Although Freon leaks aren’t common but when they do happen they can cause many negative impacts on your health. If you own an old air conditioner or any other appliances that use Freon It’s worth the effort to find out how you can ensure your family’s safety in the possibility of an incident.
Freon’s role in your Home
Freon is a brand name registered from The Chemours Company, the parent company of Dupont for a range of chemical compounds used in cooling devices like air conditioners, freezers as well as to propellant aerosol containers. The most commonly used kind of Freon that you will find within modern houses is Freon 22 which is known under the generic name R-22 refrigerant.
Refrigerant is the name given to the gas that is that is used in air conditioners and heaters to move heat from the inside to the outdoor (or reverse the process in winter).
The refrigerant R-22 is a gas with a chlorofluorocarbon odor that was used extensively throughout the 1930s, until the end of the 1980s, when it was discovered that this gas contributed to the loss of the oxygen layer. A large part of the reputation Freon has earned as a hazardous substance stems directly from the fact that it is a harmful substance.
Since 2005 the appliance makers have been gradually eliminating Freon to make way for the environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerant. A model manufactured after 2005 is not likely to contain Freon or R-410A, and any appliance made after 2010 cannot contain Freon as required by law.
How Freon Leaks Could Harm You
(c) 9dreamstudio / Adobe Stock
The only way Freon may end up outside the appliance is if the leak is caused by vandalism or accidental damage. In this case the gas is quickly ejected from the system, meaning there’s no need to fret about an infrequent, low-level Freon leak within your home.
If you are in the vicinity of a leaky refrigerant line but don’t notice it, you could be afflicted by some signs from exposure. This could include dizziness, breathlessness as well as loss of coordination and inability to concentrate. The skin rashes can be another sign that can be seen in people who have sensitive skin. Skin contact with direct force can lead to frostbite or chemical burns.
The symptoms will fade when you’re off the Freon. There is no evidence of long-term health consequences.
Small pets and children are more prone to the adverse effects of Freon partially due to their smaller size bodies and also due to the fact that Freon is more heavy than air, and therefore produces higher concentrations closer the surface. So, pets and children are more likely to experience health issues prior to any adult within the household.
The dangers of refrigerant poisoning
If you’ve heard about Freon being a major cause of health issues it’s possible that you’re thinking of a condition that is known as refrigerant poisoning. It can happen when a person intentionally inhale Freon to get a “high.”
Initial symptoms are headache nausea, dizziness, and irritation of the nose, eyes and throat. As time passes, the symptoms can lead into seizures, loss of consciousness and ultimately death.
Leaks in the house doesn’t expose you to the excessive levels of Freon required to trigger symptoms such as these.
Make a swift decision to protect your Health
(c) adrian_ilie825 / Adobe Stock
The AC requires refrigerant in order to cool the air. Therefore, a Freon leak will soon be evident when you utilize the system. Try cooling your home using an AC that’s leaky and you’ll be able to see:
- The air you breathe isn’t so cool like it ought to.
- The humidity in your home is higher than it is supposed to be.
- The coils of the air conditioner’s indoor evaporator are frozen.
If you see these indications look at your outdoor condenser as well as an indoor air handler to find the hissing sound that comes from the escape of refrigerant. This sounds is a sure indicator of a leak in the air conditioner’s refrigerant line made of copper.
Following an earthquake or a severe storm are another time when you’ll need to examine the refrigerant lines for damage even if you’ve never observed any indications of damage.
If you notice an Freon leak in your home, then you should first take your pets and children out of the home. After that, open the doors and windows and use a blower when it is available to blow the polluted air outside. Get a professional to ensure that the leak stopped , and have the system recharged with refrigerant.
Leaks are more likely be found close to the condenser unit outside, therefore signs of loss of refrigerant aren’t necessarily a sign of an Freon leak within your home.
Vandalism is the most common cause of leaks from outside. Thieves could try to steal copper refrigerant lines to make a profit selling the copper as scrap, and addicts may cut the lines in a bid to obtain a high from the refrigerant.
Leaks can also happen underground and if your air conditioner is showing signs of leaks, you should contact an expert.
Even though a leak in the outdoors isn’t a threat for you, leaks of Freon could harm animals and plants, and also contribute to the damage to the ozone layer. Additionally, a low refrigerant levels puts stress on the compressor of your AC and can cause damage to it as well as other components. If you run your AC for excessively without enough refrigerant and the system could completely fail.
A Freon leak in your home may produce mild symptoms, such as shortness of breath and dizziness However, these symptoms will typically manifest only if you’re in close proximity to the leak for a prolonged period of time. It is also possible for your air conditioner to release all of its refrigerant without causing damage whatsoever to you.
If you observe evidence of a refrigerant leak that is originating from a new or old air conditioner, call an expert immediately to safeguard you, your family’s health or your AC system.