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1116.1 Factory Tests
Refrigerant-containing parts of unit systems shall be tested and proved tight by the manufacturer at not less than the design pressure for which they are rated. Pressure vessels shall be tested in accordance with Section 1117.0. [ASHRAE 15:9.14.1]
1116.1.1 Testing Procedure
Tests shall be performed with dry nitrogen or another nonflammable, nonreactive, dried gas. Oxygen, air, or mixtures containing them shall not be used. The means used to build up the test pressure shall have a pressure-limiting device or a pressure-reducing device and a gage on the outlet side. The pressure-relief device shall be set above the test pressure but low enough to prevent permanent deformation of the system's components.
Exceptions:
  1. Mixtures of dry nitrogen, inert gases, nonflammable refrigerants permitted for factory tests.
  2. Mixtures of dry nitrogen, inert gases, or a combination of them with flammable refrigerants in concentrations not exceeding the lesser of a refrigerant weight fraction (mass fraction) of 5 percent or 25 percent of the LFL shall be permitted for factory tests.
  3. Compressed air without added refrigerant shall be permitted for factory tests provided the system is subsequently evacuated to less than 0.039 inch of mercury (0.132 kPa) before charging with refrigerant. The required evacuation level is atmospheric pressure for systems using R-718 (water) or R-744 (carbon dioxide) as the refrigerant. [ASHRAE 15:9.14.1.1]
1116.1.2 Applied Pressure
The test pressure applied to the highside of each factory-assembled refrigerating system shall be not less than the design pressure of the highside. The test pressure applied to the lowside of a factory assembled refrigerating system shall be not less than the design pressure of the lowside.
1116.1.3 Design Pressure of 15 psig or Less
Units with a design pressure of 15 psig (103 kPa) or less shall be tested at a pressure not less than 1.33 times the design pressure, and shall be proved leak-tight at not less than the lowside design pressure. [ASHRAE 15:9.14.3]
1116.2 Field Tests
Refrigerant-containing parts of a system that is field-erected shall be tested and proved tight after complete installation and before the operation. The high and low sides of each system shall be tested and proved tight at not less than the lower of the pressure in Table 1116.2 or the setting of the pressure-relief device.
Exceptions:
  1. Compressors, condensers, evaporators, coded pressure vessels, safety devices, pressure gauges, control mechanisms, and systems that are factory tested.
  2. Refrigeration systems containing Group R-22, not exceeding 5 tons of refrigeration capacity (18 kW), and field-piped using approved, factory-charged line sets shall be permitted to be proved tight by observing retention of pressure on a set of charging gauges and soaping connections while the system is operating.
TABLE 1116.2 FIELD LEAK TEST PRESSURES (psig)*
REFRIGERANT NUMBER HIGHSIDE WATER COOLED HIGHSIDE AIR COOLED LOWSIDE
11 15 35 15
12 140 220 140
22 230 360 230
113 15 15 15
114 40 80 40
115 275 340 275
123 15 30 15
134a 150 250 150
152a 130 220 130
500 165 265 165
502 250 385 250
744*
For SI units: 1 pound-force per square inch gauge = 6.8947 kPa
* Special design required; test pressures typically exceed 1000 psig (6895 kPa).
1116.3 Test Gases
Tests shall be performed with dry nitrogen or other nonflammable, nonreactive, dried gas. Oxygen, air, or mixtures containing them shall not be used. The means used to build up the test pressure shall have either a pressure-limiting device or a pressure-reducing device and a gauge on the outlet side. The pressure-relief device shall be set above the test pressure but low enough to prevent permanent deformation of the system's components.
Exceptions:
  1. Mixtures of dry nitrogen, inert gases, or a combination of them with nonflammable refrigerant in concentrations of a refrigerant weight fraction (mass fraction) not exceeding 5 percent shall be permitted for tests.
  2. Mixtures of dry nitrogen, inert gases, or a combination of them with flammable refrigerants in concentrations not exceeding the lower of a refrigerant weight fraction (mass fraction) of 5 percent or 25 percent of the LFL shall be permitted for tests.
  3. Compressed air without added refrigerants shall be permitted for tests, provided the system is subsequently evacuated to less than 1000 microns (0.1333 kPa) before charging with refrigerant. The required evacuation level is atmospheric pressure for systems using R-718 (water) or R-744 (carbon dioxide) as the refrigerant.
  4. Systems erected on the premises using Group A1 refrigerant and with copper tubing not exceeding 0.62 of an inch (15.7 mm) outside diameter shall be tested by means of the refrigerant charged into the system at the saturated vapor pressure of the refrigerant at not less than 68°F (20°C). [ASHRAE 15:10.1.2]
1116.4 Declaration
A dated declaration of test shall be provided for systems containing more than 55 pounds (24.9 kg) of refrigerant. The declaration shall give the name of the refrigerant and the field test pressure applied to the highside and the lowside of the system. The declaration of test shall be signed by the installer and, where an inspector is present at the tests, the inspector shall also sign the declaration. Where requested, copies of this declaration shall be furnished to the Authority Having Jurisdiction. [ASHRAE 15:10.2]
1116.5 Brine Systems
Brine-containing portions of a system shall be tested at one and a half times the design pressure of the system using brine as the test fluid.

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