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Nicholson's Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. Blog

Is Refrigerant Dangerous to Inhale?

The short answer to this question is no, but that it can become dangerous when left in an enclosed space. While refrigerant isn’t as dangerous to a home as natural gas or smoke might be, it’s still not a good sign when you’ve got refrigerant leaking. There are some major scientific facts about refrigerant that you should know, since they heavily impact whether or not inhaling refrigerant will be dangerous.

This blog post is all about the chemical composition of refrigerant, what happens when it leaks or when you inhale it, and why professional AC repair in Pine Bluff, AR is so important. Leaks always need to be patched, and even if you think your system didn’t lose that much refrigerant, it needs to be recharged by a professional so it’s ready for the hot spring and summer temperatures to come.

So, let’s talk about refrigerant and why you should be wary of a leak.

What Is Refrigerant?

First of all, let’s talk about refrigerant and its chemical composition. In order for us to know about the effects of this material, we need to know what it’s made out of.

Most air conditioners these days use R-410A refrigerant, also known as “Puron.” It’s a hydrofluorocarbon, or HFC compound, which details some of the elements that construct it. The basic properties of refrigerant that you should know about are that it can both evaporate and condense easily and at mild temperatures. This allows the compressor of your heat pump or air conditioner to constantly cycle it from gas to liquid, which draws heat to and from the system, creating a cooling effect.

What Happens When You Inhale Refrigerant?

You might detect leaking refrigerant in your home from a sweet, chloroform-like scent wafting out of the refrigerant lines. Don’t panic, it’s not dangerous like carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide when you inhale it. If anything, it can just be offputting to inhale.

The dangerous aspect of refrigerant leaking into your home’s atmosphere is the fact that it’s denser than the oxygen in your air. This means it’s going to push all the air out of a room when it leaks into it, causing respiratory problems for anyone living in that space. Inhaling refrigerant isn’t the problem, it’s that inhaling refrigerant means you’re inhaling less oxygen, which is a major problem.

Leaking Refrigerant Can Be Dangerous

This is one of the biggest reasons why we want homeowners to call for professional support when they suspect a refrigerant leak. Sure, the condition of your air conditioner is of major importance, and your energy bills will suffer from lack of refrigerant, but your personal safety is more important than anything.

Inhaling Puron refrigerant won’t hurt you or cause any long-lasting effects, but it’s not good for the circulation and air quality of your home. The odor of refrigerant will stain your living space and make your home harder to live in. Call our team for support with your heat pump or air conditioner.

Call Nicholson’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. for more information on our AC services. Customer satisfaction is our #1 goal.

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John has put in several systems in the houses I've built over the years and I was always pleased.Fair, honest and a man of true integrity.

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