You should be aware of their freon line if you own a cooling system or a refrigerator. Freon is a brand name registered for liquids and gasses used for cooling purposes. However, there are chances of freon line cutting while handling the cooling system or the refrigerator improperly.
Cutting the freon line will cause the freon leakage. In case of a leakage, get out of the vicinity as soon as the freon leakage occurs to avoid refrigerant poisoning. Open the windows to facilitate ventilation to reduce the concentration of freon. Consider hiring a professional to repair the same.
In this article, you will understand the uses of freon and the symptoms of freon leakage. So, keep reading.
Understanding the properties and uses of refrigerant (Freon):
After the fatal incidents in 1920 due to the leakage of methyl chloride in refrigerators, freon was invented by Thomas Midgley in 1928.
Freon was made with the combination of one or more than one chlorofluorocarbon, which was primarily used in industries.
They are colorless and odorless compounds that are non-corrosive and non-flammable in nature.
Refrigerators use R-12 freon as a part of their cooling system in the initial days. When it was found that R-12 depleted the ozone layers, it was replaced by R22 freon.
However, these days most refrigerators use Freon-R134a.
A refrigerator uses a freon to keep the food inside cool. The freon inside the refrigerator undergoes an evaporation process to keep the interior cool and decrease the growth of microorganisms in food.
This process starts when the capillary tube in the refrigerator reduces the pressure of the freon refrigerant by suppressing it.
Due to the low pressure, evaporation of the freon occurs. It changes from a liquid state to a gas.
The same cooling principle implies to the ACs too.
Now, the freon in the gas state revolves around the interior system of the cooling system to initiate the cooling process.
A cooling system needs the freon in the liquid state to complete the cycle.
So, the compressor of the cooling system increases the pressure of the gas.
The gaseous freon will turn into liquid when the compressor raises the pressure.
Due to the rise in pressure, the liquid freon will be hot, so it reaches the condenser of the cooling system.
Condenser plays an important role in cooling the freon liquid, turning it into gas, and repeating the cycle.
The cooling system is secured tightly to prevent refrigerant leakage.
So, freon will not leak due to the normal handling.
The freon line may break when moving the refrigerator or AC due to improper handling.
So, it is important to ensure the freon line’s accidental breaking doesn’t happen.
The dangers of cutting a Freon line:
Cutting a freon line will cause health hazards when inhaling the gas.
It will also harm the environment.
The freon leak can be fatal when your refrigerator is placed in a closed area with less ventilation.
Because In such situations, there are chances of inhaling the gas in a higher concentration.
But placing your refrigerator in a ventilated place will dilute the concentration of the gas, reducing its harmful effects.
When you inhale the freon gas in a higher concentration, the fluorinated hydrocarbons reduce the oxygen supply to the lungs.
If left untreated, it can be life-threatening.
If you inhaled the freon gas leak, here are the common symptoms occurring
- Irritation in the throat and eyes
Here are the more serious symptoms of freon refrigerant leak:
- Loss of consciousness
- Blood vomit
- Burning sensation in the food pipe.
In such cases, it is important to get a doctor’s consultation. Here is the immediate treatment to undertake when freon poisoning happens:
- Supplying oxygen through a breathing tube.
- Removing the freon liquid from the tube.
- Taking medicines immediately with the doctors’ consultation to be internal body parts.
- Take immediate treatment if there is skin damage.
The effects of refrigerant leaks on the refrigeration system:
A Freon gas leak in the refrigerator will affect the system.
Here are the common effects of refrigerant leaks on the refrigeration system.
If you see warm air coming out of the refrigerator or your air conditioner, it is the effect of the refrigerant leak.
When a freon leak occurs, there will be a hustling noise in the refrigerator and your air conditioner.
A refrigerant leak also causes the coils to freeze. Check for refrigerant leaks if you notice frozen coils in your refrigerator.
When you open the refrigerator, you can sense the strong odor.
If this is the case in your refrigerator, check for the refrigerant leak and fix the issue as soon as possible.
Due to the refrigerant leak, your refrigerator will leave residue on the floor around the refrigerator.
Decreased cooling effect:
A refrigerant plays an important role in keeping the contents inside the refrigerator cool.
So, when the refrigerant leaks, there won’t be enough refrigerant to cool the contents inside.
It will result in the reduced cooling effect of the refrigerator.
Damages in the internal parts:
Due to the reduced cooling efficiency in the refrigerator, the compressor will work excessively to keep the refrigerator cool.
Eventually, the compressor will be damaged or will lose its efficiency.
In such a case, you must replace the compressor, which will be expensive.
You can notice that your refrigerator is getting hot with higher temperature readings.
The impact on the environment from refrigerant leaks
Refrigerants are the chemical compounds used in refrigerators to keep the food inside cool and fresh.
These refrigerants harm the environment when leakage occurs.
Here are the common environmental problem due to refrigerant leaks:
Ozone layer depletion:
These refrigerants, such as CFC and HCFC, pass through the compressor and evaporator coils to complete the cycle by turning from the liquid state to the gas.
When a refrigerant leak occurs, it reaches the atmosphere and causes ozone layer depletion.
The ozone layer absorbs all the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, preventing us from danger. Due to ozone layer depletion, we are exposed to harmful radiation.
These bring serious health problems like cataracts and skin cancer.
