Product Reviews

For me having air conditioning is a necessity. My family and I live in southern Kansas. For those of you who do not know or who are not familiar with the area Kansas gets VERY hot during the summer months. The Fahrenheit starts to creep up in May and then with each passing week it goes higher and higher until we are in July and we have nearly two months straight of one-hundred degree heat. It is not a fun time, I can assure you. During these months the only times I usually go outside are either to mow the yard or to jump in the pool. (That’s usually done in that order!) I cannot imagine going without air conditioning. Now, you may say that I am spoiled but let me tell you folks it is tough. It is especially tough when it is so hot outside that your air conditioner can’t even keep up with the set temperature.

Because I live in Kansas, just like other areas of the Midwest, there are many older homes throughout the area. In my neck of the woods there are a lot of older farm houses that range from fifty all the way to one-hundred years old. Now, obviously these homes did not come with central ducts or central cooling. When the summer months hit the people in these homes are left with three choices:

  1. Suffer through the summer with fans and open windows in a sweaty and drippy mess.
  2. Pay, or do it themselves, to have their home retrofitted with ducts and to have a central air conditioning system installed. I can’t even imagine how pricey that is.
  3. The third option, and what most everyone does, is to purchase a window air conditioner. Depending on the size of the home some people purchase two or three of these products to get their whole home feeling cool and adjusted during the peak heat days.

Window air conditioners are a great great product that give so many people a chance to access cool air. I don’t care if you are out in the country in farm land like me or if you are in an urban sprawl in Miami. Everyone needs air conditioning and these window units allow just that. Introductory costs on a new small unit can be as low as one-hundred dollars. If you compare that to the cost of a central air conditioner there is just no contest. Even in the most dire of circumstances most people can scrimp and save for a one-hundred dollar purchase.

The problem here is that while these air conditioners sell like crazy during the summer months many people don’t know exactly what they are buying or what kind of air conditioner they really need for their home. This buyer’s guide is going to solve just that. We are going to go in-depth into all considerations that have to be made before you should purchase. On top of that we are going to go through all common room sizes, determine what size your of air conditioner your room needs, and we will recommend two or three products for your room from Amazon.com. I will warn you now that this may be a long read but I can assure you folks that it is worth it because when we are done you will be an educated buyer and you know exactly what kind of unit you need for your home to keep you and your family cool.

Considerations

Remember how I said above that there are number of considerations that have to be made before you can purchase? Well you will be surprised at just how many options and sizes there are out there when it comes to window air conditioners. When I list these considerations I am going to arrange them by most important to least important. So, if you get anything out of this section please please please pay attention to the first three points.

Size Does Matter

No really, it does.  Your windows size does matter. What were you thinking? Just think about this. You buy your new window air conditioner. You got the exact sized system you needed. You are ready to install. You open your window and began to slide the new system in only to realize that your window is too narrow and won’t accommodate the air conditioner. I can only imagine the frustration of this happening and truth be told I can see myself making this kind of mistake.

We all know that old rule, measure twice and cut once. Well the same rule applies to air conditioners. Always always always be sure to measure the width and the height of your window to ensure that the air conditioner that you will be buying will fit and will fit correctly. To get even more specific you may even take into consideration the depth of your new AC unit and see if there are any trees, shrubs, or anything else that could obstruct exhaust flow of your unit. Remember folks, that heat has to go somewhere and if there is something obstructing your exhaust your air conditioner isn’t going to have a good time.

As I said before it is best for you to measure the window so you know exactly what you are dealing with but I will give you this bit of advice. Most windows found in homes today range between twenty-four to thirty inches wide and forty-eight to fifty-six inches high. If you are unsure of the dimensions of the air conditioner you are wishing to buy either on Amazon or the manufacturer’s official product page will have the full details for you.

BTUs, Square Footage, and What You Need to Know

First and foremost before we get into what kind of unit you need we need to understand how sizing in air conditioning system works. It is not as simple as just picking the biggest and baddest model on the market. If you purchase a window unit that is rated to cool one-thousand square feet and you put it in your one-hundred and fifty square feet office your air conditioner is going to have difficulty extracting the humidity from the air as well as evenly distributing the cooler air. The end result will be hot and cool spots throughout the room. That isn’t even mentioning the increased monthly cost to run a much larger machine then you needed in the first place. This will leave you feeling frustrated due to the hot and cool spots as well as paying more money per month then you should be.

Now, if we do the inverse of this scenario and buy a smaller air conditioner for a much larger area your unit will be running constantly all day and night just trying to keep up by cooling the larger square footage. This will result in the room not being as cold as it should be as well as significantly increasing the energy bills for running your AC non-stop. Remember folks, air conditioners are supposed to hit a desired temperature, turn off, and then turn back on when the temperature begins to rise. If they are running constantly that means higher bills as well as quicker parts failure on the unit.

To understand air conditioner sizing you need to understand British Thermal Units, or BTUs. If you have already been looking online or in stores you have probably noticed that window air conditioners always have a BTU number in their description. As an example, Frigidaire’s FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU air conditioner. 

BTUs are the traditional measurement unit of heat.  In the air conditioning world BTUs are a measurement of the cooling capacity of your window air conditioner. The bigger the number of BTUs the more powerful and the higher cooling capacity of your A/C unit.  As a standard measurement an air conditioner needs around thirty BTUs for each square foot of living space that you wish to cool. Using that standard measurement let’s do some match based off of the 5,000 BTU rating example we pulled from earlier.

5,000 / 30 = 166 square feet

So, a 5,000 BTU air conditioner will cool a one-hundred and fifty square foot room with ease. For those of you who do not know an average sized bedroom or office is about one-hundred and fifty square feet. If you were looking to cool a bedroom, small office, or a dorm room then a 5,000 BTU system is just the one for you. However, if you were looking to cool a larger room, even if it is only two-hundred square feet it would make sense to go up to a 6,000 BTU system. Remember folks, it is a fine line to get the ‘perfect’ sized air conditioner for your room.

To ensure that you are buying the right sized air conditioner for your room it is best to measure it. I can give you standards and guidelines all day long but only you know the size of your room. To get the square footage of your room measure the width and depth of your room and then multiply the numbers together to get your square footage. As an example if you have a ten foot by eleven foot room you have one-hundred and ten square foot.

There are also other considerations when looking at your room. Yes, the size of the room definitely matters but these other scenarios could have a play into what kind of air conditioner you should purchase.

  1. The first being is your room sunny for most of the day? If so then we at RefrigerantHQ recommend increasing your required BTUs by ten percent. After all, your unit is going to have to work harder to make up for that direct sunlight.
  2. How many people will be in this room through out the day? One? Two? If it is anymore then two then it is recommended that you increase the required BTUs by six-hundred per additional person. There are times where I’m stuck in a conference room during the summer with ten people in it. It doesn’t take long for the once cool room to become hotter and hotter. The more people in a room the more power you need!
  3. How tall is the ceiling in your room? Is it a standard seven foot or eight foot celing? If so, then no problem. However, if you are working in a vaulted ceiling room or even something as high as ten foot then you may end up wanting to go up a size in BTUs. A taller ceiling means more space in your room and more space means more space to cool.
  4. The last consideration to make is will your unit be used in a kitchen? If so then we recommend increasing the required BTUs up by four-thousand. (You’ve got to accommodate for all that heat from the oven.) This one is rather obvious. There are ovens in the kitchen. Ovens are hot. You have more heat to displace now because of the kitchen appliances.

115 Volts VS 220 Volts

If you will be buying a smaller air conditioner then this will most likely not apply to you but I would be amiss if I didn’t at least devote some time to this. Most of your smaller air conditioners in the ranges of 5,000 BTUs upwards to 10,000 all come with a standard one-hundred and fifteen voltage plugin. For those of you who do not know a one-hundred and fifteen plug is the standard outlet connection that you have in your house or apartment.

You will notice however that as you go up in size in BTUs like 12,000 or 15,000 you will start to see products coming with a two-hundred and twenty volt connection. Typically a two-hundred and twenty volt connection is only found in a couple places in a standard home, your oven and your dryer. The reason for this is that these two appliances take a substantial amount of power to operate. The same can be said with more powerful window air conditioners.

If you plan on buying one of these higher BTU window units then I will warn you now to check if it is a one-hundred and fifteen volt or a two-hundred and twenty volt model. I would hate for you to purchase one of these, install it, and then go to plug it in only to realize that you do not have the right outlet available. I don’t know about you but I would be frustrated.

On that same note it behooves me to mention that along with the outlet type another key factor to consider is the length of the cord that comes with the unit. Most units that I have seen come with a six foot cord. Depending on the setup and where your window lies this could be more than enough. Worst case if your cord is too short you can always use an extension.

Cost

Depending on your budget the cost consideration may be the most important. Window air conditioners can range in prices from one-hundred dollars all the way up to over one-thousand dollars. The good thing here is that once you know the square footage that you aim to cool and you know the BTUs that you need it becomes a whole lot easier to narrow down your search.

As an example if we have decided on a 5,000 BTU window unit we can then determine a baseline or average price for this size of air conditioner. Our first product in the 5,000 BTU category is Frigidaire’s FFRA0511R1. As I write this article the price is set at around one-hundred and thirty dollars. Now keeping that price in mind let’s take another 5,000 BTU model. This time it is Frigidaire’sFFRE0533Q1. The price on this model is over double the price of the previous one coming in at around two-hundred and sixty dollars. (Please note that these prices are subject to change at any time.)

Why is there such a large price difference between these two products made by the same company? Well folks it all comes down to quality and features. This more expensive model, the FFRE05331Q1, comes with a remote control, a digital display, a continuous temperature monitor, a longer cord, twenty-four hour on/off timers. I could go on and on.

The question that you have to ask yourself is are you willing to pay for those extra features? Or, are you content to have a basic unit with no remote? Remember now, that this basic unit will still do what it is supposed to do. It will still cool your room. I will leave this decision up to you.

Cost to Run Per Month

While most people tend to think about the upfront cost of purchasing a new window air conditioner there is another side of cost that is often overlooked. We all remember the days as kids when our parents would yell at us for leaving the front door or window open during the summer. There was a reason for this. By letting that hot air into the house your air conditioner has to work harder which results in a higher power bill at the end of the month.

First, let me give you the bad news. It is almost impossible to estimate the cost to run a unit as there are so many variables that come into play. Just a few of these are:

  • What temperature you have the air conditioner set at. If you are keeping your home cooled at sixty-four degrees in the dead of summer then expect to pay a lot per month!
  • What climate you are in. Rather you are in Miami or Rochester makes a heck of a difference to your monthly power bills. I’m not just talking heat either, the humidity in the ‘tropical’ states like Florida is something to be reckoned with and will make your air conditioner work that much harder.
  • This one should be obvious, but I will mention it anyways. The larger the air conditioner the more you will pay more month. As an example a 5,000 BTU unit will cost a lot less to run than a 10,000 BTU unit.
  • How often will you be running the air conditioner? Is it just going to be in your bedroom and you run it while you are sleeping? If so you will save quite a bit of money. However, if you are going to be running it all day then your bill is going to go up.
  • Lastly, if you are cooling an individual room are you keeping the door to the hallway closed? If connected to a bathroom are you keeping that door closed as well? The more sealed the area the less your AC has to work and the less you have to pay.

While I cannot give you an exact estimate of how much your air conditioner will cost to run based off of the above factors what I can tell you is to look at the ‘Energy Guide’ sheet that come with your air conditioner. When shopping for a window unit most of the time the Energy Guide will either be on the box or as a picture if you are looking at Amazon.com. For example, let’s take a look at the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTU unit on Amazon.com. You will notice that one of the pictures has a completely yellow background. This is your Energy Guide. The Energy Guide will give you an estimated yearly cost to run the air conditioner. In this example the yearly estimated expense is forty-one dollars. If the product you are looking for does not have a picture of the estimated costs or it is not on the box then I would recommend checking out the manufacturers website to find the information.Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU Energy Guide

The last thing I’m going to mention before the next section is the Energy Efficient Ratio (EER) rating of your window air conditioner. EER is a measurement of how many BTUs the unit uses for each watt of power consumed. In other words, it is a measurement of how efficient and how much energy your ac unit uses to cool the room. The higher the EER number the more efficient your air conditioner is. The standard EER for most air conditioners is set at 10.0. The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is rated at 11.1 EER. This number is also displayed on the Energy Guide sheet of your new air conditioner. So, again the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is a very efficient and cheap unit to run.

Energy Star Certification

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners is if they are Energy Star Certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product is Energy Start Certified it means that that product has met strict energy efficiency guidelines set fort by the US EPA.

A Energy Star certified unit will have higher seasonal energy efficiency ratios as well as having improved energy efficiency ratios. Remember how we mentioned energy efficiency ratios (EER) earlier? Lastly, a certified AC unit will use up to eight percent less energy than non-certified one.

While Energy Star certification is mandatory for AC units there are some consumers out there who prefer to only buy certified appliances. Again, this decision is up to you. Most of the time the product that you are looking at will advertise if they are Energy Star certified. It will be listed on the box or in the description of the product. If you do not see it listed then you can most likely assume that it is not certified by the EPA.

Room Examples & Recommended Air Conditioners

Ok folks, so we now have an understanding of what goes into picking an air conditioner and what requirements have to be considered before you can move forward with a purchase. What I want to do in this next section is to provide you with an estimated square footage, a room type, a recommended BTU size, as well as a two or three recommended window air conditioner units for each application. Using the below suggestions as a guide will set you in the right direction of picking the right system and experiencing the relaxing cool air blowing in your face on a hot summer’s day. If you ask me there’s nothing better then coming in from mowing the yard and having a cold beer in a nice cold house.

100-150 Square Feet – Small Office, Room, or Dorm

I mentioned the 100-150 square feet example earlier when we were going over sizing of an air conditioner. Does anyone remember the amount of BTUs required for the 150 square foot room? Yes, that’s right. Pat yourself on the back! 5,000 BTUs are required to effectively cool a room of 100-150 square feet. These types of rooms are your typical bedroom, a small office, or even a college dorm room. Here at RefrigerantHQ our top three recommended window air conditioners rated at 5,000 BTUs from Amazon.com are as follows:

  1. Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5,000 BTUs

  2. hOme Window Air Condtioner 5,000 BTUs

  3. Frigidaire FFRE0533S1 5,000 BTUs

150-250 Square Feet – Larger Room or Office

The next step up from a standard sized bedroom are your larger bedrooms, office, and even some smaller master bedrooms. These rooms can range between the baseline of one-hundred and fifty all the way up to two-hundred and fifty square feet. For this size range we recommend going with a 6,000 BTU window air conditioner. Our recommended products from our Amazon partner are as follows:

  1. Frigidaire FFRE0633S1 6,000 BTUs

  2. Friedrich Chill CP06G10B 6000 BTUs

  3. Emerson EARC6RE1 6,000 BTUs

250-300 Square Feet – Master Bedrooms

Alright folks now we are truly onto the master bedrooms. Depending on the type of house you have your master bedroom will most likely fall into this range if not a little bigger. My house has the master bedroom above our two car garage. While I hate that design due to the heating and cooling issues I love how big the room is.

