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Are Freon Leaks Harmful?

Is Leaking Freon Harmful?

The good news is that there are really only two circumstances under which coming in contact with Freon may lead to serious problems. They are when someone:

  • works directly with refrigerants like Freon, whether because they work in the HVAC industry or otherwise work with products with refrigerants
  • deliberately sniffs Freon to get high; when deeply inhaled, this substance can cut off oxygen to someone’s lungs and body cells

By the time that contact with Freon turns into a situation of severe poisoning, lists that the following symptoms are likely to occur:

  • fluid buildup or bleeding in the lungs
  • burning sensation in the esophagus
  • vomiting up blood
  • decreased mental status
  • difficult, labored breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of consciousness
  • seizures

If you ever suspect that someone is in this situation, call 911 immediately or contact the Nation Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and let them know that this may be a case of Freon poisoning.

More Typical Freon Situations

What we’ve described above are the most extreme situations that can happen when Freon is inhaled. More typically, if there is a Freon leak, someone may end up with exposure to the substance and may experience some less severe symptoms, such as the following:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • coughing
  • eye irritation
  • throat irritation
  • ear irritation

If Freon gets on someone’s skin, there can be a rash. If the Freon is liquid, it can produce symptoms of frostbite.

If you have any reason to believe that you—or someone else—has been exposed to Freon and are suffering from symptoms, get away from the area. The symptoms should go away once you’re away from the substance, and there are no known long-term effects. According to, “It is not likely that a person will develop poisoning from a leaking home appliance, assuming it is in a well-ventilated area.”

What is Freon, Exactly? Why Was it Invented?

People needed a way to keep their food cool and, in the late 19th century, a certain type of refrigerators were created. Unfortunately, the cooling came about through the use of toxic gases. When methyl chloride would leak from the refrigerators, people would sometimes die as a result, and so these refrigerators were often kept outdoors.

To find a safer solution, three American companies—DuPont, Frigidaire and General Motors—collaborated. In 1928, Thomas Midgley, Jr., with the help of Charles Franklin Kettering, invented Freon. This was a much safer alternative, with a refrigerant leak no longer the potentially deadly event that it had previously been.

In fact, in 1930, Midgley presented this substance to the American Chemical Society, and he deeply inhaled some Freon and then breathed it onto a lit candle, extinguishing the flame. That showed how Freon was non-flammable (although, as later evidence showed, inhaling Freon on a regular basis can cause serious, even deadly, health consequences; it can be assumed that Midgley only did this as a demonstration).

In 1932, this “miracle” substance began to be used in home air-conditioning units. By 1935, it was used in eight million new refrigerators sold that year—an astonishing number when you consider that this was during the heart of the Great Depression. So, Freon was a significant step forward in refrigeration and air conditioning technology.

Eventually, it was discovered that the type of Freon invented by Midgley and Kettering (now referred to as R22), while a much safer refrigerant for people, was damaging the ozone layer of the environment.

(Side note: People search in Google on “Freon leak air conditioner harmful” in significant numbers. So, with the history of this substance in mind, the answer is that Freon was a much safer, non-toxic alternative for people, with an unanticipated negative impact on the environment.)

Fortunately, more eco-friendly refrigerant alternatives now exist.

Freon R22

When it was recognized that R22 was causing environmental problems, more environmentally-friendly options began being created. These refrigerants are often still referred to as Freon, no matter what their composition really is. Through 2003, some new air conditioning systems continued to be manufactured for R22 use, while others used newer, more eco-friendly options.

Effective January 1, 2020, R22 can no longer be manufactured in or imported into the United States, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, if you have an air conditioning system that uses R22, you have the rest of 2019 to have any Freon leaks fixed and the refrigerant brought back to acceptable levels.

What Happens When Freon Leaks

When air conditioning systems are installed and when they are maintained, one of the jobs of the technician is to ensure that just the right amount of refrigerant is in the system. When it operates as it should, refrigerant doesn’t need topped off, as the substance is recycled and reused. When there’s a leak, though, there’s less refrigerant available for the system to use, so it becomes less efficient.

Here are five signs that you may have a refrigerant leak.

Sign #1 Your AC System Isn’t Cooling as Well

If it takes longer for your house to become comfortable—or if, even when you turn down the temperature, it doesn’t cool down enough—then that’s a sign that you may have a leak. That’s not the only possibility, but it’s one thing that an AC technician would check.

Sign #2 Your Energy Bill is Going Up

When this happens, again, a Freon leak isn’t the only possibility, but it’s sure one of them. If you notice a spike in your bill, especially if it happened right around when you also noticed one or more of the other signs, then you should have your system checked out for a refrigerant leak.

Sign #3 You Hear Hissing Sounds

If you have refrigerant slipping through cracks in the coils of your AC system, this can make a strange hissing sound. If you hear a gurgling sound, it may mean a larger Freon leak. Although weird noises coming from your AC system can mean a variety of things, a leak is definitely one of them.

