Did you know that at Enertech we manufacture all of our geothermal systems right here in the United States? To help you get to know us better, we are giving you a behind the scenes look at our manufacturing process with our new blog series “Made in Mitchell.”
Now that we’ve taken a look at how a press brake is used to form a geothermal cabinet, and Enertech’s process for foaming a coax, you can see that nothing is more important to us than quality craftsmanship. That’s why every unit coming off of our assembly line visits a state-of-the-art testing station to make sure that it is ready to provide unmatched comfort for years to come. For the next stop on our Made in Mitchell online factory tour, let’s take a look at Enertech’s helium leak detection process.
To ensure that the equipment you receive is in perfect condition and ready to install, we check both the water and refrigerant circuits for leaks. After a unit comes off the assembly line, it enters the helium leak detection station. Here our highly skilled employees use an ECI leak detection machine to run helium through the refrigerant circuits (water circuits are pressurized with nitrogen in a separate test). The helium leak test is computer-controlled with model specific parameters. Then the employee uses a sniffer probe to detect any helium in the air. Helium in the air indicates that there is a leak in the geothermal system because helium is not normally present in our air at high concentrations.
Why helium? Not only is it good for filling balloons and talking like a chipmunk, helium is also non-toxic, inert, non-condensable, non-flammable, inexpensive and not normally present in the atmosphere at more than trace amounts (5 ppm). Because it is inert it is relatively safe to use and it won’t react with any of the materials within the geothermal system. Due to its small atomic size, helium passes easily through tight spaces, so we can detect even the smallest leaks.
The goal of helium leak detection is to find and repair a leak before the evacuation and charge process, eliminating the costly rework and the compromised quality that comes from repairing a leak in a charged unit. This is one way we try to keep quality high for our dealers, distributors and end users without increasing costs.
Helium leak detection is extremely accurate, quantitative and repeatable. In fact, helium leak testing can be around one thousand times more sensitive than using pressure decay testing techniques.
Our testing is the most robust in the industry. Because of our commitment to quality, we don’t just stop at helium leak detection. After the helium leak station the unit goes down the line for more testing. To learn more about the next step in Enertech’s testing process, check back for future installments of Made in Mitchell!