How Do You Know if Your Refrigerator Is Leaking Gas?

Are you left wondering what causes your food to spoil in your fridge or a sudden spike in your electricity bills off late?

If you are not able to pinpoint or detect any logical cause behind these signs, it may indicate the potential gas leak in your refrigerator.

How to Know if the Fridge is Leaking Gas?

There are various tell-tale signs of gas leakage in your refrigerator, such as your foodstuff getting spoiled or remaining warm, unexplained hike in your electricity bills, musty smell coming out of the refrigerator, the motor is constantly running, and experiencing health issues without any apparent reasons.

Your fridge uses refrigerant like freon or other gases, responsible for heat transfer to keep internal compartments cool and maintain food at lower temperatures. Even though it is engineered to be a closed system, it may leak and adversely affects your food and health.

Thus, you should be aware of the signs of gas leakage. Keep on reading till the end as this article elaborates on the most common gas leak signs that help you confirm the gas leakage and take timely appropriate measures for avoiding gas-related health hazards.

Tell-Tale Signs of Gas Leakage From Your Refrigerator

Gas leakage from your refrigerator is a rarely occurring phenomenon; however, you should keep an eye out for common gas leak signs if you begin to experience most of these signs at the same time.

Food Gets Spoiled or Stays Warmer

As gas acts as a refrigerant for keeping lower temperatures in the refrigerator, its leakage interferes with the cooling mechanism of the fridge. Due to this, the food items or drinks are not kept cold and fresh as a normal fridge would have without any leakage.

Thus, if you notice that your food items are spoiled or staying warmer even after being stored inside the fridge for many hours, it indicates gas leakage. Before all your groceries get stale, you should get your fridge checked for addressing the issue quickly.

When gas starts leaking, you may not feel its impact instantly because the insulation layers sustain the cold inside the fridge and keep your food items cooler for some time. Slowly, the temperature rises and your foodstuff gets rotten.

Refrigerator’s Motor is Constantly Running

In a normal functioning refrigerator, the thermostat detects the rise in temperature and activates the compressor and condenser assembly. This causes the gas to cool down the chambers and lowers the temperature back to the desired level.

Whenever there is a gas leakage, the refrigerator’s motor constantly runs for long periods to compensate for the inadequate amount of refrigerant. This condition puts the motor under excessive strain and exposes it to more significant risks of breakdown.

Thus, the compressor and the condenser assembly is forced to work continuously even though there is no cooling of the fridge’s interior chambers. Before things go too awry, you need to act swiftly and get it fixed.

Sudden Spike in Electricity Bills

When you get higher electricity bills without any apparent reason, it may indicate some issue with your fridge. Due to gas leakage, your refrigerator’s motor runs continuously for more extended periods for maintaining the desired lower temperatures.

The constant running of the motor uses large amounts of energy and consequently results in increased electricity consumption. Thus, if your electricity bills are getting higher, check for the fault in your appliances, including the refrigerator.

Musty Smell

If you experience an odd and musty smell nearby your refrigerator, it may be due to the refrigerant gas like freon. This chemical smell is even more pronounced if your refrigerator is stored in a closed or contained space like your garage.

Try to find out the source of the odd smell, and if you can’t trace it inside your refrigerator with any food items or drink, don’t ignore it, as it may be due to the leakage of freon gas.

If you are not familiar with what freon or other refrigerant gas smells like, look out for other signs like if the motor has been running for long periods constantly, check if the oil has spread on the floor, or feel the smell of burning wire.

Moreover, you can also use freon’s leak detection kits available in the market for confirming the leakage and tracing the leakage point.

Falling ill Without Any Reason

Lately, if you or other family members are falling ill and you don’t seem to figure out the exact cause, it may be due to prolonged exposure to the freon gas. When you inhale freon for long periods, it may result in adverse health consequences.

Some common symptoms experienced after inhaling high concentrations of freon are headaches, migraines, nausea, incidences of fainting, etc.

It is specifically more dangerous for individuals with heart ailments because it may cause arrhythmia and palpitations.

As freon does not accumulate in the body, it does not cause any serious long-term health effects like organ damage, nor it serves as a carcinogen. If you attribute your health issues to freon leakage, you should get your refrigerator checked as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing some or more of these tell-tale signs of freon leakage, it’s time to seek a professional refrigerator repair specialist for achieving a long-lasting solution to gas leakage issues.

Is the Gas in the Fridge Dangerous?

Yes, the gases like freon used as refrigerants in the refrigerator are dangerous. However, if you are exposed to freon or other refrigerant gases for prolonged periods, you are only at risks of severe health consequences.

The danger with freon and other such gases lies due to direct exposure through inhalation, as these gases can interfere with the oxygen supply to your cells and lungs. It may cause vomiting, headache, dizziness, chemical burns, irritation of eyes, throat, ears, etc.

Having said that, direct exposure to freon and other gases is rare. Refrigerators are designed to contain freon or other gases in a closed system so that not even small traces of freon can escape as it may interfere with the cooling mechanism and cause serious health issues.

In most cases of freon leakage, you are at risk of limited degree exposure that is mildly harmful. Thus, you need not panic unnecessarily as your refrigerator is safe to use as it uses dangerous gases like freon in a strictly controlled environment.

What Happens When a Fridge Runs Out of Gas?

Your fridge depends on the refrigerant like freon or other gases to maintain lower temperatures inside its compartments and keep food items/drinks fresh and cold.

However, in the event, a fridge runs out of gas, its cooling efficiency decreases, and eventually, it becomes dysfunctional and stops working. All this happens slowly over a period of time.

Let’s discuss in detail what happens inside your fridge as the levels of gas are reduced increasingly and gradually.

Beginning Stage 

As soon as your fridge begins to run out of gas, the food items inside its compartments begin to freeze. You will see the salad turning black, tomatoes freezing in the vegetable tray, milk and eggs starting to freeze, etc. These signs are often overlooked as thermostat issue.

Second Stage 

In this stage, you can confirm that your fridge has run out of gas. It is marked by a faint mouldy odour and considerable build-up of ice in the condenser plate.

Third Stage 

In this stage, the level of gas reduces further, and you will observe large blocks of ice building at the corners of the refrigerator section. Moreover, there is an accumulation of a large amount of ice in the freezer section, and you may find it difficult to close the freezer’s door.

At this stage, you may also listen to a clicking sound that indicates you need to refill your fridge as soon as possible.

Fourth stage

Your fridge is left with only traces of gas at this stage, and it stops making any further ice. You will see that the inside back of the refrigerator gets wet with continuous water dripping. The freezer section is packed with ice, and there is a marked increase in the mouldy smell.

Your fridge is overwhelmed with ice in every compartment, and you need to break open the inside shelves that are completely frozen and stuck. The clicking sound increases substantially, and you need to go for emergency fridge repairs immediately.

Fifth Stage 

This stage is marked by your fridge taking its last breaths and run out of gas finally. It becomes very noisy and gets dysfunctional for extended periods. It’s like your fridge is approaching slow and painful death.

Whatever foodstuff that was frozen before begins to unfreeze, and it starts defrosting. This will continue till your fridge stops completely and goes silent as if it has breathed its last.


Your refrigerator is an indispensable home appliance, and you should not wait for it to run out of gas completely before refilling it. As soon as you observe the first stage of low gas levels, you should call professionals for addressing the issue on time.

Megha Kothari

Megha leads the content strategy and oversees an amazing team of writers, editors, and designers, all having one goal in mind – to create brilliant content that helps people make the right purchase investment. When she is not working, you can find her enjoying making delicious food and planning her next travel.

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