Dangers of a Freon Leak From Your AC or Refrigerator

By PropertyClub Team
Aug 31st 2022
A freon leak is a hazard associated with certain appliances, like air conditioners and refrigerators. While freon leaks are a rare occurrence, and health hazards associated with them are even rarer, it’s still not an issue that should be ignored. This is especially true if your fridge and/or air conditioner is particularly old and hasn’t been serviced in a while.

hash-markIs a Freon Leak Dangerous?

A freon leak in your home is dangerous if it’s been around for a while and the gas has accumulated in larger quantities. Typically, most households won’t have enough freon in their interior to pose significant health risks, but there are exceptions. For example, if you leave your home for a few weeks and keep all doors and windows closed during that time, freon could accumulate in quantities large enough to cause problems. You might also get freon poisoning from your air conditioner if it's leaking freon gas and you leave it running in a small, unventilated room for an extended period of time. 

In any case, even if your home is properly ventilated on a daily basis, you should never ignore a freon leak, as it can potentially turn into a hazardous condition if left unattended for long enough. It’s also a sign that one of your appliances is malfunctioning, which deserves immediate attention.

hash-markWhat Can Cause a Freon Leak in Your House?

Freon leaks are caused when the integrity of the circulation systems in an appliance that uses freon is compromised. Air conditioners and refrigerators are the most common sources of freon leaks. The most common cause is a break or a tear in one of the hoses carrying the gas.

Freon leaks can also occur when there’s an obstruction in the circulation system, which can cause freon to build up at a certain point and leak out. Airflow problems can also cause a freon leak.

If your appliances were manufactured after 2020, they likely don’t contain any freon and can be safely ignored. Freon was banned in 2020, so only appliances produced before that carry a risk of leaking.

hash-markSymptoms of a Freon Leak 

Freon leaks shouldn’t cause any noticeable symptoms initially. If the gas accumulates for some time, though, it can start to cause certain problems. The most common symptoms of a freon leak include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Freon doesn’t stay in your body for long. If you get away from the source of the leak, it should be out of your system in 24-48 hours. However, it’s important to note that allowing freon to build up in your body over a longer period of time can be very hazardous. Freon poisoning can reach fatal levels after as little as 72 hours.

hash-markCan You Smell a Freon Leak?

You can smell a freon leak as freon gas has a distinct smell with a sweet note to it. It also smells like chloroform. If you notice an unfamiliar smell close to your AC unit or refrigerator, you should inspect it for a freon leak.

hash-markFreon Leaks Bottom Line

Freon leaks are more serious than some people assume. If you suspect you might have one in your home, you should investigate it promptly. The leak won’t go away on its own, and in the meantime, it could damage your appliances, inflate your power bill, and pose a hazard to your health if left unattended long enough.