Basic HVAC Gauges and How to Use Them

September 23, 2022

The importance of HVAC gauges can only be overstated, and those who work with air conditioners, refrigerators, and similar gadgets know this all too well. You need to know how to use these pressure gauges properly to get an accurate reading so you can fix the problem.

What are HVAC Gauges?

HVAC gauges are used by refrigeration HVAC specialists for a variety of pressure readings and other purposes. Vacuuming, testing, refilling, and recovering are all part of the job.

People who work with refrigerators, air conditioners, and other similar appliances know all too well the value of HVAC gauges.

Types of HVAC Manifold Gauges

In order to receive accurate readings, HVAC manifold gauges need to be compatible with the refrigerant being used in the system. There are primarily two categories of refrigerants and a corresponding number of manifold gauges, namely:

  • R410A
  • R134a
  • R22

There will be a label on every HVAC unit that indicates the refrigerant it employs. If you want accurate readings, use gauges designed for that specific refrigerant. Be familiar with your gauge set’s capabilities, as many can read several refrigerants.

Components of an HVAC Gauge

An HVAC manifold set has two gauges, blue and red. The blue is for low pressures, and the red is for high pressures.The red and blue valves on the side turn on and off to control gas going to the low and high-pressure valves.

The manifold is the hub around which all connections radiate. The hoses of a manifold gauge set are colored red, blue, and yellow. The blue tube connects to the low-pressure gauge. Depending on which valve is activated, the yellow hose can connect to either the low or high side. To access the high pressure valve, connect the red hose. Hoses will be connected to the manifold from below, with the top connections serving purely as a means of maintenance.

How to Use HVAC Gauges

Understanding the flow of the refrigerant through a set of HVAC gauges is essential for their use.

  • Both of the outer hoses, red and blue, connect directly to their respective gauges, while the inner pipe, yellow, is routed to a third location.
  • There is an open end on the yellow hose to attach to an outside supply. The yellow wire might be attached to a suction pump, for instance.
  • The yellow hose would be connected to the vacuum pump, and the blue low-pressure hose would be connected to the HVAC unit.
  • It is planned to leave the blue valve open during pump operation.
  • A refrigerant container is connected to the yellow hose, while the red hose leads to the air conditioner.
  • If too much or too little is added, the red valve can be closed to prevent damage to the machine.
  • When connected to an HVAC system, the gauges can also display pressures.
  • Connecting the red hoses to the high-pressure line of the HVAC system allows for the taking of pressure readings.

If you have a heating and cooling system that uses refrigerant, HVAC gauges are an inexpensive but invaluable tool for troubleshooting and maintaining the system.

Since 1958, Mid-West Instrument has been a leading global manufacturer of differential pressure gauges, transmitters, and switches. Contact our experienced professionals or visit our website to learn which gauges best fit your application.