For this room size we would recommend getting a unit in the 7,000 BTU range. Here’s the problem though when I was writing this article I just couldn’t find any 7,000 BTU air conditioners. I found the 6,000s and the 8,000s but no 7. This may just be a weird size. What I am going to do here is recommend three products here but I have to remind you to please watch your room size. If you are on the upper end of this range then you should get an 8,000 BTU but if you are on the lower end then you should be fine with the 6,000 BTU.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FFRE0633S1 6,000 BTUs
  2. Frigidaire FRA082AT7 8,000 BTU 

  3. LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTU 

300-350 Square feet – Master Bedrooms or Living Rooms

The sizes just keep getting bigger! We are now in the territory of larger master bedrooms and living rooms. The recommended BTU for this room range is 8,000 BTUs. But, I do want to mention that as we get into these room sizes a few things start to happen. With these larger rooms you usually find higher or even vaulted ceilings. That means that you have more to cool and may consider going up a size in BTU. Along with higher ceilings you can often find living rooms open up to other rooms like the kitchen or dining room. If you have a large open floor plan you may also consider going up a size in BTUs.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FRA082AT7 8,000 BTUs
  2. GE AHM08LW 8,000 BTUs

  3. LG LW8016ER 8,000 BTUs

350-400 Square Feet – Living Rooms or Great Rooms

Remember that weird 7,000 BTU size that we just couldn’t find on the market? We ended up referring to a 6,000 or an 8,000 BTU model. Well folks, I’m going to have to say the same thing for this room size range. We would recommend 9,000 BTUs here but again, I just can’t find a 9,000 BTU model. Instead I am going to ask you to use your best judgement here and really take the size of your room into consideration. Look at the ceilings. Look at open areas. Look at sunlight shining into the room. Take all of these into consideration and then determine if you either need the 8,000 BTU or the 10,000 BTU model.

Our top products for this range are: (Remember, I am going to recommend some 8,000 and some 10,000 BTUs.)

  1. Frigidaire FRA082AT7 8,000 BTUs
  2. LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU 

  3. Frigidaire FFRE1033S1 10,000 BTUs

400-450 Square Feet -Living Rooms or Great Rooms

Ok, folks we are moving right along. Now we are getting into the big ones out on the market. With these larger rooms comes the need for more power. The recommended BTU size for this room range is 10,000 BTUs. These rooms are you larger living rooms or even great rooms that you would find in more expensive homes. The other option here for this room size are hotel rooms. Think about it. When you check into a decent hotel there’s enough room to walk around in, sit down on a couch, a nice large bed, and sometimes even a small kitchen. The 10,000 BTU size is the perfect fit for cooling an individual hotel room.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FFRE1033S1 10,000 BTUs
  2. LG LW1016ER 10,000 BTU 
  3. Koldfront WAC10002WCO 10,000 BTU

450-550 Square Feet – Living Room or Studio Apartments

The numbers keep climbing. This category we are starting to get into standard apartment sizes. Depending on where you live the 450-550 square footage could be the average size of a studio apartment. The preferred size for this room range is 12,000 BTUs. As we get into these larger sized window air conditioners I need to mention a couple things. Obviously, the cost on these are going to go up with the increase of BTUs. A 6,000 BTU is going to be much cheaper than a 12,000 BTU. It’s just simple math. The other point I wanted to make that on some of these larger BTU sizes come with a 220 volt plugin rather than the standard 115 volt. Please please please be sure that you buy the 115 model. If you do have a 220 outlet available then by all means buy a 220 model, but I just wanted to warn you about this possibility. The preferred products below for our 12,000 BTU category are all 115 volt outlets Except for the Koldfront model.

Our top products for this range are:

  1. Frigidaire FFRA1222R1 12000 BTU

  2. Koldfront WAC12001W 12,000 BTU – 220 VOLT OUTLET

  3. LG LW1217ERSM 12,000 BTU

Larger Sizes

Well folks we all know that there are larger rooms out there than just five-hundred and fifty square feet. With the larger rooms come larger BTUs but the problem that I am running into here is that window air conditioners over 12,000 BTUs are very difficult to find. What we end up running into is that instead of window air conditioners we see the larger 14,000, 18,000, and even 20,000 BTU models come as portable air conditioners.

Portable air conditioners function practically the same as a window air conditioner except that they come with a hose that you route outside the building either through a window, vent, or door. (There has to be a place for the exhaust to go.) I won’t get into all of the details on portable air conditioners in this article but I will give you a short summary of square footage, room types, and the preferred BTU size.

  • 550-700 Square Feet – Apartment or Condo Living – 14,000 BTUs
  • 700-1,000 Square Feet – Apartment or Condo Living – 18,000 BTUs
  • 1,000 to 1,200 Square Feet – Apartment or Small Home – 21,000 BTUs
  • 1,200 to 1,400 Square Feet – Apartment or Small Home – 23,000 BTUs

These types of portable air conditioners are more in line for larger shops or work areas that need to be air conditioned during the summer months. I do not see a portable air conditioner being used in a home but rather a work site. If you do need to cool an entire home or something over six or seven-hundred square feet then I would recommend one of two things:

  • Look into a central air conditioning system for your home. Yes, they are expensive but if you are looking to cool a larger area of your home, or all of your home, then this may be the best solution to maintain a reliably cool and balanced temperature.
  • If central air conditioning is not an option then I would use my guide above and purchase two, three, or however many window air conditioners that you think you may need to cool your home. My father in law has an older ranch home with no routed central AC. He has three window air conditioners installed in the home: One in the bedroom, one in the dining/kitchen, and one in the living room. Having these three units going at the same time help to maintain the overall temperature in the home and provide him with a level of comfort.
  • Yes, I know said two things but I felt like I had to mention this as well. If you are really serious about getting a powerful window air conditioner then there are a few choice products on Amazon.com today that will give you the power to cool an area up to one-thousand square feet or higher. As I said before these types of window units are rare but there are some out there. Here are our top picks:

Brands

You may have noticed in the above section that when I recommended products there was one brand name that I always included in my top three picks. That brand name was Frigidaire. There was a reason I did that. If you haven’t heard of the company name Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? These guys have been around for over one-hundred years and were in fact one of the pioneers in the early refrigeration industry. One of their principal investors was Willam Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. On top of all of that Frigidaire invented and began selling the first self-contained refrigerator in 1916. They have been around ever since manufacturing and innovating on new appliances. The point I’m trying to make here folks is that Frigidaire knows what they are doing when it comes to air conditioners and refrigeration. Don’t shy away from this company. They make great products and stand behind them. If I was to buy an air conditioner today it would be from Frigidaire.

Conclusion

Regardless of what size you need window air conditioners are a great addition to the home and offer people from all over the country a cheaper and obtainable way to access cool air during the summer. As a product I love these things. They give every walk of life access to air conditioning. A regular split system air conditioner can cost anywhere from two or three thousand dollars. You can get a window unit for a tenth of that cost. I don’t care if your living in a tiny studio apartment in an urban sprawl or if you are out in the middle of nowhere in a one-hundred year old farmhouse window air conditioners will work for you. In fact every time I see one of these units sitting in a window I can’t help but think of an older farmhouse. The house may be decades old but not much has changed. The barn is still up. The original woodwork still adorns the stairways and baseboards of the house. Everything look as it did except one or two window air conditioners resting outside the windows. I’ve always been a country guy at heart and seeing those air conditioners hanging outside a farm house gives you that country feel along with the conveniences of modern life.

That’s enough of that though as I’m getting a little bit off track. So, anyways, I hope that this guide was able to help you find the exact right kind of window air conditioner for you and answer any and all questions that you had. If I missed something or you feel that something is incorrect please do not hesitate to reach out to me by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. Today we will be doing another one of our product reviews. Our featured product today is Frigidaire’s FFRA0511RA 5,000 BTU window air conditioner. If you are reading this review then I can only imagine that it is summer, or close to summer, and you are sitting in a very hot room looking to get some relief. You are wondering to yourself is the FFRA0511R1 the air conditioner for you? The price point I am sure has grabbed your attention but what other considerations should you look at? Will it keep your room cool? Or, should you look at a different product? In this product review we will answer those questions and more. Let’s dive in and take a look!Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU 115V Window-Mounted Mini-Compact Air Conditioner with Mechanical Controls

Now before I get into the details of a product review I always like to take some time and write a short paragraph about the company behind the product. After all, if you don’t know the company and what kind of quality they represent how can you fully review the product that they are selling? If you haven’t heard of the company name Frigidaire before I have to ask where have you been? These guys have been around for over one-hundred years and were in fact one of the pioneers in the early refrigeration industry. One of their principal investors was Willam Durant, a founder of General Motors. GM went on to develop the first ‘Freon’ refrigerant in the 1930s while they were partnered with DuPont. On top of all of that Frigidaire invented and began selling the first self-contained refrigerator in 1916. They have been around ever since manufacturing and innovating on new appliances. The point I’m trying to make here folks is that Frigidaire knows what they are doing when it comes to air conditioners and refrigeration. Don’t shy away from this company. They make great products and stand behind them.

Is this the Air Conditioner for me?

Before you make a purchase especially one that is going to cost you a bit of money it is wise to consider all avenues to see if the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is the right air conditioner for you. In my opinion there are two major factors that should weigh on your mind before purchasing.

The first is the size of your window versus the size of the air-conditioner. Now it is safest to measure your window to ensure accuracy but I will tell you that most windows found in homes today range between twenty-four to thirty inches wide and forty-eight to fifty-six inches high. Looking at the official Frigidaire product page we can see that the FFRA0511R1 model fits window sizes with a width of twenty-three inches all the way up to thirty-six inches. As you can see by reading these numbers the FFRA0511R1 falls right in line with the width requirements of standard windows. If you are concerned about height the unit comes in at thirteen inches high. If your window is fifty-six inches high you can just pull your window down until the air conditioner is nice and snug in the window frame. Height is not really a factor when it comes to window air conditioners.

The second and equally important factor to consider is the cooling capacity of your air-conditioner and the type of room that you will be cooling. When dealing with air conditioners their cooling capacity is measured by British Thermal Units, or BTUs, per hour. You’ll notice that in the title of this Frigidaire air-conditioner the FFRA0511R1 is rated at 5,000 BTUs. As a standard measurement an air conditioner needs around thirty BTUs for each square foot of living space that you wish to cool. Using that standard measurement let’s do some match based off of the 5,000 BTU rating.

5,000 / 30 = 166 square feet. 

For argument’s sake we will call this unit rated at cooling a room at about 150-200 square feet. This square footage range is about the size of an average bedroom or office in most homes. If you are looking for an air-conditioner to cool your master bedroom then this may not be the one for you as most master bedrooms are at two-hundred fifty square feet or larger.

To ensure that you are buying the right sized air conditioner for your room it is best to measure it. I can give you standards and guidelines all day long but only you know the size of your room. To get the square footage of your room measure width and depth of your room and then multiply the numbers together to get your square footage. As an example if you have a ten foot by eleven foot room you have one-hundred and ten square foot. In this example the FFRA0511R1 would be a perfect fit for your room.

There are also other considerations when looking at your room. Yes, the size of the room definitely matters but these other scenarios could have a play into what kind of air conditioner you should purchase.

  1. The first being is your room sunny for most of the day? If so then we at RefrigerantHQ recommend increasing your required BTUs by ten percent.
  2. How many people will be in this room through out the day? One? Two? If it is anymore then two then it is recommended that you increase the required BTUs by six-hundred per additional person.
  3. How tall is the ceiling in your room? Is it a standard seven foot or eight foot celing? If so, then no problem. However, if you are working in a vaulted ceiling room or even something as high as ten foot then you may end up wanting to go up a size in BTUs.
  4. The last consideration to make is will your unit be used in a kitchen? If so then we recommend increasing the required BTUs up by four-thousand. (You’ve got to accommodate for all that heat from the oven.)

Some of you may be asking why does the size of the unit have to be so specific? Can’t I just get a larger unit then I need and call it good? Well folks, if you get an over-sized air conditioner for your room the unit will have trouble removing humidity from the room as well as costing you more to run each month. On the other side of the coin if you get a unit that is too small for your room the air conditioner will work and work trying to cool the room. This will result in higher and more expensive energy bills at the end of each month. Why pay more per month if you can be smart about it and get the right size for your room?

The last thing I’ll mention before we get onto the details of the product is a recommended BTU size by square footage of your room along with RefrigerantHQ’s recommended air conditioning unit. This should aid you in determining the type of air conditioner that you need.

Product Details

Let’s take a look at some of the details on the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 air conditioner. Whenever we are dealing with a window air conditioner dimensions and weight are always very important to take into consideration. The FFRA0511R1 has a height of twelve inches, a width of sixteen inches, and a depth of fifteen and a quarter inches. The weight comes in at forty-one pounds. There is a reason this AC unit is called a mini. It is a rather light unit and will allow for easier installation.Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 5, 000 BTU

This product uses R-410A refrigerant. R-410A is an HFC refrigerant that really began to see popularity about ten years ago. The majority of the time it is used in stationary split system air conditioners like what you would find in most homes. If the time ever comes when you need to make a repair on this unit and recharge the system you can rest assured that the cost of R-410A is still relatively cheap per pound especially when compared to R-22.

Like with most other window mounted air conditioners out there this unit comes with adjustable side panels. (They remind me of an accordion.) I love this feature as it allows you to get a custom fit for your window. If there is empty space after you install your system you just pull the panels out, secure them, and there you go. No leaking air in or out.

The FFRA0511R1  comes with two control knobs allowing you to adjust the temperature as well as the speed of the fan. While there is no remote for this unit once you play around with it and get the temperature that you like there will be very little intervention needed on you part. In other words, once you set your desired temperature you can walk away and be done with it.

The last feature that I will mention is that this product comes with a 115 volt power outlet and a six and a half foot cord length. The 115 volt power outlet is important as some of the larger air conditioners require a 220 volt outlet which most houses only have two, one for their oven and one for their dryer. This Frigidaire unit will work just fine with a basic electrical outlet in your room.

Pros

Ok ladies and gentlemen now we are on to the pros side of the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1. The first and biggest point to a lot of you is the price. This product is a budget air conditioner to help you get through the summer without costing you an arm and a leg. As I write this the unit is just under two-hundred dollars on major retailers like Amazon.com. (Note, that prices can change at any time.) That is a great price when comparing this to other window air conditioners or to even a traditional split system.

I mentioned this already in the product details section but this unit is able to maintain preset temperatures. This is a key point to mention as other units only come with what is called a ‘cool mode.’ With this unit you get a four different fan settings to use as well as a variety of turn knob settings to control the temperature in your room. There is a picture further up in this article that shows the control panel.

Something else to take into consideration when it comes to air conditioners are their Energy Efficient Ratio rating, or EER. EER is a measurement of how many BTUs the unit uses for each watt of power consumed. In other words, it is a measurement of how efficient and how much energy your ac unit uses to cool the room. The higher the EER number the more efficient your air conditioner is. The standard EER for most air conditioners is set at 10.0. The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is rated at 11.1 EER. So, this is a very efficient unit to run.

The air filter on this product is easy to remove and clean. All you have to do is open the front panel and remove the filter. It is important to remember that the air filter is reusable and may be cleaned using soap and warm water. (Remember to turn off your unit before pulling the filter out.) This may seem like a basic thing but some of the other air conditioner models out there have their filters placed in inconvenient positions that result in you having to take the air conditioner out of it’s window mounting to retrieve. Frigidaire recommends cleaning the air filters once a month.

Since this is a mini-window air conditioner the product is in fact very light. It comes in at forty-one pounds. Because of how light the product is it is possible for one person to install this unit by themselves. While it would be easier to have a couple people to do this job it is possible for one person. If you were dealing with a larger BTU air conditioner the weight and dimensions of the unit would go up making it nearly impossible to install the unit by yourself.

The last thing I’ll mention as a Pro before moving onto the Cons is that this product comes with a one year warranty from Frigidaire. While this may not seem like a miraculous amount of time for a warranty it is good to know that you investment is secure for the first season of summer in case something goes wrong.  To register your product and to also file a claim visit their official webpage for this product by clicking here.

Cons

There aren’t too many major cons when it comes to this unit. The first and most obvious one is that this is only a 5,000 BTU rated air conditioner. What that means is that if you are trying to cool your large master bedroom or even your entire second floor then this air conditioner will not work for you. This AC is designed for small offices, bedrooms, or even a dorm room. It is not meant for larger areas and if you try to install it in one of these areas you are going to have the unit running all night and day trying to keep up. It’s only going to cost you more in energy bills and not do a complete job.

The Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is NOT Energy Star certified from the Environmental Protection Agency. When a product IS certificated by the EPA you get a unit that is more energy efficient as well as coming with more and higher quality features such as premium side curtains to help reduce leaks. Most users report an average energy savings of ten percent when using an Energy Start Certified AC unit. As I said above, this FFRA0511R1 is NOT certified by the EPA.

Throughout my research on this product the number one complaint that I found was the noise that this unit makes when cooling. Some users have stated that it’s just a basic white noise that they get used to over time while others have stated that it is so loud that they can’t hold a conversation in front of it. Even more users have stated that for the first season or two the noise isn’t really noticeable but as the product ages the noise becomes louder and louder until they eventually toss the unit and purchase a new one. Again, let me remind you that this is a budget air conditioner.

Expanding on the above paragraph the lifespan of this unit from what I have found is around two-three years of constant use. While some users have kept theirs for many years many others have stated that they have had to throw theirs away after only a couple of seasons. If you are one of the unlucky ones that has your air conditioner stop working after the one year warranty window has passed you may be out of luck.

Conclusion

In conclusion ladies and gents I would say that the Frigidaire FFRA0511R1 is a buy only IF you are looking to cool your small room, office, or college dorm room. If you are looking to cool a larger room I would refer back to our suggestions towards the beginning of this article.

As far as the quality of this unit if we look at Amazon.com we can see that over two-thousand people have reviewed this product with an average rating of four out of five stars. While there are some issues with noise and longevity with this product I would highly recommend purchasing it if you are in a pinch or cooped up in a smaller room for most of your days during the summer. If you are interested in purchasing click our ‘Buy Now’ button below to be taken to our Amazon partner.

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Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision today,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

 

Hello ladies and gentlemen and happy Sunday to you all! Over the past few days here at RefrigerantHQ we have been taking a look at the various R-134a AC recharge kits on the market today. These products are typically used during the summer months when a customer gets into their car and realizes that their air conditioner is on but it is no longer blowing cold air. Typically this happens because your AC system is either running low or has lost all of it’s refrigerant. What these AC recharge products do is simply recharge your AC system with more refrigerant. The added refrigerant should be enough to get your car blowing cold again.

Now, there are a variety of R-134a AC recharge kits out there on the marketplace. The question is which ones to buy and which ones are worth your money? Should you go with the cheaper version, or the more expensive? What brand should you get? This buyer’s guide will give you an idea of what to expect when purchasing and using recharge kits as well as how to use them.

Know Before You Buy

A lot of you may already know this but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it. Before we get onto the top products I want to point out that these AC recharge kits are not a miracle worker. Heck, most of the time they aren’t even a fix. What these recharge kits do is take a problem that you have with your car’s air conditioning system and push the problem on down the road.

Your AC system rather it be on a car, house, or freezer all work relatively the same way. The refrigerant goes through an endless cycle moving back and forth between gas and liquid and liquid to gas. The system is completely sealed and no refrigerant should be coming out of it. So, in a perfect world you should never run out of refrigerant. But, as we all know the world isn’t perfect and things break, hoses crack, o-rings crumble, and so on and so on. When this happens your refrigerant begins to leak out. The more refrigerant that leaks out the less potent your air conditioner will be in the dead of summer.

Now what these recharge kits do is pump your system full of refrigerant again. So, you have a leak where your refrigerant escaped out of and if you use a recharge kit you are just dumping more refrigerant into your system. Depending on your leak this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a tiny crack in one of your A/C hoses that barely leaks then an AC recharge kit will be perfect for you. You could recharge it in March and have it last the whole season because the leak is so small. But, if you have a very large leak, or worse, a major part failure then these recharge kits will not work for you. You could recharge your car today, have it blow cold air, and then come back a few days later and all of your refrigerant is gone again. Not a good deal.

So, the point I’m trying to make here is just know that these recharge kits aren’t a miracle worker. Yes, they’ll work in some cases, but not all. Alright, on to the review!

Brands

One last thing that is worth mentioning is that while you may see different brand names and product names below these products are all owned, manufactured, and produced by the same company known as IDQ Incorporated. Upon doing my research on these products it looks like the IDQ company has carved out their specific niche and now have nearly one-hundred percent of the do-it-yourself vehicle air conditioning repair sector. The company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service tech. These guys know what they are doing and provide customers with a good quality product. That being said all of these products below are from said company even though the brand names may be different.

Good, Better, Best

Alright folks onto the best recharge AC kits on the market today. When I do a best of article I always like to organize things by the Good, Better, Best technique. This process and way of organizing things has stuck with me for nearly ten years. It was how my boss, back when I worked at Kenworth, taught me. If you overwhelm someone by offering them dozens and dozens of choices they will most likely shut down and stop listening to what you have to say. Instead, the smarter way to do it is to offer the customer three main choices: Good, Better, and Best.

The good category offers customers a viable and working product that will get their job done at a low price point. The better category is, you guessed it, the next step up. With better the customer gets a little more quality but also ends up paying a bit more. Lastly, the best category is reserved for the best product on the market. That means top quality and top price. Now, depending on who you are and what your mindset is it is up to you what you decide to purchase. Are you a Good, Better, or Best guy? I hate to say it but I’m a Good guy… I’m trying to break that habit and move up to Better!

Good – Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill Refrigerant Refill

Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill Refrigerant Refill with Charging Hose and Gauge - 18 oz.

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Product Review

Coming in at the Good category is Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill recharge kit. This product comes with eighteen ounces of refrigerant, a built in gauge, a hose, and a coupler to fit your low side port. It is definitely on the cheaper side of recharge kits but it will still get the job done. This is the product I like to recommend as a ‘trial’ recharge. If you are unsure if you need to take your car to the shop or not then give this product a try and see if you can solve the problem yourself, or at least put it off until next season.

Better – A/C PRO ACP-100 Professional Formula R-134a

A/C PRO ACP-100 Professional Formula R-134a Ultra Synthetic Air Conditioning Refrigerant with Reusable Dispenser and Gauge - 20 oz.

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Product Review

The A/C Pro ACP-100 is a great middle of the road product that falls into our ‘Better’ category. It is a bit pricier than the EZ Chill version but there are some benefits to this price increase. With the ACP-100 you get twenty ounces instead of the eighteen that we mentioned above on the EZ Chill. Along with that you get an extra long twenty-four inch hose to help you reach those cars with the ‘strange’ designs. To top it off the coupler on this product is easier to attach. Instead of having to manually pull the collar up on the coupler like you do with other products all you have to do is just push the coupler onto the port and it will pop right on. I’m always a big fan of the easier the better and the ACP-100 does just that, it makes things easy.

Best – Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze Ultra

Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze Ultra Synthetic Recharging Kit with UV Dye and UV Light

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Product Review

Remember how I said that these recharge kits are a temporary patch and don’t actually solve anything? Well folks the Interdynamics AFK-11CS actually takes a step in that direction by providing you with UV dye mixed in with the refrigerant as well as a UV light pen that you can use to begin scanning for the source of the leak after you have charged your system. This feature right here, along with giving you two cans of refrigerant, is why the AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze falls into our ‘Best’ category. You get two cans of refrigerant, UV dye and pen, and ALL of the other features and benefits that the other recharge kits have. The only real downside to this product is the price. As you can imagine since this product falls into the best category it is going to be quite a bit more expensive then the other products on the market we mentioned above.

Conclusion

Regardless of what kind of consumer you are any of the above three products will aid you in getting your car blowing cold air again. While some are better than others it is important to note that even the product in the ‘Good’ category is still perfectly viable solution to fixing your air-conditioning system. Also, I’ll say it one more time. These charge kits are not a cure all and most of the time they do not fix your problem. Instead, they delay your problem by adding more refrigerant to your system. So, while this may work for you today you man end up feeling warm air blowing in your face a few weeks later. It is impossible for me to tell if you have a minor leak, a large one, or a failed compressor.

Lastly, if you need some help or am not sure how to use these kits please check out our do-it-yourself guide that we put together a few days ago. It can be found by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing another product review. Today’s featured product is the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze AC recharge kit. Whew! Try saying that a few times fast. Anyways, these types of products are VERY common during the summer time. If you are reading this then I can imagine that it is the dead of summer, it’s ninety or one-hundred degrees outside and your car’s air conditioner is blowing warm air. It’s not getting cold at all. Is the Arctic Freeze product the right fit for you? Well, let’s dive in and take a look!Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze Ultra Synthetic Recharging Kit with UV Dye and UV Light

Before I get into what a product does and doesn’t offer I always like to spend a little bit of time looking at the company behind the product. I feel that a look, even if it’s a brief one, helps the consumer and myself understand what goes into the product. In this case the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze is from the company called rechargeac.com. This company is then owned by IDQ Incorporated out of Garland, Texas. The IDQ company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing do-it-yourself air conditioning products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service technician. In fact I would feel comfortable saying that they have a VERY large market share when it comes to DIY air conditioning recharge kits. These guys know what they are doing.

Know Before You Buy

A lot of you may already know this but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it. Before we get onto the Pros and Cons I want to point out that these AC recharge kits are not a miracle worker. Heck, most of the time they aren’t even a fix. What these recharge kits do is take a problem that you have with your car’s air conditioning system and push the problem on down the road.

Your AC system rather it be on a car, house, or freezer all work relatively the same way. The refrigerant goes through an endless cycle moving back and forth between gas and liquid and liquid to gas. The system is completely sealed and no refrigerant should be coming out of it. So, in a perfect world you should never run out of refrigerant. But, as we all know the world isn’t perfect and things break, hoses crack, o-rings crumble, and so on and so on. When this happens your refrigerant begins to leak out. The more refrigerant that leaks out the less potent your air conditioner will be in the dead of summer.

Now what these recharge kits do is pump your system full of refrigerant again. So, you have a leak where your refrigerant escaped out of  and if you use a recharge kit you are just dumping more refrigerant into your system. Depending on your leak this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a tiny crack in one of your A/C hoses that barely leaks then an AC recharge kit will be perfect for you. You could recharge it in March and have it last the whole season because the leak is so small. But, if you have a very large leak, or worse, a major part failure then these recharge kits will not work for you. You could recharge your car today, have it blow cold air, and then come back a few days later and all of your refrigerant is gone again. Not a good deal.

So, the point I’m trying to make here is just know that these recharge kits aren’t a miracle worker. Yes, they’ll work in some cases, but not all. Alright, on to the review!

Pros

Sure you could go out to an auto parts store and buy a couple of cans of refrigerant and recharge your car yourself but when you do this you have to realize that when you are buying those R-134a cans you are ONLY buying cans of straight refrigerant. Have you thought about the PAG oil that needs replaced? What about a leak sealer or any other additives? With the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze you get your refrigerant along with everything else including the PAG oil, the additives, and yes even a leak sealer built right into the formula.

Along with all of that the AFK-11CS comes with a couple extra features that the other recharge kits just simply do not have. The first is that this product comes with two thirteen ounce cans of refrigerant giving you a total of twenty-six ounces. This is much more refrigerant than the other products on the market. In fact if you look at some of the other Interdynamics products out there you’ll see canister ranges between eighteen to twenty-two ounces. The twenty-six ounce for this product is in a class of it’s own.

The second change on this product that I wanted to mention is that it comes with ultraviolet dye built right into the formula. For those of you who do not know UV dyes are used to find and identify leaks in your refrigerant system. Remember earlier how I said that the AC cycle is a sealed system? Well this UV dye will help you find where your leak is. It also comes with a UV pen so that you can scan and identify the source of the leaks. All you have to do is shine the light along all the joints, hoses, and pipes of your ac system and watch for any indication.

The last Pro that I am going to mention here is that the R-134a that comes with this product is compatible with all other types of R-134a. What that means is that you do not have to worry about mixing refrigerants together. Say, for example, you have a pound of refrigerant left in your car and you need to recharge it. You do NOT have to purge all of the old refrigerant before recharging. Like I said before, easy button.

If you get one thing from this review it’s this: The AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze is all about making things easy. It’s the easy button so they say. Everything that would need to be done to add refrigerant to your system is in that one little can.  On top of that the product comes with a hose and with a pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much refrigerant you have when you start, when charging, and when you finish.

Cons

Alright folks, onto the cons. The biggest con is something that I’ve already mentioned. Any recharge kit, I don’t care what brand, are temporary fixes and that is if they work. If you have a massive leak or a faulty compressor then these recharge kits aren’t going to do you any good. I still like to buy them though as a kind of pre-cursor before taking my car into the shop. If the recharge kit doesn’t work no big deal. You are out thirty dollars and you take your car to the shop. However, if the recharge kit does work then you just saved yourself a whole mess of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Another con that I want to bring up is that the price on this unit is a bit more expensive then the Interdynamics EZ Chill model. The EZ chill is a bare bones price point item to get you product. The Arctic Freeze is just the opposite. You get a higher quality product and a super sized container, but you will be paying more. So, you will be paying more but in my opinion it is worth it as you get a quality product.

Lastly, like with all refrigerants there is risk of shipping damage and the product arriving damaged. This could be either the can being damaged and having the refrigerant leaked out, a damaged gauge, or even a damaged hose. This is obviously a problem and if you run into this please call their customer service number which can be found by clicking here.

Conclusion

Overall I would say that the AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze is a definite buy especially if you are looking for a top-tier product when it comes to recharging your vehicle’s air conditioner. This product gives you all of the features and benefits of the other Interdynamics products out there as well as giving you bonus refrigerant and a UV detection system.

If you are interested in purchasing the Interdynamics AFK-11CS Arctic Freeze please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.  Or, you can also find this product in most retailers and auto parts stores. Also, if you are unsure on how to use this product then I highly recommend you click here to be taken to our ‘How To’ guide on AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing another one of our product reviews. Today’s lucky product of choice is Interdynamics’ AF-22 Arctic Freeze R-134a refrigerant recharge kit. Now, I am sure most of you are familiar with these types of products. They can be a lifesaver in the dead heat of summer when you find your air conditioner is blowing warm air. This holds true especially so here in Kansas where we get weeks of one-hundred degree heat! But how does Arctic Freeze product compare to the others on the market? Should you buy it? Let’s take a look!Interdynamics (AF-22) Arctic Freeze R-134a Ultra Synthetic Refrigerant with Recharge Hose and Gauge - 22 oz.

Before I get into what a product does and doesn’t offer I always like to spend a little bit of time looking at the company behind the product. I feel that a look, even if it’s a brief one, helps the consumer and myself understand what goes into the product. In this case the Interdynamics AF-22 Arctic Freeze is from the company called rechargeac.com. This company is then owned by IDQ Incorporated out of Garland, Texas. The IDQ company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing do-it-yourself air conditioning products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service technician. In fact I would feel comfortable saying that they have a VERY large market share when it comes to DIY air conditioning recharge kits. These guys know what they are doing.

Know Before You Buy

A lot of you may already know this but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it. Before we get onto the Pros and Cons I want to point out that these AC recharge kits are not a miracle worker. Heck, most of the time they aren’t even a fix. What these recharge kits do is take a problem that you have with your car’s air conditioning system and push the problem on down the road.

Your AC system rather it be on a car, house, or freezer all work relatively the same way. The refrigerant goes through an endless cycle moving back and forth between gas and liquid and liquid to gas. The system is completely sealed and no refrigerant should be coming out of it. So, in a perfect world you should never run out of refrigerant. But, as we all know the world isn’t perfect and things break, hoses crack, o-rings crumble, and so on and so on. When this happens your refrigerant begins to leak out. The more refrigerant that leaks out the less potent your air conditioner will be in the dead of summer.

