Freon Leak in Central A/C

I had my a/c (Trane) checked today, and it needed just under a pound of Freon. It leaked out over the course of a year (I know this because it was serviced a year ago). The leak is probably coming from the coils, which I would rather hold off on replacing for a few months. My question is this: when Freon leaks from the system, where does it go? Is it possible for it to get into the air that blows into the house?
--
Ross Payne



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Ross Payne wrote:

It goes into the environment immediate surrounding the leak which in the case of the evaporator coil is in the air handler where it will be blown into the house.
Other than the wasted Freon and perhaps EPA police, why would you care? Freon is 100% harmless to pretty much everything unless it's in such a quantity that it displaces oxygen which is real unlikely in a house with a house sized A/C unit. Indeed Freon is a component in most aerosol inhalers which are intended for direct inhalation.
Pete C.
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Thanks Pete. I was not aware that Freon was so harmless, and thought it might be toxic. My intent is to have the coils replaced, but just not right now (cost for one thing, and also it isn't leaking that bad).
Ross

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Ross Payne wrote:

Many of the replacements for Freon are more toxic and less efficient than the Freon was.
If the location of the leak can be determined it may be possible to evacuate the system, braze the leak shut and recharge the system. I've seen it done on a large computer room A/C unit where the leak was caused by a line rubbing against part of the frame as opposed to corrosion. The lines were otherwise sound and the line was secured so it couldn't rub again.
Pete C.
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Pete C. writes:

Not typically practical in an evaporator coil.
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wrote:

Cost of freon would cause me to care. Which would make me ask the technician where the freon leaked. Many news companies do hidden camera checks on HVAC technicians billing for unneeded freon recharges.
Today's leak detectors work great at finding very tiny leaks.

tom
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Or unless it comes in contact with high heat (such as a fire) and can break down into phosgene.
I heard the inhalers were R-12. Most central AC is R-22.
Saying freon is like saying "fruit". There are several different kinds. I've personally worked with R12, R22, R500, R409, R414B, R502, and maybe a couple others I can't thik of, offhand.
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Christopher A. Young
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One pound of refrigerant leaking out over a one year period into the living space means that only 0.0027 pounds per day are released into that space. Assuming one air change per day in the house (which is minimal) there would only be this much refrigerant suspended in the air at any given time. In contrast, one cubic foot of air weighs about 0.073 pounds, and thus there is about 27 times more air (by weight) in one cubic foot of the living space than there is refrigerant within the entire house. If a house is 2200 square ft, with 8 foot ceilings, then it contains about 16,000 cubic feet of air (subtracting fixtures and wall space). 1/43,200 of the volume in that home is occupied by refrigerant. That's 0.002 percent, or about 20 ppm (parts per million). That air is composed primarily of nitrogen, an inert gas, which would suffocate you if not for the oxygen suspended in it. Refrigerant is no more toxic than nitrogen to breath. If you inhaled the entire suspended quantity of refrigerant in the house in one single breath, minus any suspended toxins such as glue vapor, methane,and other construction and cleaning related pollutants, then you would have breathed a breath of air that is 100,000 times healthier than the toxin polluted air that the house already contains with our without the refrigerant leak. But if the trace of refrigerant in your breathing air worries you, then you should probably move out of the house until the coil is replaced :)
Richard Perry
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It can either go into the house, or outdoors. Yes, it can go into t he air which blows into the house.
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