Are Freon Leaks in Your Home Dangerous?


Freon leaks in your home can be dangerous if not addressed. It is important to know the common questions and answers about Freon leaks so you can protect yourself, your family, and your home. In this article, we will cover the most common questions people have about Freon leaks. We will also provide some helpful tips on how to prevent them and what to do if you suspect a leak.

What Is Freon

Freon is a gas that is used in refrigerators and air conditioners. It helps to cool the air inside of these appliances. Freon is also used in other types of equipment, such as freezers and dehumidifiers.

What Is Freon

There are different types of Freon, but the most common one is called R-22. This type of Freon was used in many older model refrigerators and air conditioners. However, it is being phased out because it damages the ozone layer.

If you have an older appliance that uses R-22, it is important to get it serviced by a professional who can properly dispose of the Freon. You should not attempt to do this yourself, as it can be dangerous.

Newer appliances use a different type of Freon called R-410A. This Freon does not damage the ozone layer, so it is a much safer option.[3]

Role of Freon in your House

Freon is a common name for a class of haloalkane refrigerants. It’s used in air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers. Freon leaks can be dangerous because it damages the ozone layer and contributes to global warming.[1]

How to Prevent AC Refrigerant Leaks

The best way to prevent AC refrigerant leaks is to have your air conditioner serviced by a professional at least once a year. A qualified technician will check for any signs of wear and tear and can repair or replace any parts that are showing signs of damage. Another way to prevent AC refrigerant leaks is to make sure that your home’s ductwork is in good repair. Any gaps or holes in the ductwork can allow refrigerant to escape, so it’s important to have any leaks repaired as soon as possible.[4]

How can you spot air conditioning freon leaks?

Your home is warmer – and it’s noticeable

If your home is suddenly and noticeably warmer than it used to be, that’s a potential sign of an AC freon leak.
This could be because the cold air isn’t circulating the way it should be, or because the Freon is no longer cooling as effectively as it needs to.

You may also notice that your energy bills are starting to creep up even though you haven’t changed your habits.[4]

Your air conditioner is blowing lukewarm air

Your air conditioner is blowing lukewarm air, or worse, no air at all. You call a technician to come take a look, and they tell you that your AC unit is low on Freon. They can recharge it for you, but it will be a temporary fix – the real problem is that there’s a leak in your system.[4]

Your air conditioner is frozen

Your air conditioner is frozen and you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong. You check the coils and they seem fine, so you start looking for leaks. You find a small Freon leak and wonder if it’s dangerous.

Your air conditioner is frozen

Freon is a common refrigerant used in air conditioners, and it can be dangerous if it’s not handled properly. Inhaling Freon can cause dizziness, headaches, and even loss of consciousness. It can also irritate your skin and eyes.[4]

Your energy costs have risen

Your energy costs have risen and you’ve been feeling lightheaded and nauseous. You wonder if the Freon leak in your home could be making you sick.

It’s normal to feel concerned about a Freon leak. After all, Freon is an invisible gas that can be harmful if inhaled. However, it’s important to remember that Freon is not flammable and will not explode.[4]

Your air conditioner is making a hissing sound

If your air conditioner is making a hissing noise, it could be due to a Freon leak. Freon is a refrigerant that helps cool the air in your home. While a small Freon leak may not be cause for alarm, a larger leak can be dangerous. If you suspect a Freon leak, it’s important to contact a professional HVAC technician immediately.[4]

Electronic Detection Devices

An electronic detection device is the most accurate way to find a leak. It can detect very small leaks that are not detectable by other methods. The electronic detector will sound an alarm when it detects a leak.

If you think you have a Freon leak, the first thing you should do is call a professional to come and check it out. Do not try to repair the leak yourself, as this can be dangerous. A professional will know how to safely repair the leak and avoid any further damage.[1]

Electronic Detection Devices

Bubble Leak Method

The Freon leak in your home can be discovered by using the bubble method. This is a simple and effective way to find out if there are any leaks in your system. All you need is a soap-filled syringe and a rag. Inject the soapy solution into the affected area and look for bubbles. If there are any, it means that there is indeed a Freon leak.