Now what these recharge kits do is pump your system full of refrigerant again. So, you have a leak where your refrigerant escaped out of  and if you use a recharge kit you are just dumping more refrigerant into your system. Depending on your leak this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a tiny crack in one of your A/C hoses that barely leaks then an AC recharge kit will be perfect for you. You could recharge it in March and have it last the whole season because the leak is so small. But, if you have a very large leak, or worse, a major part failure then these recharge kits will not work for you. You could recharge your car today, have it blow cold air, and then come back a few days later and all of your refrigerant is gone again. Not a good deal.

So, the point I’m trying to make here is just know that these recharge kits aren’t a miracle worker. Yes, they’ll work in some cases, but not all. Alright, on to the review!

Pros

Sure you could go out to an auto parts store and buy a couple of cans of refrigerant and recharge your car yourself but when you do this you have to realize that when you are buying those R-134a cans you are ONLY buying cans of straight refrigerant. Have you thought about the PAG oil that needs replaced? What about a leak sealer or any other additives? With the Interdynamics AF-22 Arctic Freeze you get your refrigerant along with everything else including the PAG oil, the additives, and yes even a leak sealer built right into the formula. The best part about it?

This Arctic Freeze model is one of the more expensive products on the market but you have to realize that you are getting higher quality as well as a larger container of refrigerant. The Arctic Freeze AF-22 comes in a giant sized twenty-two ounce container. That is bigger than the A/C Pro ACP-100 at twenty ounces and bigger than the Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill at eighteen ounces. This amount will ensure that you can get a proper recharge even if you do end up spilling some of the refrigerant.

Along with all of that your Interdynamics Arctic Freeze comes with an easy to attach coupler and a pressure gauge so that you can monitor your levels as you recharge your system. All you have to do is pull back the collar on the coupler and then pop it on your low side service port. (Usually these will have an ‘L’ on the cap.) Don’t worry though if you have the wrong port as this coupler will ONLY fit the low side port and nowhere else. This prevents very costly mistakes by using the wrong port.

The last Pro that I am going to mention here is that the R-134a that comes with this product is compatible with all other types of R-134a. What that means is that you do not have to worry about mixing refrigerants together. Say, for example, you have a pound of refrigerant left in your car and you need to recharge it. You do NOT have to purge all of the old refrigerant before recharging. Like I said before, easy button.

If you get one thing from this review it’s this: The AF-22 Arctic Freeze is all about making things easy. It’s the easy button so they say. Everything that would need to be done to add refrigerant to your system is in that one little can.  On top of that the product comes with a hose and with a pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much refrigerant you have when you start, when charging, and when you finish.

Cons

Alright folks, onto the cons. The biggest con is something that I’ve already mentioned. Any recharge kit, I don’t care what brand, are temporary fixes and that is if they work. If you have a massive leak or a faulty compressor then these recharge kits aren’t going to do you any good. I still like to buy them though as a kind of pre-cursor before taking my car into the shop. If the recharge kit doesn’t work no big deal. You are out thirty dollars and you take your car to the shop. However, if the recharge kit does work then you just saved yourself a whole mess of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Another con that I want to bring up is that the price on this unit is a bit more expensive then the Interdynamics EZ Chill model. The EZ chill is a bare bones price point item to get you product. The Arctic Freeze is just the opposite. You get a higher quality product and a super sized container, but you will be paying more.

Lastly, like with all refrigerants there is risk of shipping damage and the product arriving damaged. This could be either the can being damaged and having the refrigerant leaked out, a damaged gauge, or even a damaged hose. This is obviously a problem and if you run into this please call their customer service number which can be found by clicking here.

Conclusion

Overall I would say that that the Arctic Freeze recharge kit is a definite buy if you find yourself in the situation where your vehicle’s air conditioner is blowing warm air. In fact, I would rate the Arctic Freeze kit as a step above the rest of the recharge kits out there. The reason I say this is not from personal experience but from research. When customers experienced problems with other recharge kits out there they seemed to always recommend trying Arctic Freeze. There is a reason for that. While you still get the refrigerant with all of it’s additives you also get quality parts and manufacturing that result in a lot less chance of breakage either during shipping or during use.

If you are interested in purchasing the Interdynamics AF-22 Arctic Freeze please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.  Or, you can also find this product in most retailers and auto parts stores. Also, if you are unsure on how to use this product then I highly recommend you click here to be taken to our ‘How To’ guide on AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Hello ladies and gentlemen and good evening! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing another product review. Today’s product of choice is Interdynamics MAC-134 A/C recharge kit.  Now these types of products I am sure most of you have dealt with in the past. They can be a lifesaver in a pinch and give you a nice cold breeze in the dead of summer. But, how does the Interdynamics EZ Chill compare against the other products out there? What makes it stand out? Is it worth buying or should you move to a different product. Let’s find out!Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill Refrigerant Refill with Charging Hose and Gauge - 18 oz.

Before I get into what a product does and doesn’t offer I always like to spend a little bit of time looking at the company behind the product. I feel that a look, even if it’s a brief one, helps the consumer and myself understand what goes into the product. In this case the Interdynamics MAC-134 EZ Chill is from the company called rechargeac.com. This company is then owned by IDQ Incorporated out of Garland, Texas. The IDQ company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing do-it-yourself air conditioning products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service technician. In fact I would feel comfortable saying that they have a VERY large market share when it comes to DIY air conditioning recharge kits. These guys know what they are doing.

Know Before You Buy

A lot of you may already know this but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it. Before we get onto the Pros and Cons I want to point out that these AC recharge kits are not a miracle worker. Heck, most of the time they aren’t even a fix. What these recharge kits do is take a problem that you have with your car’s air conditioning system and push the problem on down the road.

Your AC system rather it be on a car, house, or freezer all work relatively the same way. The refrigerant goes through an endless cycle moving back and forth between gas and liquid and liquid to gas. The system is completely sealed and no refrigerant should be coming out of it. So, in a perfect world you should never run out of refrigerant. But, as we all know the world isn’t perfect and things break, hoses crack, o-rings crumble, and so on and so on. When this happens your refrigerant begins to leak out. The more refrigerant that leaks out the less potent your air conditioner will be in the dead of summer.

Now what these recharge kits do is pump your system full of refrigerant again. So, you have a leak where your refrigerant escaped out of  and if you use a recharge kit you are just dumping more refrigerant into your system. Depending on your leak this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a tiny crack in one of your A/C hoses that barely leaks then an AC recharge kit will be perfect for you. You could recharge it in March and have it last the whole season because the leak is so small. But, if you have a very large leak, or worse, a major part failure then these recharge kits will not work for you. You could recharge your car today, have it blow cold air, and then come back a few days later and all of your refrigerant is gone again. Not a good deal.

So, the point I’m trying to make here is just know that these recharge kits aren’t a miracle worker. Yes, they’ll work in some cases, but not all. Alright, on to the review!

Pros

Sure you could go out to an auto parts store and buy a couple of cans of refrigerant and recharge your car yourself but when you do this you have to realize that when you are buying those R-134a cans you are ONLY buying cans of straight refrigerant. Have you thought about the PAG oil that needs replaced? What about a leak sealer or any other additives? With the Interdynamics EZ Chill you get your refrigerant along with everything else including the PAG oil, the additives, and yes even a leak sealer built right into the formula. The best part about it? This EZ Chill model is one of the cheaper ones on the market so you would only be paying a bit more then you would for a few cans of R-134a. Along with all of that your Interdynamics EZChill comes with an easy to attach coupler and a pressure gauge so that you can monitor your levels as you recharge your system.

If you get one thing from this review it’s this: The MAC-134 EZ Chill is all about making things easy. It’s the easy button so they say. Everything that would need to be done to add refrigerant to your system is in that one little can.  On top of that the product comes with a hose and with a pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much refrigerant you have when you start, when charging, and when you finish. The coupler at the end of the hose attaches right to the low side port just by pushing it on. Don’t worry though if you have the wrong port as this coupler will ONLY fit the low side port and nowhere else. This prevents very costly mistakes by using the wrong port.

The last Pro that I am going to mention here is that the R-134a that comes with this product is compatible with all other types of R-134a. What that means is that you do not have to worry about mixing refrigerants together. Say, for example, you have a pound of refrigerant left in your car and you need to recharge it. You do NOT have to purge all of the old refrigerant before recharging. Like I said before, easy button.

Cons

Alright folks, onto the cons. The biggest con is something that I’ve already mentioned. Any recharge kit, I don’t care what brand, are temporary fixes and that is if they work. If you have a massive leak or a faulty compressor then these recharge kits aren’t going to do you any good. I still like to buy them though as a kind of pre-cursor before taking my car into the shop. If the recharge kit doesn’t work no big deal. You are out thirty dollars and you take your car to the shop. However, if the recharge kit does work then you just saved yourself a whole mess of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

While the EZ Chill is one of the cheaper recharge kits on the market it does come with another cost. The cost savings can be seen in the quality of the product. There are numerous reports of triggers breaking, the can breaking and venting refrigerant, the gauge not working correctly, etc. While these reports are the exception I still feel that as a reviewer that I should mention them. Now, some of these may be due to faulty products or it may be due to improper shipping. It’s hard to say what the cause is but either way some of the products are arriving damaged to the customer and that is no good.

The last con that I will mention here is that the amount of refrigerant in this Interdynamics EZ Chill model is smaller when compared to the A/C Pro ACP-100 model. It’s not a big deal as the EZ Chill has eighteen ounces while the ACP-100 recharge has twenty ounces and the ACP-100 is more expensive so take that as you will.

Conclusion

The Interdynamics MAC-134 R-134a recharge kit is a great investment if you find yourself with a car blowing hot air. This holds especially true if you think that you are going to have to go to a mechanic. I highly suggest you try this product first before committing any expenses to a shop repair. The thing to remember is that these recharge kits are a patch. They are a band-aid. They do not fix the real problem of why your system is leaking refrigerant but they do offer a great and cheap solution to get your car blowing cold air again. I would highly recommend buying this product if your car’s AC is no longer blowing cold. The worst that could happen is that you find out you have a part failure or a large leak and your car starts blowing hot again in a few days. The BEST that could happen is that this recharge kit could charge your car for the entire summer season and you avoid all of the expense of going through a shop diagnosis and repair.

If you are interested in purchasing the Interdynamics MAC-134 please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.  Or, you can also find this product in most retailers and auto parts stores. Also, if you are unsure on how to use this product then I highly recommend you click here to be taken to our ‘How To’ guide on AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Good evening ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing another Product Review. Today’s product of choice is the A/C PRO’s ACP-100 R-134a recharge kit. Now these types of products I am sure most of you have dealt with in the past. They can be a lifesaver in a pinch and give you a nice cold breeze in the dead of summer. But, how does the ACP-100 compare against the other products out there? What makes it stand out? Is it worth buying or should you move to a different product. Let’s find out!A/C PRO ACP-100 Professional Formula R-134a Ultra Synthetic Air Conditioning Refrigerant with Reusable Dispenser and Gauge - 20 oz.

Before I get into what a product does and doesn’t offer I always like to spend a little bit of time looking at the company behind the product. I feel that a look, even if it’s a brief one, helps the consumer and myself understand what goes into the product. In this case the ACP-100 AC Pro is from the company called ACProCold.com. This company is then owned by IDQ Incorporated out of Garland, Texas. The IDQ company has been in business for over forty years and through out all of those years they have been dedicated to providing do-it-yourself air conditioning products for the weekend warrior mechanic as well as the seasoned service technician. In fact I would feel comfortable saying that they have a VERY large market share when it comes to DIY air conditioning recharge kits. These guys know what they are doing.

Know Before You Buy

A lot of you may already know this but I would be amiss if I didn’t mention it. Before we get onto the Pros and Cons I want to point out that these AC recharge kits are not a miracle worker. Heck, most of the time they aren’t even a fix. What these recharge kits do is take a problem that you have with your car’s air conditioning system and push the problem on down the road.

Your AC system rather it be on a car, house, or freezer all work relatively the same way. The refrigerant goes through an endless cycle moving back and forth between gas and liquid and liquid to gas. The system is completely sealed and no refrigerant should be coming out of it. So, in a perfect world you should never run out of refrigerant. But, as we all know the world isn’t perfect and things break, hoses crack, o-rings crumble, and so on and so on. When this happens your refrigerant begins to leak out. The more refrigerant that leaks out the less potent your air conditioner will be in the dead of summer.

Now what these recharge kits do is pump your system full of refrigerant again. So, you have a leak where your refrigerant escaped out of  and if you use a recharge kit you are just dumping more refrigerant into your system. Depending on your leak this could be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a tiny crack in one of your A/C hoses that barely leaks then an AC recharge kit will be perfect for you. You could recharge it in March and have it last the whole season because the leak is so small. But, if you have a very large leak, or worse, a major part failure then these recharge kits will not work for you. You could recharge your car today, have it blow cold air, and then come back a few days later and all of your refrigerant is gone again. Not a good deal.

So, the point I’m trying to make here is just know that these recharge kits aren’t a miracle worker. Yes, they’ll work in some cases, but not all. Alright, on to the review!

Pros

Sure you can get some R-134a for a few dollars but what is it that you are truly getting? The A/C Pro ACP-100 is much different then just buying a can of R-134a off the shelf and dumping it into your car’s system. The ACP-100 comes with a variety of features and bonuses that a regular old can 134a just doesn’t offer. As an example, if you were to charge your car with straight R-134a you would need to add in PAG oil as well. THE ACP-100 recharge kit comes with the oil already mixed in with the refrigerant. That’s one less thing you have to do.

Along with the oil you also get other additives that help extend the life of the components in your system including a leak sealer that could actually seal up small leaks in your hose lines or around orings. If you notice that on the instructions of this product it says to shake before use and to also rotate the can as you are charging the system. The main reason they call for this is to ensure that all of the additives, oil, and refrigerant are mixed together properly.

If you get one thing from this review it’s this the A/C Pro ACP-100 is all about making things easy. It’s the easy button so they say. Everything that would need to be done to add refrigerant to your system is in that one little can.  On top of that the product comes with a twenty-four inch hose and with a pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much refrigerant you have when you start, when charging, and when you finish. The coupler at the end of the hose attaches right to the low side port just by pushing it on. Don’t worry though if you have the wrong port as this coupler will ONLY fit the low side port and nowhere else. This prevents very costly mistakes by using the wrong port.

The last Pro that I am going to mention here is that the R-134a that comes with this product is compatible with all other types of R-134a. What that means is that you do not have to worry about mixing refrigerants together. Say, for example, you have a pound of refrigerant left in your car and you need to recharge it. You do NOT have to purge all of the old refrigerant before recharging. Like I said before, easy button.

Cons

Alright folks, onto the cons. The biggest con is something that I’ve already mentioned. Any recharge kit, I don’t care what brand, are temporary fixes and that is if they work. If you have a massive leak or a faulty compressor then these recharge kits aren’t going to do you any good. I still like to buy them though as a kind of pre-cursor before taking my car into the shop. If the recharge kit doesn’t work no big deal. You are out thirty dollars and you take your car to the shop. However, if the recharge kit does work then you just saved yourself a whole mess of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Besides that point there are a few other cons that I found when researching this product. All of these complaints or cons relate back to shipping and how the product arrived to the customer. I will say that these complaints are an exception and when looking at other reviews the shipping errors are a small percentage. Some consumers experienced their cans showing up completely empty and void of refrigerant. This happened because the can was damaged during shipping and all of the refrigerant leaked out. Other users reported that the gauge on the recharge kit did not work properly or was broken upon arrival. Again, this relates back to shipping and how the product arrived. I will mention here that when customers tried to contact A/C Pro for advice or help on their damaged product that their customer service was not the most helpful.

