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?
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.
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).
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
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
Today's leak detectors work great at finding very tiny leaks.
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.
Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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 :)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.