Sign #4 Your Evaporator Coil is Icy

Your evaporator coil is part of the outside portion of your AC system, part of the back section that leads into your house. If there is ice building up on this coil, or frozen condensation appears to have melted and dripped into puddles, this may indicate a leak. If your coil feels cold when you touch it, that’s another sign.

Sign #5 Something Stinks

Freon leaks can have a pretty weird smell. So, if you notice this, it makes sense to have your AC system checked.

Different Sizes of Leaks

Leaks in your AC system can be pretty small, even pinhole-size. In that case, technicians can typically spot tiny bubbles in the coils. It’s better to catch the problem when the holes are still considered “champagne leaks” than waiting until they get bigger. Bigger holes can equal bigger problems.

Charlotte Air Conditioning Repair Services

If you suspect you have a refrigerant leak, or if you’re not sure what the problem is but you know your AC system isn’t operating properly, please contact us online or call us at 704-216-4301. We’re here to help with fast, professional air conditioning repair service, available 24/7 in the greater Charlotte area.


Charlotte Air Conditioning Maintenance Services


Our trained technicians are also ready to professionally maintain your HVAC system twice a year to keep it in premium condition and to help you get the absolute most out of your system. Every spring/early summer, we will maintain your AC system—and, in the fall/early winter, we’ll do the same for your heating system.


If you need air conditioning maintenance services in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, contact us online or call us at 704-216-4301. If you’d like to take advantage of significant savings, then we invite you to join our Comfort Club. As a club member, you will go right to the front of the line when it’s time to receive your precision tune-up, professional cleaning, and overall rejuvenation of your air conditioning, along with an annual safety check—as well as the same type of service in the fall/early winter for your furnace.

When you regularly maintain your HVAC system, it becomes less likely that you’ll have a system breakdown. In fact, if you do have one when you’re a Comfort Club member, then you’ll get the

next six months of your membership for FREE.


New Air Conditioning System in Charlotte, North Carolina


If it’s time for you to get a new, efficient air conditioning unit, then we invite you to book your appointment today. You may want a replacement system because your old one uses R22 Freon—or you may be ready to take advantage of today’s energy-efficient models that will save you money on your energy bills.


We provide services throughout the entire Charlotte area—and, if you don’t see your area listed, contact us, anyhow, because our area of operation extends far beyond that of the Charlotte metro region!

6 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Air Conditioner

How to Know You’ve Reached The Tipping Point On AC Repairs

Even the most well-maintained air conditioner will reach the end of its lifecycle at some point. Like a car, there comes a time when sinking more money in for repairs each season is actually more costly than investing in a full replacement. A new unit with a manufacturer’s warranty, and in many cases attractive energy tax credits, may be the way to go. 

Here are 6 signs that it may be time for a full AC system upgrade.

  1. Frequent breakdowns. We love to see our customers, but if we are out to your house for more than just seasonal system maintenance each year due to frequent breakdowns, a replacement AC unit should be considered. We would rather see the money you do invest in your HVAC system going toward a new unit under warranty that will provide comfort in your home for much less cost and much higher energy efficiency.


  1. Air conditioner is more than 10 years old. Chances are if you are experiencing frequent breakdowns, your system is more than ten years old. A properly maintained air conditioner can be expected to last about 15 years. If it’s been under the care of One Hour Heating and Air, you may get a few years past the average lifecycle. If your system has been in your home for more than a decade and you haven’t done seasonal tuneups or maintenance, call us today for a comprehensive inspection to fully assess the health of your AC unit. 


  1. Air conditioner is inefficient. If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate it. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.


  1. You’re facing expensive repairs. This goes hand-in-hand with all the other points. If the repairs you face now are more than 20% of the cost of a new unit, and you’ve experienced other repairs within the last year or two, it makes more financial sense to replace your AC unit. Chances are the expensive repair you’re facing today will lead to another sooner rather than later. 


  1. Air conditioner uses R22 Freon. Freon is being phased out by the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide. As a result, the costs of Freon are rising exponentially. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you’ll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410-A). If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit. 


  1. Your home isn’t comfortable. The previous five signs lead to this; do you have a hard time keeping your home cool and comfortable? The bottom line is that you are paying each month for the power to run your AC system and if it is not operating at peak efficiency, you are losing money with every utility payment. You are also losing out on the full benefit of cool, climate controlled air during the warmer months of the year. If you’ve already spent a notable amount on repairs and this has not improved your home’s comfort level, then now is the time to make a change. 


One Hour Heating and Air can provide a free consultation on the AC system that will work best for your home’s size and usage demands. We can also provide financing options that will make this important investment easier to handle. 

Contact us for our weekly and monthly specials

Call our 24/7 customer service line today 704-251-0610.


Got Geothermal Heat & Air Conditioning? We Do!

One Hour Heating & Air
Geothermal heating and cooling provide all of the comfort of a traditional HVAC system but without the traditional maintenance efforts needed to keep them running in top condition. The principle behind how these systems work is somewhat similar to how tree roots provide energy to leaves and branches. At One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning Charlotte, we can provide you with geothermal heating and air conditioning that will give you with long-term, reliable performance.