The last con that I will bring up before moving on is that some users stated that the coupler that comes with the A/C recharge kit did not fit their car. I saw quite a few complaints like this, but here’s the thing. The coupler is designed to only fit on the low side port of your AC system. I have a feeling that these users were trying to attach it to the high side port which explains why it wasn’t fitting correctly.  So, this was a user error rather than a product error.

Conclusion

The A/C Pro ACP-100 R-134a recharge kit is a great investment if you find yourself with a car blowing hot air. This holds especially true if you think that you are going to have to go to a mechanic. I highly suggest you try this product first before committing any expenses to a shop repair. The thing to remember is that these recharge kits are a patch. They are a band-aid. They do not fix the real problem of why your system is leaking refrigerant but they do offer a great and cheap solution to get your car blowing cold air again. I would highly recommend buying this product if your car’s AC is no longer blowing cold. The worst that could happen is that you find out you have a part failure or a large leak and your car starts blowing hot again in a few days. The BEST that could happen is that this recharge kit could charge your car for the entire summer season and you avoid all of the expense of going through a shop diagnosis and repair.

If you are interested in purchasing this product please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner.  Or, you can also find this product in most retailers and auto parts stores. Also, if you are unsure on how to use this product then I highly recommend you click here to be taken to our ‘How To’ guide on AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

The other day I wrote a few articles about R-134a air conditioner recharge kits. As I have stated in these other articles at first I was skeptical of these products. They seemed like a waste of money but after doing my research I have found that these products are the exact opposite. In fact, these AC recharge kits will actually end up saving you money if you find your vehicle is blowing warm air on a summer’s day.

Why is that? Well folks if your car is blowing warm air that means that at the minimum you have a leak in your system where the refrigerant is escaping. Worst case you could have a failed compressor or some other major parts failure. Here is where the recharge kits come in handy. If you were to take your car to a shop and have them diagnose and repair your air condoning system you could be looking at an over one-thousand dollar bill depending on what was found. But, if you use one of these 134a recharge kits you only spend about thirty dollars, you charge your system, and then you see if your car begins to blow cold air. If it doesn’t and is still blowing hot then by all means take it to the shop and get it repaired. However, if you recharge and find it’s blowing cold air again you may have just fixed your problem for the season.

Why is that? Well, yes your system still has a leak in it but it could be a VERY small leak. The leak could be so small that your refrigerant could last the entire summer season before it starts blowing hot air again. These types of leaks are usually focused in the hose or around an o-ring. While, yes, it’s a problem it is a problem that can be put off and patched for the season. I like this idea for the guys who are cheap or low on funds and need some cold air. I will mention though that there is a point where you will need to break down and take it to the shop. If you’ve recharged your system and a week later it’s blowing hot air again then you have a bigger problem that will need to be looked at.

All that being said, let’s take a look at RefrigrantHQ’s top picks for r-134a AC recharge kits. Now either one of these products are solid and will provide you with cold blowing air, unless there is something else wrong with your air conditioning system. I personally favor the A/C Pro brand over the Interdynamics. Both links below will take you to our Amazon.com partner:

Lastly, if you are going to be doing this kind of repair to your car please be sure to follow all of the necessary instructions. In fact here at RefrigerantHQ we have wrote out a step by step guide on this exact process. Please click here to read.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to answer your questions,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

I’ll admit it folks that for the longest time I thought these AC recharge kits were a gimmick. Snake oil. Waste of money and all that. But they’re not, they are really not! Let me start this off with saying that an air conditioning system rather it’s the one in your home, your fridge, or your car all basically operate the same way. It is a completely closed and sealed system. What that means is that the refrigerant moving in your system is an endless cycle from gas to liquid from gas to liquid. This cycle repeats forever as shown in the below picture.

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain.

Now here’s the thing though folks. Taking your a car to a mechanic is expensive, really expensive. What if your car is low in refrigerant and it is blowing hot air but it took years and years for it to get that way? In other words, what if you have a very tiny leak in your system. Is that tiny leak worth spending a thousand dollars on to have a mechanic tear apart your car’s air conditioning system?

This is where the R-134a AC recharge kit products come into play. You could spend thirty dollars on a recharge kit and throw some more refrigerant into your car just like that. If you have a small leak then your car may be recharged and reinvigorated with refrigerant for the entire summer season. Now, the next year when you start your car you’ll run into that same problem again as the leak is still there but you can repeat the process and avoid going into the shop and having a costly repair. I know some guys out there who do this process every summer, almost like cleaning the gutters. It’s just something they do with their older car before the summer season starts up.

But wait there’s more! I hate saying that it is just so gimmicky, but there really is more. These AC recharge kits actually come with a built in sealant in an effort to seal any possible leaks as the new refrigerant cycles into your system. There are a couple different kinds of sealants out there. It really depends on what type of recharge kit you purchase. Some have a ‘goo’ that coats the exterior walls of the system preventing leaks while others have a ‘conditioner’ that causes the rubber gaskets and o-rings to swell in an effort to eliminate leakage points in the system. So, by using these kits you may actually solve the problem in your system in the first place, especially if the leak is centered around an o-ring or a gasket.

Conclusion

So, yes, in conclusion these kits do work. But, it should be noted that these kits are temporary fixes to a leak in your system. If you find that your recharge your system and then a few days or weeks later it’s blowing hot air again then you have a whole different problem. The leak in your system could be much worse then you previously thought and you will need to have components replaced such as a compressor, accumulator, hoses, or whatever. Here’s the thing though, there’s no harm in trying it. If you use one of these recharge kits right and follow the instructions you are only out the thirty or fifty dollars it cost to purchase the kit. However, if it does work for you then you just saved a whole bunch of money by not taking your car to the mechanic.

Lastly, if you are unsure how to use one of these kits please click here to be taken to our how to guide on R-134a AC recharge kits.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article was helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Alright ladies and gentlemen. So it is summer and it’s a damn hot day and your car’s air conditioner is blowing warm air. You went on over to the auto-parts store or on Amazon.com and purchased yourself a R-134a air conditioner recharge kit. Now that you have the kit in hand the question is how do you use it? Well folks let’s dive in and take a look:

What You’ll Need

  • Your car, obviously!
  • Safety glasses and gloves – You don’t want any refrigerant burns, trust me!
  • A thermometer showing outside temperature.
  • A R-134a AC recharge kit. (We prefer the AC Pro from Amazon.com)

How To Use a AC Recharge Kit in 10 Steps!

  1. Safety First – Be sure to put on safety eye glasses and mechanic’s gloves. Always watch your surroundings and ensure that you are as safe as possible.
  2. Before we can use the 134a AC recharge kit you will need to unscrew the hose/gauge from the top of the can, pull off the seal, and then tightly screw back on the hose and gauge to the can.
  3. Before we do anything we first need to identify where the low-side service port is on your vehicle’s air conditioning system. The low-side service port will always be on the larger sized aluminum tubing between the AC’s compressor and your car’s firewall. An example picture of a low-side service port is to the right, just remember that each car is different. Heck, each model year is different. To assist with this some cars have an ‘H’ on high pressure side and a ‘L’ on the low pressure port. Before doing anything please ensure that you are using the right port. If you are having trouble finding this port it is best to look up your car’s layout either online or in the instruction manual. Low Side Service Port
  4. Once we have identified the service port we can now start the engine of your vehicle and turn on the air conditioner. Ensure that the air conditioner is powered on to maximum cool and maximum blowing capacity.
  5. With the vehicle on then connect the coupler on your recharge kit to the low side service port that we identified in the first step. The coupler should snap and lock into place. (You may need to pull back the collar to connect the coupler.)
    1. If you find that the coupler is not fitting onto your low side service port then stop! This could be a few things. The first and most likely is that you are trying to put it on the high pressure port instead of the low pressure. A secondary scenario could be you have a newer car model you may in fact be using the new 1234yf refrigerant. If this is the case then you will need to visit a dealership as there are not recharge kits out there yet for 1234yf.
  6. Once this is done you can now check the pressure gauge. (A/C recharge kits come with a built-in pressure gauge.) Please note that it is critical that your compressor be running in order to check the pressure. You should be able to see the pulley of the compressor spinning if it is working correctly. If your compressor is not coming on then either there is no refrigerant left in your system or the compressor may be faulty. In this instance you may need to contact a mechanic.
  7. Depending on the gauge you will either need to wait for the appropriate ambient temperature or set the gauge accordingly to the ambient temperature. If the pressure gauge is below the ambient air temperature and the compressor is running then you can now begin to charge the AC system.
    1. Please note that if the gauge is in the red zone then that may mean that your compressor is not on and that your system is completely out of refrigerant. In this instance you can attempt to fill up your system with cans of 134a but it may be best to have a mechanic review the system as your compressor may be faulty.
  8. Before you begin charging the system shake the cylinder very well. You can now begin squeezing the trigger to begin charging the system. While charging be sure to hold the can up right alternating between the twelve and three o’clock positions frequently.
  9. It is important to watch your gauge when charging. You do not want to overcharge your system as you will risk part failure. When the pressure gauge has reached the ambient temperature your system will be charged.
  10. After charging remove the coupler and refasten the service cap. Store the remaining recharge kit in a moisture free and climate friendly environment for future use. Also be sure to keep the hose and gauge tightly sealed against the can of refrigerant to ensure no leaks occur.

Conclusion

After charging your system you should now feel the cold air blowing in your cabin. If you do not experience cold air or if the cold air does not last for an extended period of time then that means that you may have a large leak in your air conditioning system, your compressor is faulty, or a host of other problems. In these instances you will need to diagnose where the problem area, replace the appropriate parts, and then recharge your system. These steps are best done by a professional.

Lastly, if you haven’t bought your 134a AC recharge kit yet please check out some of the top brands below from Amazon.com partner:

Thanks for reading and I hope that was able to help,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Hello folks and welcome! If you haven’t noticed by now over the past few weeks I have taken the time to go find, research, write, and do a product review on each and every refrigerant leak detector that I could find.

While I did not use these units first hand I want to point out to you that I read through their instruction manuals, I read through all of the existing product reviews, I read through the specifications, I read through the documentation. I went through anything and everything that I could possibly find on these refrigerant leak detectors. My goal here was simple. I wanted to have the largest and most complete article on each of these tools. The question you have to ask is who else in their right mind would go through this? No one that I know of, that’s for sure!

After weeks of doing this I feel that I have a rather large list of product reviews that I have assembled. There are many more still to come but I feel that the list is sufficient enough for the next step. Along with this list has come some knowledge that I would like to share with you. Each and every one of these detectors were different in their own right. Some were better, some were worse, some were innovative, some were standard. The idea that I had in my head and what you will be reading below is a price point comparison table on these detectors. These comparison tables will show you all the different attributes of each detector along with a link to their official product page, their official RefrigerantHQ product review, and a link to either E-Bay or Amazon to purchase.

I will select three detectors from three pricing categories. We will have a low, medium, and high price point. Each detector chosen in these categories are what I have deemed to be the best in class. Yes, I know that there are others out there and there may even be some that I have missed but I can assure you that I have done my research and that if you purchase a medium or high priced product that you will be getting a top quality product that will last you a while and support you on site without issue.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and see what we can learn about the refrigerant detectors on the market today:

High Price

Yes, we are starting with the highest price first. Why? Well folks I feel like I can really brag about these detectors. These are the best of the best. It honestly doesn’t get better than these leak detectors. There are so many features that I can’t list them all.

Each of these brand names you will all recognize as they are synonymous with quality. These are the kinds of detectors that you would see an experienced professional have in his tool bag. The one word of caution here is that these are the high price point so expect to pay anywhere from three-hundred all the way up to five-hundred dollars for these tools. I can assure you though that you are paying for quality and if you are going to be in the industry for a while then I would recommend you purchase quality rather than by price.

Let’s take a look at the comparison table:

Name:INFICON D-TekFieldpiece SRL2 (K7)Bascharach's H-10 Pro
Image:Inficon D-TEK 712-202-G1 Select Refrigerant Leak DetectorFieldpiece SRL2(K7) Advanced Refrigerant Leak DetectorBacharach - H-10 PRO Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:InfraredInfraredHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFO's.
Sensitivity :0.100 Ounces Per Year0.100 Ounces Per Year0.006 Ounces Per Year
Settings:High and LowHigh, Medium, and LowHigh, Medium, and Low
Sensor Life:1,000 Hour Sensor LifeTen YearsAround One Year
Probe Length:Fifteen InchesFifteen InchesFifty-Four Inches
Probe Extension:NoYes, Nine Inch ExtensionNo
Rechargeable Battery:YesYesYes
Battery Life:Seven Hour ChargeEight Hour ChargeThree Hour Charge
Warm-Up Time:Sixty SecondsThirty SecondsTwo Minutes
Warranty:Two Year WarrantyOne Year WarrantyThree Year Warranty
Price Point:MediumMediumHigh
Manufacturer's Website:INFICON's Product PageFieldPiece's Product PageBacharach"s Product Page
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review

Now besides these three great products there is one additional premium leak detector that I want to mention before moving on. That detector folks is the JB Industries LD-5000 Prowler. This detector is superb and has amazing sensitivity levels going as low as 0.050 ounces per year. Check out my product review of the Prowler by clicking here.

Medium Price

I have a feeling this is where most of you will end up buying at. These detectors have great quality and allow you to still buy at a decent price. While they may not have all of the bells and whistles as the big boys do above you will definitely notice the difference in your wallet. These detectors will range from around one-hundred dollars upwards to about two-hundred and fifty dollars. As I said before, these are good quality and will serve you well.

Let’s take a look at the comparison table:

Name:INFICON TEK-MateFieldpiece SRL8Robinair TIFXP-1A
Image:Inficon TEK-Mate Refrigerant Leak DetectorFieldpiece Heated Diode Refrigerant Leak Detector - SRL8TIFXP-1A Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:Heated DiodeHeated DiodeHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs
Sensitivity :As low as 0.15 Ounces Per YearAs Low as 0.10 Ounces Per YearAs Low as 0.10 Ounces Per Year
Settings:Low and HighLow, Medium, and HighSeven levels of sensitivity adjustment
Sensor Life:One-Hundred HoursFive YearsTwenty Hours of Use - One Backup in Box
Probe Length:Fifteen InchesFourteen InchesFourteen Inches
Probe Extension:NoYes, Nine InchesNo
Rechargeable Battery:No, Two D-cell batteriesYes, Lithium IonNo. Two C-cell batteries
Battery Life:Sixteen HoursFifteen HoursForty Hours
Warm-Up Time:UnknownThirty SecondsTwo seconds
Mute Button?NoYesYes
Carrying Case?YesYesYes
American Made?YesYesUnknown
Warranty:Two YearOne YearThree Years
Price Point:MediumHighMedium
Manufacturer's Website:Official Product PageOfficial Product PageOfficial Product Page
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review

Low Price

Alright folks we’re on to the bottom of the list. There is only one reason why I am including these detectors in my comparison listing today. That reason is that people purchase these detectors. Like it or not, they are purchased every day. It’s the price point that attracts them and the people who do purchase these detectors are usually the do-it-yourselfer tinkering in his garage and trying to repair his 1997 Subaru’s air conditioning system. They use these detectors one or two times and then toss it on the shelf never to be used again.

I’m going to tell you this right now. If you plan to use these low priced detectors over a period of time or for again and again use then I would tell you to stop what you are doing and scroll back up to the medium priced detectors. Yes, I know you will be paying more but I can assure you that you will save yourself a hell of a lot of time and a lot of frustration if you purchase a medium priced detector.

