Whether it’s an air conditioning unit, a refrigerator or any large appliance, you know you can’t afford to weather leakage. Not only are HVAC technicians highly expensive, but the potential cost to your energy bill can be almost as pricey.

But there’s a greater danger when it comes to refrigerant leaks; one that can be in some cases fatal. Serious issues can occur after exposure to chemicals such as freon and halogen, ranging from severe allergic reactions and shortness of breath to asphyxiation.

And neither replacements parts, models or lungs come cheap. Proper preventative measures can ensure the life of your refrigerator. But how do you go about selecting them?

Below you’ll find a guide to some of the best brands currently available on the market, as well as an overview about what you as a homeowner should be on the lookout for when selecting them.

Fieldpiece Heated Diode Refrigerant Leak Detector Review

Fieldpiece remains one of the top choices for both DIY homeowners and HVAC technicians alike. It’s equally suitable for both personal and professional use – but it does not come cheap.

A 15 hour rechargeable battery triggers sensors that indicate all CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs and blends. An ergonomic design and steady probe ensures both comfort and efficiency, while both LED and audio alerts ensure maximal accuracy.

Inficon TEK-Mate 705-202-G1 Refrigerant Leak Detector Review

A flexible probe makes this perfect for both large stationary appliances and smaller, hard to reach units (such as a car’s AC.)

Unlike more budget models, this model ensures overall accuracy by pinpointing the exact location of a leak while maintaining neither exaggerated nor insufficient sensitivity by a customizable high/low sensitivity switch.

Both audible and LED signals can also be customized to suit your preferred intensity.

MYPIN Pro Advanced Portable AC Freon Halogen Refrigerant Gas Leakage Detector Review

Versatile enough to detect both standard CFC and HCFCs as well as newer HFC blends (such as R134a) you’ll likely to find in a car’s AC unit, this tool is an excellent budget choice for a quick standard detection.

With a 6 second warm up time and instantaneous reaction time, this is ideal for the DIY handyman looking for a quick detection without spending a lot of money.

Perfect-Prime GA5750 High Sensitive Halogen Refrigerant Leak Detector Review

A lightweight detector, but be forewarned. The auditory signal is extremely loud (one suggestion is to use the LED switch instead if noise bothers you.)

Capable of detecting not only halogen refrigerants but also natural gas, the Perfect-Prime is another excellent budget tool to use as both a back up or your main leak tester.

Refrigerant Leak Detector Buying Guide – How to find the best refrigerant leak detector for your needs!

As we said earlier, the benefits of a good leak detector aren’t solely financial and preemptive; they’re also necessary to your health. In addition, the effect of refrigerants on the environment is facing much greater scrutiny from the EPA than ever before, so stopping them quickly is not only a question of environmental safety; it’s the law.
But what separates a good detector from a bad detector? There are a few things you need to take into consideration.

Quick detection times: Learning to stop leaks in proper time will not only reduce potential build ups which not only hinder efficiency but stop function altogether but will also reduce the potential for long-term health hazards. And you can’t afford to procrastinate when it comes to your health.

Ability to detect all CFCs, HFCs and HCFC Blends: Because units vary significantly in their usage of coolants depending on both age, size and usage, you want to ensure that your detector has the ability to be as comprehensive as possible. In addition, many models also have to potential to indicate the presence of natural gas, as well.

Sensitivity level adjustment: One of the common complaints from both homeowners and HVAC professional alike is that many detectors are either overly sensitive (indicating the presence of non-harmful emissions which are perfectly natural to a unit’s proper function) or simply not sensitive enough. Thorough usage and adjustment of sensitivity levels are necessary to pinpoint accuracy, and should always be kept in mind.

Warranty: If used properly, your detector should last you sufficient years without the need for costly replacements. While many models come with warranties ranging from limited to lifetime, always check to ensure that your choice can handle continuous use within a single session.

The last thing you probably ever wanted to take into consideration while purchasing large appliances was refrigerant care. But with the rising costs of energy as well as new EPA restrictions, you simply can’t afford not to. Being forewarned of any hazards now can save you a lifetime of money and hassle down the road. And it’s not just your wallet that’s at risk; it can be your life.