Detecting Sulfur Dioxide Leak

To detect sulfur dioxide leaks, an ammonia swab may be used. The swab is made by soaking a sponge or cloth tied onto a stick or piece of wire in aqua ammonia. Household ammonia may also be used. A dense white smoke forms when the ammonia comes in contact with the sulfur dioxide. The usual soap bubble or oil test may be used when no ammonia is available.

If ammonia is used, check for leakage in the following ways:

? Burn a sulfur stick in the area of the leak. If there is a leak, a dense white smoke will be produced. The stronger the leak, the denser the white smoke.
? Hold a wet litmus paper close to the suspected leak area. If there is a leak, the ammonia will cause the litmus paper to change color.
? Refrigerants that are halogenated hydrocarbons (Freon compounds) can be checked for leakage with a halide leak test. This involves holding a torch or flame close to the leak area. If there is a refrigerant leak, the flame will turn green. In every instance, the room should be well ventilated when the torch test is made.

There is presently available an electronic detector for such refrigerant leaks. The detector gives off a series of rapid clicks if the refrigerant is present. The higher the concentration of the refrigerant, the more rapid the clicks (see Fig. 5-5).

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