That’s enough of that though. Let’s take a look at the comparison table:

Name:Signstek HLD-100Elitech CLCD-100HDE Detector
Image:Signstek Refrigerant Leak DetectorElitech CLD-100 Refrigerant Leak DetectorHDE AC Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:Heated DiodeHeated DiodeHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCsCFCs, HCFCs, and HFCsCFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs
Sensitivity :As Low As 0.10 Ounces Per YearAs Low As 0.210 Ounces Per YearAs Low As 0.210 Ounces Per Year
Settings:Low and HighTurn-Dial AdjustmentsTurn-Dial Adjustments
Sensor Life:Fifty HoursUnknownUnknown
Probe Length:Fourteen InchesEight InchesSeventeen Inches
Probe Extension:NoNoNo
Rechargeable Battery:NoNo, AAA BatteriesNo
Battery Life:Unknown, complaints of 'eating' batteriesTwenty HoursUnknown
Warm-Up Time:Five to Ten SecondsFive to Ten SecondsFive to Ten Seconds
Mute Button?YesNoNo
Carrying Case?NoNoYes
American Made?UnknownUnknownUnknown
Warranty:UnknownOne YearUnknown
Price Point:LowLowLow
Manufacturer's Website:UnknownOfficial Product PageUnknown
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review

You may have noticed that on this table there weren’t very many product pages. There was a reason for this. I couldn’t find them. There were nowhere to be found. I searched Google and other sites. I looked on Amazon for links. I looked all around and there is just no trace.

What this means to me is that some of these products are cheap imports. They are imported in-mass from overseas and just dumped here at rock-bottom prices in hopes of unloading them on consumers as fast as they can. I am not a fan of this as your quality and warranty suffers. You know what they say though: You get what you pay for.

Conclusion

Well folks this article along with it’s comparison tables should give you everything that you would ever need to know about buying a refrigerant leak detector but just in case I am going to refer you to one additional article I wrote on how to find a leak. This article goes into how to use a detector and what steps you should take before resorting to the electronic leak detector. Remember, the electronic detector should be your last step. Never underestimate the power of your eyes. You’ll be amazed at the clues you will find if you just take the time to look around. (Oil stains for example.)

I hope that I was able to help you or your company in your buying decision today.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

HDE AC Refrigerant Leak Detector

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrierantHQ we will be doing another review on a refrigerant leak detector. Today’s product is the HDE Refrigerant Leak Detector. This detector is in our ‘budget’ category as it is a very low price based product. Remember folks you get what you pay for!HDE Portable Halogen Gas AC Freon Refrigerant Leak Detector w/ Storage Case

Now before I get into the details of a product review I always like to take the time and talk a bit about the company behind the product. If we don’t know anything about the company then how can we trust the product? It’s good practice to do this and it helps me and feel more comfortable.

Frankly folks, I am confused as to who exactly the manufacturer here is. In the product description and when looking online I can find no information about who makes this product. However, if I look at the pictures on Amazon.com I can plainly see the words ‘Elitech,’ stamped on the product. Now, the company Elitech I am familiar with. So, I went over to their website and went to their gas detector product pages. Guess what? There is no record to be found on the HDE refrigerant leak detector. Check it out for yourself by clicking here.

I find this very odd and this finding leads me to one of two conclusions: 1) Either this product was discontinued by Elitech and they are still cleaning out their old inventory. 2) Or, this is an imported Chinese product and they are stamping the Elitech name on it to obtain more sales. Either way folks I can tell you that I am not very comfortable recommending this detector.

Summary

The HDE detector doesn’t exactly come out and say what type of refrigerant leak detector that it is. Typically there are only three to four types out there and after reading up on this detector I have come to the conclusion that this is a heated diode detector. What tipped me off was that it can detect any refrigerants that contain Chlorine or Fluorine.

A heated diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today.

The HDE will detect all of your common classifications of refrigerants such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classifications include some of your most common refrigerants such as R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Along with these refrigerants listed the HDE will also detect any other refrigerant that either contains Chlorine or Fluorine.

The sensitivity levels on this unit are to be desired. The best leak this detector can find is at 0.210 ounces per year. If we compare that to other budget detectors on the market then that is about average. However, if we compare this level to a medium grade leak detector than we will see the huge difference. A medium priced detector will have a setting as low as 0.10 ounces per year where as a premium detector could even go as low as 0.0060 ounces per year.

Upon starting this detector up it will need about five to ten seconds for it to warm-up and self calibrate to zero. The probe on this HDE halogen detector extends to seventeen inches. This is one of the bright spots on this detector as most other probes, especially budget ones, only go to fourteen inches. There are a few models out there that go to fifteen inches but finding one that extends to seventeen inches is rare.

The last thing I’ll mention here before moving onto the Pros section is the batteries. The HDE halogen detector takes four AAA batteries. Normally when doing a review I can find the length of the battery life as well for my readers but I was unable to find this information on this detector. There are two points worth mentioning on the batteries though: 1) Many people are confused when installing the AAA batteries. There is a hidden compartment to put the other two batteries in. This compartment may take some time to find.  2) For some reason the instruction manual that comes with this detector mentions a completely different battery type and setup. I am not sure why this is but you should know that AAA batteries are what you will need to operate this detector.

Pros

Alright folks well I’m going to be straight forward with you here. There aren’t that many Pros on a cheap leak detector. The biggest Pro you can probably guess. Price. The price on this unit is dirt cheap when comparing to other detectors on the market today. If you were to type in some of the more prominent tool brand names you would see prices ranging one-hundred dollars all the way up to five-hundred dollars for refrigerant leak detectors. Getting this detector at this price is a steal, but just remember that you get what you pay for.

The other Pro I’ll mention here is that this detector does work well on identifying and finding larger leaks. If you know you have a leak, and a large one at that, then this detector may just be the thing for you. However, if you are losing charge slowly and over time then I would advise against this detector and would point you in the direction of a much better, more expensive, INFICON Tek-Mate.

Cons

There are a whole host of Cons on this detector that I can go into. Instead of going over every little thing I will instead give you the biggest points and then let you make your decision from there:

  • This detector will struggle trying to find those smaller leaks that a more expensive detector would sniff out in no time.
  • There are numerous cases of this detector working on the first day or two and then when the user comes back a few weeks later the detector will not stop buzzing and will no longer zero itself. At this point the detector is useless.
  • The warranty on this product is unknown. I read rumors about a one year warranty but couldn’t find any proof of it. Some of the reviews I read stated that they tried filing warranty but couldn’t get anywhere.
  • The last one I am going to mention here is that there was no information online about this detector. I couldn’t find an official product page. I couldn’t find warranty documentation. There was just nothing. This leads me to believe that this is a Chinese import that someone is bringing in in-mass and trying to push it out the door.
  • Referencing the above point we know that the quality and durability of this product will not last.

Conclusion

Overall folks the HDE Refrigerant Leak Detector is a good ‘quick fix’ tool. I picture this as the kind of tool a do-it-yourselfer would purchase when working on his car on a Saturday morning. This is not a tool for professionals. I repeat, this is not a tool for professionals. I mentioned it earlier but I will say it again. There are numerous instances of this detector working the first couple times and then never working again after that. If you’re in a pinch and need to get a detector then this may be your guy. Otherwise, I would recommend checking out some of the more middle of the road detectors like the INFICON Tek-Mate.

If you are interested in purchasing the HDE refrigerant leak detector then I would suggest you visit our Amazon partner by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision today.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • The detector, obviously.
  • Instruction Manual
  • Carrying Case

Robinair TIFZX Heated Pentode

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing yet another product review on a detector. Today’s product is Robinair’s TIFZX Heated Pentode Refrigerant Leak Detector. How will this detector compare to the others out there? Will it be a buy or a shy? Let’s find out.Robinair TIFZX Heated Pentode Halogen Leak Detector

Now before I get into the actual product review I always like to take a small look at the manufacturer of the product. Who are they? What is their reputation? Are they known for quality? The TIFZX detector is made by Robinair. I’m sure most of you don’t need an introduction to Robinair as they have been a staple in the HVAC and the Automotive industry for over sixty years. They were founded in 1956 as a small company making specialized tools for repairing appliances. Ever since then their name has been synonymous with quality. Robinair is now a global company providing tools across the world. To top it all off they are headquartered out of Warren, Michigan which is my home state. Go Wolverines!

Summary

As you know there are many types of refrigerant detectors on the market today. These could range from Corona Suppression, Heated Diodes, Infrared, or even Ultrasonic. Each of these detectors has their own Pros and Cons. The most popular on the market today are the heated diode with infrared quickly coming up behind. The Robinair TIFZX is a heated diode detector.

A heated diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today. One point of caution is to never use this detector in what could be deemed a combustible environment. Remember, this is a heated diode and it is using heat.

The TIFZX will detect all of your basic refrigerant classifications such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classifications include your most popular refrigerants including R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. The sensitivity on this Robinair unit goes as low as 0.10 ounces per year. That is right on par with  the middle-of-the-road and even some premium detectors on the market today. Chances are if you have a leak this detector will find it.

Upon turning on the TIFZX detector it will require anywhere from twenty to thirty seconds for it to warm up and calibrate itself to zero. There are two levels of sensitivity on this detector: High and low. The probe on this unit extends to sixteen inches. No jokes here but that is very impressive length! Most other units are at fourteen inches. Some of the higher dollar ones may go up to fifteen. Sixteen is usually unheard of unless you go after the premium detectors.

When a leak is indicated the detector will emit an audio and visual alert. On the visual alert there is a tri-color indication that will tell you how big of a leak you are looking at. When working in an area saturated with refrigerant the TIFZX will actually auto-calibrate itself to zero so that it can more easily find deeper concentrations of refrigerant. This feature allows you to find and identify the actual source of the leak instead of just getting near the leak. The sensor itself is rated to last between one-hundred and one-hundred and fifty hours. After that it is advised to change your sensor.

 

The last thing I’m going to mention on this is before getting into the Pros is that this Robinair refrigerant detector comes with a rechargeable battery. The battery comes with adapters and will last 6 hours before needing to be charged. The recharge time is only two hours  so you can charge it overnight and be ready to go in the morning.

Pros

The first Pro, and the most important, that I am going to mention is the price. Sure, if you look at the price of this unit with no perspective you may be a bit sticker shocked at the price. But let me assure you that the price on this detector is a steal. If we compare all of the qualities and features on this unit it easily ranks up there with some of the premium detectors. These premium detectors range anywhere from three-hundred to five-hundred dollars. As I write this post today the Robinair TIFZX detector is just under two-hundred and sixty dollars on Amazon.com. (Prices are subject to change at any time.)

 

I already mentioned this above but I love rechargeable batteries. I can’t describe how much to you that I love these things. Nothing burns my ass more then going to turn something on only to find the damn thing has run out of batteries. Chances are I don’t have the batteries in house and I have go out and get them and it’s just a pain in the rear. With a rechargeable battery you get that reassurance that all you have to do is unplug it from the charger, pop it in, and turn her on. End of story.

This detector comes with a three year warranty. For those of you not in the know this is a big deal. Most detectors, even the expensive ones, only come with a one year warranty. Sure, there are a few out there that come with a two year but they are rare. Even rarer is finding one with a three year warranty especially at this price point.

Cons

Alright folks, I have to say that I tried here. I really did. I tried looking for cons on this unit and frankly there just isn’t that much to talk about. This is a great middle of the road detector. It’s between your budget detector and premium.

That being said the one big con that I found was the sensor life, but truth be told this short sensor life is common amongst all heated diode detectors. Even the H-10 Pro has a short sensor life. The Robinair’s TIFZX sensor is rated to last one-hundred hours of use. When your sensor dies you can always purchase more on Amazon.com by clicking here. They are relatively cheap and will get the job done for another one-hundred hours. If it was me and I was purchasing this unit then I would buy myself three to four extra sensors just to have on hand.

Conclusion

I have to say folks that I am thoroughly impressed with the TIFZX detector from Robinair. This has the best of both worlds. It provides you with great sensitivity, extended probe length, amazing warranty, and all for an overall cheaper price for other competitors on the market today. I would say that this detector is a perfect buy for a new or seasoned technician who doesn’t want to spend four or five hundred dollars on a top of the line detector. Save yourself the money and get yourself a Robinair TIFZX!  If you are interested in purchasing the Robinair TIFZX Refrigerant Leak Detector then I encourage you to visit our Amazon.com partner by clicking here.

However, if you are a guy interested in a premium detector then I suggest you visit our premium detector comparison table to see which one is right for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • Refrigerant Detector
  • Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger
  • Carrying Case
  • Owner’s Instruction Manual

Elitech CLD-100 Refrigerant Leak Detector

Greetings and salutations folks! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be reviewing Elitech’s CLD-100 refrigerant leak detector. If you haven’t noticed by now I’ve been going through and reviewing every possible leak detector that I can find. My goal here is to provide a comprehensive listing of every detector on the market. Once the listings are done I will then provide the ultimate buyer’s guide based off of price points of low, medium, and high. That’s enough about me though, let’s get into the product review.

Now before I get into the details I always like to take the time and talk a bit about the company behind the product. If we don’t know anything about the company then how can we trust the product? This detector is made by the Elenco company which was founded more than forty years ago by two engineers. This company is a bit different than others that I have reviewed as they are not solely an HVAC company but instead a company that is dedicated to providing test equipment for all different industries. Depending on how you look at it this could be a benefit or a drawback. They are head quartered out of Illinois and are still a relatively small company of only fifty employees. I’m always a fan of smaller companies going against the bigger guys but that’s just me. Onward to the review.

Summary

The Elitech CLD-100 doesn’t exactly come out and say what type of refrigerant leak detector that it is. Typically there are only three to four types out there and after reading up on this detector I have come to the conclusion that this is a heated diode detector. What tipped me off was that it can detect any refrigerants that contain Chlorine or Fluorine.

A heated diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today.

The ELENCO CLD-100 can detect all of your common refrigerant classes on the market today such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classes include the most popular refrigerants used in the market today such as: R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Unless you are using an oddball refrigerant out there you’ll be fine.

Upon starting the unit it will need about five to ten seconds to warm up and set itself to zero. The sensitivity settings of this unit are about what you would expect for a budget or bargain refrigerant leak detector. The best leaks this can find are at or greater than 0.210 ounces per year. One feature that I like on this detector is that it has a turn dial to increase or decrease sensitivity settings. This is quite a bit different then the standard high, medium, and low settings of other detectors.

When a leak is found you will be alerted by audio. There is not a visual display on this unit. I tried doing some research on the life of the sensor but couldn’t find anything exact.  The instruction manual only said that it was hard to predict and to pay attention to your readings. If readings become erratic then it is time to replace sensors. This may be a cop out for them as the sensor may not last very long at all.

The probe length on the CLD-100 is set at eight inches. Normally probe length is anywhere between fourteen to fifteen inches depending on the unit you look at. I was surprised to see how small the length was here.

Lastly, before we get to the Pros and Cons on this detector I wanted to mention the batteries. This unit takes four standard triple A batteries. The battery life is expected to last around twenty hours.

Pros

Obviously, the biggest selling point on this unit is price. This is one of the cheapest refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. As I write this the product is available on Amazon.com for twenty dollars. (Please note that prices can change at any time.) That is one hell of a bargain when you compare that price to some of the more premium detector models on the market today. If you were to buy a Fieldpiece or an INFICON you’d be looking at at least three-hundred dollars or more.

The warranty is worth mentioning on this unit. For such a low cost tool the manufacturer is still offering a one year replacement warranty. So, I will give them credit for this as will insure you that you get a replacement if yours dies on you after a few months of use. Here’s the thing though folks. There aren’t really any other Pros here that I can find to list. It’s just price. That’s about it. If you are looking for something dirt cheap then this is it.