Global warming and climate change:
Refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbon and hydrofluorocarbon released in the environment cause global warming by increasing the temperature.
Due to the rise in the earth’s temperature, the sea level rises.
It poses a threat to humans.
It also leads to changes in climatic conditions. It leads to extreme climates, causing health hazards.
The symptoms of a refrigerant leak
The below-mentioned symptoms can sense the refrigerant leak in the refrigerator:
Motor runs continuously:
As already mentioned, refrigerants play an important role in keeping the contents inside the refrigerator cool.
If the refrigerants start leaking, the motor will constantly run to keep the contents inside the refrigerator cool.
If you notice that the motor in your refrigerator is constantly running, check for a refrigerant leak.
It is important to repair the refrigerant leak immediately.
Because the motor will keep running, eventually, you will have to replace the motor.
Food doesn’t cool:
When you open your refrigerator to grab your favorite drink, you can sense it is not as cool as it should be.
Food not cooling inside the refrigerator is a serious issue indicating several p[roblems in the refrigerator, including the refrigerant leak.
In such a case, call a professional to fix the issue.
Consuming warm food inside the refrigerator may cause several health hazards, like food poisoning because of harmful microbes.
The chemical smell from the refrigerator:
Freon is an odorless gas, but when it leaks in higher concentrations, you can smell word odor all over your refrigerator.
However, you can’t sense the odor immediately after the leakage.
As the concentration increases, you can sense the chemical smell from your refrigerator.
When you sense such odor in your refrigerator, you must know something went wrong.
Consider hiring a professional to diagnose if it is due to refrigerant leakage or any other internal damage in the refrigerator.
High electricity consumption:
Due to refrigerant leakage, the motor and the refrigerator’s compressor will work excessively to keep the food inside cool.
Due to this malfunction, there will be a hike in the electricity bills.
When the motor and the compressor run excessively, they will eventually fail.
You will have to replace them, which will be an expensive repair.
If you see a hike in the electricity bill, check all the electrical appliances, including the refrigerator.
It would be best to consult a professional to check what went wrong.
Among all the symptoms, frequently getting sick is a serious issue.
It may be hard to guess that the sickness is due to the refrigerant leak.
You must check for a refrigerant leak if you feel dizzy and faint most of the time while working in a kitchen.
Exposure to refrigerant gas for the longest time will cause serious illness, especially in people with heart disease.
So, you must take action immediately if you sense something is wrong with your refrigerator.
The proper procedures for repairing a Freon leak
As freon leak repair requires time, special equipment, and precise knowledge, it is best to consult a professional to repair it.
Freon is toxic to humans when inhaled in a larger concentration; it is not appropriate to risk repairing the freon leak by yourself.
However, if you want a quick repair, use an epoxy seal to patch the leaking area.
Doing this repair won’t prevent the leak for more than a year.
The importance of following the regulations for handling refrigerants
Refrigerants are toxic to the environment and humans.
So, there are rules and regulations to prevent danger to both the environment and human beings.
It is important to follow the regulations to protect the environment from getting polluted by toxic gases.
If the refrigerants are not handled properly, they will be exposed to the environment.
In the long run, it will lead to problems, including global warming and ozone layer depletion.
When the refrigerants are not handled as per the regulations, it will cause serious health hazards to human beings.
Following the regulations will help reduce gas exposure to the environment and protect public health.
Federal, state, and local laws regulate the proper handling of refrigerants.
When not handling the refrigerants following the law, law consequences occur.
The impact of cutting a Freon line on the air conditioning system’s efficiency
Cutting the freon leak in the air conditioning system will lead to the freon leak.
Freon is an important element of the air conditioning system to keep the room cool.
If a freon leak occurs, the efficiency of the air conditioner will be reduced as there will be low availability of freon gas.
A freon gas leakage will reduce the air conditioner’s cooling efficiency, bringing a warm temperature to the room instead of a cool temperature.
It will also increase energy consumption, as the air conditioner will work excessively to retain the coolness in the room.
Not repairing the freon leak will cause damage to the internal parts like the evaporator coil and compressor.
It will eventually fail if left unrepaired.
The costs of repairing a Freon leak caused by cutting a line
The average cost of repairing the freon leak ranges from $200 to $1500.
It depends on how much freon leakage occurred.
It also depends on the labor cost of professionals in your area.
There are many types of freon, and the cost of each freon varies, so it is best to consult a professional to estimate the total cost of freon leak repair.
If you accidentally cut the freon line while trying to move your refrigerator, it is important to fix the leakage immediately.
In such cases, you don’t need to panic as the freon leak in the ventilated place won’t be fatal.
When you realize you have cut the freon line, hold your breath immediately to avoid inhaling the gas because continuous exposure to the gas reduces the oxygen supply in humans.
Next, check the size of the cut. If the cut is small, you can seal it temporarily.
Consider hiring a professional to repair the freon leak in the refrigerator.
The cost of repair depends on the size of the cut and the accessibility of the area. If the cut is hard to access, it will cost more to repair.
How long does Freon stay in the air after a leak?
A freon leak will stay in the air for one week and may last until a month, depending upon the severity of the leak.
How fast is Freon poisoning?
If you are exposed to freon leakage for more than 72 hours without taking action to repair it, it will lead to death.
Reference: Freon Wikipedia, Refrigerant Wikipedia.