Is Freon Gas Harmful/Deadly?

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by jeff, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. jeff

    jeff Formula 3

    Feb 19, 2001
    North America
    I've done a Google and Yahoo search on freon gas but cannot find an answer. I have a heat pump that is located inside my condo closet. The compressor unit is outside on the roof. The unit was completely empty of freon. The seviceman found a fitting leak in the outside compressor.

    My question is: what happens if freon leaks from inside the house? Does it have long term effects like causing cancer? Can it be deadly like carbon monoxide? Or does it just dissipate into the air?
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  3. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    SF, Bay Area
    No, not deadly in the sense that you and I are used to. Freon is an ozone depleting gas and was banned years ago in refrigerant and production facilities.
  4. Bryan

    Bryan Formula 3

    Assuming that you have Freon 12 or the commercial equivalent from another manufacturer (Freon is DuPont trade name for chlorofluorocarbons-CFCs), here is a link to an MSDS

    Not what you want to mix in your martini, but there is no evidence of long-term health impacts like cancer. It does contribute to stratospheric ozone depletion, which is why CFCs are banned from manufacture and being gradullay replaced in use with HCFCs or HCFs.

    It is a neurotoxin, which is why the part of the AC that contains Freons are outside, in case of a leak.
  5. jeff

    jeff Formula 3

    Feb 19, 2001
    North America
    Thanks everyone for the quick responses.
  6. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

    Aug 3, 2002
    Full Name:
    Carbon McCoy
    They replaced it with chlorotrifluoromethane, right...? cicf3...? Or is that, primarily, a pharmaceutical refrigerant...?
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  8. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    SF, Bay Area
    I am not sure what it was replaced with but there are quite a bit of information on the net for CFC replacement. CFCs were also used after solder flow to wash off the flux in electronic board mfg which may have been a different compound than the CFC-12 (the refrigerant).
  9. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
    Full Name:
    F12 was replaced with F134 in automotive is toxic only in that it displaces 'huffing' it would be potentially fatal.

    A massive leak would be required for this to occur, past the capacity of residential systems. In installations with multiple large chillers, industrial or facility sized installations, an evacuation kit similar to SCUBA apparatus, is required, accessible to personnell.
  10. WJHMH

    WJHMH Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 5, 2001
    Panther City, Texas
    Full Name:
    Preferred Pronouns: Lord/Master
    Don't you mean R12 & R134A?
  11. Nibblesworth

    Nibblesworth Formula 3

    Nov 29, 2002
    Southern California
    Full Name:


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  13. Bryan

    Bryan Formula 3

    Replacement depends upon original application. See EPA site
  14. judge4re

    judge4re F1 World Champ

    Apr 26, 2003
    Never home
    Full Name:
    Dr. Dumb Ass
    Actually, answers to all of the questions asked can be found here:

    Selection of alternative refrigerants for industrial and commercial...

    Author: Nielsen, Erik
    Title: Selection of alternative refrigerants for industrial and commercial applications / Erik Nielsen.
    Publication Information: 1996.
    Description: xii, 124 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
    Notes: Thesis (M.S.)--Auburn University, 1996.
    Subject(s): Refrigerants --Environmental aspects.


    Library: Auburn University Libraries
    Location: Auburn RBD Library (2nd Floor) - Theses Collection
    Call Number: TME .N634

    Status: Not Checked Out


    Library: Auburn University Libraries
    Location: Theses & Dissertation Collection - (Grnd Flr)
    Call Number: TME .N634
  15. Jdubbya

    Jdubbya Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 28, 2003
    Full Name:

    It actually doesn't take as much as you might think. Freon is heavier than oxygen, that is why it displaces it. It will naturally flow to low areas or pits. If the area is small enough it wouldn't take much freon to displace enough oxygen to make the atmoshpere very human unfriendly (it doesn't have to displace all the oxygen to make the air deficient).

    It should also be noted that it is colorless and virtually ordorless so the first breath you take in an oxygen deficient area could be your last! You'll never see it coming.

    Obviously if you are using it in an open garage with a flat level floor you would have to have A LOT of it to cause any harm.

    Oh yeah, I'd advise against the huffing thing too!

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