How Do I Know If My Fridge Is Leaking Gas?

Last Updated on October 26, 2021 by

How Do I Know If My Fridge Is Leaking Gas? Refrigerators need gas to work like we need blood to live. The gas, or simply refrigerant, responsible for the cooling of your refrigerator is Freon gas(AKA R22). It is colorless and not exactly odorless. So, in the event of a gas leak, you might pick up a faint chemical smell around the fridge.

A snappy way to tell if your fridge is leaking gas is with the help of soap and water. To do that, dissolve a little soap in water. Then with a small brush or cloth, apply the solution along with the coils of the evaporator and condenser. If you see tiny fizzling along the surface of the coil, it’s an indication that your refrigerator is leaking gas.

This check, however, is the last resort. If you’re observant, you will notice certain changes in your fridge’s behavior as the gas begins to leak out; long before it leaks out completely. This article is a heads up on what you should look out for, how to know if your refrigerator is leaking gas and what to do in the event of a gas leak. Let’s dive in:

What Are the Signs That My Refrigerator is Running Out Of Gas?

No refrigerator can cool or freeze anything without a refrigerant running in its coils. When the refrigerant starts to leak, you will begin to notice weird aspects of your refrigerator; decreased cooling and unusual ice formation are noticeable changes. It all happens in phases, slowly over some time until your refrigerator stops cooling altogether. We will now discuss in detail what will happen as your refrigerator runs out of gas.

Phase one

At this stage, your fridge begins to overwork to compensate for the reducing gas levels. If you have vegetables in it, they begin to blacken, your carrots will shrivel and your milk will freeze.

It is easy to suspect a faulty thermostat in this phase; which makes sense since the thermostat helps to regulate the working temperature within the refrigerator cooling chamber.

If you’re in doubt, look out for phase two.

Phase Two

This stage is characterized by a noticeable reduction in cooling efficiency. Your freezer will no longer freeze food and your fridge compartment will be considerably warmer. The most vulnerable items will begin to decompose and give off faint musty odors.

While all this is going on inside the fridge, you will also notice condensation on the coils behind, possibly forming a small pool of water at the site.

Phase Three

This is the part where your fridge has bled out all the refrigerant. At this point, it is obvious what the problem is. The temperature inside the refrigerators is as cold as the room temperature.

Without gas to function properly, the condenser is on overdrive, desperately trying to keep things going. At this stage, it begins to make faint clicking sounds- indicative of an overworked motor.  It is advisable to switch it off and seek professional help.

How Do I know If My Refrigerator is leaking gas?

  • Health Problems

If you develop symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, headache, or irritation to the respiratory tracts at about the same time you notice phases one, two, or three, you’ve probably been exposed to Freon gas from your refrigerator’s leaking gas lines. Although these symptoms are only short-term and shouldn’t last long, prolonged exposure to Freon is hazardous and can lead to serious health complications.

In trace amounts, the gas is known to induce dizziness or even fainting. To avoid this situation, you should station your fridge in a well-ventilated area. This will help to disperse any buildup of gas on the rare occasion of Freon leaks.

  • Fridge Compartment Remains Warm

Mechanical refrigeration. The principle upon which the cooling of your refrigerator operates is based on heat exchange.

The working fluid(Freon) is compressed in such a way as to remove heat from one environment(your fridge compartment) while discharging it somewhere else(outside the fridge). The heat exchange effectively lowers the temperature in your fridge(and increases the outside temperature, if you noticed.)

Without the working fluid, it is impossible to lower the temperature in the refrigerator chamber.

Therefore, your fridge will remain warm even if it still runs, offering no cooling effects whatsoever.

  • Compressor Motor Running Steadily

Was the compressor designed to run steadily? The answer is no. Your refrigerator’s compressor wasn’t designed to run for long periods, because if it did, you would probably have to saw through thick columns of ice to reach your food.

