Posted by Zoe Geoffrion , on Nov, 2017
Ammonia is such a versatile and useful resource that it is used for many things, such as fuel, woodworking, cleaning solutions, and refrigeration. Specifically in refrigeration, ammonia is replacing Freon. Freon has a negative affect on the Earth’s ozone layer, while ammonia is much more environmentally friendly. Because of Freon’s negative affect, it is slowly being replaced with ammonia. Using ammonia, for example, in ice rinks is safe, however there new problems can be created from using ammonia instead of Freon. Ammonia a is toxic and corrosive gas, and if there is an ammonia leak, it can cause serious health problems for anyone in the area. This is why testing for an ammonia leak is necessary.
The Effects of Ammonia
Ammonia irritates the eyes and upper and lower respiratory systems. Coughing, headaches, and difficulty breathing can also result from ammonia poisoning. Ammonia poisoning can even cause a collection of fluid in the lungs, which could be fatal if not treated. These symptoms mean that exposure to ammonia is relatively easy and fast to identify, but it can be avoided if regular maintenance and gas detection is utilized.
Ways to Detect Ammonia
In small amounts, ammonia may not cause a reaction at all. If a leak has just begun, for example, people in the area may not be affected until much later. However, that can lead to a costly repair and replacing the ammonia for the refrigeration system. Regular tests with an electronic gas detector or industrial gas detection tubes can save a refrigeration business money and possible injury. In this case, gas detection tubes are more cost efficient and require less maintenance. An electronic gas detector has to be calibrated regularly, but industrial gas detection tubes only require a small amount of assembly. A gas detection tube is attached to a hand pump. Air is pumped into the tube, and the tube has a reagent and colorimetric system to show whether there is ammonia in the air and the concentration of the gas. Testing with gas detection tubes when there is a suspected leak or as part of refrigeration system maintenance could prevent costly repairs or personal injury.