Cons

There are a whole slew of Cons that I could go through on the CLD-100 point by point. I will do my best to show you all of the major flaws here but I may miss some:

  • The sensitivity levels on this detector only go as low as 0.210 ounces per year. Other, more expensive, detectors on the market to go anywhere between 0.10 to 0.20 ounces per year. Some more premium models go as low as o.050 ounces per year.
  • With the low sensitivity comes problems trying to find and identify smaller leaks on a unit. This detector may work great when finding a large leak but if you have a leak you just can’t find or a series of leaks that you need an accurate detector for then this may not be for you.
  • The eight inch probe length on this detector bothers me, maybe more then it should. As they say folks, size matters. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to use an eight inch probe especially if you are used to something twice the size. Those hard to reach spaces just got even harder to reach.
  • The last Con I’ll mention here is the standard triple A batteries. I didn’t expect this unit to come with rechargeable batteries but I hate the idea of having to replace batteries over and over again. This unit’s expected battery life is about twenty hours. So, you’ll have to change the batteries every few days, at least. Talk about a pain.

Conclusion

I want you to understand that I am not trashing this detector by any means. This detector serves a purpose and it’s purpose is to be a budget and extremely cheap refrigerant leak detector. This unit is for the home-owner or the garage tinkerer who wants to do their own AC repair. This unit is NOT intended for anyone who will be using a detector on a regular basis. If you are a daily user then I would recommend the below:

  • If you are a beginner, novice, or middle of the road guy then I would click on this link to view our review on the INFICON Tek-Mate. Yes, this unit is about one-hundred dollars more expensive but I can assure you that you are getting a quality product that will last.
  • Now, if you are a premium guy looking to get the best of the best then I would recommend looking at our Prowler VS H-10 Pro comparison chart and see which one you want to purchase. Just keep in mind that these are high dollar items and will cost a pretty penny.

Lastly, folks if you still have your heart set on the Elenco CLD-100 detector then by all means go ahead and purchase by clicking this link. Just be forewarned that I did try to steer you away from this unit.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help your buying decision today.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • Detector
  • Instruction Manual

Hello folks! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing a product review on Elitech’s WJL-6000 refrigerant leak detector. If you haven’t noticed by now I have systematically been reviewing every single leak detector that I can find. The goal here is to provide you, the reader, a comprehensive listing of all of the detectors out there and how they match up against the competition. How will the Elenco WJL-6000 detector fall in line when compared to all of the other detectors we have reviewed? Is it a buy or a shy? Let’s take a look.

Now before I get into the details of a product review I always like to take the time and talk a bit about the company behind the product. If we don’t know anything about the company then how can we trust the product?Elitech WJL-6000 Refrigerant Leak Detector This detector is made by the Elenco company which was founded more than forty years ago by two engineers. This company is a bit different than others that I have reviewed as they are not solely an HVAC company but instead a company that is dedicated to providing test equipment for all different industries. Depending on how you look at it this could be a benefit or a drawback. They are head quartered out of Illinois and are still a relatively small company of only fifty employees. I’m always a fan of smaller companies going against the bigger guys but that’s just me. Onward to the review.

Summary

The Elitech WJL-6000 doesn’t exactly come out and say what type of refrigerant leak detector that it is. Typically there are only three to four types out there and after reading up on this detector I have come to the conclusion that this is a heated diode detector. What tipped me off was that it can detect any refrigerants that contain Chlorine or Fluorine.

A heated diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today.

The ELENCO WJL-6000 can detect all of your common refrigerant classes on the market today such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classes include the most popular refrigerants used in the market today such as: R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Unless you are using an oddball refrigerant out there you’ll be fine.

Upon starting the unit it will need about five to ten seconds to warm up and set itself to zero. The sensitivity settings of this unit are about what you would expect for a budget or bargain refrigerant leak detector. The best leaks this can find are at or greater than 0.210 ounces per year. One feature that I like on this detector is that it has a turn dial to increase or decrease sensitivity settings. This is quite a bit different then the standard high, medium, and low settings of other detectors.

When a leak is found you will be alerted by audio. There is not a visual display on this unit. I tried doing some research on the life of the sensor but couldn’t find anything exact.  The instruction manual only said that it was hard to predict and to pay attention to your readings. If readings become erratic then it is time to replace sensors. This may be a cop out for them as the sensor may not last very long at all.

The probe length on the WJL-6000 is set at eight inches. Normally probe length is anywhere between fourteen to fifteen inches depending on the unit you look at. I was surprised to see how small the length was here.

Lastly, before we get to the Pros and Cons on this detector I wanted to mention the batteries. This unit takes four standard triple A batteries. The battery life is expected to last around fifty hours.

Pros

Obviously, the biggest selling point on this unit is price. This is one of the cheapest refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. As I write this the product is available on Amazon.com for twenty dollars. (Please note that prices can change at any time.) That is one hell of a bargain when you compare that price to some of the more premium detector models on the market today. If you were to buy a Fieldpiece or an INFICON you’d be looking at at least three-hundred dollars or more.

The warranty is worth mentioning on this unit. For such a low cost tool the manufacturer is still offering a one year replacement warranty. So, I will give them credit for this as will insure you that you get a replacement if yours dies on you after a few months of use. Here’s the thing though folks. There aren’t really any other Pros here that I can find to list. It’s just price. That’s about it. If you are looking for something dirt cheap then this is it.

 

Cons

There are a whole slew of Cons that I could go through on the WJL-6000 point by point. I will do my best to show you all of the major flaws here but I may miss some:

  • The sensitivity levels on this detector only go as low as 0.210 ounces per year. Other, more expensive, detectors on the market to go anywhere between 0.10 to 0.20 ounces per year. Some more premium models go as low as o.050 ounces per year.
  • With the low sensitivity comes problems trying to find and identify smaller leaks on a unit. This detector may work great when finding a large leak but if you have a leak you just can’t find or a series of leaks that you need an accurate detector for then this may not be for you.
  • The eight inch probe length on this detector bothers me, maybe more then it should. As they say folks, size matters. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to use an eight inch probe especially if you are used to something twice the size. Those hard to reach spaces just got even harder to reach.
  • The last Con I’ll mention here is the standard triple A batteries. I didn’t expect this unit to come with rechargeable batteries but I hate the idea of having to replace batteries over and over again. This unit’s expected battery life is about fifty hours, or one work week. So, at the beginning of every week you’ll have to replace your batteries. Pain in rear if you ask me.

Conclusion

I want you to understand that I am not trashing this detector by any means. This detector serves a purpose and it’s purpose is to be a budget and extremely cheap refrigerant leak detector. This unit is for the home-owner or the garage tinkerer who wants to do their own AC repair. This unit is NOT intended for anyone who will be using a detector on a regular basis. If you are a daily user then I would recommend the below:

  • If you are a beginner, novice, or middle of the road guy then I would click on this link to view our review on the INFICON Tek-Mate. Yes, this unit is about one-hundred dollars more expensive but I can assure you that you are getting a quality product that will last.
  • Now, if you are a premium guy looking to get the best of the best then I would recommend looking at our Prowler VS H-10 Pro comparison chart and see which one you want to purchase. Just keep in mind that these are high dollar items and will cost a pretty penny.

Lastly, folks if you still have your heart set on the Elenco WJL-6000 detector then by all means go ahead and purchase by clicking this link. Just be forewarned that I did try to steer you away from this unit.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help your buying decision today.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • Refrigerant Detector
  • Carrying and Storage Case
  • Instruction Manual

Signstek Refrigerant Leak Detector

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be taking an in-depth look and review at Signstek’s Portable Refrigerant Leak Detector. Over the past few months I have gone through and have done numerous reviews on all different types of leak detectors. Some of these were the best of the best, some were mediocre, and some weren’t so good. I feel that by now that I am getting to know these things like the back of my hand. But hey that’s enough about me let’s take a look at Signstek’s product.Signstek HLD-100 Refrigerant Leak Detector

For those of my readers you know by now that in this section I usually do a short blurb about the manufacturing company of the product. The goal here is to familiarize ourselves with the company and to see what they are known for. In my opinion it doesn’t make sense to buy if you don’t even know about the company.

Well folks I searched and searched online trying to find Signstek’s official website so that I could research them. Guess what? There isn’t one. Yup, there is no website that I could find. Instead I read through other sources and came to the conclusion that this product is Chinese made and imported in mass here to the United States. I even found the HLD-100 on Alibaba.com. (Click here for the link.) For those of you who don’t know Alibaba is a Chinese website designed for exporting their product. In this case the HLD-100 detector can be bought in a three-hundred piece order out of ShangHai. Feeling good about this product yet? Neither am I.

Summary

When I was doing my research on this Signstek HLD-100 detector I couldn’t even find what type of detector this was. At first I thought it was a corona suppression model but then I read that this unit was detecting the Ions of Fluorine, Chlorine, and Bromine. Reading that triggered me into believing that this was a heated diode model, but I am not one-hundred percent and to be frank there just isn’t enough information out there to know for sure.  For now, I will treat this unit as if it is a heated diode. A diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short I believe this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today.

According to Amazon and other retailers this product can detect all of the common classifications of refrigerants such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. These classifications cover your most popular refrigerants such as R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A. Again, according to Amazon and other third party sites the sensitivity levels 0f 0.10 ounces per year. I am highly skeptical of this but I will save these comments for further on down in the review.Upon starting up the unit it will require about five to ten seconds of warm up time so it can zero itself out. When scanning you will notice audio and visual alerts when a leak is found. The sensor on this unit will last for fifty hours.

The probe extends to fourteen inches which is pretty standard for cheaper detectors. Most other detectors will range between fourteen to fifteen inches. Some of the premium models go up to seventeen inches and the best detector on the market today goes up to fifty-four inches. (The H-10 Pro.) The last point I will make on this is the unit takes regular batteries instead of a rechargeable. I didn’t expect this to take rechargeable batteries but it is worth bringing up nonetheless.

Pros

  • Well first of all and most of all the best benefit of this unit is the price. This one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. As I write this the price for this unit is under fifty dollars. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) That is one hell of a bargain but just keep in mind folks that you get what you pay for. This is not a perfect unit by any means.
  • Through my research one of the bright spots that I found on the Signstek HLD-100 was that it was able to find the larger leaks relatively easily. It did struggle with smaller leaks but that is a different story.

Cons

There is a whole mess of Cons on this product and I won’t even list them all as there are just too many. Here is a brief synposis:

  • As I just said above this unit struggled to find smaller leaks. In some cases not finding them at all while a better detector could easily trace the leak down. After writing this review I am skeptical of Signstek’s claims that this unit can detect leaks as small as 0.10 ounces per year.
  • The sensor life on this detector is only rated for fifty hours of use. That’s it. Then you have to replace the sensor. You do get one extra sensing tip when you purchase but after that you may very well be out of luck.
  • There are many reports of false positive readings on this HLD-100 detector. I feel that this has a direct correlation to quality.
  • Users have stated that the detector will ‘eat’ batteries. What this means is you put in fresh new batteries and come back the next day to find that the batteries are dead and your detector will not turn on.
  • The last Con on this product, and a big one at that, is that there is no written warranty policy that I could find. Each time I found anything regarding warranty it always stated to directly contact the manufacturer, but I can’t even find the manufacturer’s website. So, who actually even knows what this policy is. To me it seems like a gamble.

Conclusion

Overall folks, I would rate this product as a do-not-buy. Sure you get some savings when comparing to other detectors on the market today but honestly folks it just isn’t worth it. You’re going to be frustrated and may end up buying another one of these after a few months or you may then end up upgrading to a nicer unit. If you are considering this product here is what I would recommend:

  • If you are a beginner, novice, or middle of the road guy then I would click on this link to view our review on the INFICON Tek-Mate. Yes, this unit is about one-hundred dollars more expensive but I can assure you that you are getting a quality product that will last.
  • Now, if you are a premium guy looking to get the best of the best then I would recommend looking at our Prowler VS H-10 Pro comparison chart and see which one you want to purchase. Just keep in mind that these are high dollar items and will cost a pretty penny.

Lastly, folks if you still have your heart set on the Signstek HLD-100 then by all means go ahead and purchase by clicking this link. Just be forewarned that I did try to steer you away from this unit.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help your buying decision today.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • Detector, of course.
  • Extra sensing tip
  • Alkaline Batteries
  • Full Instruction Manual

Hello folks and welcome! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be doing yet another review on a refrigerant leak detector. The goal here is to cover as many detectors on the market and to give you a rounded approach of everything that is available. Today’s targeted product is Reed Instrument’s C-380 Refrigerant Leak Detector.REED Instruments C-380 Refrigerant Leak Detector

Now before I get into the details of a product review I always like to take the time and talk a bit about the company behind the product. If we don’t know anything about the company then how can we trust the product?

REED Instruments has been around since 2004, or just shy of fifteen years. While they are a newer company they have been in the HVAC tool game for a while and are actually owned by one of the largest test and measurement distributors in North America. REED’s goal is to provide an economical alternative to some of the higher priced brand names on the market today such as Robinair, Fieldpiece, and Bacharach. They give you a choice of a middle of the road product instead of either a super expensive detector or one that will break after a few weeks of use.

Summary

When I was doing my research on this C-380 detector I noticed that Reed Instruments markets it as an ionization detection sensor. At first this threw me off as to exactly what kind of detector they were talking about here but then after thinking about it for a few moments I realized they were referring to the heated diode technology. (If this is incorrect please let me know by contacting me by clicking here.)

A heated diode detector heats up the environment around it and then breaks the molecules apart. When the molecules are broken and there is refrigerant in the area either a positively charged Chlorine or Fluorine ion will appear. The heated diode detector then senses these ions and reports back to you that there is a leak. So, in short this is a heated diode refrigerant leak detector like many others that are on the market today. One point of caution is to never use this detector in what could be deemed a combustible environment. Remember, this is a heated diode and it is using heat. (It even says this in the instruction manual.)

The C-380 refrigerant detector will be able to find your standard refrigerant classifications such as CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. This includes your most popular refrigerants such as R-12, R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.

I am not sure why but when looking for the sensitivity levels in the instruction manual on this detector they were measured in grams instead of the normal ounces per year. I did my best to convert these numbers over to ounces but if you see anything that is incorrect please let me know and I will update. Depending on the refrigerant the sensitivity levels will range from 0.20 to 0.30 ounces per year.

Upon starting the unit you will need to wait ten seconds for it to warm up and calibrate to zero. The unit comes with a high and low setting to allow you to narrow down your leak searches. When a leak is found you will have an audio and visual LED alarm that goes off. The sensor is rated to last at or just over one year. After that you will need to replace the sensor.

The probe on this unit is flexible and extends out to fifteen inches. Fifteen inches is right around standard length for a detection probe. Depending on the units you look at it could be between fourteen to fifteen inches.

The unit requires four double A batteries for power. There is not a rechargeable option on this. The upside here is that the battery life is rated to last around forty hours. Lastly, the C-380 detector comes with a durable and easily portable case to protect your tool.

Pros

As I mentioned in the introduction of this post the big Pro to the Reed Instrument C-380 is the price. Most premium detectors under the common brand names such as Robinair, Fieldpiece, or Bacharach could be three to four hundred dollars. Heck, some of them are over five-hundred dollars for a refrigerant detector. What Reed Instruments has done here is to provide you with a good detector that won’t break the bank. As I write this today the price is right around two-hundred dollars on Amazon.com. (Please note, prices are subject to change at any time.)

Another Pro that I wanted to bring up was the sensor life on this detector. Depending on the detector sensor life can vary wildly. Some of them can only last a month or two while others can last up to ten years. The C-380 can last up to one year, or a little bit after one year. They do recommend changing the sensor after twelve months even if it is working correctly.

Cons

So the big negative here on this unit is the sensitivity levels. Most of the time when you are getting over the one-hundred dollar ranges the sensitivity levels go up quite a bit. Other detectors on the market today have ratings between 0.10 to 0.20 ounces per year. Some of the premium ones go as low as 0.050 ounces per year. I fear that with this low of a sensitivity rating that you may not find the leak that you need to find.

