Does R410A refrigerant smell?

kashurst

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apologies not boaty, but thought someone might know the answer here.
Had a new aircon system fitted. One of the room units seems to give off an odd chemically smell.Not unpleasant but strange. I suspect a leak but don't know what refrigerant gas smells of or if it does actually smell of anything.
Getting it checked tomorrow but would like to know in advance.
 

Alanij

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Years ago I worked on an NGL plant using Freon refrigerant, and that did have a detectable smell when bulk quantities were being removed from the cooling system, but not so much from tiny releases like when changing gauges. I've checked the MSDS for R410a, and it states it can have an ethereal smell, by which I assume it means like ether, rather than spiritual.
 

QBhoy

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Hi
In a previous life I looked after refrigeration systems as well as other things on ships. It was the older stuff R34 freon type stuff. One of the real dangers of such systems in closed spaces was that it had no smell. It was however detectable by putting a naked flame near the leak. It would turn green.
Likely this stuff is similar.
 

superheat6k

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Yes R410A does have a slight smell, vaguely of ether. The gas is non toxic in small quantities, and non flammable, but is as asphyxiant in high concentrations, e.g. should the system dump its entire charge into a small space then open windows and doors to ventilate the area.

The most likely points that a leak could occur are on the joints where the unit attaches to the two fridge pipes. If these joints are visible to you then a small cup of washing up liquid 50:50 with water and a small paintbrush around the joints will soon reveal a leak. Obviously do not splash this around the electrical parts, and if any dismantling is required call back the installer.

Indeed your report so far would for me be enough to call the installer back, but it looks like you are doing just that. The engineer needs to check the unit inlet pipe (smaller) with the system running, when it is at far higher pressure.
 

kashurst

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thanks for the replies, gas all OK, no leaks. The smell was something else and now sorted. Thanks for your help
 
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