One of the first questions we get from homeowners about their ACs refrigerant leak is whether or not it’s dangerous to have in your home. Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat, refrigerant leaks are not the same as gas leaks from a furnace. The two materials are very different and being near one is not like being near the other.
Gas leaks are flammable, and usually if gas is leaking from a furnace, chances are likely that other fumes like carbon monoxide are leaking as well. With a refrigerant leak, the only thing that’s leaking is refrigerant, which is neither flammable nor fatal. However, refrigerant is not a good thing to inhale and it can cause problems for you in more ways than one.
If you’re nervous about a refrigerant leak, or you’re unsure that you have a leak in your home, be sure to call our team for AC repair or to schedule air conditioning maintenance in Apopka, FL.
What Is Refrigerant?
First, let’s talk about what refrigerant is so we can better understand how it interacts with your body. Most air conditioners use a refrigerant called “R-410A,” or “Puron” to be more exact. This refrigerant is much different from older refrigerants that used to be used in air conditioners, like “Freon.” Puron is a blended HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) that’s exceptionally good at evaporating and condensing without much energy needed. This material is great for transferring heat.
The good news is that Puron is neither flammable nor toxic to breathe in, so even if you’re standing right next to a refrigerant leak, it’s not going to hurt your body physically at that moment. The only thing you might notice at that moment is the slightly sweet, chloroform-like smell of refrigerant gas being leaked into your air.
Why Is a Refrigerant Leak Dangerous Still?
Don’t ignore a refrigerant leak just because inhaling it isn’t dangerous, it still can be dangerous for one very particular reason. Puron is heavier than air, which means it can push air out of a space that it leaks into. If your refrigerant line is leaking into your home, the Puron could push the oxygen out of your home so that you have trouble breathing and start dealing with adverse health effects.
Don’t worry, refrigerant leak illnesses and deaths are extremely rare, but they do still happen. That’s why we want to be clear that you need to get your leak patched and your system recharged as quickly as possible!
Detecting a Refrigerant Leak
One way to detect a refrigerant leak is by listening for it. A hissing or bubbling noise coming from your air conditioner is usually a good place to start since that’s the sound of gaseous refrigerant leaking out, or oxygen leaking into the liquid lines.
Also, check your system efficacy and efficiency. Refrigerant leaks can cause systems to overwork and provide less cooling power while consuming more energy.
Schedule Repairs or Maintenance
If you’ve got a refrigerant leak, make sure you call our team for quick repairs. Or, schedule a maintenance appointment with us so we can inspect your refrigerant lines and know for certain that your system isn’t leaking.