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How Innovations in Refrigerant Gas Detection Can Protect Top-Line (Ozone Protection) and Bottom-Line (Profitability) Agendas
By Steve Gautieri and Donald Galman
Getting tough on refrigerant gas leaks will do more than help to protect the ozone layer—it can boost company profitability through energy management, operational efficiency, worker health and safety, and property protection.
Gas detection experts have a saying about refrigeration equipment: If it runs, it leaks—it’s just a matter of when.
However, it pays to arrest refrigerant gas leaks quickly to mitigate their consequences—today more than ever because of the economic penalties. EPA fines have increased to up to $25,000 per day per violation for anyone who vents ozone-depleting refrigerant gases into the atmosphere, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and blends. Refrigerant leaks that go undetected can waste huge amounts of energy, forcing compressors, valves and other machine components to run harder to maintain proper pressures. Over time, this extra workload can shorten equipment life, adding to capital and labor expenses. Leaks also can spoil food in refrigerated compartments or contaminate other manufactured goods, forcing manufacturers to scrap product or, even worse, fight legal battles.
While worker safety is often viewed as the principal benefit of installing gas detectors, gas detectors can boost bottom-line performance through energy management, operational efficiency, worker health and property protection. But to gain the full advantage, plants must think beyond the simple standard of safety compliance and incorporate gas monitoring into an overall productivity plan.
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