I mentioned this above in the summary section but I want to bring it up again. I HATE having to use disposable batteries. They drive me crazy and I hate having to have extras on hand at all times. I am a huge fan of the rechargeable batteries especially if I am going to be spending a couple hundred bucks on a detector. The upside here is that at least with the C-380 you get a forty-hour lifespan on the batteries. So, you may need to change the batteries once or twice every two weeks.

The last Con that I am going to mention here is the warranty. This Reed detector comes with a twelve month one year warranty. While this is pretty standard across the industry I feel that I am wanting more especially if I am going to be paying for a more expensive unit. Could we get to two years or even to the level of a three year warranty that I have seen from some other vendors on the marketplace?

Conclusion

Depending on who you are and what your position is in life this may or may not be a good detector for you. If you have a cheapo detector you are using now and it just isn’t getting the job done then I would say go ahead and get yourself this Reed C-380 detector. However, if you are running into leak after leak that you just cannot find and you are getting frustrated then you may look at some of the more premium models on the market today such as the Prowler or the H-10 Pro detectors. These two units are top of the line, just be prepared to pay a top dollar price. The question that you have to ask yourself is should I give up sensitivity levels to save on price?

If you are interested in purchasing the Reed Instrument C-380 refrigerant leak detector than I suggest you visit our Amazon.com partner by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to assist you in your buying decision today.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • Leak Detector, obviously.
  • Batteries
  • Hard Carrying Case
  • Reference Leak Source

 

The other day I wrote an article that showed a comparison table showing the top refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. I included a Fieldpiece model, an Inficon model, and the famous Bascaharach’s H-10 Professional detector. The goal here was to showcase the top detectors and what the Pros and Cons of each one was. This would give the reader an easy and simple table to pick their premium tool from.

After publishing a reader reached out to me and informed that I had missed a detector that is used widely today: JB Industries’ LD-5000 Prowler Refrigerant Leak Detector.Upon reading his e-mail I took action and began researching the Prowler detector. After a few days of research I wrote a Product Review on the unit which can be found by clicking here. But that still didn’t seem like enough. I needed to include the Prowler in more posts so that we could get a full understanding of it’s ability.

The objective of this post is to do a one on one comparison between the H-10 Pro and the LD-5000 Prowler. What makes these detectors so special? Why should you get one over the other? Let’s take a look:

Breakdown

I am going to start with the JB Prowler refrigerant leak detector first. When comparing against the H-10 the Prowler has a few points that rise above and that are worth pointing out:

  1. The JB is not a heated diode detector. What does that mean? Well folks that means that the sensor is going to last a lot longer than the H-10’s. While the H-10 will burn out after about a year the Prowler’s sensor can last up to ten years. Ten years without having to worry about a sensor replacement is quite the benefit!
  2. The other big selling point on the Prowler is the price. The price today is hovering around three-hundred and fifty dollars for a new unit. (Prices are subject to change at any time.) An H-10 model is around five-hundred dollars. Depending on where you shop it could approach five-hundred and fifty dollars. So, you could end up spending a hundred or more extra to get an H-1o detector model.
  3. The Prowler has a vibration alert as well as an audio and visual alert. So, when you find a leak you will literally feel the vibration alert on your hand.

If we take a look at the H-10 Professional detector and compare it to the Prowler we can see quite a bit of benefits to the H-10. I’ll say this now folks so you don’t get the wrong idea. The H-10 is the superior detector here but it is also the higher priced one.

  1. The H-10 has superior sensitivity levels going as low as 0.006 ounces per year. The Prowler definitely has great sensitivity going as low as 0.050 ounces per year but the H-10 still takes the gold.
  2. The H-10 comes with a three year warranty rather than the two year with the Prowler.
  3. The H-10 comes with a fifty-four inch probe compared to the seventeen inch probe of the Prowler.

Conclusion

As I said above the H-10 Professional is the better detector but with the Prowler you can get a lot of the same benefits, or close to the same benefits while also potentially saving hundreds of dollars and having an extra long lasting sensor. If you are a tech wanting to get a quality detector but can’t bring yourself to pay five-hundred dollars for a detector than the Prowler is for you. It will help you get the job done and I am sure that you will be satisfied. However, if you are one of those guys who just needs the best of the best then go and get yourself an H-10!

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Which detector will you go with? Please review the table below and make your choice!

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Name:JB's LD-5000 Prowler Refrigerant DetectorBacharach's H-10 Pro Refrigerant Detector
Image:Bacharach - H-10 PRO Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:Patented Technlogy - Infrared? Heated Diode
Refrigerants Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFO's.CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFO's.
Sensitivity:0.050 Ounces Per Year0.006 Ounces Per Year
Settings:High, Medium, and LowHigh, Medium, and Low
Sensor Life:Ten Years or MoreAround One Year
Probe Length:Seventeen InchesFifty-Four Inches
Probe Extension:NoNo
Auto-calibrate:YesYes
Rechargeable Battery:NoYes
Battery Life:Four & Half Hour ChargeThree Hour Charge
Warm-Up Time:Thirty Seconds to One MinuteTwo Minutes
Warranty:Two Year WarrantyThree Year Warranty
Price Point:MediumHigh
Manufacturer's Website:JB's Product PageBacharach's Product Page
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review
Buy:Buy Now!Buy Now!

Hello folks! Today on RefrigerantHQ we will be reviewing JB Industries’ LD-5000 Prowler Refrigerant Leak Detector. I feel kind of bad about this but I hadn’t even heard of this product until after I wrote my Premium Leak Detector Comparison article. Upon reading this article a reader reached out to me and asked why I hadn’t included the Prowler Leak Detector in my list of premium tools. I started doing some research on the LD-5000 and I have to say that I am impressed. LD-5000 - PROWLER Refrigerant Leak Detector

Now before I get into the details of a product review I always like to take the time and talk a bit about the company behind the product. If we don’t know anything about the company then how can we trust the product? JB Industries was founded in 1967, fifty years ago, in Aurora, Illinois. Throughout the company’s life they have been dedicated to providing tools to the HVAC industry. They sell manifolds, hoses, fittings, vacuum pumps, detectors, and many more products.

Over the years the company has grown and changed but have kept their core values. Most of their products, including the Prowler Leak Detector, are made right there in their Aurora, Illinois manufacturing facility. Yes, American made!

 

Summary

There are a variety of features that come with this unit but I won’t go into each and every one. Instead I’ll provide a brief summary and then we’ll move onto the major Pros and Cons of the unit. If I miss something here I apologize up front but it is difficult to catch them all especially on such a great product.

In the past I have written articles going into the different kinds of leak detectors. We have the heated diode, the corona suppression, the ultrasonic, and the infrared. These four pretty much cover the variety of detectors on the market today. JB’s Prowler Detector is different. I  do not know what type of detector this is. According to JB’s website it has “proprietary electrochemical sensor technology.” I am not sure what this means but after doing my research on the product I have to say that it sounds very similar to infrared technology, if not the same. For this review we are going to treat it like an infrared detector. If I am mistaken please reach out to me and I will make a correction.

The LD-5000 detector will find and detect all of your popular refrigerant classes on the market today. This includes your HCFCs, HFCs, and even HFOs. That means that you will be able to detect leaks on nearly all of the refrigerants on the market today including: R-22, R-134a, R-404A, R-410A, HFO-1234YF, and many more.

Upon starting the detector up it will take anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute to warm up and be ready for use. It is important to note that it should warm up in a neutral environment. If it warms up in a contaminated area your readings will be off and you may find difficulty finding a leak.

Like most premium detectors it comes with a high, medium, and low sensitivity setting. Here is the difference though and the reason why I wanted to do a review on the JB LD-5000 Prowler. This thing can detect leaks as small as 0.050 ounces per year. I am blown away by that number.

The probe on this detector extends to seventeen inches. Most of the time you will find probes from other detectors are between fourteen to fifteen inches long. Some of them come with a nine inch extension but the Prowler does not. Seventeen inches should be more then enough to get the job done. (No jokes!)

When finding a leak the unit will display a series of bars. If you get one to three bars you have a leak at or less than 0.10 ounces per year. Four to six bars is between 0.10 and 0.50. Seven to ten bars is greater than 0.50 ounces per year. This is a nice feature and allows you to make the decision on rather or not the leak needs to be repaired, the source of the leak replaced, or if the leak can be ignored for another season if you have a frugal buyer.

The detector comes with mute button, again like most on the market. While the mute button is on you will have the visual signal when a leak is detected but you will also have a vibration in the handle of the detector alerting you to a leak. This is a very unique feature on a leak detector and I have to say that I like it. This could be especially useful if you are in a very hard to reach area and you can’t physically see the monitor.

There are a few more main points that I want to make before moving on to the Pros section. The Prowler comes with a back-light switch that you can easily turn off and on. The back-light will allow you to visually see your screen in a darkened area like a poorly lit basement. The LD-5000 also comes with a leak test bottle that you can use to ensure that your detector is working properly. Lastly, it comes with a tough and rugged carrying case to allow for easy transport and to protect the unit in case you want to throw it in the back of your van. (Who does that?)

Pros

As  I mentioned before the JB Prowler has a sensitivity of 0.05 ounces per year. I can’t stress this enough. That is one of the best sensitivity levels that I have seen and trust me when I say this I have done numerous detector reviews. The only thing that I know of that is at this level is the H-10 Pro detector that goes as low as 0.006 ounces per year. While the H-10 has superior sensitivity it costs significantly more. The Prowler will provide you with great sniffing levels at a much cheaper price.

The sensor life on this detector is what led me to believe that it is similar to the infrared detectors that we have seen on the market. With heated diode detectors the sensor usually only lasts for a few months, sometimes a year in a best case scenario. With JB Prowler we see a sensor life that is estimated to last ten years or even longer. I am always a big fan of no hassle and a ten year sensor life is just that. No need to worry about replacing.

The LD-5000 Prowler Detector automatically resets itself to the ambient environment. So, if you are in a confined area that has a leak the detector will go off upon entrance to the area but then it will add this new environment as it’s zero. The alarm will stop and will not sound again until it finds a heavier or more concentrated area of refrigerant. This allows you to narrow down your search for a leak much easier and also saves you the headache of the alarm going off in your ear over and over again as you try to find the source of the leak.

The last Pro on this before we move on to the Cons is a big one, at least to me. I have always been a fan of made in America. Heck, both my grandparents were GM guys up in Detroit. Made in American means quality and this Prowler Refrigerant Detector is just that. Made in American and Quality.

Cons

Let me preface this with a short note before we get to the Cons. When I do a product review it is all about research. What can I find on this unit? I look for everything and anything. I have to say it right now folks that there is not a major downside to this product. That being said let’s take a look at what I did find:

  • The first one obviously would be price. This a premium refrigerant detector and you will be expected to pay a premium price. As I write this the price is around three-hundred and fifty dollars depending on where you shop. (Prices can change at any time.) Truth be told though folks three-hundred isn’t too bad when looking at some of the competing detectors on the market today.
  • The LD-5000 comes with a two year, or twenty-four month, warranty. This warranty again isn’t really a con but I thought it would be wise to include it. Depending on the detector and the manufacturer that you look at you will see warranty ranges between one to two years. There is one competitor out there that offers a three year warranty, the H-10 Pro.
  • The big disappointment for me on the Prowler was the battery. There is no rechargeable battery for this detector. Nope. Instead we get to use four double A standard alkaline batteries. Now, if we look at JB Industries’ website they claim that the battery life is so long for this unit that rechargeable batteries weren’t necessary. I am skeptical. So, I did some more research and lo and behold the battery life is four and a half hours. (Source is their instruction manual.) Four and a half hours for a premium detector is a pain and frankly it should have been a rechargeable battery..
  • The last con I can find on these units is a small one. It is a complaint about how you have to keep sweeping your sensor back and forth with this detector. I explained why this is necessary above but some users have complained that it is very difficult to do a sweeping motion in very tight or confined spaces. I could see this being an issue and maybe this is where more traditional detection methods could come into play such as dyes or a soap and water solution.

Conclusion

Overall folks, I would say that if you are looking for a premium refrigerant leak detector with extremely high sensitivity settings that the JB Industry Prowler Detector is a great buy. If it was me and I was looking to get the best of the best I would be torn between this detector and the H-10 Pro. Both are great units. Should you pay a few hundred more and get the next step up H-10 or will you purchase the Prowler and save yourself some money?

The only major downside that I found on this detector were the standard double A batteries with the short life span. Other than that folks you have one hell of a detector that will make things much easier for you in the field. If you are interested in purchasing then I suggest you visit our Amazon.com partner by clicking here.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to help you in your buying decision.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

What’s In The Box?

  • The detector itself, obvoiusly
  • Tough carrying case
  • Batteries
  • Replacement filter package
  • Leak Test Bottle
  • Instruction Manual

 

There are so many options when looking to purchase a refrigerant leak detector. At times it can be a little overwhelming especially if you are new to the trade or starting out as an apprentice. If you buy the wrong detector, or a cheap knock-off, you could end up spending hours trying to find the trace of a small leak. However, if you purchase the right detector, a premium detector, then you will find that everything gets easier. So, what detector should you get? What type should you get, Heated Diode or Infrared? How much should you spend? There are all of these questions and most likely more that come to mind.

Well folks, what I have done here is put together a small comparison table looking at the top three rated refrigerant leak detectors on the market today. Looking at the table below I am sure that you already recognize some of these names. INFICON, FieldPiece, Bascharach. All three of these companies are known for their quality. Chances are if you are working with an experienced technician they already have one of these detectors in their arsenal. The problem here though is that depending on the tech you may find a different detector that they swear by. This can get rather confusing as each person has their own preferences. The question is which one of these is the best?

I already have my best detector chosen out of these three but I wanted to provide the facts to you, the reader, to allow you to make the decision for yourself. By reviewing the comparison table below you can see the all the features that each detector has and how it compares to the competition. This allows you to make your decision based off of facts rather than hearsay.

If you are interested in purchasing one of these detectors then please either click on the images or click on the ‘Buy Now’ buttons to be taken to either our Amazon or E-Bay partners. I do want you to note that the table below is for premium refrigerant leak detectors. With a premium product comes a premium price so just be aware that these are not the cheapest detectors out there.

Lastly, I have personally reviewed each of these products and have gone through their Pros and Cons ensuring that you know exactly what you are getting before you buy. If you are interested in reading through my reviews you will see a link at the bottom of this table for my official product review.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I was able to make your buying decision just a little bit easier.

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Name:INFICON D-TekFieldpiece SRL2 (K7)Bascharach's H-10 Pro
Image:Inficon D-TEK 712-202-G1 Select Refrigerant Leak DetectorFieldpiece SRL2(K7) Advanced Refrigerant Leak DetectorBacharach - H-10 PRO Refrigerant Leak Detector
Type:InfraredInfraredHeated Diode
Refrigerant Detected:CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOsCFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFO's.
Sensitivity :0.100 Ounces Per Year0.100 Ounces Per Year0.006 Ounces Per Year
Settings:High and LowHigh, Medium, and LowHigh, Medium, and Low
Sensor Life:1,000 Hour Sensor LifeTen YearsAround One Year
Probe Length:Fifteen InchesFifteen InchesFifty-Four Inches
Probe Extension:NoYes, Nine Inch ExtensionNo
Rechargeable Battery:YesYesYes
Battery Life:Seven Hour ChargeEight Hour ChargeThree Hour Charge
Warm-Up Time:Sixty SecondsThirty SecondsTwo Minutes
Warranty:Two Year WarrantyOne Year WarrantyThree Year Warranty
Price Point:MediumMediumHigh
Manufacturer's Website:INFICON's Product PageFieldPiece's Product PageBacharach"s Product Page
Buy Now!Buy Now!Buy Now!
Product Review:RefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product ReviewRefrigerantHQ's Product Review