.

The following guidelines are acceptable procedures for leak testing on various stationary refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The following techniques have been recognized by Manitoba Conservation.

Acceptable Leak Testing Methods:

  • Electronic leak detection
  • Soap and bubble test
  • Halide flame leak detection
  • Ultrasonic leak detection
  • Fluorescent dye leak detection
  • Standing vacuum test
  • Standing nitrogen pressure test

Note: Any additional leak testing technologies that are developed and find acceptance within the refrigeration and air conditioning industry may become acceptable and added to these guidelines.

It is recommended that you periodically check with Manitoba Conservation or MOPIA for the latest list of acceptable leak test procedures.

The completing of a leak test is not a guarantee against leaks in the future, and therefore is not meant to replace any existing preventive maintenance program.

The most appropriate leak test method for the circumstance should be chosen and performed by an MR 103/94 certified individual (“trained service technician”).