How Geothermal Heating and Geothermal Cooling Work

Geothermal heat and geothermal air take advantage of the fact that while the surface temperature of the ground outside your home may fluctuate, deep underground the temperatures don’t change nearly as dramatically. A mere four to six feet under the ground, the temperature remains fairly constant 12 months a year. Geothermal systems typically consist of an indoor handling unit and buried pipes, using what is known as an “earth loop” to heat and cool your home. Fluid inside the pipes absorb stored heat in the colder months and carry that heat indoors. The inside handler then compresses the heat to raise the temperature and distributes it throughout a home. During the warmer months, the process works in reverse.

Benefits of Geothermal Heat and Air Conditioning Systems

These are just a few of the reasons that you should consider geothermal heat and air conditioning systems for your home.

  1. Geothermal systems use a fraction of the electricity needed by traditional HVAC systems.
  2. The earth loops don’t require a great deal of space. In fact, in some cases they only take up a few square feet of property.
  3. Geothermal systems run very quietly and can last for several decades.
  4. They are powerful enough to handle multiple loads at the same time, so they can heat your water, your pool and your home simultaneously.
  5. Federal and local tax incentives, in conjunction with new installation practices, are helping to make geothermal systems comparable in price with traditional HVAC systems.

Find out more about how going green, using geothermal heating and geothermal cooling, heat pumps, and installing solar heating and cooling can bring you a higher level of comfort and substantial energy savings over the long run.

Give us a call at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating Charlotte at 980-354-1307 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.

Hot or Cold? Keep Your Home How You Like It With the Nest

One Hour Heating & Air

Nest Thermostat

At One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning Charlotte, we stay on top of all the latest advancements in technology so we can continue to bring our customers the best and most efficient HVAC services. One incredibly sophisticated tool we’re very proud to carry is the Nest thermostat. This great piece of equipment actually learns your habits and preferences when it comes to your indoor comfort. nestEventually, it will learn your tendencies so well it will change the temperature for you without you having to touch the dial. If you want to have a nest thermostat in Charlotte installed or you ever need any other type of thermostat service, you’ll always be able to count on our experts.

5 Benefits of the Nest Thermostat

The Nest thermostat offers an unprecedented level of convenience when it comes to controlling your HVAC system. Plus, it’ll look really cool in your home. Here are just some of the benefits that you’ll enjoy once you have one installed as part of your Charlotte thermostat service:

  1. It’s easy to use so you won’t have to worry about any complex programming.
  2. It can save you a great deal of energy – it could cut your heating and cooling bill by as much as 20%.
  3. You can connect your Nest thermostat to your smartphone or tablet so that you can control your HVAC system while you’re away from home.
  4. It lets you know when you are saving energy, and even provides tips to help you save even more.
  5. The device will blend in perfectly with your home’s decor.

It’s important that you let an expert provide you with the thermostat service you need to make sure you get the most out of your new device. We’ll make sure that it is located in the right spot in your home so that your heating and cooling system won’t cycle on and off too many times. That will save wear and tear on your system and extend its lifespan.

Let the professionals with One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning take care of your Nest thermostat installation.

If you need this or any other type of Charlotte thermostat service, give us a call at 980-354-1307 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Carbon Monoxide Safety: What you don’t know can kill you.

One Hour Heating & Air

hvac-service-in-charlotteWhat most people know about carbon monoxide is that it is a deadly gas that can exist in your home, and practicing carbon monoxide safety by having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is a good idea. At One Hour Heating and Air in Charlotte, North Carolina we feel it is important that our customers know more about the risk of carbon monoxide gas in your home, understand where it comes from, and how to reduce the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning for your family.

Top 5 HVAC Questions and Answers

One Hour Heating & Air

hvac questions and answersWhen it comes to your HVAC, we’re willing to bet you have questions. Of course, the questions themselves aren’t that helpful: you need to have both HVAC questions and answers!

At One Hour Heating and Air, we are devoted to making homeowners’ lives easier and more comfortable. Keep reading to learn more about your HVAC system, including answers to your most burning questions!

How to Find Air Leaks in Your Home to Cut Down on Summer Utility Bills

One Hour Heating & Air

finding-air-leaks-around-your-homeSummer is a great time to relax, but there’s just one problem: it’s way too hot outside! You’ll probably spend a lot of time inside trying to stay cool.

However, things like air leaks cut into your cool and drive up your bill, all at the same time. If you’re wondering how to find air leaks in your home, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide below.

5 Signs for When to Replace Your AC Unit

One Hour Heating & Air

when to replace ac unitIt’s easy to take your air conditioning system for granted. However, once summer rolls around, this thing will definitely be pulling its weight in keeping you and your family cool.

Or will it? Sometimes, the A/C unit is damaged, overworked, or just too old to do what you need it to do. And just like that, your pleasant summer turns upside down.

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