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Is a Freon Leak Dangerous?

Busted AC unit shows air blowing out of damaged coil, indicating a Freon leak.

If your air conditioner is giving you trouble all of a sudden, you might want to check and make sure it’s not the worst-case scenario. We’re talking about Freon leaks, of course. 

Believe it or not, Freon (also known as refrigerant) leaks are more common than you might think! If you’re conscientious about keeping up with regular AC maintenance in Grand Cayman and your system springs a leak, there’s a good chance this can be identified before it causes major damage to your equipment. It’s good to be informed about major air conditioner problems — especially ones that may not have readily available repair parts in Cayman.

Is a Freon leak dangerous? What should you do if you spot a leak in your home? We’ll answer all these questions and more below.

What Causes AC Refrigerant Leaks?

Most AC breakdowns are caused by age-related wear and tear, and refrigerant leaks are no exception. As your air conditioning system approaches the end of its useful life, the joints, evaporator coil and condenser coil are the first parts of your AC unit to deteriorate. When they become worn down, they develop holes that leak refrigerant.

With that in mind, there is a specific type of corrosion (called formicary corrosion) that causes refrigerant leaks even on relatively new systems. Fortunately, most manufacturers have made improvements to the materials in order to prevent these issues. 

Below we share 5 signs of a freon leak. If you notice any of these signs contact your friendly technicians at Polar Bear and we may recommend a professional refrigerant leak search to confirm if there is a leak and exactly where it is. Doing so will protect your home from the dangers of freon leaks and empower you with concrete options to solve the problem for good.

Does Refrigerant Need to be Replaced?

No! Refrigerant does not get “used up” like oil or gas. Unless there is a leak somewhere in your unit, Freon should remain intact for the lifetime of your air conditioning system. It also does not have an expiration date, so you never have to worry about replacing it. 

5 Common Symptoms of an AC Freon Leak

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t make a habit of checking your outdoor air conditioner daily. When everything is working properly, you shouldn’t have to! But keep these inconspicuous signs in mind, so you know when to check if your AC is leaking.

Is a Freon Leak a Major Problem for an Air Conditioner?

We referred to freon leaks as a “worst-case scenario”. You might be wondering why that is… Apart from the potential health risks there are a number of reasons refrigerant leaks are usually major problems.

  • Firstly, in order to fix freon leaks properly it requires a very specific procedure, as well as, replacing all of the original refrigerant! This is a bit like doing surgery on your AC system and can be expensive.
  • When an air conditioning system runs on low refrigerant it can cause damage to the compressor – the heart of the system – thereby shortening the system lifespan.
  • Also, it is common for the evaporator coil in the indoor air handler to freeze into a big block of ice during a refrigerant leak. If undetected the ice can melt and can cause damage to the internal insulation and air handler cabinet.
  • Lastly, as a consequence of the melting ice in the evaporator coil, heavy moisture can build up in the air handler and ductwork and promote the growth of microorganisms like mold and mildew.

This is why finding refrigerant leaks early is a huge advantage and this is why preventative air conditioning maintenance in Cayman is so important!

What Are the Health Risks of an AC Freon Leak?

So, is a Freon leak dangerous? This largely depends on several factors:

  • Whether your exposure is long-term or short-term
  • The levels of exposure
  • The type of refrigerant
  • If the solution was ingested or inhaled‌
  • If the solution spilled onto your skin

Depending on the above factors, you might suffer from headaches, coughing, shortness of breath, eye irritation, or worse. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a medical professional if you’re showing symptoms of refrigerant poisoning!

Freon is not only dangerous for humans and our furry friends but also for the environment overall. It contains harmful chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, which is why most countries have taken action to phase out R-22 refrigerant. 

Contact Polar Bear for AC Freon Leak Detection and Repair Services

Now that you understand the dangers of a Freon leak, we bet you’ll never skip another quarterly air conditioning maintenance check. So don’t wait until you need an air conditioner repair — especially if your system is showing signs of a refrigerant leak, such as blowing warm air or taking a long time to cool down. 

To restore cool air and peace of mind in your home, contact us today. We’ll thoroughly check your condenser and evaporator coils using specialized technology and offer you an affordable, long-lasting solution. 


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