It’s important to fix Freon leaks as soon as possible because they can cause serious damage to your AC unit. Not only that, but Freon is also harmful to the environment. When it leaks, it contributes to ozone depletion and global warming.[1]

Liquid Tracers

If you have a leak, liquid tracers can be used to help find the source. To use this method, you’ll need to turn off all your HVAC equipment and close all doors and windows in your home. Then, open the valve on the tracer canister so that liquid is released into the air. After about an hour, check for wet spots or condensation on your floor, walls, or ceilings; these will indicate where the leak is coming from. Once you’ve located the source of the leak, you can then repair it and recharge your system with Freon.[1]

What are the health and environmental effects of freon?

Exposure to Freon can have a number of different health effects, depending on the length and level of exposure. These effects can range from skin and eye irritation to more serious problems like liver, kidney, and cardiovascular damage. Inhaling large amounts of Freon can also lead to asphyxiation and death.

Freon is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. When released into the atmosphere, it traps heat from the sun, causing the Earth’s average temperature to rise. This global warming effect is one of the reasons why Freon is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.[2]

What are some common causes for AC freon leaks?

Wear and Tear

Over time, your AC’s coils and connections can become loose or damaged, which can cause Freon to leak.
Poor Maintenance: Regular maintenance is key to keeping your AC unit in good working order. If you don’t clean it regularly or have it serviced by a professional, it’s more likely to develop leaks.
Extreme Temperatures: Using your AC unit in extreme heat or cold can put stress on the system and cause Freon to leak.[1]

Weakened Connections and Joints

One of the most common places for Freon leaks is at weakened connections and joints in your air conditioning system. Over time, these areas can become corroded or damaged, which can lead to Freon escaping from your system. If you notice any hissing sounds coming from your AC unit, it’s likely that you have a Freon leak.[1]


One of the most common questions we get asked is whether or not Freon leaks are dangerous. The simple answer is yes, they can be dangerous if not properly fixed. Freon is a refrigerant gas that helps keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If there is a leak in your system, it can cause the gas to escape and potentially lead to health problems for you and your family.

There are three main dangers associated with Freon leaks: asphyxiation, fires, and explosions. Asphyxiation occurs when too much Freon is inhaled and it displaces the oxygen in your lungs. This can happen quickly if you’re exposed to a large leak and can lead to unconsciousness and even death. Fires and explosions are more rare, but can happen if Freon comes into contact with an ignition source like a lit cigarette or an open flame.[1]

Factory Defect

A very small percentage of air conditioners develop leaks due to factory defects. These usually happen in the first few years after installation and are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. If your unit is still under warranty, contact the company for repair or replacement.

If your AC is no longer under warranty, you can still have it repaired, but it will likely be expensive. A better option may be to replace the entire unit.[1]

How to Prevent AC Refrigerant Leaks

Improper Installation

One of the most common causes of Freon leaks is improper installation. If your air conditioner was not installed correctly, it may not have been sealed properly. This can allow Freon to escape and cause a leak. Improper installation can also damage your air conditioner, which can lead to a Freon leak. You should always hire a professional to install your air conditioner to avoid these problems.

Another common cause of Freon leaks is old age. As your air conditioner ages, it may develop cracks or other problems that allow Freon to escape. You can help prevent this by having your air conditioner serviced regularly and by replacing it when it starts to show signs of wear and tear.[1]

Where are Freon Leaks Found?

Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is located outside the home, usually on a concrete pad. The coils can get dirty from pollen, grass, and leaves. If the coil isn’t cleaned regularly, it will become less efficient and cause the compressor to work harder. This will shorten its lifespan.

