Can I Use Automotive R134A In A Refrigerator? (Full Details!)

Last Updated on September 6, 2022 by John K. Clifford

You should not use R134a refrigerant for a refrigerator. Here it is necessary to consider that this refrigerant is specially designed for use in an air conditioner. Refrigerants in a refrigerator and an air conditioner have a pressure difference that needs to be considered.

HFC-134a – Pros & Cons

Established and well-known technology in general
It is one of the components that are not flammable
This component is not toxic to people’s health
Many results showed excellent efficiency to improve energy
Emissions of refrigerants from direct production can be reduced
A hazardous component that increases the direct greenhouse effect
Recovery and recycling costs are often high
Costs to design leakage reductions should be considered
In many places, this refrigerant is usually taxed
The heat pump offers limited performance when using this refrigerant 

How Do You Detect A Freon Leak In Your Refrigerator?

In general, refrigerators that are a few years old often have some common drawbacks. Among the units manufactured recently, Freon is often used as an essential material. This component allows each food inside to maintain an efficient temperature.

So, this component orients a low temperature to each of the internal components. The heat transfer is more efficient in a refrigerator with Freon. Of course, this type of component is used for cooling in a closed system. The moment there is a leakage this can be dangerous for people’s health.

Also, the freshness of the food is not the same here because the cooling does not work properly. For you to have the possibility to avoid this type of problem, we can mention the 5 most common signs that you can detect. In this way, you will have the possibility of avoiding health problems and further deterioration of your refrigerator.

1. Food Temperature 

The moment you touch food in your refrigerator and the temperature is not right, then something bad is happening. We all expect all the food in the refrigerator to be at a low, cool temperature. That’s why when we find food at a natural or hot temperature we can be alarmed.

When you detect that the food inside your refrigerator is hot, then it may be because of a leak in the closed system. As we have mentioned, a leak in the cooling system releases Freon and can be very dangerous for several reasons. Here you will notice that the food is not fresh and cold as usual.

When too much time passes, then the food could get bad inside your refrigerator. Here, it is advisable to detect this inconvenience as soon as possible. In this way, you will avoid harming the health of others and your own.

In turn, you could also prevent the food inside from going bad for good. In other words, as time goes by then the amount of money lost also increases in the same sense.

2. Constant Operation Of The Engine

In the presence of a leak, the entire closed system along with the engine of the cooler starts to function improperly. Freon is used to lower the temperature of the condenser and compressor. When the refrigerator is operating normally, the temperature increases. This is why with a lower amount of Freon, the operation begins to become unbalanced.

With which a Freon leak forces the motor to run excessively. From the first moment of the leak in the closed system, the engine will start to increase its operation.

Of course, excessive operation of the motor is not recommended as it significantly shortens the life of the motor. However, the motor tries to compensate for the new deterioration that suffers the closed circuit.

In this way, the engine tries to compensate for the decrease in the amount of coolant in the whole system. Besides, the engine voltage also increases disproportionately as the operation continues. Furthermore, as time goes by and this situation continues, the problems will get worse and worse.

In other words, the engine will continue to run excessively and this continues to allow the voltage to increase. One of the possible results is that the motor is damaged which is much more expensive to repair. So, if you don’t want to spend too much money on repairs, you should detect Freon leaks immediately.

3. Increased Electricity Consumption

When you detect excessive electricity consumption for no apparent reason, you need to pay attention to it. In simple words, here some device or appliance in your home is working improperly. As mentioned, the motor may be running disproportionately to compensate for the Freon leakage.

Of course, when this happens, then a greater amount of electricity is needed to run the motor excessively. Thus, then the electricity bill will increase regardless of whether it is winter, summer, or an off-season time. It would even be a real inconvenience if this happens in the seasons when electricity is used the most.

Here, the refrigerator will simply run for many more hours requiring a greater amount of electricity that you will have to pay the next month. This same secret can be useful not only for checking your refrigerator.

This type of inconvenience can also occur with other widely used appliances in the home. You will be able to prevent damage and save some money by doing so. To do this, you should only be aware of the monthly electricity consumption when the correct levels are found.

4. Bad Smells In The Refrigerator

If you have never dealt with Freon, then you should know that the smell is similar to moisture. When you detect a musty smell inside your refrigerator, there may be a leak in the closed system. This odor will allow you to prevent the food inside from deteriorating and producing much worse odors.

Therefore, if you detect a strange or bad smell inside your refrigerator, you should leave the food aside. So, it is much worse to deal with a Freon leak than bad food. Foods in poor condition or simply can be removed from the refrigerator and replaced with other foods. However, a freon leak cannot be more complicated and costly.

As we have mentioned, a Freon leak can lead to excessive engine operation and an excessive increase in stress. Thus the number of breakdowns and failures can start to generate with this disproportionate and unbalanced operation.

This is why you should check the cooling system for faults when you detect a musty smell. In this way you can repair any Freon leakage and avoid a lot of problems, thus saving money.

5. Deterioration Of Health

One of the dangers of Freon leaking from a refrigerator is that it can damage people’s health by breathing. In this case, people could suffer several symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fainting, or others. Of course, as exposure to cold is not maintained then these types of problems can also get worse.

When any of these symptoms appear, then it is necessary to check that the closed system does not have any Freon leakage. This way, it will be much more convenient to detect this type of problem as soon as possible. Those with arrhythmia, palpitations, or another history of heart problems may be the most affected.

Too much Freon buildup could cause serious damage or allow for the presence of cancerous components. To reduce the severity of these problems, it is recommended that you hire a specialist. So, the important thing here is to make sure your refrigerator works properly for good.

How Bad Is R134A For The Environment?

In 1995, this gas was introduced to Australia and was considered ozone-friendly. That’s why it has been used extensively in many air conditioners since then. However, today, this component is classified as an environmentally hazardous gas.

This type of gas has been classified as a container with a high global warming potential. That is why in recent years there have been attempts to replace this gas with other components for the operation of an air conditioner. This gas is carbon neutral and is classified as GWP 1. So as time goes by companies continue to replace this gas. 


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