In a normally functioning refrigerator, the thermostat controls the temperature by detecting a rise in temperature which activates the condenser module. At a reasonable temperature, the thermostat once again instructs the compressor to stop working. By repeating this process, the temperature in your refrigerator is kept at a responsible temperature.

However, in the event of a gas leak, the thermostat detects a temperature rise and activates the condenser. Unfortunately, there is no working fluid to lower the temperature, hence, your compressor will remain working.

Overworking the compressor could adversely affect its performance. You should turn off your refrigerator and request technical assistance ASAP.

  • Extreme electricity usage

This follows logically our last point. High temperature in the fridge perpetually activates the compressor. Therefore, in a desperate attempt to lower the temperature, the compressor begins to work steadily.

Increased motor activity guarantees that your fridge uses more electricity than it would normally use. This will invariably lead to an increase in your electricity bill. In case you were wondering why your electricity bill suddenly spiked, you just found your culprit.

  • Oily Residue On The Floor

You might notice an oily substance on the ground when there is a Freon leak. This is not Freon, but a lubricant used in the compressor for the smooth operation of moving parts in the compressor. In that case, you will find the oil not very far from the site of the leak. This will give you a good idea of the leaking spot if you plan on finding it.

If you fancy, you can purchase a leak detector, which is a handy electronic device that detects a wide range of gases; not just Freon.

What Causes Freon Leaks In the refrigerator?

Modern refrigerators are efficiently designed to keep the working fluid sealed in a closed environment, therefore, the occurrence of a gas leak is rare. However, like every other thing, it is not immune to minor and major shortcomings that arise as a result of age or electrical anomaly.

The gas lines of your refrigerator are made of steel. Eventually, it will corrode and leak gas at points. To ensure that your refrigerator is in great working conditions, ensure that it is kept in a dry environment. Otherwise, exposure to moisture or a humid environment can hasten the rusting process.

It should go without saying that failing objects are a major culprit of leaking pipes- take care. Sharp objects accidentally falling behind the fridge can burst the pipes, causing Freon gas leaks.

Is Refrigerator Gas Leak Dangerous?

Yes, refrigerator gas leak while not instantaneously adverse to your health is dangerous. Large amounts can earn you a trip to the hospital. Because of the somewhat odorless nature of refrigerants, they are hardly perceived even in high concentrations. Luckily, the amount of gas your fridge is likely to produce would not be significant enough to be a serious threat.

However, the effects of inhalation of the gas can be catastrophic for people with underlying heart conditions. Care should be taken to station the refrigerator in a ventilated place to reduce the risk.

It is worth noting that Freon gas is dense and so, sinks close to the ground where it can easily be inhaled by your children and pets. If you notice vomiting, irritation of the eyes, nose, and mouth, or dizziness, please take them far from the vicinity for medical attention.

Effects on the environment

The early refrigerants were Chloroflorocarbons(CFCs); chemical compounds that did great jobs of depleting the Ozone layer. Freon gas belongs to the same stock in terms of ozone layer depletion. When it escapes into the atmosphere, it depletes the Ozone layer, reducing the earth’s radiation screen.

The latest refrigerators now employ more eco-friendly refrigerants in their gas lines, thanks to the US Environmental Protection Agency policies. In the coming years, we should see a rapid decline in the use of Freon gas as a refrigerant. Hurray!

Conclusion on How Do I Know If My Fridge Is leaking Gas

Your refrigerator is an indispensable part of your life at home. Therefore, proper care should be given to ensure its proper functioning. Dysfunctional behavior of your refrigerator such as ice formation around the edges of the freezer, refrigerator liberating oil on the floor and warm fridge compartment(even with the fridge still working) are symptoms of refrigerator gas leakage. Do not hesitate to contact your local repair experts. It is also adviced to keep your children and pets away from the a faulty refrigerator to avoid health complications. Need a new refrigerator? Checkout the RCA RFR725 EFR749 2 Door Apartment Size Refrigerator on Amazon