I have an unusual problem staring at me. I'm doing maintenance of an ice sk ating rink, and we have decided to replace the R22 with RS-45 as part of a general upgrade. The system was full of leaks and was constantly losing sig nificant and costly amounts of R22.
This is a liquid overfeed system and as such, the refrigerant runs through the pipes under the ice surface. These pipes are buried in concrete and nob ody knows how large they are. The people who installed this are long gone, and there is zero access to the piping after the large feed and return lin es enter the concrete.
I need to determine how much refrigerant we need to buy. I have heard estim ates ranging from 4000 pounds to 7000 pounds from various experts in the fi eld. That extra 3000 pounds is almost $30,000, so it would be good to get a better feel for a real number. The refrigerant pipes in a typical rink are about 10 or 11 miles long (seriously), and are (sometimes) 5/8 OD thinwall steel, but that's a variable.
The R22 has been removed from the system - unfortunately, the quantity reco vered really has no bearing on the actual capacity as there had been consid erable leakage.
So, given that I have a system that's shut down and pumped out, and that I can isolate the rink floor pipes from the rest of the system and there are service valves accessible, does anyone know how I might determine the volum e of these pipes?
I was thinking, perhaps, of filling with nitrogen at some regulated flow ra te and watching for a pressure rise and then doing some magic calculations I haven't thought about since high school. Does that make sense? can anyone offer specifics?
I'd appreciate any help any of you can offer.