What Does Freon Smell Like? – Locate & Fix The Issue!

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You maybe wondering about What does freon smell like! There may be nothing more perplexing in the world of HVAC maintenance than the refrigerants used in air conditioners and heat pumps. The restriction on R-22 refrigerant has been in effect for more than a year.

It was phased out due to the environmental damage it caused. Before we get too excited over the prohibition, keep in mind that R-22 was only the worst of the group. Almost all refrigerants harm the environment somehow; therefore, it is critical to detect and remedy any refrigerant leaks.

Because it is non-toxic and non-flammable, freon is a common refrigerant. Freon, often known as refrigerant, is a gas that your air conditioner utilizes to chill your home. When it leaks, it can impair the operation of your air conditioner, raise your electric cost, and cause various health problems.

This article explains why your air conditioner smells like chemicals and what freon smells like.

What Does Freon Smell Like

Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell Like Chemicals?

When you turn on the air conditioner, do you have a strong chemical odor coming from your air vents?

Any of the following four issues could result in a chemical odor:

  1. Toxic Freon Leaks
  2. Open chemical containers
  3. ozone smell
  4. Glue in new ductwork

Let’s go over each of these in more depth.

Toxic Freon Leaks

Freon is a refrigerant and a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). Freon transports heat from the atmosphere to another location, usually outside your home or company.

This is what keeps your insides cold. Unfortunately, it is also hazardous when not properly contained.

Freon circulates in a closed system through condenser and evaporator coils and cables. These coils and lines, usually composed of copper, can occasionally shatter and spill refrigerant.

Freon leaks can be dangerous. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, contact your local HVAC contractor, who can locate and correct the problem with a freon leak detector.

If you suspect a Freon leak, you should have a licensed specialist inspect your system. Because this is a dangerous, flammable gas, only a certified technician should handle it.

What does Freon smell like? 

A freon leak smells like coolant and has a sweet odor in your car. Freon leaks can be dangerous. If you suspect a refrigerant leak, contact your local HVAC contractor, who can locate and fix the issue with a freon leak detector.

Freon and its effect on health

If your refrigerator slowly leaks Freon, it is unlikely to pose an urgent health risk. Freon is not a carcinogen, but it does accumulate over time. However, there are several concerns that a leak brings that must be handled immediately.

For the ordinary adult, Freon is only harmful in extremely high concentrations, such as those produced by a refrigerator. However, Freon can make people dizzy, and breathing has more negative effects for those with cardiac problems. Because Freon is thick, the gas remains in higher concentrations near the ground if your refrigerator leaks Freon. This implies that children and dogs exposed to it will breathe more of it and may develop symptoms.

When exposed to an open flame, freon also becomes poisonous. These two scenarios are more likely to occur together in any kitchen, especially a commercial one. If your refrigerator is leaking Freon, turn off any gas stovetops in your kitchen.

Open Container Chemicals

A chemical odor may emanate from sources around your AC intake rather than the unit itself. The odors can spread throughout the house if you store chemicals nearby, such as paint cans or cleaning materials. Check that there are no open chemicals near the intake and that none of the containers is leaking or broken.


Locate your indoor air handler and inspect it for open or leaking chemical containers. Any open containers should be closed, and any leaky containers should be discarded.

Ozone Smells

Your electrostatic air filter might cause the chemical odor you’re detecting. Most of these filters generate ozone during regular operation, an inorganic molecule with a chlorine-like smell.

You will notice a more intense odor if exposed to harmful ozone levels through your air cleaner. Symptoms such as chest discomfort and shortness of breath are possible.


Adjust your filter system to a lower setting (see the manufacturer’s instruction manual for assistance) to reduce ozone production. Contact an air quality professional to inspect your air cleaning system if the odor persists.

Glue in the Ductwork

Is your ductwork brand new? If this is the situation, the chemical odor you’re smelling could be caused by the new glue binding the ducts together. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to remove the scent of glue. It will gradually go away by itself. Meanwhile, air fresheners can be used to mask the odor.

If your air conditioner emits a strange stench, it is advisable to solve the issue rather than ignore it.


Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to eliminate the odor. It will generally fade away over time. In the interim, you can use air fresheners to mask the smell.


A chemical odor from AC units can be easily remedied, or it can suggest a more significant issue. If you observe any of the difficulties listed above and cannot handle them on your own, it is time to contact for AC repair or replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a freon leak make you sick?

While it has no taste or odor, freon tremendously influences your environment and health. Breathing problems, headaches, nausea and vomiting, skin and eye irritation, and coughing are all symptoms of refrigerant poisoning.

Can you stay in a house with a Freon leak?

A Freon leak within your home can cause moderate symptoms like dizziness and shortness of breath, but they will normally appear only if you are near the leak for an extended period. It is also possible for your air conditioner to leak all of its refrigerants without causing any harm to you.

How long does Freon stay in the air after a leak?

As a result, depending on the degree of the leak, the coolant will only last a few weeks to a few months. There could also be many leaks, causing the refrigerant to deplete faster. Leaks are almost unavoidable as your system matures unless you’re rigorous about maintenance.

Can breathing in Freon hurt you?

Freon is a colorless, odorless gas. If inhaled deeply, it can block off crucial oxygen to your cells and lungs. A small amount of exposure, such as a spill on your skin or breathing near an open container, is only mildly dangerous. However, you should attempt to avoid any interaction with these compounds.

How long does Freon last in-house?

The refrigerant system of an air conditioner is designed to be permanently closed. If there is no external harm to the system or defects in the design, Freon should survive indefinitely. The refrigerant in a well-functioning air conditioner is recycled within a closed system to chill your home.


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Ubaid Hassan
Ubaid Hassan

Introducing Ubaid Hassan – the expert who knows all about fixing dishwashers. Ubaid understands how dishwashers work and is really good at finding and solving problems. Ubaid is the person to ask for helpful advice and solutions. Loving both dishwashers and taking care of the environment, Ubaid can share smart ideas to help you use your dishwasher well and be kind to nature.

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