Dirty coils are one of the most common causes of Freon leaks. To clean the coils, turn off the power to the unit and remove any debris that has accumulated on top of it. Next, use a garden hose with a spray attachment to wash away any dirt and grime. Finally, rinse the coils with a solution of half vinegar and half water.[5]

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is where the Freon actually does its job. The Freon is pumped through the coils and as it evaporates, it pulls the heat out of the air passing over the coils. This cold air is then circulated through your home by your HVAC system’s blower.[5]

Refrigerant Line Sets

There are two types of refrigerant line sets: the suction line and the discharge line. The suction line is the larger of the two lines and carries refrigerant vapor from the evaporator to the compressor. The discharge line is smaller in diameter and carries refrigerant vapor from the compressor to the condenser.

If either of these lines develop a leak, Freon will escape and eventually cause your air conditioner to stop working altogether. While a Freon leak may not seem like a big deal, it can actually be quite dangerous.

When Freon leaks out of your air conditioner, it doesn’t just disappear into thin air. Instead, it goes into the atmosphere where it contributes to ozone depletion.[5]

What does Leaking Freon Smell Like?

Leaking Freon often smells sweet or like roses. If you notice this kind of smell in your home, it’s important to take action right away and contact a professional.[5]

What does Leaking Freon Smell Like

Get Professional Help

If you think you may have a Freon leak, it’s important to get professional help right away. A qualified HVAC technician will be able to quickly diagnose the problem and make the necessary repairs. In most cases, Freon leaks can be fixed relatively easily and without much cost.

However, if a Freon leak is left unrepaired, it can cause serious damage to your home’s HVAC system. In some cases, it may even lead to health problems for you and your family. That’s why it’s always best to get any potential Freon leak checked out as soon as possible by a professional.[3]

Freon Leaks in Your Home: Understanding the Risks

Freon leaks can potentially pose risks to both health and the environment. Below, we delve into the topic of freon leaks in your home, discussing the potential dangers, symptoms, prevention, and steps to take if you suspect a freon leak, helping you make informed decisions to ensure safety and well-being.

Aspect Information
Dangers Freon leaks release harmful chemicals that can lead to respiratory issues, dizziness, headaches, and environmental damage.
Symptoms Exposure to freon leaks may cause symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, skin irritation, and eye discomfort.
Health Impact Extended exposure to freon leaks can result in long-term health issues, especially for individuals with sensitivities.
Prevention Regular HVAC maintenance and prompt repair of leaks can help prevent freon leaks and associated risks.
DIY vs. Professional Help Addressing freon leaks requires professional expertise due to the hazardous nature of the chemicals involved.
Environmental Impact Freon contributes to ozone depletion and climate change, making its containment and proper disposal critical.
Actions to Take If you suspect a freon leak, turn off the HVAC system, evacuate the area, and contact a professional for assessment.
Proper Disposal When disposing of appliances containing freon, follow local regulations to ensure safe handling and disposal.
Replacement Options If a system is prone to leaks, consider upgrading to a more eco-friendly and efficient refrigerant.
Education Understanding the risks of freon leaks empowers homeowners to take appropriate actions for safety.

Explanation of the Table:

  • Dangers: Discusses the potential hazards associated with freon leaks.
  • Symptoms: Lists the symptoms that may result from exposure to freon leaks.
  • Health Impact: Explores the potential long-term health effects of freon exposure.
  • Prevention: Offers preventive measures to avoid freon leaks.
  • DIY vs. Professional Help: Discusses the importance of professional assistance for addressing freon leaks.
  • Environmental Impact: Describes the environmental consequences of freon leaks and usage.
  • Actions to Take: Provides guidance on immediate steps to take when suspecting a freon leak.
  • Proper Disposal: Mentions the proper handling and disposal of appliances with freon.
  • Replacement Options: Suggests considering more eco-friendly refrigerants as alternatives.
  • Education: Emphasizes the importance of understanding freon leak risks.

By understanding the risks associated with freon leaks, you can take appropriate measures to address them and ensure the safety of your home environment and the planet.


