How Long Will Freon Last in a Refrigerator?

September 15, 2022
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If You’re Free of Leaks - it Lasts a Long Time

Maybe you’ve heard of Freon. It’s common in household appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators. But how much do you know about Freon? Do you have to refill the Freon? Do you need to change your Freon? How long will Freon last in a refrigerator?

The answer is Freon lasts forever! It never goes bad or runs out, which is pretty incredible. So the only issue is if you have a Freon leak.

If you’ve ever looked at your fridge and wondered how long will Freon last in a refrigerator, don’t worry, it lasts forever! But a Freon leak is a serious problem and health concern. It can spoil food and make you sick from inhalation and ruin your indoor air quality.

Photo of a Woman Opening a Refrigerator

Most modern refrigerators no longer use Freon due to its negative impact on the environment.  Most refrigerators now use HFC-134A to Keep Things in Your Refrigerator Cold

What Is Freon?

Freon is a coolant produced by DuPont and used in practically every appliance that produces cool air. It’s an AC refrigerant, but it’s also used to keep the food in your fridge and freezer cold. It’s technically an aerosol propellant and goes by R22 refrigerant, another name for Freon.

Photo of a Freon Gas Container

Freon Gas Stored in a Tank

Signs of a Freon Leak

Freon leakage is dangerous, so knowing what signs to look for can help keep your indoor air quality and health in good shape. Below are indications that your fridge may have a Freon leak.

You should have any Freon leakage fixed as soon as possible for the health and wellness of the household.

Odd Odors

A funky chemical odor will emanate from your fridge and linger in your kitchen. The smell may also be moldy and musty, as people describe the Freon smell differently.

In addition to the unpleasant odor of the Freon, the food in your fridge may start to smell bad because it isn’t in a cool environment. If you notice food going bad faster than normal, a refrigerant leak may be the problem.

Freon Residue

You may notice a sticky or wet residue on your kitchen floor near your fridge. This residue is likely Freon leaking out of your fridge. Don’t touch or clean it with chemicals, as it can be dangerous.

Warm Air

In a fridge or an AC unit, if you feel warm air when there shouldn’t be, there may be a Freon leak. Without the R22 refrigerant, your AC unit and refrigerator cannot produce cool air as they should. Constant warm air or warm air cycles indicate a Freon leak or mechanical problem.

Unexplained Illness

Inhaling Freon gas is extremely dangerous to your health. It also has global warming potential and can harm the ozone layer.

If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms like fainting, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or headaches, it could be from Freon. Many people can go weeks with an unexplained illness before they realize it's a Freon leak.

Overactive Motor

Most fridges have a consistent hum from the motor. If that hum gets significantly louder or changes to an inconsistent whirring noise, the Freon may be leaking.

When the fridge leaks Freon and the temperature drops, the motor works extra hard to try and cool the fridge and freezer, even though it can’t without the Freon.

High Electricity Bill

Lastly, a spike in your electricity or utility bills may mean you have a Freon leak. A higher bill is the hardest sign to notice. An increased utility bill can happen for many reasons and often fluctuate seasonally.

A higher electric bill along with one of the other signs often helps fridge owners pinpoint the problem.

Causes of a Freon Leak

If you need AC repair or your fridge fixed after a Freon leak, you may wonder what caused it and how you can avoid another leak in the future. Below are four common causes of Freon leakage that you can try to avoid by treating your appliances with care.

Wear and Tear

Like any appliance, no fridge can stay in perfect condition forever. As parts wear down, they can cause Freon leakage. It may be due to a shift in components or the disintegration of a refrigerator part.

If you’ve had your fridge for five to ten years, it’s susceptible to suffering a Freon leak from wear and tear.

Photo of a Refrigerator Behind a Kitchen Island

Loss of Freon Gas Can be Caused by a Variety of Factors

Pinhole Puncture

A pinhole puncture is the most common cause of a Freon leak. These can occur for several reasons, but it's essentially a super tiny hole in the component of your fridge that holds or transports Freon. It could be a hole in a copper pipe due to rust or a crack in the Freon container.

Excessive Vibrations

The motor in your fridge causes vibrations that can result in a Freon leak if components shift out of place.

This cause is rare, but it’s also super easy for a professional to fix, as a part often needs to be slid back into place. It also only occurs when the motor malfunctions or has to work extra hard in excessive heat.

Physical Damage

Physical damage that causes a fridge to leak Freon usually occurs when the fridge moves. This move could be across the kitchen or the country, so keep an eye on your fridge’s performance after moving it in any way.

How to Fix a Freon Leak

Fixing a Freon leak is complicated and requires a lot of specific equipment and parts. If you have a serious Freon leak, call a professional HVAC or refrigeration expert to come to fix it.

If you don’t have the means to hire someone, you can clean the area where the leak is and try to seal the hole or gap using cool weather epoxy. However, this kind of epoxy patch will typically only last a year, so it's a temporary solution.

Other Appliances That Use Freon

Refrigerators are not the only appliance that uses Freon to function. Therefore, other appliances can develop a Freon leak. Below are common appliances that use Freon and sometimes leak.

  • Standing air conditioner
  • Window AC
  • Freezers
  • Dehumidifiers

A Freon leak is a common reason people require air conditioning repair services or another appliance repair.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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