Refrigerant leaks can be dangerous. There are a variety of reasons for employing refrigerant gas detectors to alert when a leak takes place. These include drivers such as reducing the amount of refrigerant leaked in order to reduce costs; reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to protect the environment; optimizing the performance and energy efficiency of a refrigeration system by maintaining the correct level of charge. One of the foremost reasons remains the safety of those working with or in proximity to refrigeration systems.
Depending on the gas used, the dangers presented by leaking refrigerant can include asphyxiation, oxygen depletion, flammability and toxicity. Measures to mitigate these risks are defined within refrigeration safety standards. In the United States, the standard to follow is ASHRAE 15, Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systems.