How long does it take to get Freon poisoning?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the amount of Freon that has been leaked, and the person’s individual sensitivity to the chemical. Some people may start to experience symptoms within minutes of exposure, while others may not start feeling ill for hours or even days. In general, the larger the leak and the longer a person is exposed to Freon, the greater the risk of developing poisoning.

How long does Freon stay in the air after a leak?

Freon leaks can be dangerous because the gas can stay in the air for a long time after it has been released. Freon is a gas that is used in air conditioners and refrigerators to keep things cool. It is also used as a propellant in aerosol cans. When Freon is released into the air, it can cause serious health problems if people breathe it in. The symptoms of Freon poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, Freon poisoning can lead to death.

Can you smell the Freon leak refrigerator?

The Freon inside your fridge is odorless, so you won’t be able to smell it if there’s a leak. However, you may notice that your food doesn’t taste as fresh as it used to or that your fridge isn’t cooling as well as it should be. If you suspect a Freon leak, check for these signs:

  • A hissing sound coming from the fridge
  • Ice buildup on the coils
  • A warm feeling near the back of the fridge

What are the potential health risks of Freon leaks in your home?

Freon leaks can pose health risks, as inhaling Freon gas can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, and skin or eye irritation. Prolonged exposure or high concentrations can lead to more serious health issues.

Is Freon considered toxic or harmful to humans?

Freon, also known as refrigerant, is not highly toxic on its own, but it can displace oxygen in the air and cause asphyxiation in high concentrations. Additionally, inhaling Freon fumes can lead to symptoms of discomfort and irritation.

What are the signs of a Freon leak in your home?

Signs of a Freon leak may include a hissing or bubbling sound near the HVAC unit, a noticeable decrease in cooling efficiency, frost buildup on the refrigerant lines or coils, or an unusual smell near the appliance.

Can Freon leaks lead to long-term health problems?

While short-term exposure to a Freon leak might cause acute symptoms, long-term health problems are less likely unless the exposure is chronic and at high concentrations. It’s important to address and repair any leaks promptly to minimize health risks.

What should you do if you suspect a Freon leak in your home?

If you suspect a Freon leak, it’s important to turn off the appliance (e.g., air conditioner or refrigerator) and ventilate the area by opening windows and doors. Evacuate the space if the smell is strong or if you’re experiencing symptoms. Contact a professional technician to repair the leak.

Can you fix a Freon leak yourself, or should you hire a professional?

Repairing a Freon leak should be left to professionals who are certified to handle refrigerants. Freon is regulated, and leaks need to be repaired correctly to prevent further issues and ensure the safety of your home and health.

Are there any environmental concerns associated with Freon leaks?

Yes, Freon is a type of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which has been identified as a contributor to ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere. Properly managing and repairing Freon leaks is important to minimize environmental impact.

Can pets be affected by Freon leaks?

Yes, pets can be affected by Freon leaks in similar ways to humans, experiencing symptoms like respiratory discomfort, irritation, and nausea. If you suspect a Freon leak and your pets are showing signs of distress, it’s recommended to remove them from the area and seek professional help.

How can Freon leaks be prevented in the home?

Regular maintenance and inspection of appliances that use Freon, such as air conditioners and refrigerators, can help prevent leaks. Hiring a professional to perform routine checks and address any potential issues can minimize the risk of leaks and associated health concerns.

Are there safer alternatives to Freon for cooling systems?

Yes, newer cooling systems often use alternative refrigerants that have lower environmental impact and reduced potential for harm to human health. Consulting with HVAC professionals can provide insights into the best and safest options for your cooling system.

Useful Video: Air Conditioner FREON LEAK SYMPTOMS


So, are Freon leaks in your home dangerous? While they certainly aren’t harmless, the risks posed by a Freon leak are relatively low. However, it is still important to have the leak fixed as soon as possible to avoid any potential damage to your home or health.

If you think you may have a Freon leak in your home, contact a professional HVAC technician immediately. They will be able to quickly locate the source of the leak and make the necessary repairs.

Thanks for reading!