How to Know if Your Refrigerator Needs Freon? (EXPLAINED)

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.


How to Know if Your Refrigerator Needs Freon

Do you have a fridge that isn’t cooling properly, or is struggling with temperature control? There are several reasons why a fridge might be struggling with temperature control, but one common issue could be a potential freon leak.

If you suspect a freon leak is a reason for your fridge’s issues, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s explore what you need to know to figure out if your fridge has a freon leak and the steps you can take to solve the problem.

What Is Freon?

freon tank

Before we get into the details, it’s a good idea to ensure we all know what freon is.

Freon refers to the cooling liquid refrigerant that is used inside of a cooling system in refrigerators, mini fridges, air conditioners, and other appliances.

Adding freon to a fridge or having low freon is not something you typically need to worry about. This is because appliances with freon cooling systems will have a consistent supply of this coolant, as it is a closed system.

This is not a substance that you need to consistently top up and refill, such as gas in a generator. However, if you have a freon leak that compromises your cooling system, you will need to fix the leak and add more to the system.

Do All Refrigerators Have Freon?

freon compressor

No, all refrigerators do not use freon in their cooling systems. Though at one time Freon was one of the most popular coolants to use in appliances, it was widely phased out of usage in the 90s.

This reduction in using freon in appliances was due to the negative impact freon was having on the environment, in combination with the invention of newer, more efficient cooling technologies.

If you have a refrigerator manufactured before 1994, it has a freon system. If it is a more modern refrigerator, though, your fridge won’t use freon.

How to Know if Your Refrigerator Needs Freon

Here are some things you can do to try and determine if your fridge is low on freon.

Fridge Can’t Maintain Temperature

refrigerator technician

One of the signs that your fridge could be low on freon is a warm refrigerator. As freon is what is used to keep a fridge’s cooling system working, freon leakage in the freon lines is going to compromise that system.

Be sure to regularly check your fridge’s thermostat to see if it can keep food cold and listen for the fridge’s evaporator fan. If you find your fridge is constantly using the fan and is still struggling with temperature control, it could be time to check your fridge for a liquid refrigerant leak.

Hissing or Gurgling Noise

If you hear a constant hissing or gurgling sound while your fridge is in use, this can also indicate a freon leak! This noise often means freon gas or liquid refrigerant is escaping your fridge’s closed system coils.

More Expensive Bills

electricity bill

If you’ve noticed an increase in your electrical bill, this can also indicate a freon leak issue.

If your fridge’s cooling system is compromised and low on freon, your fridge’s temperature control is going to be compromised. As a result, your fridge will have to work harder than normal to keep cool, running at a near-constant rate.

With your fridge working harder it’s going to use a lot more power, and as a result, cost you a bit more money. If you have an increase in your bills and you’re not sure why, your fridge could be the culprit!

Unexplained Illness

Freon leaks can also result in unexpected bouts of illness in your home.

Freon is toxic, with freon consumption leading to issues like fainting, headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations. If people in your home are experiencing unexplained medical symptoms like these, it could be happening because of a freon leak.

Testing for a Liquid Refrigerant Freon Leak

To determine once and for all if your fridge has freon leakage and needs refrigerator repair, perform this simple test:

Step 1: Determine if Your Fridge Uses Freon

vintage refrigerator

The first thing you need to do is figure out if your refrigerator uses freon to keep cold.

The easiest way to do this is to find your fridge’s user manual, to look for its manufacture date and cooling system components to see if it has freon. Most refrigerators made before 1994 will use freon, so finding out the year your fridge was made is often a good enough way to figure out if you have a freon fridge.

Step 2: Turn Off Fridge

To start the test, turn off your refrigerator and ice maker. You can do this by unplugging your refrigerator from its wall outlet or cutting off the power using your circuit breaker box.

Step 3: Listen for Faint Hissing

Once your fridge is off, you should stop and listen with your ear pressed against the fridge. If you hear a faint hissing sound, your fridge has a freon leak.

To keep cool, the compressor in your fridge works to create pressurized gas using freon, moving through cooling tubes. If your fridge is off but you still hear a hissing or gurgling sound with your ear pressed against it, it means somewhere in the cooling system gas and/or freon is escaping the unit.

Step 4: Call for Refrigerator Repair

If you hear the hissing sound and think your fridge might be leaking freon, you should leave it unplugged and call for refrigerator repair.

It’s important to get this issue fixed fast! Freon is a toxic gas when consumed, whether through inhaling it or touching it.

Common Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions people have regarding freon leaks in fridges.

Can I fix a freon leak myself?

fixing refrigerator

We recommend only letting a certified refrigerator repair professional address any freon leaks on your fridge.

Freon is a toxic substance, and a refrigerator’s cooling system contains hazardous gas that is pressurized inside compressor coils. If you don’t know what you’re doing, approaching appliance repair on a broken fridge can be dangerous depending on the refrigerator’s conditions.

Can a fridge have too much freon?

Most fridges won’t have more freon than they need, as freon exists inside a closed system. This means that when a fridge is manufactured, all the freon the fridge will ever need should already exist within the fridge.

This is why you won’t ever need to add freon or worry about an insufficient supply of freon in a fridge. Freon only really becomes an issue when a system is damaged, leading to leaks.

Does my mini refrigerator use freon?

Depending on its age, your mini refrigerator could be using freon to operate! Check your mini fridges age and user manual to determine if it is a freon refrigerator.

Our Final Thoughts

Testing to see if your fridge uses freon is a straightforward process. Once you figure out a fridge’s age to begin the process, you can then determine whether the fridge uses freon. Then you can simply use your sense to smell and listening skills to identify a leak and need for repair.

Remember, refrigerators are heavy duty appliances with complex cooling systems, so issues like a freon leak should always be left to the professionals! Always reach out to professionals before attempting to do any kind of home repair.